Friday, December 6, 2013

Reselling Update: eBay vs. Etsy, Nearly $700 in Two Days, and Other Revelations

It's been a while since I updated on the good and bad of what I do for a living around these parts. First, some celebratory wine for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday victories!


Gangbuster Christmas Sales: I made nearly $700.00 in one weekend, and my Etsy Shop sales have continued to be damn awesome. Oh Thank You Father Christmas! I've tasted blood and I want more, this will inspire me to work as hard as possible on it.

eBay vs. Etsy: One of the top questions I get is whether one should open an eBay or Etsy shop to resell. Etsy may be for your if you're trying to create a brand and have a large quantity of items to sell. Etsy has a smaller marketplace so it's up to you to add items steadily to keep eyes on your shop. he better your branding/networking/marketing/photos are, the more successful you can be. I chose Etsy to start with because it challenges me in all those mentioned skills; it's creatively fulfilling and great practice for future lines I want to start. For moving random items fast, eBay is the better way to go. You can always have both. Etsy's personally worked really well for me and helped me make a decent living. I feel like having a years established blog/web presence has helped me be successful with it but that you can do well on it either way with hard work.

I has The eBayz Now: I opened my first eBay shop to start selling my manga/comic book collection that's been gathering dust. Did well at the end of the first Auction ending making nearly $300.00. I REALLY rushed through it all and feel like I could have done better but didn't want to bother with it too much. I HATE using it. I'll keep working on it though, love and need that extra income! You can see it here, it's embarrassingly bad but it's a start. Any tips are welcome!

Antique Mall Booth Languishes: Etsy has really paid off for me personally but a challenge I had running a full Etsy shop (usually at around 500 items) and the antique mall booth was what items to put in the booth and which ones to have online. Some items overlapped. The Antique Mall Booth has taken the back burner while I decide what to do with it. I want it to stay for the local connection but I don't like how it needs a constant supply of the freshest merchandise to do well. I'll keep playing with it, I continue to want to brand the living hell out of it and figure it out more form there. Hmmm....


Taking photos behind-the-scenes. So many more to re-do! Aaah!

Why Do We Do It? I've been pensive about why I do this whole reselling thing. I know I do eventually want to transition away from it as my main income source, but I'll always do a little of it to some capacity. I love the independence, flexible schedule and creative freedom but I realize I've been doing this primarily  to challenge myself creatively. It's an expressive outlet and great practice for what I want to do in the future (I'm thinking more of a focus on editorial work, developing art lines).  I continue to improve vital marketing/composition/photography and other technical skills along the way.

I'm excited to continue to take it to the next level next year and put my all into it! For real, no more complacency! There's so much to do it's hard to even get started! The first goals are to continue to finish listing/re-photographing everything in this apartment to the best of my ability, improve branding consistency and make the Thrift Core blog's content/editorial schedule The Batman of aesthetic beauty and usefulness!

So My Mind Dump is Loosed, How Are You Doing with Reselling or with Your Indie Businesses Lately? Would love it if you shared any beginner eBay tips for this beginner!
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50 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. Both of my shops have been crazy busy! I have been trying to take advantage of this surge of holiday business, by listing as much as possible. Of course that means I have to shop more. Bad timing to do all this shopping for my shops when I have so much holiday shopping to do. But I guess it is great timing to be making all this extra money. Last year, Jan and Feb were not horrible for me, but business did settle down of course, nothing is predictable with Etsy. But I am sure enjoying the big bucks I have been bringing in lately!
    I have also toyed with ebay to get rid of random items I come across thrifting. Things that aren't vintage, but still have a good value.....maybe in a couple months I will give it a try?

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    1. I've been putting off opening my eBay shop to sell my "nerd stuff" (lots of non-vintage action figures, comic books, VHS tapes, etc. to clear out). I still hate it but will keep pushing myself with it :/

      Same here with me on the shopping/listing front, it's paying off- we gotta rake in as much as possible while the shoppers are here for the slow times!

