eBay Learnings

Trees eBay BP 8 June 10_

                        A man dug up these trees and took them away in his truck.

                                  He saved me 4 hours, 2 vertebrae and $140.

                                                      And he paid me!


I used to think eBay was just about car parts, beanie babies and signed Gilligan’s Island photos.

Lately, however, I’ve found business uses for this medium.

Some of these may help you.



Online shopping is getting very popular (and not just with the youngies).

Clearways, traffic jams and exploding competition are making bricks-and-mortar retail very tough.

Savvy firms are putting their wares on eBay. In response, eBay is offering more varied and configurable fee structures, membership deals and online ‘shops’.

There seems no limit to what people will buy on eBay. I’ve sold a couple of my ebooks. I’ve even seen a clairvoyant flogging single-question tarot card readings!

If you have a product or service you’d like to move, why not bung it up and see what happens?


Old Gear

Two satisfying sales concerned large items that could’ve cost me an arm and a leg to shift:

  1. A heavy walking machine I couldn’t fix.
  2. Four trees that were tearing up my footpath.

These items fetched $172 and $12 respectively. More importantly, I didn’t have to rent a truck, spend my time, wreck my back or pay to dump.

If you have old equipment lying around your (home) office, you too could invoke the eBay fairies to whisk it away.

Even obsolete gear sets some hearts racing. My old dictaphone snared $25, though its functionality is now found on most phones and MP3 players.

On Sunday, I advertised half a pack of old overhead projector slides (almost as a joke). By Monday, they were out of my life and I was $8 richer.

Of course, this sort of eBaying is for quiet moments.

Alternatively, next time you have a bored work experience kid under your feet, sick ‘em onto your unsold products or unwanted stuff and watch the sparks fly!



After each eBay transaction, both parties rank each other.

I have 256 comments, all positive. Apart from the warm fuzzy of great online karma, this trust score will make it much easier to sell expensive items (like my car) down the track.

I even link all my ads to my website. Dozens of people click through and several business enquiries have arisen from ads that had nothing to do with my services.


New Gear

I went into town with every intention of buying my new camera there. When I got home, I found the same unit on eBay.  

It was $150 less than the best deal I could haggle in person. And it had a tripod, memory card, carry case and screen saver.

I was still nervous about parting with so much cash online, until I saw the seller’s 12,693 customer comments (99.9% of which were positive)!

Three days later, the Lumix TZ10 was in my hands.



Business conditions have changed.

Old results now require new ways.

If you’re an eBay virgin, why not check it out next time you’re free.

And if you’re an old hand, please tell us what you’ve learned.

Well, there’s only four minutes left on my 1880 etymological dictionary auction.

I must therefore

bid you

good buy!


Paul Hassing                                , Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire


  • Only one sale for me – something I bought on eBay that wasn’t compatible with my equipment, so I moved it right on. However, my current feedback of 367 comes from 519 pieces of feedback left. (Multiple transactions with the same vendor only count as one.)

    Being in a rural location with the nearest major centre some 100 miles away, eBay has been a boon for both my wife and I. Whatever we want, someone, somewhere in the world, seems to have one on eBay. The largest eBay purchase to date in this household is a baby grand piano, purchased from a vendor in Sydney. (A long way away – delivered by professional piano movers.)

    Of late, I have been acquired vintage electronic components from the Ukraine and the Russian Federation, and atomic clock from China, back vintage South Australian wines from Tasmania, Kevlar cloth from the USA, an out-of-print CD from the Netherlands – the list goes on.

    As an asset to a business, eBay opens up a marketplace many times larger than the reach of any private web site. Even if goods/services sold this way are at a loss, the new business it can generate through regular channels can make it all worthwhile.

    I think eBay is a Good Thing.

  • What a fabulous, fascinating comment, Smiffy. You’ve really added a sparkling new facet to this debate.

    Vintage Ukranian electronic components? Priceless! (That’s a MasterCard ad right there!) :)

    I didn’t realise you had a blog. I see an RSS button but I prefer to subscribe to blogs by email. Do you offer that service? Best regards and thanks again. P :)

  • Just the kick up the bum I needed. I dabbled on eBay a while back and found it time consuming and confusing. My old pilates DVDs, bought in a moment of weakness while watching mid-dawn TV, fetched more than a truly lovely antique coffee set. I decided eBay people are a little weird.

    But there are things that have accumulated over the years that must go, why not get some money for them? Sounds like an excellent job for Miss 16 who won’t do any work if it doesn’t involve a computer. School holidays are looming, time for her to earn her keep.

