Scavenger Life Episode 268: Can Struggling Artists Fund Their Art with an eBay Store? iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

Ryanne's sister visited us this weekend from Boston, so we're enjoying our town like tourists again. Swimming at the lake, watching a movie at the theater, grilling, hanging out with friends. Instead of our normal "what happened this week", we're posting a recent conversation we had with Deric, who's a comedian and scavenger in upstate New York.

We've been trying to find someone who funds their art through their eBay store. Like an actor, filmmaker, dancer or writer. Instead of working for low pay in restaurant or temp jobs, we imagine that a struggling artist would make more money and have more flexibility scavenging and selling online. An actor could go on auditions anytime she wants and just work on his eBay store in her downtime.

Deric now has a wife and young daughter, so he's taken on a full-time job and just sells on eBay in his spare time. But he still does stand-up comedy and we imagine together what his life would have been like if he sold on eBay in his early days of comedy. He described how he does a lot of scavenging in between comedy gigs when traveling. We also talk about how he presently juggles everything while running his store. And instead of working with his wife on eBay, they both run their own separate stores since they each have different specialties.

You can find Deric at these fine spots. he says he'll answer any questions in the comments below.
We had a much better sales this week. We'll post our numbers in the comments. Hope things are good for you! Christmas is just five months away!


  1. 7/17-7/23/16
    Total items in store: 332
    Items sold: 11
    Cost of Items Sold: $30 thrift + $28 consignment
    Total Sales: $289.67
    Avg. price: $26.33
    Highest price item: $56.00 Birkenstocks
    International sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Money spent on new inventory: $14.13
    Number of items listed: 0

    I haven't had a chance to listen, but I love that Deric's store name is Ivy's College Fund!

    This seemed like a terrific week since I haven't listed since June 8th. Both kids will be at camp this week, so hopefully I will get some listing done. I have tons of winter ski coats and snow pants to list.

  2. I am excited to hear J & R's stats because I noticed that they had a great week with one, at least, big sale (curious to hear what they got for the item on BO.) Anyway, here are mine:

    Total items in store: 178-->ebay, 322-->etsy
    Items sold: 7 on ebay, 5 on etsy==12
    Total Sales: $813-->$723 on ebay, $89 on etsy
    Avg. price: $67
    Highest price item: $500 antique athletic sweater on ebay
    International sales: 1
    Returns: 0

    The sweater, from the early part of the 20thc, was found at an online auction, and I had to pay-up-->$177 with fees, but I was confidant as this is a market I am familiar with. I probably could have held out for more money, but I was ready to flip it and am quite happy with the return I got, I literally had it at my doorstep in the morning and sold it 20 mins after listing it.

    1. Love when sales happen that quickly, especially on a big ticket item. I love making 10x-20x profit on a $2 item, but it really helps the numbers when you have a big sale like that even if it was only 2x-3x profit.

    2. Sue, that's a great sale on the sweater.

      I always look up items in Watchcount. The J & R's steamer trunk sold for $600.

    3. For some reason I thought that watchcount no longer gave the BO prices? Still that was a great sale for them (I sort of assumed that they sold it for around that figure.)

    4. Omfug, I use flipper tools...can check ebay offer sale prices as well as sold etsy prices...pretty cool:

    5. I have sold one of those suitcases for a lot to know how they came to that price and what they sold it for.

    6. I LOVE flipper tools! I probably use them the most of any tools we've learned about on SL!

    7. You still see what a specific item sold for. But eBay took away everyone's ability to see what a buyer has bought recently.

  3. 7/17-7/23/16
    Total items in store: 731
    Items sold: 11 (1 Amazon)
    Cost of Items Sold: $38
    Total Sales: $441.23
    Avg. price: $40.11
    Highest price item: $125 Vintage Houndstooth Hat
    International sales: 1
    Returns: 0
    Money spent on new inventory: $0
    Number of items listed: 37 new, 8 old relisted

    Needed to take the week off from picking because I was getting really backed up. Don't get me wrong, I checked out the listings of the estate sales over the weekend and thankfully there wasn't anything I saw that I couldn't live without.

    Taking the weekend off allowed me to list a bit more than normal and also get a few things that were stacked up listed & organized.

    All in all a good week.

  4. Store Week 7/17 - 7/23

    Total items in store: 726
    Items sold: 9
    Cost of items sold: $7.05
    Total sales: $211.94
    Highest price sold: $50.00 (Ferragamo shoes)
    Average price sold: $23.55
    International Sales: 1
    Returns: 0
    Money spent on new inventory this week: $54.34

    Can't wait to listen as soon as I have a chance!

  5. Trying to get this up early this week to provide some context:

    Items in the store: 1109
    Listed this week: 79
    Items sold: 30 (one non-paid, so 29)
    Gross Sold: $807 (the non paid item would have been $80, but it is relisted and should sell this week)
    Average per item: 27.82
    Highest priced item sold: $100 for a lawn inflatable alien crashing into dirt (It's awesome. I got it for $12 at a estate sale: )
    Cost of good sold: $65ish
    Spent on new items: $270ish (as I reference in this episode, I buy in lots often. I picked up a lot of almost 200 action figures for $225)
    Amount spent on photos: $40 and some legos in barter (I have 2 people taking photos at this point on a casual basis).

    This is turning into an average week, around the $750 mark. I have a couple purchases of t-shirts to be photographed and listed from last week, and I need to do some organization of the action figures to put the unsorted accessories with the unsorted action figures.

    I have also found out what the thing I enjoy doing the least is: Testing electronics. In particular, I bought one lot of used video game consoles from someone last year. I've listed most of the games that were with it, but the dang consoles? Still in bins in my storage area (read: in my basement).

    If anyone has any questions about the podcast, scavenging or stand-up comedy (or my day job, whatever), I'll do my best to answer everything this week.

    1. Listening to it now... I'm thinking this episode should be called "Deric needs a new Microphone".

    2. Hey Deric - fun to hear your interview and my hat is off to you for staying up each night to list 2 hours. I fall asleep with my kids usually.
      So, I find myself in a bit of a used lego situation and could use advice. True story - I agreed to sell bins full as a favor to close friends who had to take our elderly cat to the vet to be euthanized while we were away. They couldn't bear to sell or donate knowing they had spent probably thousands on their kids' lego collection. What is the best lot approach and is there a good, simple site to research the most valuable figs? I know they have Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter in there. Would another reseller by the pieces based on poundage to flip? I have all the manuals. They will not expect me to spend a ton of time on this. Thanks - we've met the local lego resellers at our past garage sales and they are a bit smarmy.

    3. Glad you liked the interview. For Legos, if you’re looking for the easiest way to do it, pick out the minifigs and the accessories. It’s not the most intuitive, but here’s a site that lists what other collectors are selling minifigs for at one location (and they’re sorted by theme): . That’s where the higher value per piece is. Resellers really depend on if they’re trying to sell on eBay or on Bricklink. On Bricklink, they can squeeze out about $10/lb, by individually listing each piece. On eBay, bulk sells for between $4-$7 a pound.

      When I’ve sold bulk in the past on eBay, what I like to do is fill a medium sized flat rate box (not the long one, but the 11" x 8-1/2" x 5-1/2" one) with the bulk parts, taking pictures as I put things in there (so like, 4-5 pictures of the different layers of stuff in there). That way the buyers can eyeball what’s in there. Mention the sets you think it might contain pieces from (for example, I had a lot of star wars gray pieces, so I mentioned that. It helps to draw eyes to the listing). Even an auction listing will typically get you to that $5/lb area.

      For the minifigs, sell them individually, or in a lot by the type (potter, lord of the rings, that kind of thing). If you’re looking for speed, large lots of minifigs sell for about $1-$2 per figure. If you just sold Hermoine Granger by herself, is between 6-10. So, this really feels like fast nickel or slow dime to me. There is also a collection of minifigs called Collectable Minifigs that people buy per piece. It might be worth to take a look here: for those.

      Sell the instructions either on their own, or in a lot. They sell just as well as the rest of the collection.

      My own experience with Lego was that… there’s a lot of pieces. Lego collectors are very particular about what they’re buying (Is that a Draco Malfoy with lighter flesh, or regular Draco Malfoy? They’re from 2 different sets).

      So, if were doing it, I’d break it up as:

      1) Bulk bricks in Medium (or Large) flat-rate boxes (take pictures on the scale so people can see yes, it’s actually that much).

      2) The licensed properties minifigs (and the ones from the collector sets) I would sell individually.

      3) Bulk sell the other minifigs by pound, showing a picture with them all laid out, not like the bulk bricks, so people can dig through it and see what ones are there.