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  3. Good for you! My sales are up a bit, but nothing like yours. Just listed several things on Ebay for the first time as they were too new for Etsy. Not thrilled with their formats either, but I'll see how it goes. I do seem to be getting more views there than Etsy. How do you fare with shipping rates? I still underestimate once in awhile and "eat" a lot. That happened just this week, and I wound up not even making a profit on an item. Maddening!

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    1. Augh, I hate it when that happens! That would happen to me a lot earlier on, too. SOMETIMES, depending on the person/situation I will beg for mercy and ask if the person will pay more for shipping and apologize profusely and sometimes offer discounts/free things for my mistake. Now-a-days I really overestimate the shipping amount and then will refund any difference over $3.00 and raise my price so shipping is built into the pricing a bit for some leeway. I still mess up here and there and will lose 1-3 on shipping on average but with the higher prices I'm still getting paid.

      I'm learning the more I ship things out, definitely a learn-by-experience process.

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  4. I'm so poor right now. eBay has been awful and weird for weeks for me, and I feel insecure about myself as a seller at the moment, wondering what I'm suddenly doing wrong.

    I've been so impressed at your photographing stuff just for the holidays. I think that's amazing. Also, what the hell are you talking about with your eBay store? It looks fantastic! Let it be what it is :)

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    1. I just hate eBay, gotta keep pushing myself to learn it but man it's ugly! ;p Reselling always has its slow times, I forgot to sell in the post but for all the good I'm doing online the booth did like $45 last month? My lowest all year, it was painfully pathetic. I've already made more than that in the first 5 days of December. Keep pushing, you'll always get out of it what you put into it. I need to force myself to find some things and take MOAR pictures! Pictures forever!

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    2. Oh yeah, I was saving it for a future post but will say with sales effortlessly always being enough for me to meet basic needs it made me complacent and I was working super hard all year. Anytime I REALLY bust ass I'm always rewarded for it.

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  5. Your determination to always be striving for improvement and reach goals is inspiring. I can't make any major complaints about how I'm doing. I have my Etsy store I'm making sales although not loads it ok for moment. The shop isn't fully stuck but I know through my stats that people are seeing my shop and there is interest in my items everyday. My shop display continues to do well and the trickiest thing of all is markets.....sometimes you're hot with markets and sometimes you're not. Markets take in so many other factors to like size and type of market, how big, weather, foot traffic and more. For me it all continues to be right now about just keeping the level of what I've got going norm happening until the end January when my eldest child goes to school. Once he is at school I will have more time stock my Etsy store and work of the blog, brand and other major and exciting plans I have for income streams.

    Once again I continue to hold every faith and belief that desires I have for my business, blog and brand will all come together more and more over the next twelve months. But right now I just have to be patient, maintain the level I have now, concentrate on my family at this time of the year and hit the ground running in the new year.

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    1. Your shop is so cute and well-curated! You're doing an excellent job with branding thus far, I aspire to get mine so consistent. And yep, nothing like a fresh new year, a proverbial clean slate to get you excited to get sales going!

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    2. Thanks Van. But it is I who looks at how you have your store presented and aspire from that. I love how you stage your pics and would love to find my own relatable way of doing something similar

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    3. We learn and improve every day, I'm excited to keep pushing the envelope and refining the branding :D Thanks Trudie!

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  6. Your Etsy shop is excellent . But ebay is the place for more obscure stuff , trouble is a lot of stuff drowns however unique , its getting the keywords for their weird search engine that makes or breaks sales on there.

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    1. Thanks for the tip Kate. I have a lot of learn with eBay!

