An avid learner, Nanette contributes her success to product expertise, participation in eBay beta programs, and business pivots along the way. She also shares her wealth of knowledge with aspiring and beginner eBay sellers and the broader eBay community.
Q: Where does the inspiration for your business come from?
A: The inspiration for my business is tied to with my love of all things vintage and my desire to rescue under-appreciated items. I became interested in vintage in my 20s when I needed to furnish my first apartment in Los Angeles and a friend’s mom suggested that I shop estate sales. I took her advice and became fascinated with the world of vintage. At the time, I was working as a young attorney in a large Los Angeles law firm but made time for a night class at UCLA Extension on the History of Decorative Arts. I loved the class and started a hobby of selling antiques and collectibles at a mall with a friend from the law firm. Eventually, that side hobby turned into a full-time business on eBay.
Selling on eBay also allows me to do my part for the environment. I became increasingly aware of the scale of clothing waste in this country. I’ve read estimates that it takes 400 to 600 gallons of water to make a t-shirt. If that’s true, how many resources does it take to make jeans, sneakers, a jacket? It struck me that reselling these items was the right thing to do and it is my little way to give back.
Q: What was the most memorable item you’ve sold on eBay?
A: One of my favorite eBay sales is also one of my most expensive items, a small, but ornate Tiffany & Co. sterling silver jewelry box. I’d never seen anything quite like it, but from the decoration and Union Square address in the mark, I deduced that it was made in the 19th century. I sold the box for about $3,500. The winning bidder had a generic user name, but when I went to ship it, I noticed that it was going to the Tiffany & Co. archives in Newark, New Jersey. Connecting the right buyer to the right item is always important to me, and that sale is a perfect example.
Q: What gets you excited about selling on eBay?
A: I’ve always been willing to test different strategies. When it comes to sourcing, I’ve tried several methods including thrifting, liquidations, close-outs and traditional wholesale from manufacturers. A year or so ago, I noticed that most of the close-out merchandise that liquidators were shipping to me from the Midwest or East Coast actually entered the country through the Port of Los Angeles. The Port of Los Angeles is in San Pedro, California, the city where I have my business. Since shipping puts such a strain on the environment, I decided that I didn’t want to buy inventory that required so much shipping, especially since Los Angeles County has over 10 million people and more inventory than I could ever possibly source and sell. So, I decided to tweak my business plan and source locally. Everything that I’ve purchased for resale in 2019 has been sourced from my area. The majority of this inventory has been one of a kind items, which are perfect to sell on eBay. I’m excited about using eBay as a platform to market these locally sourced items around the world.
Q: What is your favorite eBay tool/program? Do you connect with other sellers on eBay?
A: I love to beta test new programs and have always been an eBay early adopter. I beta-tested the Promoted Listings and Managed Payments programs, and quickly jumped onto programs like Guaranteed Delivery, Global Shipping and free returns, so it’s hard for me to pick a favorite. I’ve recently had the Offer to Buyers feature enabled on my account and am definitely seeing results, but the tool I go to again and again is the Sale Event + Markdown Manager. It is a great tool to generate sales.
I love to connect with other sellers on eBay about these and new tools because while you can go it alone, it’s so much better with the community. I belong to a local eBay Meetup Group in Long Beach, California, as well as several eBay related Facebook groups.
Q: How has the ability to sell globally impacted your business?
A: Selling globally has created more revenue for my business and connected me to people around the world. Collectible markets have changed since I started selling on eBay and there are fewer U.S. buyers in some of my categories. However, there is a strong international demand emerging for more of my items, specifically glass and porcelain listings. I send a lot of these items to Australia, Korea, Japan and China. Specialized clothing items also sell well internationally. I’ve recently sold a pair of Bob Marley board shorts to Greece and a lacy Valentino skirt to Japan.