      4) Sell the manuals. Do the research, the manuals range from 5-35 on their own (Hogwarts sells for $35, it’s three manuals for the one item)

      Hope this helps. I’m listening to my inner spouse here and not just saying “send a picture, I might be interested”

    4. Thanks! That's all super helpful. My store is RetroDecor&More on Ebay. Feel free to send me an email so I have your address. Maybe we can work something out on the non-fig bulk? I need to take it out an see what's there in the next week or so. I can email you after that.

    5. Deric, thanks for letting Jay interview you. I hope you don’t mind some unsolicited advice from an old guy: don’t quit your day job. You have what sounds like a very tolerable, low stress 8 – 4 job that you don’t “take home” with you every night, you like your boss, and you’re 8 years into a pension. Calculate what you need to put away to duplicate that pension and then what kind of hours and investment you’ll need to put in to the ebay business to find, sell, and ship enough inventory to make enough to live on and save some to replace that pension before doing anything rash. Every day I am thankful that I was smart enough to stick with something long enough to qualify for my pension so that I don’t have to sell on ebay for a living as I turn 60 this year, as much as I have enjoyed dabbling in it with varying degrees of intensity since 1997 and scavenging in general for many years before that.

    6. I ended out talking with Jay offline about this a bit. I have no intentions of walking away at this point. At a minimum, I will continue here until my 10 year mark, when I'm vested in the retirement system I'm at, so I could still collect something when at retirement age as a padding. I've seen relatives struggle with owning a business that went under close to retirement age, to know that my first and foremost concern is to properly provide for my family.

      My wife on the other hand is mostly a hippy that thinks it was all work out no matter what... Sooooooooo... That actually makes me extra cautious on things, because I do not believe things just work out most of the time. Things work out because of the work done prior to making decisions. I'm also a numbers guy, so I wouldn't walk away unless I was confident I was at a minimum replacing every dollar that was coming in, including the pension.

      The other side of this, of course, is that I am being fairly realistic in thinking that if I got laid off once, I could just as easily be laid off again without the employer really caring one way or another (we were bargaining chips in a union contract dispute, in my opinion). So, I'm not being naive to myself in assuming that the pension will be there regardless. It's impossible, if you work in an organized labor environment, to ignore the retirements and contracts being changed on people around the country. So for now? eBay is just something I do in addition to everything else, it's a safety net.

    7. Deric, awesome interview (and funny stuff, watched the YT video Jay posted). I love that everyone has a different background story to why they're doing what they're doing and how they got into it.

      Since you're doling out Lego knowledge, am I asking too much for this listing?

      I spotted a box of Lego in the basement that was untouched since the late 1970s. Bought the whole thing and washed them off with hot water & dish soap (they were covered in dirt & dust accumulated), then weighed them by color. I had no idea when i bought it that it was likely 2-3 of the original train sets.

      Am I overpriced without putting it all together and noting how complete it is? Thoughts?

    8. The vintage legos are… Interesting. The issue is that most of the bricks involved have been created millions of times since they first came out, so there’s little value to someone in a bulk setting. From your listing, I was able to see this piece . The issue there being the collectability for any of the sets it is a part of, is if the set is complete with boxes, that kind of thing. There’s not much in your listing to really command a higher price. Even the track pieces (look up the numbers from the instructions on Bricklink) are not particularly expensive. So, I would say that your price is high for it without original packaging. A portion of that is because I could put many of the same pieces together today and they would be almost indistinguishable from each other.

      If you figured out the train set in particular, and were able to put it together, then you'd have more to go off of for sold prices. That's my biggest issue with Lego (and puzzles). Want to make sure everything is there? No problem, it'll just take you 4 hours to do that...

    9. Not what I wanted to hear, but I do appreciate the knowledge. I guess I'll be having a sale on the lot :)

    10. Hello Deric - I am a small time seller but was actually listening as I am packing up an item to ship! Growing up in Massachusetts I have to wonder if the flea market you sold your Nintendo was Raynham? If the little town with only one blinking light was Norfolk you should know the blinking light has turned into a Roundabout (there are actually 2 of them). I heard Ryanne was actually from the town next door...Great interview, I'll check out your YT when I get back on listing!

    11. Nope, actually the flea market is Rietta Ranch ( I was pretty close to the NH border.

  6. Total items in store: 650
    Items sold: 20
    Cost of items sold: $206
    Total sales: $785.32
    Highest price sold: few things for 49.99 but thats about it
    Average price sold: $39.27

    Slow week for sure. Its that time of year. I feel like things are picking up though as we get close to back to school...Had a good weekend of sales. Also we should be thinking about listing jackets and ski stuff. I have a death pile of nice jackets to list....

    1. LOL, only you Erik would complain that nearly $800 in a week with a fairly small store is "slow" (LOL, yes I am teasing you.) I also am thinking about winter stuff, and, gulp, listing my stash of Xmas items on Etsy. The media is already beating the drum of "back to school" even though we are only half way through the summer!

    2. Lol dont mean to be snobby, but thats how we are in the SF Bay lol. I know im spoiled here. When rents are 3,000 to 4,000 though, 800 doesnt seem as much. Things are picking up this week though.

  7. Total items in store: 332
    Items sold: 8
    Cost of Items Sold: $4 thrift + $213 RA
    Total Sales: $455
    Avg. price: $57
    Highest price item: $289 Anthropologie clearance bedding (Paid $185)
    International sales & Returns: 0
    Money spent on new inventory & items listed: $0
    30 day sales conversion rate: .9%

    Interesting week on vacation. No listing, no sell similar, no sale running. But I did my first variation listing with an amazing response, and also had an auction end successfully. Ended up with a good week. So glad I didn't shut down my store when we left.

    Sue, went to the Seattle Goodwill and an indy thrift on Broadway in CH. The GW was so tidy and organized with little color coded vignettes of vintage items popping up all over. I'm sure they don't miss much of value. Also, the culture there is so enlightened and open minded, so I can see more people appreciating vintage and used items. Prices were higher than our thrifts but the music was soooo much better. Sometimes I can barely stand to listen in ours. I'm grateful to get back to our demographics - lots and lots of old people and rich ones too. However, the restaurants, groceries, taxes and even real estate is less up there. Fun to compare.

    Back to work but hoping to get some listing in this week. Only three weeks until my surgery so I've got to get up what I can. Thanks for interviewing a part-timer parent Jay.

    1. Taxes are less in Seattle? at nearly 10% sales tax? Real Estate too? Where do you live Christine? Manhattan? LOL

    2. Santa Barbara. Our sales tax is only 8.5% actually but they told me when I was buying alcohol you don't have personal income tax.

    3. Ok, Santa Barbara (which has never been cheap (from LA originally), but we do have some of the highest sales taxes, and housing costs in the country--out of 72 American cities ranked for living costs, Seattle ranks 11, hence why I was a little surprised that you think it "cheap," LOL It is true that we have no state income tax, but we do have a pretty heavy tax burden (including a hefty property tax) to make up for it.

    4. it's weird and polarized here - a city of very rich and quite modest means so our rating #s are off. Anyway, I do understand what you've been saying about your thrift picking being tougher there. The employees down here are not as knowledgeable and staff turns over quickly. There were a couple of nice kids items at GW but the price would be an ok deal to use but not enough meat on the bone to resell. I wish I had had the freedom to garage sale. Maybe next time.

    5. Hello from Seattle / Tacoma area...formerly from Santa Barbara / Carpinteria!!! Fun reading.

    6. Hi Beverly! I tried to talk my husband into moving, but no luck. How do you compare the shopping if you used to resell down here? Just curious.

    7. One of the issues with Thrift Stores up here is that GW dominates, and Seattle alone has their own ebay store, lists on Amazon, and puts stuff on the GW auction site! Then there is their "antique" section at the big store---you must have gone into that Christine? Estate Sales can be good, but most are handled, still there is good stuff to be found, just not in the .50-$5.00 range that people in other parts of the country enjoy.

    8. Yes, some of the prices people report are astounding. Still, in the $3-10 range, we can find goodies here. My favorite indy charity thrift is run by women in their late 60s-80s. They have $35 Ferragamos but they hate mid-century modern items and mark them at a buck or two. I don't like the frilly stuff in their boutique area. Some of the larger thrifts went too high and then have adjusted prices back down and run more sales. Our GW has cronic employee turnover and they don't do ebay. They have a small list of brands - mainly clothing - that is priced high. The Seattle GW I went to had all of the vintage clothing in a separate area and was worked like nothing I've seen here. I didn't see an antiques area.

    9. Christine ... I didn't do this down there. I went to JrHigh & HS in Carp and college in LA. I moved up here to continue my career in computers and get away from the crowds, but they all moved up here after me. I started doing this after getting laid off and too sick to go back to the grind. My biggest fear was finding enough "stuff", but every time I go out, I'm amazed at the abundance of good stuff. Always my dream was to move back down there after I retire, to be closer to my sister, my only living close relative, but I could never afford it now. Carp and SB are no longer in my network...haha. I would need a spare million or so to even get a decent condo.
      I haven't had any luck at the GW's near Seattle, but I have had some good finds at the ones in the smaller areas 30 miles or so outside of Seattle.
      Good luck down there! I do miss my beach.