  • Welcome back Angela! eBaying alone, late at night, with drinks can be a devastating combo. Avoid at all costs!

    I can’t tell which benefit I like more: the extra (tax-free!) pocket money, or the floorspace (and therefore mindspace) freed by decluttering. Both are intoxicating.

    Perhaps offer Miss 16 50% of net takings. She may knock you over in the rush! :)

  • Nicely posted Paul, as always. I used to be rather cool about eBay, as I’m rather cool about retail generally. But rather than business-to-customer-for-profit, eBay does seem to offer enormous scope for person-to-person-convenience, which I like. One person’s trash, and all that. Regardless, I’m overwhelmingly more likely to take my unwanteds to the local op shop. They probably subsequently wind up on eBay. Those old ladies in the op shop are pretty canny.

    Smiffy, I had a peer around your web site and enjoyed myself. Thanks!

  • @Adam – thanks!

  • @Adam – ditto!

    You’re dead right about the op shop ladies. We have a Salvation Army shop near us. I’ve often wondered if they have a dedicated eBayer putting up the stuff that’s surplus to requirement.

    For instance, they can’t accept electrical gear due to safety issues. But could they not sell it via eBay with a ‘buyer beware’ caveat tautology?

    Such arm’s-length dealing (with tin-shedded types who love fixing things) could open up a whole new income stream.

    It would also reduce landfill.

    It could even pay for the huge costs the Salvos incur disposing of rubbish that cads turf on their doorstep under cover of night.

  • Unfortunately, I lack the time to work on my blog software (wrote my own from scratch after getting #@%@%#$’d off with WordPress) so e-mail subscriptions won’t be available any time soon. Don’t know if you can get an e-mail subscription through FeedBurner or FriendFeed (it’s connected to them, but haven’t really looked at them.) Also started using http://smiffy.posterous.com/ of late, for smaller stuff that doesn’t quite qualify as an article.

  • No worries, Smiffy. It’s on my radar now, I’ll keep an eye out for your posts. :) PS: Damn fine effort from scratch! :)

  • “Bid you…Good Buy”? Oh dear! I can see that Captain Cliche the Metaphor Marvel has recently popped-up to the ‘Web-o-Sphere’ for a healthy recharge of Gamma Rays? :-) Hehe! :-)

    Great post as always Captain…actually, I just popped in to thank Gail The GrowMap Queen for Tweeting my blog recently. I know this because our good friend Zoe Simpson from NoBull.IT, left a great comment last night :-).

    Thanks buckets to you both. Oh! And I can’t help but feel a strong resonance with Zoe’s business name. NoBull.IT and noSh-it! Wood-Fired Pizza…no not the pizza bit :-)

    I’ll be back later with an erstwhile attempt at being a tad more on topic :-)


    Stephen G

  • All my art is for you, Stephen; you know that. Gail and Zoe are two righteous souls, that’s fer sure. We’re very lucky to have them. May you all come back soon! :)

  • I received the comment below via email from an eBayer I’ve just done business with.

    It’s quite a thought starter and I need to do some homework (Adam, Stephen, I may need your philosophy expertise).

    Thanks so much, Chris, for letting me reproduce your kind message:

    ‘I’ve read your ebay blog, how you saved yourself with wit and clever use of technic. I’m presently watching the locally made DVD “The Ister” which is pertinent.

    The conjunction/disjunction between nature and technic so far as man goes…. ie in consciously historical/philosophical/poetic mode.

    The thing about your grevillea [tree] experience is that there was no obvious harm done, and two way gain. It appeared a positive experience and for that you have wonder!!

    Bernard Stiegler in “The Ister” talks about the epiphylogenetic, the proper use by man of the logic of prosthetic supplementation. Which is what you’re talking about…. in a naturally urbane way.

    I enjoyed it. Best, Chris.’

  • Hi Paul,

    I have often thought about selling things on Ebay instead of leaving them in the cupboard or garage. I just haven’t got round to it, but this post will make me get into action. I may email you for some tips.

    Thanks for writing it.


  • Hi, Susan. It’d be great if this post impels you, Angela and others to action.

    I’m happy to share tips. In fact, if there’s enough interest, I can do a full post on the elements of successful eBay ads.

    I’m expecting a comment later from a professional declutterer. I can’t wait to see what she says! Thanks for sharing, Susan. :)

  • Russell Green

    Hi Paul,
    how are you ? .. good I hope ..

    rarely respond to blogs, tweets and the like I do, but thought you might be interested to know that my first sale on eBay, nearly 10 years ago now, was a car. (VW Convertible) … the starting price was 99c with no reserve but within 24 hours there were 1000’s of watchers ..