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  7. I've been on Etsy for several years and have around 650 sales without doing hardly any advertising or outside work. I feel like if I put more effort into it I could be one of those people with thousands of sales, not hundreds. But...finding time to do it...as I also have a part-time day job...
    I've never tried Ebay but my friends who have all tell me that higher priced items do better on there than on Etsy. But does that get cancelled out by the higher fees and extra annoyance of Ebay? Hard to say. Probably should try it though :)






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    1. Without too much effort I've had over 300 sales on Etsy (hoping to add many more this month!) and feel the same way, that I could hit thousands by pouring loads of thought/work into it. I'm excited to get moving on it. With eBay I'm in agreement with you, hard to say if it's worth the extra money for the extra hassle. It sure did bring an extra little chunk I didn't have before I gave it a try to sell off some excess clutter. I don't think I'll bother for my vintage stuff for a while.

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  8. I lost my job last year and once my severance ran out, I turned to reselling. It started out with finds in my garage then turned to thrifted purses and designer shoes I found at goodwill. I made over 800 bucks in a short period of time. It was addictive. I have good feedback and was doing awesome, but then I had a couple sour apples leave terrible feedback or judged me unfairly in certain cateogories (ex: one lady was made that she had to pay shipping! Another person said the purse was bigger than she wanted....when I had clearly listed ALL dimensions). This happened a couple times and my account has been held without the ability to sell. I am super frustrated with ebay right now. I have asked many times what I could do to remedy it,...to no avail!

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    1. eBay's customers are definitely NOT as friendly as the Etsy ones, even with my short time on there I've dealt with some crap ;p I don't think I've had ANY customer service problems on Etsy. I love it! Sorry your initial experience was rough. I had a few problems, losing money on shipping and such, before I got it right.

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    2. I called today and they told me my seller status was being suspended indefinitely pending a managerial decision to ease restrictions. I appreciate their quality control, but I've only had one piece of negative feedback in the last 12 months, and I've sold over 100 items. I have written to many people stressing that there are no safeguards for sellers who are getting screwed over by unfounded scoring by customers.

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    3. So sorry you're going through that mess! It's very true about the buyers on there. I'm going to be veeery cautious and pedantic with it going forward.

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  9. I love Etsy and it will always be my first love. (*Sigh*, smoochy-smoochy*) I love spending time there, listing, and selling my items. It has it's ups and downs. There has been some major growing pains this year that have left a lot of people wondering how they can succeed in the new Etsy market. It is definitely an adapt or die market right now.

    I sell on eBay too and have been there awhile. I detest it. I really do. The people suck, the fees are ridiculous, and you are worried every second of every day that that one nasty person who thought the glasses they bought were lavender and not purple is going to ding your stars (yes, they did by the way) and whether you are going to have to kiss someone's ass to keep your feedback rating up. I hope to dump eBay for good by the end of 2014.

    That aside I could give you a list of tips but I won't. I'll just tell you the one that helped me the MOST when I was first starting out on feebay. Join the eBay Underground Facebook group. LOADS of help for newbies! Lots of eBay old-timers willing to share their wealth of hard earned knowledge!

    Good luck with the new endeavors! :)

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  10. Thanks for the eBay Underground group tip, going to join up! I may not mess with eBay for long though, it's such a painful thing to use. A different type of buyer, (often twitchy) bargain hunter versus patient indie scene lover.

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  11. Don't do auctions. I'd hate life if I did auctions. For one auctions on average bring in far less money than buy it now items. I've seen in completed one item sell for say $20.00 on buy it now and $4.00 on auction. I see that all the time. Secondly I hate nothing more than having to ship five hundred items out all at once. You'd feel comfortable doing a store its a lot like Etsy. You get what you put in to it. Items sell at a nice rate instead of all at once. No one really wants to bother with auctions any longer. Impulse buying is where its at. eBay also has some hard and fast rules for what they will bump up in their search engines. Basically they are looking to make it mobile friendly. Your pictures are perfect, you need to increase your font to 18 in your description and always fill in item description and as much as you can in item specifics. Continue doing free shipping especially with such a low feedback. Or do what I do. I add shipping into my buy it now and do a reduced shipping. Its all a mind game. I swear people feel like the item is priced higher because its free shipping where they seem rather comfortable with low shipping. BUT I'm a high rated seller and can screw around with that sort of thing. Ebay loves me either way, you are a little baby keep doing free shipping.:) SO if that made your eyes cross. Open a store keep up over 50 items and that will pay off the $15.00 dollar subscription. Do buy it now with best offer, to get the right price just search completed items and see what the average price is. Either be competitive or price it high and wait for the "right" customer. Me I prefer competitive. And sure join eBay underground but honestly I don't think its what it used to be. Probably get better advice asking here! PS my customers are awesome and eBay is a perception just like anything else. I treat them like I would a etsy buyer (beautiful packaging the whole bit) and my customers freakin LOVE me. It is what you put in to it.