    10. I'm glad you are enjoying success with Ebay after getting laid off. Enjoy getting more for your buck up there even if the GW is a bust! I hope you get to visit now and then. The weather is always the same these days with the drought. There is a direct flight between Seattle and SB - cheaper than San Fran for some reason. Go figure.

  8. I haven't listened yet but here are my numbers for the week:

    Total Items in Store: 1054
    Items Sold: 31
    Total Sales: $792.5
    Cost of Items Sold: $58.5
    Average Price Sold: $25.56
    Average Cost of Item: $1.89
    Highest Price Item Sold: $119.95 - Sporty's SP-200 Handheld Aviation Radio (Paid $15 at an estate sale.)
    Number of items listed this week: 53
    Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 149
    Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 80
    Median age of sales (in days, between listing and selling): 58
    Sell-through rate: 2.94%
    # of Hats Sold: 18

    Another nice solid week. My average sale value was up slightly this week which may be in part due to my focus on trying to list the most valuable stuff first and leaving the cheaper stuff till later (if I ever actually get to it).

  9. RR Store Week July 17-23, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 1101
    Items Sold: 16
    Cost of Items Sold: $23.24
    Total Sales: $586.89
    Highest Price Sold: $140.00 (50's fishnet bathing suit)
    Average Price Sold: $36.68
    Returns: 1
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
    Number of items listed this week: 0 New, 51 Sell Similar

    Not too shabby for only relisting old items. None of the refreshed listings have sold yet, but I've only done around 100. That $140 swimsuit was insane! Total 1950's fetish wear, which is nearly impossible to find. That type of clothing was very taboo back then. I hope I find more.

    I'm slowly but surely moving into my new pad. As I'm doing so, I've realized that there is much more that I can't take with me than I previously thought. As a collector, that's a bitter pill to swallow. But I'm trying to look at the bright side; no more lugging all that stuff around or trying to store it. And the biggest plus of I decided to have an estate sale and blow out all the stuff I'm leaving behind. It's going to be a lot of work, but I've been to hundreds of estate sales. I know what makes a good one, so I think I'll do pretty well.


    1. I have found similar, that none of my 100+ relisted items have sold but I have seen a jump start to my other listings and good sales over the past 2 weeks. I wondering if as long as you keep listing, your "Best Match" analytics stay positive? We've always had that hunch, just wish it could be confirmed quantified.

  10. Here are our weekly numbers. We had a solid week of sales.
    As many of you mentioned, we sold a big Hartmann leather trunk that we bought for $15 about two years ago. Ryanne put a crazy price of $3500 on it. But when we got an offer of $600, we took it. Probably our biggest difference in what we asked for and what we accepted. But it's an experiment where we made money.

    Our Store Week July 17-23, 2016

    Store #1
    Total Items in Store: 3876
    Items Sold: 28
    Cost of Items Sold: $200
    Total Sales: $1,834.29
    Highest Price Sold: $600 (Leather luggage box)
    Average Price Sold: $65.51
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: 50
    Number of items listed this week: 40


    Amazon FBA Store
    Number of items sold: 15
    Amazon total sales: $424.87
    Amazon FBA Fees: $101.15
    COGS: $15
    Net profit after COGS: $308.63


    Store #2
    Total Items in Store: 1128
    Items Sold: 14
    Cost of Items Sold: $20
    Total Sales: $444.46
    Highest Price Sold: $135 (Vintage software)
    Average Price Sold: $31.74
    Returns: 0
    Number of items listed this week: 38

    1. Is 600 a more realistic price for that? Or was that price inflated by the asking price? In other words, do you think you would have been offered 300 if you put 600 with make offer?

    2. Good question. If you look at sold prices for vintage leather Hartmann travel cases, we're at the high end.

      But its also a pretty unique piece which is why we experimented with such a crazy price of $3500. People pay huge money for high end luggage.

      $600 was their first offer. We were hungry so just accepted without a counter. Maybe they would have paid more!

  11. July 17-23 2016
    • Total Items in Store: 691
    • Items Sold: 23
    • International 3 (2 GSP)
    • Total Sales $1740
    • Highest price $275 vintage stereo receiver
    • Average Price Sold: $75.65
    • Returns: 0
    • Cost of Items Sold: $200 +-
    • Cost of items purchased this week $600

    A very hot and humid week, yard sales still going on and people we're willing to deal especially on coats and blankets so I stocked up, and I went on a stereo buying spree this week on CL. A nice Yamaha system (receiver, turntable & speakers) from 1979 and a Marantz receiver from the same era.
    Sold some bigger items so packing was time consuming, it does get me out scavenging for boxes and I came across about 70' of 2 1/2' wide bubble wrap from the Best Buy recycling bin.

  12. I am amazed that my JUNE total sales was my HIGHEST Sales month for the entire year! A big shift for usually Jan and Feb are the best.

    Cool things that sold this week (all of these items were found in 1.00 auction box lots)

    paid 2.00 for this one at an auction

    1. Great sales on your cool items! I would have walked right by that plastic nativity scene.

    2. thanks Pam N! I would have walked by it too if I hadn't researched them a few years ago. They are long tail, but they do sell.

    3. Nice sales Cheryl, I always grab nativity scenes if they are older or different. Getting ready to post a little people nativity scene. Should get about $25 for it.

      How long did it take to sell the handmade banner? I see a lot of cross-stitch/needlepoint items like this but usually let them pass.

    4. Michael D., the handmade banner sold in about 24 hours. BUT, it was an unusual piece, couldn't find anything like it when researching. I sell finished cross stitched and needlepoint items fairly well, but they are long tail items. Also kits. BUT, easy to store, easy to ship.

  13. Retro Treasures WVJuly 25, 2016 at 10:25 AM

    Weekly numbers

    Items in store: 430
    Items sold: 13
    Sales: $1418
    COGS: $242
    Profit: $1176
    Average Sales Price: $109.08
    Average profit: $90.46
    Best item: Jugs Football Machine $1000

    The good news: I sold the Jugs football passer.
    The Bad news: I had to ship it to Utah.
    The worse news: I had to pack it outdoors in a 113 degree heat index day.

    I was super stoked to sell the football passer. I found it on facebook and knew I could make a killing on it. I was hoping for a local pickup buyer, but I'll take what I can get. I charged $275 for shipping to cover my time investment to do it, so I made enough on shipping to cover my fees for the item. It was definitely the most difficult packing job I've ever done.

    The rest of the week was okay. I had alot of low offers that didn't pan out. July seems to be "tire kicker" season on ebay.

    I finally went to a good Estate Sale yesterday. It was in a really rich neighborhood and they were doing 50% off and also taking offers. Of course I went straight to the closet for shoes! There was a pile of high end mens shoes plus alot of shoe trees and shoe bags. I filled a trash bag of it all for $10. I also got a Kimono and a piece of vintage Hartzmann leather luggage. I can't wait to get that piece of luggage listed!

    Maybe it's just the heat, but I am feeling burnt out on listing right now. That big amazon shipment plus the dread of packing that football machine has really taken it out of me. I need to get over the hump and get back into a groove with bread & butter listings.

    Another thing that has been weighing on me is my organization. I really want to label all my bins and create a database that says exactly where every item is. With this heat though, I try to minimize my time in the shed.

    1. Congrats on packing such a crazy item. Big profit goes to those who will pack and ship the weird items.

      $1000 sale!

    2. Retro, Congrats on your Mega $1000 Sale, I am so excited for you! How the hell did you pack that monster, LOL??? How long did it take?

      I have just recently begun an excel spreadsheet. As I approach 450 listings, I now simply update my sheet as I list with Description, Item # (the item number is the date followed by the listing # for that day, ie: 7-25-16-1, 7-25-16-2, etc. this numbering system helps me see at a glance my average time from list to sale), Where I purchased, COGS, and WHICH LABELED BIN IT'S IN, and NOTES to give clues which rack the bin is in (high, low, inner outer shelf, etc.) This has been making it so easy to find stuff, I love it, I also track my profits and monthly sales on a new tab in the same file.

    3. Doh just let a juggs softball pitching machine get by me. It was in pretty bad shape but functional, like you I really didnt want to pack and ship it. Once you broke it down did it go USPS or UPS?

    4. Retro Treasures WVJuly 26, 2016 at 7:34 AM

      I happened to have a double wall box on hand that could fit everything but the legs, but had to be resized ( love my box resizer!). I bought some 3" water activated paper tape to seal up the box thoroughly. We get very thick (3-5" thick and 4'x4') foam panels in at work regularly, so I've been hoarding them. I used insulation foam and a ton of the foam panels to pack and then taped up every seam and reinforced every edge.

