Monday, April 27, 2009

Why Do I Sell on eBay?

Flower, I (Love) You, Butterfly on Rice

I think that of the millions and millions of sellers on eBay, each one would have a different answer.

Yesterday I read a post on message board that got me thinking and validating my commitment to our business.

The poster worked in a 2 person office - her and the boss. She did the best job she could do but as time went on the boss started treating her, as her slave. But to complicate it, the boss also treated her as her best friend. In fact she was hoping her helper would go into a craft business with her.

On Sat. the boss called and asked where the info was for the health insurance company and went on to explain that she wanted to pay it because the end of this month was to be the gal's last day!
The gal is now committed to work eBay full time and to be self employed.
Oh boy how many times have we heard or know of someone going through something similar. It seems the more we give to bosses and companies, the more they take and assume they can demand.

I had my own bad experience in New York. The guy had a Yahoo store and my office was in the basement, next to the washer and dryer. His was solely a drop ship business and in the 1st year he grossed 1.5 million dollars. I was the only employee and at times processed over 100 orders a day.

As business grew I was doing work at home (without extra pay - of course) but having that work done made the job easier so it was in my best interest to do it.
One day after lunch I walked into the office and 'the' wife had hung laundry all over the basement. I told her I was leaving and to let me know when the clothes were down.

After that I knew that I would never work for anyone again. Both Gene and I are retired so our time is our own and we have said, many times, that if we weren't doing eBay , craft shows or state fairs, what would we be doing? Sitting around watching TV and getting old? Now we can sell while we are RVing, at home - wherever and whenever we want!!
So what do we do at these shows? We write names or simple pictures on both sides of a grain of rice, put it into a tiny glass vial that then becomes a charm for a necklace, key chain, cell phone fob, etc. I typically do not list these on eBay because each one is custom made and there are many choices to get to the finished product.

At the very least our brains are staying very active and it also gives us something to do that we love.

We have met some fantastic eBayers and other vendors face to face in all our travels and have spent time visiting with them. Without exception every one feels like we have been friends forever and there is never a gap in conversation. In fact there is never enough time to visit!

Why we sell what we sell will be the topic of a future blog. And more about our Rice Necklace business too. So check back often.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sometimes 1 Person Makes it All Worthwhile

Being an eBay seller nowadays is a challenge in many ways. With very few exceptions all our buyers are good people and I cherish each and every one of them and their business.

eBay likes to say that all people are generally good. And I guess that is true. It is the bad ones we always hear about and that on rare occasions causes, me as a seller, angst.

Just like Susan Boyd came into our lives, like a meteor, so do the buyers who makes me smile and make me love, what I do even more. When we work at home with little or no interaction with the outside world (other than through the computer) just a few words in an email or feedback, a ho-hum day, can be turned round.

Let me explain - We sold a white Scarf with bright colored Polka Dots on it. The gal who bought it wrote right away and said how happy she was to have found it because she is a clown and will wear it to help people smile. Now that is enough to make me warm all over.

But after she got her package she leaves us this Feedback - BEAUTIFUL SCARVES~GREAT SELLER "HERBS CRAFTS & GREAT GIFTS" THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

We work very hard to give a great buying experience to all our buyers and they have rewarded us with not only with great feedback but right now we have 5.0 stars in all categories.
This gal added Great to our name. Talk about paying it forward. With a short email and creative feedback this gal has spread good humor that I hope will make you feel good too.
And I guess that is what being a clown is all about!! Congratulations to our buyer - she is accomplishing her goal. Thank you so much!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

When Someone Says They Don't Know What to Sell on eBay!

So many times I have heard this statement. "I need money and don't have anything to sell". The first suggestion always is to clean out all the unwanteds from the house. Next is to re-evaluate the collections and accumulated craft things.