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    1. I rushed through listing as fast as possible because learning eBay on top of everything else is a pain but need to make time for it. I DEFINITELY could have made way more from those comics I've been hoarding, boo ;P You live and learn. Thanks so much for all the detailed helpful tips. Yes shipping out tons of items at once when the auctions finished was a paaaain 'cause it ended on Black Friday! I spent two days frantically packaging and shipping stuff, haha.

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  12. Damn I get sick of seeing eBay trashed (the comments more than you). It feeds my family. Sure I have to work the system but without even trying I make over $1600 a month with only 120-125 items up at any given time. Typically I list maybe 50-60 new items in a month and keep a average of 120 items in my store. If I wanted to double that I could work even harder and the money would come. I essentially work part time and I'd be hard pressed to find a job that I could make that much money at and not work full time (hell when I worked full time I only made about 400 hundred more a month than I do now). So I guess if you make more than on Etsy I will be willing to give it a go. Just seems to me most people say they make more on eBay. I could be wrong though?

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    1. I would love to work the system like you do and spend less time to earn more, working hard toward it. I can make a lot on Etsy but it takes a LOT of work that I'm sure would be less effort with eBay. All a matter of taste. I don't think the commenters are bashing eBay or people on it really, it's just not for everyone. My friend Katy at The Non Consumer Advocate just wrote about leaving Etsy to focus on eBay because she only made a couple sale for the few items she listed. I'll keep playing around. Hmmm....

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    2. Gonna put your tips into ACTION though, thank you so much. Auctions are killing me, want the real dough ;) And an easier time at it.

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  13. There is this little shop about 1/2 mile from my house. They have a huge ebay store and they mostly sell things like baseball cards and electronics. Those kinds of things. Anyhow, they will pretty much list anything that they can sell and turn a profit from. Here is how it works, I go in with an item that retails for $150, They check to see what price it sold for on ebay, ($90), Then they give me half of that amount ($45) They just flat out by it from me. I don't have to store them item, photograph it, list it...Granted I only made $45...but chances are that I only bought it for a buck or two at a thrift shop, so I still make a big profit with no work or effort, they make a big profit. Everyone is happy. Nothing is shifty, we look at the ebay sold price together.

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    1. Pretty awesome! I don't think we have anything like that around here. I was going to sell everything I wanted to sell on eBay to an experienced eBay seller friend to get it out of the way and avoid the eBay hassle but then decided I should learn it myself. It's paying off so far!

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  14. I've been selling on eBay for 10 years.

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  15. Oops...I've been selling on eBay for 10 years.

    I have always had more success selling on eBay over Etsy. Buy-It-Now is better than running an auction {like another poster mentioned}.

    I opened a retail store, which I will probably close and use the space to house my inventory for ONLINE (eBay) sales. In the beginning you LOVE customers, then the disappointment sets in when they only come in to "look" and not buy. (Compliments don't pay rent, etc).

    However, I can take the same merchandise and sell it for MORE on eBay. No wonder small indie stores close their business and sell online. :(

    I hear people (Dealers) at Antique Malls talk about how their stuff is priced like they saw it sell for on eBay. Well, it sits and sits in their booth/case. I tell dealers if you want eBay pricing, then it needs to sell on eBay.
    Plus, too many customers are coming into the antique mall asking for ridiculous discounts.