      The legs were shipped separately in a mailing tube. I could not find a mailing tube long enough, but I happened to be at home depot and noticed a long tube in their flooring department that the linoleum came wrapped on. I asked if I could have it, and then cut it up in the trim department to make some extra long mailing tubes.

    5. Retro Treasures WVJuly 26, 2016 at 9:20 AM

      Oh and UPS for sure. Main package was 110 lb. UPS was the only way to go - it was $155 shipped to Utah with insurance.

    6. Not bad, I don't think the softball machine is as big as the one you sold. Nice grab on the home depot tube.

  14. My own case falls under same specter. I started 3 different businesses after I "retired' from a 20 year job. One of them, a consumer tech company for sports, has it's eCommerce leg.
    Then I decided to revamp my eBay shop to help through funding, then it started to growth, etc

  15. deb truervalues

    Week July 18-24
    Listings : 1689
    Total Sales: $ 656.31
    Number of items sold: 36
    Average Sale price: $ 18.23
    Highest price sold: $ 45.00 lot of mid century curtain panels $42 Robert Graham shirt
    COGS: $ 130
    Items obtained for free 2
    International Sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Number of items Listed : 11
    Spent on new inventory: $ 0
    I spent the week teaching art at a kids camp, so did virtually nothing on the business. Very grateful for the freedom to do that and still receive a paycheck…..

  16. Deric loved your Scavenger Life show close LOL.

    1. Spoilers! I haven't gotten there yet...

  17. Store Week Jul 17-23

    Total Items in Store: 272
    Items Sold: 4
    Cost of Items Sold: $13
    Total Sales: $170
    Highest Price Sold: $85 Fly fishing boots
    Average Price Sold: $43
    Returns: 0
    International Sales via GSP: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory: $0
    Number of items listed this week: 6 new, relisted 3 old

    Slooooow week, and I have to admit that the lack of cha-chinging (along with the high heat) makes it hard for me to be inspired to list.

    I found the fly fishing boots at a fancy estate sale, didn't know what they were for, but they had studded soles and were unused so I bought them. Paid $6, had them listed for $175, but after a couple different people told me (and my research confirmed) they were an outdated model, I accepted an offer of $85. If it was busier I would have held out for more!

    Did want to mention that I found 130 USED Maxell XLII cassettes at an estate sale last month for $5 and quickly sold them in three lots for a total of $112. Thanks Steven Schultz for the tip.

    1. The heat has me down too Pam! I don't want to move from in front of the fan:) Great sale on the Cassettes! I never seem to pick the right ones and mine just sit. Good eye!

  18. 7/17-7/23

    Total Items in store: 439
    Items sold: 4
    Cost of items sold: approx. $27
    Total Sales: $141
    Highest price sold: $90 – HO train
    Average price sold: $35.25
    Int’l sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Number of items listed this week: 0
    Amazon disbursement - $278– includes ebay to amazon and thrift store purchases
    Full time ebay goal - March 2018

    Ebay to Amazon experiment – Had 2 sales. Cost $91. Sold $276. Amazon fees $32 (12%). Profit $153. Average profit per sale $76.
    Purchased a huge lot of new industrial type stuff. I paid $2,800 for the lot. I think there will be $9k-$12k in quick easy profit with amazon and quite a bit of ebay items to go through. It was really more than I wanted right now, but hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can start getting back into selling again. My 2nd job has been keeping me extra busy.

    1. --Where did you buy that huge lot of new industrial type stuff?
      --What exactly is the stuff?
      --When you say "quick and easy profit", what kind of timeline?

    2. Jay, it was a contact I have. He knew that I buy storage lockers. He called and said he bought this property out of foreclosure, and the merchandise was included. He asked if I was interested, and I did an inventory. about 1/3 of the stuff is new in package stainless rest room accessories. think stainless soap dispensers, sanitary napkin disposals, paper towel dispensers, that kind of stuff. All new in sealed box, easily sent to amazon with rank under 20k. 1/3 was fireproofing stuff, collars for pipes going through fire rated walls, "firecaulk" fire extinguisher stands, about half of this had an amazon listing, but the other half appears to be quick sells at a decent price through ebay. I used that 2/3 to give myself the 9k - 12k in easy profit. The last 1/3 is random stuff that has value, but will be complicated or difficult to sell or ship, I did not "value" these items. Two brand new motorized projector screens 12' and 8'. probably 40 door hardware kits new in box, boxes of door handles, a dozen commercial stainless mirrors, 20 fire extinguisher cabinets, a couple boxes of door stoppers. All things have value, but a quick ebay/amazon search did not have any results. I think the “quick and easy” stuff should sell within a year. I will sell the screens and mirrors locally and then have to do research on the items with no barcode. I knew they were motivated sellers, and just wanted it gone. While I was doing inventory, the owner threw out $5k, I offered $2k, he countered with $3k, and we settled at $2,800. Now the work begins. I start moving stuff tonight. This is an area where when I go full time I will put at least some time and effort into. I turned down about 40 boxes of 12’ bumpers, think hospital corridor walls, I knew this would be hard to sell, and take up a huge amount of space. If I could have sold those boxes for 1/4 retail, it probably would have been $15k, but there are a whole lot of factors working against me.

  19. Jen from The Trove GnomeJuly 25, 2016 at 12:30 PM

    The Trove Gnome Week July 17-23, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 373
    Items Sold: 8
    Cost of Items Sold: $0 (pre-owned or donated)
    Total Sales: $235
    Highest Price Item Sold: $70 (Maori Greenstone Pendant from New Zealand)
    Average Price Sold: $29
    Number of International Sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0 – continuing to work through stuff we own
    Number of Items Listed this Week: 0
    It’s been an interesting week. Last Wednesday my parents proposed buying the house across the street from me – there is a main house and a sizable guest house on the property. My parents would live in the front house and I would take the smaller house and would help care for my mother who has early stage Alzheimer’s. The caveat was that we would have to sell both of our existing homes.
    My house was not supposed to be listed until today but the Realtor put the bones of the MLS listing up on Saturday and I had a bevy of viewers yesterday…and woke up to two full price offers for my house. AWESOMENESS! My parents also have a very interested party for their house.

    1. Congrats on the home sale. Very cool that you can help your mom, but also nice that you'll have a cheap place to live.

    2. Congrats! That's amazing how quickly your house sold. Where are you located?
      I remember when we sold our house in 2.5 weeks in Pittsburgh. We thought that was fast.
      Here on the Peninsula south of San Francisco, most houses sell within a few days with multiple offers over asking price.

    3. Jen from The Trove GnomeJuly 25, 2016 at 10:56 PM

      Thanks guys.

      Anna - I'm in Phoenix, AZ in a central city historic district. I was concerned because I am very into permaculture/sustainability and there are some oddball features to my house like water harvesting elements that a traditional buyer might not be familar with. There is also a chicken coop, greenhouse and outdoor shower. Apparently the weirdness was a huge selling point because people came to see those features!

      And Jay - definitely I will have a cheap place to live - this got me out from under quite a bit of debt that accumulated since I had to take disability 11 yrs ago. I was lucky I was ably to keep my house but I'm luckier now that I am debt free! Plus I get to put my parents to work cleaning and packing eBay stuff! ;-) They are into it.

  20. July 17th to July 23rd, 2016
    Total items in store: 1061
    Number of items sold: 8
    Cost of items sold: $20.13
    Total Sales: $385.97
    Highest price sold: $175 Brass ostrich collectible
    Avg price sold: $48.25
    Returns: 0

    Found the ostrich collectible at a yard sale for $5...not a bad return. I wish I had looked a little closer at the rest of the items at this sale. Most of the collectibles were marked between $15 and $25. There might have been another one or two items that were probably worth my time. Oh time.

    Buying sweaters and coats at yard sales. It’s so hot here in Indiana that most people are still looking at summer items and not so much cold weather items. I purchased 6 jackets yesterday at a yard sale for $1. No high value ones but easy to list...probably can get $25 each.

    Getting ready to listen to the podcast.

  21. What sold last week

  22. Albany represent! I have actually been watching Lego documentaries on Amazon Prime and of the opinion lego products are as good as investment then anything around. My question for Deric would be...

    If I bought like 1 or 2 Lego sets per month ($300 budget) and left them sealed and didn't touch them for a few years what do you think they would do in value? I would go after the sets where it's clear they would discontinue the set and go after Star Wars or other movie type sets. Do you think they would double in value or remain around the same price I bought them at?

    I know some sets go crazy high but do a majority stay stagnant at the original purchase price or do they generally increase?

    On a side note Deric and I have crossed paths at thrift shops while scavenging on our lunch breaks before we officially met at that show I'm doing. After we met I was like I've definitely seen that guy at the thrift shop on multiple occasions lol.