I know I have tried almost every craft known to man and have all the supplies to go along with them. I will need 2 more lifetimes to use them all, so it is time to start decluttering.
So many times it is as easy as just looking around. When we lived in my childhood home in Franklin Square, NY 2001 - 2005 there were Lily of the Valley growing all over in one part of the yard. Actually even tho' I love them, they were quite invasive.

Being the eBayers we are,, we listed them for $9.99 plus priority shipping. Gene dug 25 pips (roots) at a time, only after they were sold and paid for. With a damp paper towel and wrapped in plastic, they arrived in great condition.

We moved before we dug them, all but I suspect we sold over 1000 of them. Many people bought 100 at a time.

Last fall I had this very conversation with a gal in the mid west who has Bittersweet growing like a weeds in her yard. At the time the only Bittersweet that was listed, were plants which I was not interested in purchasing but was very interested in cuttings for fall arrangements. I never got those cuttings, which is unfortunate because that could have been a recurring, annual sale.

There are so many things that one part of the country has that others don't, like the bittersweet, pussy willows, sheet moss from the forest/wood, holly, etc.

We thought of the Spanish moss, when we were in FL, but it is buggy and to debug it, the moss really needs to be dried, which takes away some of the beauty of it. The soft fresh Spanish moss is so much nicer.

Scrapbookers use pressed flowers all the time and there are so many different ones that bloom all summer long, including weeds, fruit trees and wild flowers. They are no big deal to press, take no room to store and light to ship.

None of these ideas are going to bring huge amounts of money but think of it this way - they all are free, so the bottom $$ line may even be higher than purchased goods. And the best is that they generate sales, keeps the account active, accumulates feedback and makes a few bucks too, with very little effort and no fear of the item getting broken, on its way to its destination!

We know a teenager who had some sort of critter that ate a certain kind of bug. Turns out the bug was easy to procreate and raise. He sold batches on eBay and did fairly well doing it.

But with any live creature or plant one has to be careful of the laws in different states. We refused to ship the Lily of Valley internationally.

I have been told repeatedly that I could sell a snowball to an Eskimo but really the trick is look at everything and put a dollar sign in the picture. Ask yourself if anyone else is selling this thing and if no, why not? If no, then why not try one listing and see what happens.

In these hard times, being creative will save a lot of sellers, rather than going down the path thousands of other sellers are strolling down too!

The bottom line is that any new listing line is a gamble but as the saying goes List More; Sell More; Hire a Cleaning Lady!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The RV has finally been named!!

The back story is that when we got the RV several friends asked what we were going to name our "road yacht"! We have gone through many names and none seemed right until today when we saw on item on eBay that triggered the ah ha moment.

Lets go back to last April when several friends and family went to Denver to see Sylvia Browne, psychic clairvoyant and Collette Baron Reid, an intuitive .

When we walked into the Denver Merchandise Mart, the ushers put a paper bracelet on our arm. Each bracelet had a number on it with a tag and the same number, that was torn off and put into a basket. As the afternoon went on, a tag/number was drawn out of the basket and that person would be "read" by either one of the ladies.

We had been to the event the year before and really enjoyed it even though we were not read. But that was to change very quickly.

The 2ND number of the day that was drawn to be 'read' by Collette, was mine. I think everyone goes with the expectation of being read but when the opportunity actually presented itself, I was so flabbergasted, I was struggling on what to ask.

My Mom had passed a few years before, so I asked about that. After talking to me for quite awhile, she said that my mother wanted me to know to take a chance!!!!!???

That is all Collette said and I walked away thinking huh? What does that mean?

The year went on and after we decided to get the RV in Dec. (which was a huge decision for us) there were many ramifications (good ones but ramifications nevertheless!). And that takes us back to finding the - just right - name.

This morning when I saw Sylvia Browne's name on eBay it brought back April '08, the reading, and it hit me. I knew, at that very moment, the name of the RV had to be Rosie - after my mom! ((( )))

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sight & Sound Theater, Branson, MO

When we were living in NY we went to the Sight & Sound Theater in Strasburg, PA (near Lancaster). It was near Easter and we saw the play "Behold the Lamb" ( a story of the Last Supper).

