Q: How has selling on eBay impacted your life?
A: I was working in a career I was not satisfied with and knew I had to make a change not only for myself but for our family. With only a small $500 inventory investment, I was able to grow a business on eBay, at my own pace and comfort level, while still working at my job. As the business and brand grew, I was able to comfortably transition into the business and leave my full-time job. I now operate a business that has re-energized me and made me realize that you get out of life what you put into it. With hard work and dedication, you can set and achieve your goals. I now have this confidence in myself I never knew was there. Selling on eBay has been such an empowering experience.
Q: How has eBay allowed you to give back to the charity, community, or cause you are passionate about?
A: We are actively involved with the eBay for Charity Program. This program allows us to choose our charity and set the percentage rate going to the selected charity. We support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and The Make A Wish Foundation. These are all world-class proven charities helping those in need.
Our family also designed and sponsors the Ronald McDonald House "Butterfly Room,” which is dedicated to a lost family member. Families can stay in this room for free while caring for their child at one of the region’s top hospitals (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) and cancer centers. Ronald McDonald House rooms offer families a place to rest and regroup just moments away from a sick child and allows parents to better communicate with their child’s medical team and treatment plans. Sponsoring a room involves caring and maintaining a room that will care for others in need. We plan to dedicate and sponsor an additional room this year.
Q: Why did you first start selling on eBay?
A: Selling on eBay began as a way for us to start a small business to support our growing family of five without the large startup cost and overhead that is typically involved. eBay provides us with the ideal platform to reach millions of buyers not only domestically but all across the globe all day, every day.
Q: How has selling on eBay contributed to your success?
A: eBay is where our success story began. Every step of this journey eBay has provided us the tools, support, and information we needed to grow and succeed. eBay’s global e-commerce infrastructure allows us to make a presence to millions of buyers all over the world when they are ready to make an informed purchase. We can use eBay to study market trends, product saturation, and margin levels, and this data helps make our inventory decisions. Selling on eBay allows us to be open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Q: What was the most memorable item you’ve sold on eBay?
A: Without a doubt, the fidget spinner craze of 2017. Our supplier informed us early on with the overseas demand for this product. I did some research on eBay and realized the market had an increasing demand here but not enough supply at the time. I also viewed the international eBay markets to validate the increasing demand. We were ahead of the market with inventory when the American demand began and were able to quickly become a leading wholesale supplier with over 45,000 units sold in only three months’ time. We were selling wholesale to large companies, parties, events, as well as small businesses. It was a stunning example of the power and value eBay can provide to both the buyer and seller.
Q: When is your peak selling season, and how do you prepare for it?
A: We have two peak seasons, back to school and the holidays. Preparation for both begins in April so that we are ready for it in early July. Inventory, space, hot selling items, slow selling items, supplies and materials all need to be properly evaluated in order to project out with what the consumer will need and what new items they will want. We make it our mission to not disappoint with out of stock or slow-moving shipments, and pride ourselves on a fulfillment system in place that brings the order from our store to the buyer in 2-3 days time. eBay brings us millions of potential buyers worldwide and we always need to be in stock and ready.
Q: When you were starting out, what were the top two (or three) resources you maximized to help you grow your business?
A: Capital, space, and time management. Building a working relationship with our bank for capital was key to our growth. We were able to use our bank credit to fund our inventory, supplies, marketing, and grow the business through its revenue. Space is a vital resource when you are experiencing growth. We started selling on eBay at our dining room table until it grew into our entire basement, and now into a fulfillment center warehouse. Another important resource is understanding time management and how to properly schedule your day efficiently. From morning until end of day, you need to progressively build a consistent routine for success.
Q: What has your experience been with using tools available on the platform? How have they helped to streamline your selling process?
A: eBay’s seller hub is central to our day on eBay. We use it for shipping labels, customer service, returns, sales data, listing templates, as well as promotions and marketing. We can move inventory quickly or even get it off the ground running by using the markdown manager tool. Using promotional tools like volume pricing provides the buyer progressive discounts for multi quantity orders. We can market our products with promoted listings that help drive traffic to both our listings and our eBay store. Sales summary and business performance tools are great for your daily, weekly, and monthly business report card. Explore all available tools provided and see what will work best for your business model.
Q: Do you have advice/ tips for entrepreneurs starting out on eBay?
A: My advice is to start small, learn eBay rules and policies first, and read as much as possible by utilizing the eBay community board, join the Facebook eBay for Business page, and listen to the eBay Seller Podcasts. Be engaged and ask questions, many times senior management are even there to help guide and assist sellers as well as provide valuable insight. eBay has the very best community of sellers that are quick to help you with even the simplest of questions. And always remember, don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, it’s how you learn and how real growth happens!