    1. The issue is that, I think I've seen a move by Lego in the past few years to keep production longer than previously. As such, there are more of each one out there. Plus, I feel like there's been a resurgence in it's popularity in the past few years, which is not good for present investors in pieces.

      I don't think they would double in price. I do think they would go up, as per the current trend. As long as it's a property with a longer tail to it (Star Wars, Comics, that kind of thing). The example I'm thinking of is the Tumbler from Batman set that came out a few years ago. Came out at $199, is now retired, and sells for about $300 to date. The question becomes is it worth holding onto for that long, when after fees and all, the profit is only potentially $70ish? Even if you buy a handful of them, I feel like the money would be better invested in other items.

    2. Just to further clarify... Most only go up a little. The ones that have gone up a lot tend to be in a color not easily reproducible (look up the Green Grocer), or ones that carry a unusually high price tag to begin with.

      I was part of a Facebook group for a while called the lego investors, or something like that. I'd recommend checking them out. There's also other investing pages where they speculate with far more knowledge than I have on the subject.

    3. My son is very into Lego Bionicles and previously the Hero Factory sets. I purchased some of the HF sets at Ross for $7. My best flip was one that sold for $70, but most of them sold for $20-$30. Very easy to ship and list. 2-3 years after production seems to be the timeline for making the most profit.

      Like the mini-figs. I would make more money selling just the individual Hero Factory masks and then the pieces by the pound.
      I was looking at the Lego Star Wars line and purchasing and holding, but my husband said no! Like Deric said, I don't think there is enough profit for how long you would have to hold the sets.

      My son just ordered the Bionicles sets that just came out this summer. We ordered from ToysRUs on-line. We were sent 2 sets that were incorrect. I called and a replacement set was sent. The replacement was sent and it was still the wrong set. ToysRUs reshipped the order and once again it was wrong. Talk about inventory control issues. The final customer rep just refunded me my money for one set and I was able to keep the 4 sets sent in error. So now I have 71309, 71310, and 71316 to sell, which I got for free although I did spend 45 minutes on the phone.

      We then went to the store to purchase set 71312 and the store price was $22.99 vs. the online prices of $14.99. The manager matched the price. It was definitely a saga to acquire Ekimu the Mask Maker.

    4. One of my favorite flips involved bionicles (note to everyone else, typically, Bionicles have the worst resale value, as they’re not compatible with normal lego bricks, they’re more ball-joint connectors). I was at an auction where they had a $80 set still sealed. They tossed that in with two other items that hadn’t sold (a Razor Scooter, and a baseball bat), and sold the lot to me (only bidder) for $1.00. They almost seemed surprised someone wanted it. I sold the scooter to a co-worker for her grandson for $20, the bat went into the trash (it was in real junkie condition), and I got above MSRP for the Bionicles. Lucky thing too, because that was the only thing I won all night at the auction.

    5. That is a good point. So basically the sets being produced now are being overproduced and a lot of people are probably buying them and putting them away so long term it's unlikely they rise significantly in value. So I should just hope to get lucky and strike gold at a garage sale.

      I do buy Lego whenever I see them another thing I always buy that sells for big money is anything nerf. The darts sell for crazy money too.

      For wrestling anything wrestling related always sells. Especially the 80s stuff or early 90s.

    6. Hello everyone. We have acquired various lego pieces over the years and now have a couple of tubs full. We sell some mini figs by themselves,but when we find unique pieces we research which set they go to then see how many pieces we have for that set put it together and sell it. The older sets from the 70's - 90's can bring alot of money. We have put together castles and sold them for $80 - $120. This is with them not being 100% complete no box no manuals.


    7. Deric and Dan, I'm just south of you in the Hudson Valley. I'll try to make the next show.

    8. Looking forward to it Joe. Next show is October 2nd. There are a lot of cool people that I have met from the show. Trash Elves Unite! TheAlbanyShow.Com

    9. Thanks Dan, I put it on my calendar.

  23. #19 What sold

    1. Thanks for the video Beth. I've been going back in your Youtube channel and watching your older 'what sold' videos too.

    2. Hi Beth! Thank you for the videos. I love that photo from Fort Wayne, IN. That is where I live so very cool to see!

  24. Thanks Deric and Jay for the interview! I love hearing the perspective of other people out there.

    Your discussion of storage and death piles made me look at the corner which shall not be named in my eBay room. Luckily my fiancee and I are planning to move in the next 6 months, so we've been making some drastic inventory reductions. We first tackled our death pile by going through it and making two piles: list and donate. Basically anything that we can't profit $15+ went into the donate pile and everything else is being listed. Now our death pile is more like an unsightly blemish. Next we looked at our active listings and put everything that has been sitting around "for a while" (about 80+ items) on a 50% off sale until the end of August. In just the first couple days we've sold a half dozen of those things.

    It feels good to declutter.

    1. Yeah. We have a guest room in our upstairs area, and currently the bed is under the death-piles. We never really go up there so it doesn't give us much pause, but we know it's there. One good weekend of having a sitter (our daughter isn't allowed upstairs yet) and we'll be able to clear it all out.

    2. I would love a basement like what you described with a long table and shelving. Although if history is any indication, I will just fill it up with miscellaneous scraps of paper. This will be our first move after starting eBay, and we will definitely be looking with storage and a working space in mind.

  25. This topic, struggling artists made me think, I've often wondered why people who are really struggling financially, people who've lost jobs, are on food stamps, welfare don't use ebay to supplement their income. Is it that they don't realize the potential? Don't know computers? It seems like there is so much potential there for people to improve their living situations.

    1. I know if I was struggling financially, I don't know if I would keep paying for my internet connection (or phone). My first thought would be to decrease my expenses. It actually would end out being a little short-sighted, but that would have probably been my go to (that's hypothetical on if I wasn't aware of the potential there)

    2. I don't think the average person has any idea that you could make a living doing this. I think you'd need a mentor to understand that having 500 or more things listed on eBay is not a totally ridiculous idea. If I hadn't heard Jay and Ryan be discuss their manifesto I would never have considered it myself.

      I have a friend who has been out of work for 9 months. I don't think he would ever sell on eBay because he is to "proud" (or perhaps too lazy).

    3. If it weren't for my ebay/amazon sales, we would probably need some kind of assistance.

      Leah in OH

    4. I am too "proud" to go on welfare. I know there are some people that truly need it.

    5. I used to hear, periodically, that some people made a living selling on ebay and I didn't believe it. Probably because my very early ebay selling experiences were that I lost money on the shipping and didn't want to stand in line at the post office. Also couldn't conceive of having hundreds of items listed at once. Used to just run auctions. Now that I know there are other methods I'm a believer. Also, I think there are still a lot of people who are intimidated by computers.

    6. I don't think the average person has any idea that you could make a living doing this. I think you'd need a mentor to understand that having 500 or more things listed on eBay is not a totally ridiculous idea. If I hadn't heard Jay and Ryan be discuss their manifesto I would never have considered it myself.

      I have a friend who has been out of work for 9 months. I don't think he would ever sell on eBay because he is to "proud" (or perhaps too lazy).

    7. I think it comes down to not having enough money to buy stuff to resell in the first place. I have a friend with many kids and I often ask how come she doesn't try to sell a little on eBay and she always tells me she's broke. For her it's a choice between her kids eating now or buying something to resell for a higher price later.

    8. Retro Treasures WVJuly 26, 2016 at 2:48 PM

      I think enough people have shared their startup stories on here to prove that "not having enough money" is not a valid reason for not doing ebay. It is literally the most perfect zero startup cost business venture there is!

      You just start with selling what you already have, then use that as seed money to buy $1 items to sell and so on and so on.

    9. I think you may be speaking from a place of privilege though. A lot of people who stay really broke probably don't have a bank account or a credit card to go on file for eBay or PayPal and so getting set up in the first place is near impossible. Plus if I'm being really honest most poverty level people I'm friends with are not mentally equipped to handle eBay. That's also partially why they don't have a real job that pays decent in the first place. No education and criminal records with no time due to many kids and no father around to help out. Sad but true. But it is doable but it's just an uphill battle.

    10. I agree with Anonymous. Poverty has a lot to do with issues from childhood trauma, abusive relationships, untreated addiction, mental illness.

      And to have an eBay account, it takes a combination of infrastructure: stable home and storage, reliable internet connection, working computer, bank account.

      Running an eBay business also takes a keen ability to organize, multi-task and self-motivate. If you have these skills, you could probably succeed in any job you wanted.

    11. Interesting thoughts from everyone. Would be neat if someone who could handle the structure, set up etc started a store to help people get out of poverty. Maybe linked it up with a job training org or a half way house. Teach people the skills and give them an income.