Sight and Sound Theaters have performances of Christian Bible based stories in a way that does not even compare to Broadway. Many, many actors and so many live animals. Truly a spectacular.

I believe everyone involved including the actors are doing it as a ministry because there are no programs, no stars and no credits. Period!!!!

When we found out that Sight and Sound was building a new theater in Branson we wanted to be there at the very beginning and were able to work it into a trip in June of 2008.

As awesome as the PA campus is, the one in MO is far and above. The play was "Noah, the Musical". Again no shortcuts, and all kinds of animals. We were speechless and I don't want to give any of the surprises away but trust me, you will be impressed and it will be a memory that will last a lifetime!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Yea Yea It's All my Fault LOL

So we decided to go to Florida for several weeks to get away from the Colorado late winter.. Ha Ha Ha. Mother Nature has a different idea for us. For Pete's sake it is April 17, 2009. Too bad everyone else has to endure! This wouldn't be such a big deal if it were winter, but we are in the middle of spring.
We are only 6 hours into a late, severe winter storm. It started yesterday with rain, then thunder hail (ours was only about 1/4" but reports were nickel sized!)

About 4 AM it started snowing and looks like a heavy drizzle if it were rain. At first it was just accumulating on the grass, trees and bushes. Now it is sticking to the roads and sidewalks too. The snow is so heavy it is lucky the leaves are not on the trees yet, otherwise we would have breaking branches landing on power lines and then outages. So there is good to this, for sure!

And right now I am hearing thunder - can you believe it?

West of us in Cripple Creek on the other side of Pikes Peak there is 8" on the ground.

I put up 2 pictures from out of one of the front windows, One is Pikes Peak on a clear day. The other is what it looks like now with no visibility. The others are from our bedroom window looking at the park across the street and our back yard and lower patio taken from the deck off the dining room.

The news is showing that under the snow there is a lot of water because the ground is so warm. That will be more of a problem tonight when the temps drop. And this is supposed to keep up until tomorrow.
We'll see!!

Visiting Colorado

We have only lived in Colorado a few years but were just south in New Mexico for many years and visited this state several times.

Starting on the southern border there is one of my favorites - The Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. We have ridden it several times and there is beauty each time. I like early spring the best when the snow is melting in the high mountains. The Animas River runs high with lots of currents and makes it so much more dramatic. But then the fall ride is gorgeous when the aspen trees are turning gold. The summer is a blast because 9 times out of 10 you can get caught in a brief thunderstorm and if you are in an outside car, getting a shower is a bit chilly!

One year we stayed over night in one of the Silverton hotels. And be prepared - that town is a few thousand feet higher than Durango, so a light jacket is advisable even in summer.

Also down south is Mesa Verde and the 4 Corners. It is the only place in the US that 4 states come together. You can put your feet in 2 states and your hands in the other 2 states and be in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah all at the same time.

Mesa Verde is the protected ruins of an ancient Native American Pueblo culture. Multi storied adobe (bricks made of mud), have survived all these centuries. It is a most humbling sight to see, when we complain about our inconveniences.

The Great Sand Dunes - also south and are a fun thing to see and run around on. Just huge piles of sand in the middle of the nowhere surrounded by open prairie and scrub brush.

West side of the state - The Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Beautiful country and even better to camp. Lots of streams for fishing too.

Grand Junction is the nearest city to the Colorado National Monument. It is a drive through - self guiding park with all sorts of odd shaped rocks. I would not recommend taking a large RV on those narrow roads.

If you are on the west side in the summer be sure to stop and get some fruit. That area is known for its produce. The peaches are like the ones you remember as a kid - full of flavor and juice that runs down your chin.

Now north - we have not investigated that area very much but have been to Estes Park and driven the loop up and over Rocky Mountain National Park to Grand Lake. Breathtaking in 2 regards - the views are unbelievable and the air is thin because of the altitude.

