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Friday, October 23, 2009

How EBAY Found Me

My Dear Trash,

Ah yes, my darling pile (or should I say mountain) of clothes I purchased today at thrift stores, waiting to be de-tagged, photographed and posted on EBAY. It’s lengthy, time consuming and addictive for good reason; it can pay the mortgage when necessary.

My experience started several years ago in 2005. I’d heard the glory stories of EBAY, millions of dollars being made off vintage tennis shoes, Holly Hobby lunch boxes and Tickle Me Elmo, but was intimidated by my lack of computer skills. Still, I so wanted to try what others were talking about and my curiosity had the best of me. With the combination of dollar signs and determination I decided I wanted to try it, but what to sell? Several days later at a yard sale, I found a vintage Fisher Price record player, with all five pastel (green, blue, orange, red, yellow) groovy records. It worked perfect; a lullaby music box for children with a yellow wind-up knob. I paid $5.00. From start to finish, it took me about an hour to post it in EBAY. A week later, it sold for $35.00 and I was hooked.

My first month on EBAY I posted everything I could get my hands on including baby clothes, old Disney records, a vintage vase (I really didn’t want to sell it, but I was certain it was worth a bundle) and my kids old toys. A week later I was shocked. Nothing sold. NOTHING.

Yes, I was under the impression that all I had to do was post something, anything on EBAY and I would have a world full of bidders just drooling over my treasures. Plus, I didn’t realize EBAY charges to post an item, even if it doesn’t sell, so I also had a handful of nasty fees to pay for my binge.

I keenly became more aware, more specific, more savvy with what I posted and it payed off. Name-brand clothing became my thing:

a) because I love clothes
b) because I love shopping for clothes
c) because most thrift stores have a dollar day and I could pick up Abercrombie & Fitch Jeans and an Ann Taylor dress for $1.00 each
d) I could wear the clothes until I grew tired of them, sell them later and still make a profit

I hit the jackpot when I found a black eel-skin looking Louis Vuitton purse at a yard sale. It took courage, I really didn’t understand the global obsession with the label, but I paid $40.00. I posted it on EBAY and a week later it sold for $360.00. My husband, certain I was a genius, started planning which color of Hummer he would pick out.

In the old days, I saved boxes and large bubble envelopes for shipping. I was a USPS virgin and had no clue about shipping costs, promotions and packaging. A year into my EBAY sells, a customer suggested I use a flat rate envelope to ship items. That one suggestions has saved me and my customers hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

I've got a lot of work ahead of me, thanks for the fun, my dear trash.

Most Sincerely,

Laura Lofgreen


  1. I love your new blog!!! It helps me feel closer to YOU! You and I are so similar: saving the Earth by thrift-store shopping.

  2. I just spent the last 20 minutes reading your posts! I LOVE IT!

    I'm so NOT a thrift store person. It's my own personal battle.

    But the next time I'm hanging in Mesa I'm gonna come hang with you and you're going to hold me hand and help me!

    I think you are amazing! And by the way... congratulations on your pregnancy!

  3. Hi ... I'm new to your blog and just stumbled upon it. I loved thrifty blogs and enjoy reading posts from the beginning. I enjoyed reading your eBay story ... it made my day! I've been on eBay since 1999 and started by listing items I had around the house, although I don't remember going through the same as you did. However, I did end up with an expensive Quilt because I was not familiar with the "reserve" process ... an expensive lesson. Thanks for sharing ... I'm always learning something new!