    12. Teaching people skills to the unintelligent or mentally ill is an uphill if not impossible task. And teaching how to make wise decisions to the foolish also. But the hardest thing is motivating the unmotivated. People are where they are due to their daily deliberate choices. You have chosen the life you have for the most part. We have taken in a couple of down and outers in the past to help them get back on their feet, but they resented any suggestions that would help them. They wanted to stay exactly the way they were. Just wanted a free place to stay. And always blamed the world for their own choices. But there are always the outliers, and they can't be kept down with or without a hand, regardless of the circumstances.

  26. Flim Store Week July 17-23, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 622
    Items Sold: 17
    Cost of Items Sold: $141.50
    Total Sales: $951.81
    Highest Price Sold: $133.20 Allen Edmonds shoes
    Average Price Sold: $55.98
    Returns: 1

    Ha! I heard my name mentioned as I was sweating my face off in an un-air conditioned Goodwill, lifting a heavy box from a super high shelf. And yet I thought to myself, "I'm so happy I'm here and not in the office."

    Two standup recs: Ali Wong's Baby Cobra on Netflix and Tig Notaro's Knock Knock (free on demand on Time Warner).

    1. Also, I've followed this seller for a while:

      Been following him for a while, he sells only his own paintings and with regularity.

    2. I'm a big fan of Tig. I'm not familiar with Ali Wong, I'll have to check it out.

      It's funny, the further I get into comedy, I find myself watching less and less comedy. I burned out at one point (or I don't want to admit that I'm not as far along as I thought I'd be), and haven't even gone back to watch the comedy central special for a friend of mine that I knew in Chicago.

      Quick name drops of people I've worked with? I thought you'd never ask:
      Bobcat Goldthwait
      Robert Schimmel
      John Mulaney
      Kevin Downey Jr. (was on America's Got Talent)
      Hannibal Burress
      TJ Miller

      Some were super cool, Steve-o was too worried about his merch sales to even acknowledge me in the green room (a 10 x 20 room... Not like we were far away)

    3. John Mulaney. He's been a favorite since I saw him open for Louis CK in like 2007. He was still just a staff writer on SNL back then and totally blew all of the "headliners" away.

      I have opening night tickets to see "Oh, Hello" on Broadway in September and I'm incredibly excited.

    4. Tig also has an original series on Amazon Prime and a stand up show on HBO

    5. Hi Flim, Glad to hear you're doing well and having fun!

    6. Glad you're doing well, Flim. "A bad day working for myself is better than any day working for someone else". This has been my mantra for a long time now.

    7. Thanks Mama and Pam! I'm sitting here listing in my pjs and my homemade iced coffee. We used to call this "Terrible Tuesday" because something would always go wrong in the office on Tuesdays. Having a good Tuesday so far... :)

  27. I'm looking forward to listening to the podcast. One of the sellers I follow on eBay is an artist who sells her paintings, prints and some jewelry. She seems to add new paintings every day or so and they sell fast.

    I have been wanting to buy a painting but some go higher than I want to pay but I did buy a cat necklace for my fiance.

    The seller is El Gato Gomez and her paintings are mostly midcentury modern look, with cats, ranch homes, sci fi or retro monsters.

    One day I will use some eBay money to reward myself with one of her paintings.

    1. O wow... those are so cool! I love the ones of pop culture icons (Darth Vader, Spock, Yoda, etc) wearing rock band t-shirts!

    2. I follow someone who sells their art as well (I bought sports memorabilia from them at some point), and it's hilariously bad. To the point where I can't unfollow them because it's such a train wreck (female super heros in various states of dress, poorly drawn). Don't want to single anyone out so I won't post their store, but it's like of "sexy superheros"

  28. I liked the George Carlin mention, he was my favorite.

    Total Items in Store: 560
    Items Sold: 44
    Cost of Items Sold: $101.02
    Total Sales: $807.24

    Steady week. Working on a project that allows me to see sell through ratios of all brands in a particular category in clothing. Coupling median price info with that is helping me discover what to buy and not to buy. It is a far better tool than watching countless top 10 brands to get videos. I am a better re-seller than I was last week. I'm building a website with a compilation of all my mined data which I will share when it is up and going.

  29. Fred, there's an app called Whats it worth on eBay that tells you avg price and sell though rate, and you can sort by new/used. Sometimes it helps me with brands I've never heard of.

    1. Fred - Flim. I too use the "What's it Worth" app. Very good to get average selling price of an item, how many are currently at auction and on buy it now and the percentage sold all in one quick very screen. Good for the quick reference when you are out and about. mike in Atlanta

    2. This looks like a great app! Thanks Flim for the heads up.

    3. Can someone link to the actually "What's it Worth" app that they use on their phone?.

      I looked in the app store for the iPhone and saw multiple apps of the same name.


    5. I saw that version of the app. Just seemed weird that the app had no reviews if it's popular.

      "We have not received enough ratings to display an average for the current version of this application. "

    6. Jay.. try this link. I use an android phone. It used to be called Evaluator but think there is a moral and sin group that screens bible passages and think they changed thier name to avoid being too close to the same.

      See if this link will at least get you to the online web site and maybe you can mine it out from there. mike in Atlanta

    7. Thanks for the tip guys. Seems fairly accurate.

    8. In case it wasn't mentioned before, here is the desktop version:

  30. Great interview, I always love to hear how other sellers start up or restart. Listening to Deric reminded me that I have a lot of Legos I need to do something with. The whole sets are easy to sell, but the misc parts are where I struggle. Deric, I don’t see me having the time to look up each number, or hold them and try to make complete sets. Do you think it better to just lot them up and sell randomly or is it better to sort by color and sell them? I already take out all of the minifigures and all of the weapons and make separate lots. I probably have about 8 banker boxes full of them. Do you still sell on the block link site or just ebay?

    Total items in store: 6986
    Items sold: 108
    Cost of Items Sold: $62.50
    Total Sales: $2174.92
    Avg. price: $19.41
    Highest price item: $182 Limited Edition Harry Potter Book
    International sales: 3
    Returns: 3
    Money spent on new inventory: A lot
    Number of items listed: 210

    Decent week, got a good amount of listings done. Still about 200 in notebooks waiting to be listed, going to try and get them done before taking next week off for a vacation. Highest item sold was a $182 Limited Edition Beedle the Bard Harry Potter book, with the new book coming out I have seen some renewed interested in our book sets on Amazon. Listed 9 classroom book lots on Thursday and by Friday morning they were all sold. One of the buyers sent me a message saying she found the link to my listing on a teachers message board in California, 8 of 9 sets were going to different people in California. I would like to think the books we send at a huge discount to an inner city school in LA had something to do with it. Maybe karma coming back.

  31. Funny thrifting/Pokemon story, I was at my fav GW and in the same parking lot is the fair grounds and the coliseum and there was a blue gym with an open spot(only Pokemon ppl will get this) so I pulled thru the gate to find 3 cops blocking me. The phone was laying in my seat so I wasn't driving and playing but the cops were drilling me hard as I made up a lie as to what I was doing there. I'm sure I looked nervous and sketchy. I couldn't believe how patrolled the area was with cops. So I go shopping and at the checkout the cashier says she's glad she's getting off soon with "that man" coming here soon. Then it hit me! Donald Trump was coming to the Coliseum in a few hours and those cops were there for him not for Pokemon patrol lol. On the shopping front found some great grab bags full of small items.

    1. My kids are hooked on this game. Just took them to the Bush Gardens Poke-a-thon in Williamsburg. I think I saw more adults(22-26)playing then kids.

      Click bait but funny enough to read, 10 unlikely pokestops.

    2. I've seen maybe 3 kids playing. Tons of teens, 20s, and a good amount of 30s and some 40+. You need a car really to play because of the mapping system. It's a good way to exercise and be social. I don't understand how the map recognizes things though. Like I've had pokestops at a "random stone wall" or "a fountain". Those aren't on real maps so how does the GPS system know? It's trippy but fun and I get to be the cool aunt in the family since I'm playing with them.

    3. Retro Treasures WVJuly 26, 2016 at 8:23 AM

      I have seen cops parked near well traveled Poke-stops. Real odd-ball places for cops to park. They are definitely looking for folks who are playing while driving. I bet they are making a ton of money writing tickets for this.

  32. Oh my gosh, just had a good laugh: Steven Schultz is one of the sellers for whom I keep my eye on Sold Items. Well, one of his Famous Collies just made an appearance on Steven's most recent sold item. Too funny, and a great shot!

  33. Hi Deric, Thanks for being on the podcast, and Jay, thank you for having a guest who is a parent with a FT job. Nice to hear that perspective.
    Deric, you and I have a lot in common -- I have a toddler at home too. I also work a public sector job in a northeast state that has a lot in common with New York. :) And I'm 7 years into a pension plan that vests at 10 years. So I'm going to stick it out here for at least another 3 years. Having ebay on the side makes my job a lot more bearable.