It is not unusual to see elk roaming the streets in Estes Park. We rode the tram within the city limits that offered a great view without going into the National Park. The kids were throwing snowballs in July!!

Denver gets a lot of attention and justifiably so, since it is the capitol of the state. Unfortunately we have not ventured around the city very much, to offer any suggestions. We have been to the Denver Merchandise Mart buying things for our eBay & State Fair/Craft show business.

Colorado Springs is where we live and 65 miles south of Denver. The Air Force Academy is here and on any given day as you drive on I 25 in the morning you are likely to see several parachutes falling from the sky and gliders being pulled by their tow plane and the released and just gliding silently to earth.

Pikes Peak is on our western horizon and overlooks the city. There are 2 ways to get to the top - drive with a lot of switchbacks - and I mean a lot or take the cog railway. It is vertical incline car that climbs to the top, several times a day year around. The song America the Beautiful was inspired by the view from the top and there is a plaque commemorating it.

We have seen deer, marmosets, elk, big horned sheep, all sorts of birds but are waiting to see a bear! Again this is a time where you want to bring a jacket just in case and more likely than not you will need it. When we were there in July it snowed for a few minutes while we were on top.

Pikes Peak is over 11,000 feet above sea level and it is recommend by professionals that anyone with breathing or heart problems do not go up there.

The Olympic Training Center is also here for various sports. The city is approximately 6000 feet above sea level, so athletes come here to expand their lung capacity. Many other sports and athletes come to train here on occasion too.

Garden of the Gods - Just like the sand dunes this is a garden of rocks in the middle of a prairie landscape. Also a drive through park with many pull offs and hiking trails.

Rodeo Hall of Fame - a museum dedicated to all those rodeo cowboys and cowgirls.

Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs are 2 little cities to wander around the quaint shops.

And if the RV needs any work done visit Pikes Peak Travel Center on Platte Ave. They are friendly, helpful and will not gouge you.

Did you know Colorado has more micro breweries than any other state?

And last there are only 3 towns where gambling is allowed. Cripple Creek west of Colorado Springs and Central City & Black Hawk which are next to one another. They are north of 170 and west of Denver. All 3 are old mining towns and have the flavor of the old west. And once again these are higher in altitude and can be chilly.

I have not talked about the high country or skiing or any of the winter sports because as I write this with RV'ers in mind those areas are not places to go with big rigs and should be explored in warmer weather when the threat of snow, ice and avalanches is over.

Of course there is plenty more to see in Colorado and many byways and off the main drag things to see. Have fun exploring, but watch the western sky for summer thunderstorms that might have some hail especially if you are out hiking.

This is a beautiful state and we still have lots to see and enjoy - hope you do too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tourist info for New Mexico

I just met a gal thru email that is not only another RVer but she also sells on eBay and belongs to the same forum I do.

We were talking yesterday about New Mexico because she is planning a trip to the southwest. My husband was born and raised there and has lived all but 7 years of his life in the Land of Enchantment.

I on the other hand was born and raised in NY but NM became my adopted home in 1966. I lived there for over 35 years with a few years in Nevada and back to NY and now Colorado.

In all those years we have done a lot of touring around besides showing the visitors the sites.

There is plenty to do and see starting with the sunsets. I have said many times that is someone would put those colors on canvas no one would believe it was real. And it is especially awesome when there are clouds on the western horizon.

Next is the wide open spaces and the mountains. The central mountain range is the southern tip of the Rockies - Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) by Santa Fe; Sandia (Watermelon) by Albuquerque and Manzano (Apple) south of Albuquerque by the Isleta India Reservation,, Los Lunas and Belen.

The sun shines on these mountains from the west giving them all the different hues at sunset.

NM is proud to boast it is tri cultural - Anglo; Hispanic and Indian. The state is divided almost in 1/3eds - Private land; government owned land like military bases and research labs and Native American reservations.