    Yes, the one major thing about selling on eBay is that you feel like you are at the mercy of feedback from someone who didn't bother reading the description or looking at the photos...

    OR the ones who buy-it-now (not auction), then don't bother paying for days! When you keep sending invoices and email them after a few days, they ALWAYS give the excuse that they were either sick or in the hospital or had a death in the family!!! They were shopping online and didn't complete check-out, they will NEVER admit that they just forgot to pay. This gets so old.

    I sometimes want to ask, why are you shopping online if you are so sick in the hospital? LOL!

    {I usually check off the "immediate payment" box, so they have to pay for the item or it's still available for someone else to buy}.

    I tried to sell online on my website, but it takes a lot of work and money to brand yourself. Plus, it's even harder now that there is SO much on the internet now. eBay has more exposure and traffic.

    Yes, I'm sad that I have to close my retail store, but stuff is selling better for me on eBay. It might take some getting used to, not as sweet as Etsy, but great for selling. :)

    PJ

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  16. I've been there with the lookers/not buyers, it's heart breaking when you desperately need those sales! You're secretly thinking, "If you want it buy it, it's super cheap, get it!" when they spend forever looking at a little thing to put it down. I agree on eBay pricing for the antique mall, something has to be an amazing mid century modern or super unique piece for me to sell it for the same amount I would online. (I'm trying to only hunt down THOSE type of pieces from now on.) Otherwise I give the same advice. It is SO hard to keep a brick and mortar open these days. I keep dreaming of one somehow but am grateful for the online audience to make a living. Definitely going to learn eBay more to get some more money in the bank!

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  18. Woohoo!! Good for you!!! I use turbolister for both of my stores. I had an etsy store but the listing process took too long. With turbolister you make templates and basically just add title description and pics. then you upload them when your done. It makes it easy peasy. We can list over 100 albums in a 6 hour shift. With my other stuff it does take longer but it is a great help. It is great for collections like your comics.

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    1. Thanks so much for the comment and the tips! I'll have to play with that.

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  19. Etsy vd Ebay...the age old question, right?

    For me Etsy is just visually appealing ..I look up stuff on ebay and it's a hot mess over there. I tend to feel that etsy is more of a boutique shop experience, and Ebay is like the 99 cent store. ...I also feel as if the customers on etsy are more visually drawn in. A good picture with a clean background on Etsy will sell just about anything. It's just a totally different audience in so many ways. With Ebay anytime I sell something I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to say. You just hear so many horror stories about ebay customers. Etsy customers for the most part have always been so lovely and gracious.

    And don't even get me started on pricing. I'm always amazed how something can be listed on ebay for next to nothing, but on Etsy it will sell for $30.00.

    Most of my stock goes on Etsy, because as a shopper that is where I like to browse and Ebay is great for those rarer items that can't be found anywhere else. If I can find my item online more than a few places on Etsy it goes, if not I'll take my chances on Ebay.

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    1. eBay is just so unpleasing to eye, a mess to look at. It's not all bad and some people have been very polite but I've learned you really need to be careful and pedantic with listings because they shoppers lover to exploit loopholes. Gotta refund someone soon, le sigh. ;p I'm just using eBay for non-vintage collectibles around the house I'm trying to clear out like my comic books, despite the money-making potential on eBay I think I'm getting my precious vintage on Etsy and working harder there instead!

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  20. My Etsy shop is pretty dang reliable.. I don't keep a lot of items in there, mostly it's just a place to sell smalls that I'm afraid will get stolen in the booth. I wish the damn booth would be as reliable!
    I'm happy to hear you kicked so much ass last weekend!!!