    Questions for you: You said your wife sells mostly vintage (?) quilts -- cool! Are you able to link to her store or do you need it to stay private? How does she find enough inventory? I adore vintage textiles but find them very slow to sell -- I'm talking about items like hand-embroidered vintage dinner napkins, which are really easy to find in my thrifts but don't seem too sought-out by customers and don't have a high profit margin. Very curious to know any more information about how ebay is working for your wife, if you care to share.

    1. Hey Mama, I sell vintage linens, fabric and quilts as part of my line up, although not in the volume I used to because I can get more for them at shows. I suggest you do a keyword search at Auctionzip in your area, or put an advertisement on Craigslist.

    2. I completely concur with that the eBay job makes the day job easier. I feel like it really helps structure my days better as well. I just passed the 8 year mark with the state. I always wanted to reach a point where the eBay income equaled my day job income, and then make a tough decision. However, I'm potentially in line for a day-job promotion, which potentially sets back those plans, potentially :-) . Good problem to have, so it's not something I'm fretting about.

      As for my wife, close... My wife sells a lot of newer bedspreads and sheets (I don't think she's bought any vintage bedding at all at this point). I don't know if she has any currently in stock, to be honest. The turnaround on those is quick. Her favorite part of thrift stores is the lady's robes and the bedding stuff. Even at a Goodwill or Salvation Army, she finds plenty of items there, because she finds not a lot of people are looking for bedding there.

      eBay is doing well for her, but she is different from me with regards to eBay. She is doing it more casually, as she's happy with the day job, and lists when it fits with her schedule. I'm more obsessive about things, and I have a hard time even just watching tv knowing I have things that need to be listed.

    3. Awesome! Thanks for sharing the link to her store. That's wonderful that she does ebay too.

  34. Hey there everyone, I thought a quick post-mortem on the interview might be an interesting read.

    1) I need a new microphone, although I never really use my computer for audio often anymore, so instead it’ll just be something I casually look for as a scavenge. You can tell the difference between when I’m on stage and when I’m interviewing by the amount of ummmmms I give (It’s been too long since I’ve podcasted)

    2) I thought the part people would inquire more about, would have been my purchase method. I don’t hear a lot about people that source from ebay to sell back on ebay, so I thought this would have resulted in more questions.

    3) Selling bulk Lego suck sometimes. I say this strictly as someone that has over 70lbs of it still in his basement, because I need to sort out the mega blocks from the Lego in it, and it’s been too daunting to start (there’s a large amount of Mega Blocks in it, probably about 1/5 of it all).

    4) In one of those coincidences, comedy has picked up a little bit for me this week. The summer is typically slower (almost a stop) for comedy, and with the comedy landscape locally, I don’t do a ton of club work. But I’ve picked up a couple of fun shows at places with good food (where the comics eat free!) for this week. Not to pull back the curtain on comedy, but you’d be surprised to find out how little money the comics might be making. The typical pay scale for emcee/feature/headliner is roughly $50/$100/$250-$300. The headliner pay obviously varies wildly depending on the comic (Brian Regan makes around $10,000 a night or more) That means even the guy that goes on second at a club, even if he’s working 6 shows a week, is still usually only making $600-$800 a week… Not including expenses you don’t have in normal life. Gas, tolls, food (eating on the road gets expensive fast).

    5) I don’t know if I answered everything as fully as I’d like to have. I’m super wordy (especially in writing, ask Jay who had to read the emails from me leading up to the interview). For example, I recently started using 2 people to take the photos for me. I don’t have a time-line for them to do these, but I’ll typically send over 40-60 items at a time, and get them back in a week or two. It helps immensely.

    I think that’s all I want to touch on. Thanks for the positive feedback everyone!

    1. that is really cool that you outsource your photos. Photos are the biggest logjam for me. I don't excel at taking them and my drafts pile up as I wait for a free afternoon to photograph my items. I tried outsourcing photos to a friend who seemed interested, but she totally flaked. How did you find your photographers and how much do you pay them?

    2. I work with one of the people, he's done some wedding shoot, that kind of thing. The other person is another local comic (comics are typically hurting for cash, and big fans of DIY stuff). I pay between $.75-$1.00 an item typically. The guy I work with is also a friend of mine, so he understands if I'm doing like, action figures that might be $5/ea, I might only be able to pay $.65 and still make a margin on it.

      I think the big thing for getting someone to do photos, is be willing to walk away asap if it's not working out. It's why I went up to 2 people, the first person was taking a long time at one point, so I grabbed someone else to help out as well.

    3. Have yet to listen to the podcast, but I'm definitely interested in your method of sourcing on eBay. I would think this is a good time to do so since things are slow and sellers are running discounts to stimulate sales.
      Any tips on how you approach sourcing on eBay? I sometimes search Watchcount for auctions ending soon with no bids, but I have yet to purchase anything via that method.

    4. One of the fun things about having four grandchildren here for the past 3 months is that the 16 yr old has been my photographer. I pay her $1 per item, but I'm making her do the things I hate like handbags first. She hasn't done a lot, but I haven't had time to list a lot either. I also have the 11 yr old doing scanning and shredding of our old files, the 14 yr old is my gardener, and the 18 yr old has been taught by my husband how to get me to sit down and narrate my recent book for Kindle and she is also editing the narrations. Plus we are having lots 'o fun!

    5. The way I source on eBay is to set up followed searches for about 100 different things. Typically, it would be something like (if I was buying victoria secret stuff) "Victoria Secret Lot", or "Secret Angels Shirt Lot". I pretty much only buy in lots of items, so while I'm spending more at one shot, I'm getting more each time. (SIDE NOTE: The eBay app is messed up after their last update, and the searches no longer show you only just the new items, which has wrecked havoc with my ability to follow stuff well. Hopefully it will be resolved in the next update)

      For example, there was recently a lot of Victoria's secret clothing I was looking at (it has always sold well for my wife). It was about 150 different pieces, for $500. That's only 3.33 a piece, which is a steal for victoria's secret clothing and bras. I opted not to buy it, as I'm backed up without another 150 items, but it's something I considered. I can't always hit thrift store prices in lots, but I can usually get pretty close. Plus, if you know a niche well, you can do more focused searches. I'm willing to spend $25 on a Motorhead t-shirt I know I can get $75 for in a quick turnaround.

    6. I agree on the saved searches. I do the same thing with a lot of sports cards and get like 150 emails per day with my saved searches. If you look everyday you are bound to find good deals. Either someone isn't paying attention or they didn't list it properly.

      There is so many auctions on ebay it's impossible to capitalize on all the good deals. My buddy and I both buy cards on ebay regularly and we always find deals that the other one didn't even see. A lot of it for the card market is also pure speculation. It's basically like the stock market for baseball cards. You need to be sick in the head like me to even try doing that kind of stuff for baseball cards.

      Another reason why you should never do an auction if you are looking to make real money. Deric will snipe it and quadruple his money!

      Another new source I am buying on is ebay groups. There are a ton of good deals on there and there is now a large shift to google wallet with the payapl gift crack down. People are having their paypal accounts restricted left and right because they are doing too many gift transactions to avoid fees.

    7. Dan, Can you provide a little more detail on what you mean by buying on"ebay groups"?

    8. Deric, your conversation about your daughter reminded me of my son's favorite rap song:

      I think the reason your wife enjoys her job so much is because she is probably her own boss rather than an employee; a self-employed baker.

      Correction on my note above; I am narrating my Kindle/paperback book for Audible. Deric, did you enjoy writing your book? How long ago did it come out? Can you tell us about it?

    9. Sorry I mistyped. Facebook groups*. I have been a buying machine on a lot of them. A lot of the Facebook group people for some reason do paypal gifts to avoid fees and their accounts are being shut down like crazy.

      They basically build a rapport and just gift it to each other after a certain amount of transactions.. Nearly everyone on those Facebook groups are now using google wallet. I would recommend everyone just set up a google wallet account to have just in case.

      Facebook is like ebay was 20 years ago in a way. I predict Facebook will eventually figure out what they have on their hands from a buying and selling perspective and build a platform for it. My bold prediction is Facebook becomes ebays biggest competitor in the next 5-7 year window.

      Facebook has the user base. They have a ton of capital. Millions of users are already buying and selling regularly on Facebook. I know a few people that soley focus on Facebook selling over ebay selling now. Once Facebook figures out they can make something of it which I bet they do they will be the big ebay competitor everyone is trying to create.

      I personally made like $600 in a day on their just selling cards doing what is called a firesale. Basically what that entails is you are in a private group and you just start a thread and post a bunch of pictures with prices and people buy them. After the sale you square up and send it out. I put like 400 cards up for sale in a 4 hour window and made $600 no ebay fees. There is something brewing on Facebook.

    10. I've done some good local sourcing through those as well. For the love of all that is holy I wish they'd get a good app for the groups. It's near impossible to check up on 40-50 of them a day, even with focused searches (which don't show up immediately in your notifications).