Indians / Native Americans - There are so many tribes / groups / pueblos I could not name them all. Isleta (south of Albuquerque) was the first group to host large scale Bingo over 25 years ago. Sandia (north of Albuquerque) followed shortly.

Now there ae many full scale casinos all over the state. Because of the revenue generated from the casinos, any graduating senior from high shcool, can contiue on, in the fall, in college - full tuition paid for all 4 years!

Taos Pueblo and Mesa Verde (at the 4 Corners area) give a great over view how the ancestors lived. Taos is north of Santa Fe and the drive along the high road is beautiful. The pueblo is sitll occupied. The city itself is an artists mecca being home to DH Lawrence, at one time.

Balloon Fiesta - in Albuquerque - is always the 1t 2 weekends of October. Over 700 balloonists from all over the world convene to put on a show that is unequalled anywhere. I believe there is RV parking at Ballon fiesta Park, but better make reservastions early.

NM State Fair (Expo New Mexico) - in Albuquerque - starts the weekend after Labor Day and goes for 2 full weeks and 3 weekends. We have been to many statee fairs and this one is by far the nicest. Lots to do, several stages with contious entertainment and best of all all alochol has to be consumed in a beer garden. Nobody is walking around at 10AM drinking a beer and pushing a bay stroller.

Santa Fe - A must to get the flavor a the real New Mexico. Visit the State Capitol built like a Kiva (A round Native American structure); the many museums and you must eat at a REAL New Mexican restaurant. Ask which chile is hotter the red or green and order accordingly. I am mild mouthed, so I ask for it on the side.

The Santa Fe Opera is known world wide and the performances are held outdoors in the summer.

Other things to see and do White Sands in the southern part of the state, City of Rocks and the Open Pit Copper Mine near Deming and Santa Rita; Carlsbad Caverns and the nightly bat flight; Elephant Butte Lake near Truth or Consequences; the Gila forest - the 1st protected wilderness area in the country; Roswell where a spaceship supposedly landed (there are celebrations annually); Los Alamos Labs where the 1st nuclear weapons were created; the longest Tramway in the world north of Albuquerque (you want to go up just before sunset and have dinner on top them come down when the lights of the city start turning on and twinkling!).

These are just highlights. There is so much to see and do including the clear blue sky and the millions of stars. When you get away from the city lights you can even see the Milky Way.

Do I sound like I miss it? Yes I do, but Colorado is beautiful too.

Monday, April 6, 2009

To Break the Boredom on a Long Trip

When we are traveling in the east there is lots to see but once we got into Texas it was a lot of the same - either miles of farm land or prairie

Since we have a sense of humor we occupy ourselves by making jokes about certain things. Please feel free to add yours on too.

Watch for ice on bridge - What do we do once we find it?

Rt. 66 Gas - How is that different than gas from beans; from cabbage, chicken, turkey or onions?

Cuervo, NM - Does Jose live there?

We saw a big RV pulling a small camper. Is that the mother in law quarters?

More to come!!!

Traveling / RVing & doing eBay too - Some basics

This is the 1st of a series how to's that we have learned from in our experiences of traveling and continuing our eBay business, both by car and now in the RV.

When we bought our RV we knew we would be selling on the road, so made sure it had lots of storage space. Everything is stored in the plastic bins with tight fitting lids and stored in the 'basement'. Smaller and more valuable items are in their own plastic shoe boxes under the bed.

Hardware - Besides the computer and printer the only way to go is with an air card. I call them a cell phone for a laptop. Most companies have them now and they run about $60.00 a month.

There have been only a few spots where there is no cell phone signal so therefore no air card signal either.

Depending on the size of your business, there is no way to work and keep up with email, questions and sales, looking for someplace that has WiFi. And that is especially true in an RV where you don't have a lot of flexibility on where you park and instant decisions where to turn.