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    1. I'm brainstorming on how to make my booth produce the bigger bucks like Etsy does, haven't found what works for me personally yet either. Locally shabby chic, painted things, and keeping a VERY full booth reins but I don't like constant acquisition, painting furniture...I'll keep at it, determined!

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  21. Congratulations on such a successful weekend and for giving eBay selling a try! I've been having great sales myself, so I am very happy.

    Regarding Etsy vs eBay - I don't quite agree with you regarding creating a brand on eBay. I know a lot of sellers who have successfully created their brand on eBay. I think the key is where are you most comfortable? Etsy buyers (and sellers) are not the same as eBay buyers (and sellers). There is overlap, of course, but Etsy has more of a hip, cool, artistic, indie vibe about it than eBay. I think Etsy is also easier to learn than eBay. eBay can be very intimidating for someone starting out.

    I see you've experimented with eBay's new feature for sellers. (I still have to do that to my store; I was just chatting with a bunch of eBay sellers about this) But with this move and the recent addition of "collections," eBay seems to be taking a cue from Etsy.

    Regarding some tips for selling on eBay, I would say strive to become a Top Rated Seller (TRS) because eBay gives your items a boost in their search algorithm when you are a TRS. And a word of "warning" - eBay recently totally revamped its search algorithm - now called Cassini - and that threw a monkey wrench in how items show up in search. Items don't appear the way they used to. Cassini has really customized eBay's search so that different buyers will get different results when they do a search. You and I could type in the same search terms, and we would pull up different listings. This has caused a storm of controversy among sellers. Don't mean to scare you or anything, but thought you should be aware of what has been going on behind the scenes regarding things that affect sellers. Let me know if you have any questions or want to know more details. Just shoot me an email :0)

    Continued success to you in your reselling!

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    1. You're right, eBay definitely can be used to make a brand so I wasn't quite right expressing that. I think what I really mean is that it's almost necessary to create a brand for big Etsy success. I'm definitely more comfortable in the indie/artsy scene than eBay and having to learn that whole system intimidates me but it's an easier, bigger money-making marketplace once you're used to it. Thanks for offering to be there when I'm confused, I have a LOT to read up on with eBay and practice with that system. I really rushed through the first listings and am paying for the mistakes, haha ;p

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    2. I forgot to mention it, but I know quite a number of resellers who put their items on both sites, and when an item sells on one site, they pull the listing from the other site. Very interesting tactic that I have yet to give it a try.

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  22. Congrats on having a great selling weekend. Too bad it couldn't be like that all the time lol

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    1. I know :( Then we'd all be riiich and it would be awesome. Sales are still awesome, I'm working hard as hell to exploit the holiday shopping time and list like crazy.

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  23. Ebay vs. Etsy!!!! I do well at Etsy and it suits for my store's brand/vibe that I like to promote. Ebay's layout sucks, but it actually has a wide buying base and is far less restrictive than Etsy. Horrid layout, though. Just started throwing my random stuff on Ebay that didn't (or couldn't) get put in the Etsy store. No reason not to do both. Quit my consignment booth. Love the face to face and community involvement, but it just was not profitable enough and I'm eyeing a possible move... So it doesn't make sense to continue putting time and energy into a place that I might be leaving anyway. I love seller's discussions. I always tell people who complain about Etsy to just get your product numbers up! That seems to be key :)

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    1. Yep, #s seem to be the key with Etsy...unless you can find a gimmick that makes your shop go "viral" ;) May look for something like that, hmm! Anywho, I feel your pain with the local booth. I'm going to dedicate a lot of time to making mine profitable. Been so focused on the online side that my booth has been neglected. it's a challenge to run online and local but I'm determined.

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  24. no worst than ebay costumer service will block your account no reason , will not even tell you the reason i acttualy been told to by the customer service to be honest ebay don't like you? i ask the reason they say we cannot discuss this information with our users

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  25. You guys can try itshandicraft.com; smooth interface and two months of listings absolutely free. I am a seller there and happy with the business I am getting. Give it a go.

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