      I've done a little selling on there (particularly of board games), but nothing significant.

    11. Linda - I haven't written a book. When I mentioned writing on the podcast, it's joke writing for stand-up comedy. I have had jokes published in books before, but no actual books written by me. I'd consider my wife the writer out of the two of us... I'm more the editor.

    12. Thanks Dan, I kind of thought that's what you meant. I've sold a few things on Facebook, all locally, on Facebook "Yard Sale" groups (they go be different names, but they are basically an updated and free version of Classified Ads). I also use them to sell used books and movies for our local Friends of the Library group...but I haven't really done much for myself as an "ebay substitute"...I will have to experiment with it. I agree with you, Facebook has tremendous potential as an ebay (and, perhaps even more so, a Craigslist) competitor

    13. I agree on Craigslist also. At this point it's a weird eBay/craiglist hybrid. Based on what I'm seeing it's already passed craiglist for local items.

      In the baseball card market it's also creeping up on eBay because it's so easy to connect with people directly in groups around the country. I regularly buy that type of stuff on Facebook all the time.

      The issue eBay start up "killers" have is establishing a user base to compete with eBay. Facebook has a user base that dwarfs ebays. Everyone is in Facebook except for Jay (just kidding it was too easy) I don't think Facebook puts eBay out of business or anything that radical but I see them becoming a third prong to eBay/Amazon where a lot of sellers can make real money selling on there consistently. I already see sellers making real money on the site. Massive user base and it's easy to connect with anyone in the world. They already have 2 things that most competitors to eBay will never have.

    14. Dan, I've been thinking that for quite a while. It will be interesting to see how ebay competes with FB...I'm sure they are aware of the competitive threat. For me, as a seller, I simply see it as one more outlet for my stuff.

    15. Facebook could be a great selling site. But there is a difference between just messaging to each other and organically figuring out the sale VS a selling system that eBay/Amazon provide.

      We're trying to sell a chainsaw on our local Craigslist today. I've wasted at least 2-3 hours going back and forth with different people. So many flaky people who don;t show up. Lots of answering questions.

      I'm happy to pay 13.5% of our selling profit to have an efficient selling platform that feels frictionless. Facebook would have to build a system like that would be a big commitment.

    16. I agree I am sticking on eBay. But Facebook is rapidly growing from a sales perspective and they can just acquire a site like bonanza easily. If they buy an existing site and improve upon the system they become a player instantly. The main point being they can leverage their user base toward that platform.

      If that were to happen I don't see them putting eBay out of business but I do see them becoming a complimentary piece to online selling like Amazon is to eBay. Facebook can be geared more towards local and hobby sales because they have already taken over craigslist for the number one place for local sales and they are starting to take over hobby sales like cards, comics, video games (old school) etc. The 3 places to buy and sell in 3 years will be Amazon eBay Facebook is my prediction. Maybe eBay and Amazon comprise 75% of that Facebook takes 15 and others like etsy etc take 10.

  35. Slow-ish week here, but my partner hasn't posted what I have worked on in over 10 days, so hey thanks a lot pal. Maybe Jay and Ryanne can do a show on how they successfully run their businesses without somebody getting buried in the garden. Lol. My partner has become so autocratic and self absorbed, That, i am ashamed to say, have been making (pat myself on the back here) very brave passive aggressive compliments and comments in response to some of the arrogant but dumb things said to me. Part of the reason their is no realization that I am being brutally sarcastic, is because my partner is too preoccupied with their own smarts, and my snark sails over their head. Trust me, if my partner realized, it would get ugly. For the preservation of life, limb and sanity, I have dialed it down. At least now if I get a non sequitur mid life crisis text, I cut paste then rephrase a previous relevant response that my partner said, back to my partner. Most of the time, I am rewarded with being "spot on" yet criticized for my "passive aggressive response." So yeah, my partner is actually passive themself. You have no idea how funny I find that. I suppose I should quit while I'm ahead.

    In other news, here is what sold for me. Also, I had a really bad fall in the parking lot. Probably karma if I believed in that.

    1. LOL Eve, I am accused of being "passive aggressive" all the time--must be typical of long term relationships with a certain type of personality...

    2. Eve - sorry to hear about your accident and hope you are healing quickly. I continue to enjoy your sales videos and pure loathing for some of the items you are passing through. :) I'm getting less out of Youtube as I become more experienced, but I find it really helpful when people comment on how long it takes for items to sell and otherwise make comments drawing from their longer history of experience.

  36. Hi, is anyone going to be at eBay Open?

    1. I know Cyndi of Amazing-Taste is going to be there. If anyone meets up, we'd love photos to post. Have fun!

    2. For those who aren't going, most of the talks will be available on video after the event. Also, you can sign up for the "Virtual Event" (it's free) which lets you watch live to some extent.

  37. Brooklyn_procurementJuly 26, 2016 at 1:27 PM

    I did the same thing with Vintage star wars sets....a whole set may sell for $50, but if you break them into parts you can make $100. I came across two trunks filed with vintage star wars sets for $30 and have already made $150 selling five parts and sets from that score. It is tedious but worth it since creating a listing is easy for a part.

    I just passes up a huge lego score since I didn't understand it and it looked like they where from the 90's. Next time I will buy!

  38. Question for the group: Has anyone tried, used or been successful at splicing two photos together and using it as one photo for Ebay? I have several tall figurines that has a lot of detail that could really use several more close ups and ould then run over the allowed 12. Then I thought maybe montage two of the tall shots side by side together into one photo and then I could incorporate 16 shots into the grouping of 12.

    If any one has done this any tips on the "How best to do It" frontier? thanks mike in Atlanta

    1. If you don't have an editing software you can always use the collage function on It's free and may work for you. I use it for other things but same process.

    2. Picasa program makes it very easy to make collages. Just choose Create from the top menu, then Picture Collage. I've been using this function a lot lately.

    3. Thanks guys: And I already have Picasa just haven't used it in a few years and didn't even think of it. Thanks for the reminder. I will surely need to open it and run updates, but should be able to get it up to snuff shortly. Appreciate the input. mike in atl.

  39. Mike,
    I use Irfanview, it's pretty easy with that (although I haven't done any in a while).

  40. Here's a weird one. Sold a hat. Buyer never paid. I opened a case and he still didnt pay so it closed in my favor. A month later I see a case opened against me for item not received and he wants shipping info or a refund. I'm not sure how he was even allowed to open a case for an item he's never paid for. I called eBay and of course they fixed it. Weird one.

  41. Oh Jeez...
    Looks like ebay just made feedback changes in the UK


    There are Wall st. mumblings that Alphabet (google) is looking into buying ebay.

    I'm definitely going to be branching out on different platforms to hedge my bets. I think google is truly evil.

    1. If Ebay goes away I will find something else to do. There's always something else.

    2. If Google bought EBay, I bet that would be the end of the problems with our items showing up in Google's search results: Yeah!

  42. Is there anyone here that is using as an alternative or along with eBay shipping that would like to share their thoughts? I understand that with you do get commercial pricing similar to eBay, but by how much. For sales outside of eBay, I use USPS online without any discount. As this segment grows, I’m constantly reminded of how much money I’m leaving on the table. If anyone is using a different service than I would like to hear about that as well. Thanks.

    1. offers the same discount as eBay labels; it's called "commercial base pricing". However, if you are an eBay Top Rated Seller (TRS), you get a better discount on regular and flat rate priority mail called "commercial plus pricing" (CPP). CPP used to be quite a steep discount over base rate, but USPS narrowed the difference back in February.

      There is a new shipping label service, FitShipper Labels, coming onto the market that is cheaper than ($5/month vs $15) and also offers discounts on Priority Mail that are as good as - in some cases much better than - the eBay TRS/CPP rates. Link:

      Disclaimer: I have a financial interest in FitShipper Labels.

  43. TOTALLY off topic here but... I'm nearing completion of transforming half of my metal shop (pole barn) into our eBay/Amazon business. (I'm working on a blog site and podcast start up - pictures of the process will be shared - hopefully September). Anyway, using a PTAC AC/Heat pump, I'm able to keep the room at 72-74 degrees (its been in the 90s here all week). I added a nearly new Maytag room dehumidifier (GW purchase for $30 - score!) and have the relative humidity holding at 60%. We have 2 commercial ceiling fans going all the time to keep the air in the room circulating. I'm thinking the temp & relative humidity will be fine for clothes, shoes, etc. Any thoughts?
    Half the building gives us 15'x40'=600 sq feet with 12' ceilings = 7200 cubic feet of volume for the business. Can't wait to get all of this stuff out of the house! Moving the 600-800 items out to the shop will take some time too. But we'll do it a bit at at time.
    If you want to check out our store, we're ash289 selling account on eBay - Palmetto Exchange store name.

    1. You have awesomely good photos!
      - Sonia