    … over the next 7 days I was amazed as the bidding went way beyond my expectations and I ended up selling the vehicle (unseen!?) to a VW enthusiast in SA for several thousand $ more than I had hoped for :-) he arranged to ship it by train, was happy but left no feedback !! go figure ..
    anyway hope you are well,

  • Hi Russell! Great to hear from you. All systems go at this end.

    I love your VW story. My first car was a ’67 Beetle. There’s no way I’d have been game to put it up for 99 cents, but they do say fortune favours the brave.

    I’m glad you got a great result and honoured that you saw fit to tell us about it. I hope we can tempt you back again!

    BTW, do you have a link to whatever you’re doing now? Are you still in IT? :)

  • Hi Paul, my business has failed and I have a lot of debt from stock not moving anywhere at the moment. The reason I am telling you this is because after reading your post on eBay as another option for small business, I would like to add that for liquidating stock I have found it very difficult due to competition from lower quality lower priced Asian suppliers. I agree that for the right products eBay is fantastic, I have seen a few great ideas on there (I recently bought an old solid wood desk for $50 from a lady who finds old furniture and spruces it up with a bit of paint) however like I said for me i lost further money on fees. Do you know of any other “cheap” ways to liquidate a business, I would be happy to just to wipe the credit debt at this point.

  • Dear Megan, I’m very sorry to hear of your misfortune. I know others in here can attest to the pain of a business that isn’t doing what it should.

    Let’s see if we can help you out.

    It sounds like you’ve entertained the idea of abandoning your sunk costs. Seth Godin has much to say about this. Just as it’s crazy to sit through a bad movie to ‘get your money’s worth’, it can be very bad for your health and sanity to keep banging your head against an immovable obstacle.

    So getting out could be a very good idea.

    We’ve talked a lot in here about how quality doesn’t seem to cut it with punters anymore. Such a shame.

    Have you looked into any auction houses? I’ve been to a few, and the stuff they move is unbelievable. And it’s all over in one hit.

    Have you tried Camberwell Market on a Sunday? Lots of effort (for which you may no longer have the energy) but I hear that’s THE place for fashion retailers right now.

    These are my first thoughts, but I’m sure I’ll have some better ones after sleeping on your situation. It has been a long day.

    Meanwhile, I invoke the mighty minds of our kind, clever community to ponder your situation and offer counsel.

    If you can hold out till dawn, we may be able to provide relief.

    With best regards and sincere thanks for trusting us with your situation. P. :)

  • Sadly for me, two Ebay purchases, two disasters – I was ripped off $500 then my son bought some Pokemon cards that turned out to be fakes.

    But – do you know about Freecycle.org? It’s Ebay but free…you find your local group and you can give away and trade stuff. I have offloaded an old bike, cushions, picture frames, packing boxes, a broken barbecue and lots more. Check it out, it is really a brilliant contribution to the planet, and I think there are now branches most (Western) places.

  • Sorry to hear that, Joanna. But glad to get that Freecycle link. I’d not heard of it. It looks beaut and I’m sure Adam will be particularly pleased to check it out. Thanks very much for flagging it. :)

  • Dear Megan, as often happens when tricky problems are left to incubate overnight, I’ve woken with two pretty good ideas. Also, one of my Twitter friends has named an expert in these matters for me to consult.

    I’m now doing a bit of moving and shaking behind the scenes. It may all come to naught, but you can at least enjoy your morning coffee knowing that someone is on the case. Best regards, P. :)

  • Dear Megan, the specialist contacted me and has promised to put her thinking cap on.

    She’d like to know what quantities of stock we’re talking.

    She’d also like to know what your ebaying strategy was (i.e. low start price, high start price, single unit, volume … something else).

    If you’re sensitive about this information, you can email it to me. (Though the more data our readers see, the greater their chance of having an idea that works).

    Over to you. Best regards, P. :)

  • Dear Megan, a very senior sales specialist has just put up his hand to help too. He also needs to know inventory details. P. :)

  • Megan

    the Sales Cat here.

    a wise man once said to me:

    “You cannot lead a horse to water and you cannot even make it drink but you can ride it for hours in the sun and make it THIRSTY”

    The point and maybe a harsh reality, does this ‘stuff’ you are trying to sell have any value, add value or create value for anybody. If the answer is no then dump it at the Salvos and move on and call it learning, training and experience.

    If it does then find the ‘followers’ of this value and talk to them fast! (see this video to understand what i mean by followers)

    Identify them and make a list.