For us and this is just MHO, I hate putting my store on vacation. It is risky business, and hard to get geared up again.

Mailing Packages - It is a good idea to use the zip code you are mailing from. I think this is especially important when it is a priority package - because of the zones - Not so much with 1st class.

Most RV parks will accept outgoing mail. We had one problem when we were parked at a WalMart over night since they do not take outgoing mail! That is a whole 'nther subject and we won't be doing that again anytime soon - only in an emergency!!!!

Shipping - My husband is the shipping department and brings all the materials he would use at home including larger things in the event of large combined purchases. He also brought some priority boxes, with the thinking if he needed more he could get them easy enough from a post office. And if we ran out of something there are always office supply stores.

Merchandise - We have structured what we sell on the road in a way that won't be to heavy or bulky. We left all breakables at home. That took several weeks of planning and organization so the items would expire just before we left.

If you are parked in one place for awhile it is easy to visit thrift shops and yard sales or outlet stores. Don't forget the local Craigslist too!

List the items right away so you don't have to carry them with you very far. But stick to the rule of light things. You don't want them to be heavy and accumulate without selling and you have to haul them.

I am always available to talk eBay so if you are passing through or near Colorado Springs, CO write and lets meet up and visit.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Meeting Other eBayers while RVing!

What a special bonus on this RV trip from Colorado Springs, CO to Lakeland, Florida.

In Lakeland we were able to park on the property of friends who had moved from CO just a few months before. They have complete RV hookups so we were 'planted' there for 6 weeks.

Johnny and Connie ( opened my eyes in lots of ways on how they run their business. It is so different than us. Neither way is right or wrong but we should impliment some of the detailed tracking they do.

The bonus of being so close to them (a few feet from their back door) was that we could visit and talk out situations or wording or just do brainstorming. He was so cute, he would come knock on our door and ask how to do this or I would go to him and ask how to word something. It was so fantastic.

We both contributed to dinner each night, ate together and visited flea markets and thrift stores and generally just hung out together. There was never a lack of things to talk about.

On our way to Lakeland, we stopped in Ocala and went back 2 more times to see Danna Crawford ( and her Irish husband Jimmy. Danna teaches and works with many of the charities in Giving Works and Missionfish (eBay's sponsored approved charities). She is so full of ideas, is very loyal to eBay, big on blogging and Twitter and is just a helpful, jolly person. Jimmy is selling more and more on eBay too and we had fun watching one of his auctions close with a high bid. I can't leave their house without alot of enthusiasm and being anxious to get started on growing my business.

While we were at Danna's she recorded a video for I even got to turn the tables on her and ask her a question. (

In addition to non stop ebay talk we took a ride and saw John Travoltas house and one they think is Oprahs new house that is in Ocala also. What is neat about the celebrities living there, is the city promised they would not be harassed and would be treated as normal folk. And so far so good.

It was with much sadness we left Florida and such dear friends but onward to Dallas to meet 2 more eBayers.

Melinda & EBetsie - wow is all I can say. Melinda ( is a go getter and will get whatever she sets her mind to. She is overflowing with ideas and enthusiasm as evidenced by her helping the Dallas eBabes and eMales group grow and flourish.

Betsie ( is more laid back but super clever and is the seller of eBayana. She procures items with the eBay logo from all over the world to sell at auction and in her eBay store. In fact she gave me one of those rubber bracelets that has eBay Guides & Reviews on it.

In addition Bestsie is helping to organize the WS eBay Radio's 6th Anniversary party in Las Vegas in June 2009. Sounds like alot of fun with many speakers (including Melinda) and several group activities.

Again it was sad to leave our new friends but left with promises to see each other in June and hopefully in Jan 2010 if we pass though Dallas on our way back to Florida.

After meeting so many other eBayers it never ceases to amaze me how we are all instant friends and never shut up the whole time we are together. And lets raise a glass to all the friends we have not met yet but hope to meet along the way in the future.