    Ring them and ask them do they have a problem with what your stuff solves for them?

    Send them one and charge them for it once they get it. If they find value they will want more ‘THIRST’

    Tell them you will send lots if they want a discount for bulk? Package them up with other STUFF’ that adds value in the same space (plasma and sound systems thinking)

    Blogg it, ebay it and sell sell sell

    Doing nothing is not an option

    i am emailing a couple of other people in my network that maybe interested

    Good Luck,

    and remember never, ever give up!

    Mike the Sales Cat

  • I was so hoping you’d favour us with a visit, Mike. Your words are crystal and that video is an absolute ripper. Thanks so much for tabling your thoughts and putting the word out! :)

  • More detail via Megan’s husband Darren:

    ‘Hi Paul. Read some of the posts. Fantastic. Loved that video! Amazing learnings!

    Megan is currently at her day job which she had to take. Bills still keep coming :).

    I can answer some questions. There is about $13K of stock – about $8K of it in sterling silver pandora beads. It retails for around $30K (jewellery has massive markups).

    We have tried a few places that sell jewellery online but no one returned our calls or emails. We did do party plan which worked for a while. But we exhausted our networks.

    Ebay strategy was single items at cost wholsale price. We wanted to break even. That didn’t work so we tried “packs” at wholesale price.

    Ebay killed our major strategy we are not allowed to list “pandora style” or “suits pandora bracelet”.’

    Many thanks, Darren. There you have it, folks. Quite an interesting case study (so long as it’s not YOUR hard-earned money!). Your ideas are warmly encouraged.

    I suggest we try a Stage 1 brainstorm, where ALL ideas – however ‘creative’ – are tabled without critique.

    Loose the marbles and let them roll where they may! :)

  • Hi Megan

    IF you’re going to ditch the lot and give them to the Salvos (the eBayers will love you!!! as they regularly stalk Salvos outlets for product for ebay)keep all your invoices because you can claim it against your tax, at cost price, as a donation – assuming you’ve set yourself up as a business.

    You did what people desperate to move stock do, your starting price was too high – you started at your cost price. You may not have noticed but a lot of the sellers when they work with their beads they start them at 99c and let the market set the price. I once paid $300 for a 99c starter bead.. (and I’m not alone, nor a total tosser!)

    I’d be tempted to start again … list some at 99c and see what happens keeping in mind that a % of nothing is always nothing whereas a % of something is more than you’re currently getting…

    Give thought to taking a stand at Camberwell Market… you’ll sell your genuine Pandora’s – guarantee it.

    Have you shot out any special offers (via email) to previous customers offering them beads of their choice at 70% off retail for 3 days only or somesuch? Simply give them a code when purchasing – assuming your site can handle such a thing… Go back to your existing customer base with an offer too good to refuse.

    Also offer your existing customers the opportunity of passing on your offer to two or more of their friends…

    How’s that for starters?

    The worst thing you can do is do nothing. Chin up, have another go!

  • Hi all,

    Thanks for your feedback so far, you have given me a lot to think about for which I am really grateful as I have been feeling a little like I have exhausted all my ideas and am not sure where to go from here. There have been some great ideas here that I had not considered!

    Debra, you are exactly right with the 99 cent listings, and I never even noticed but when I am on ebay I will always ‘watch’ the items that start at 99 cents. I will definitely give that a go. I have tried giving discount vouchers, promos, etc to customers which nobody has ever used, and unfortunately now we cannot continue to sell through the web site as we can’t afford to renew the payment gateway and certificate as it is almost another $1000 that we don’t have.

    I will definitely have a look into Camberwell Market and the auction houses – what great ideas! I have been doing school fetes and small market stalls, however almost all of my cheap fashion and kid’s jewellery has gone (of course) and as expected not many people are looking to buy sterling silver jewellery at a fete.

    Mike, thanks so much for your input it all makes perfect sense and what a fantastic video! I really appreciate everyone’s help, as I said it is great to have my situation looked at by fresh eyes.

  • Hi Megan

    To follow on from your reply:

    If you’re not going to be using your site – why dont you alert your existing customers of your upcoming ebay SPECIALS?… via email?


  • Struth, Debra, you are a GOLDmine of ideas and info! Bambi Gordon was so right to mention your name. I think I may be more grateful than Megan for such a generous and useful response.

    Megan, I’m very glad you’re feeling the love. Our readers have always been a very decent crowd, but they’re really pulling out the stops out for you.

    I do hope this gives you the shot in your arm, the vision in your head and the fire in your belly that you need to surmount this obstacle.

    I think you were extremely courageous to lay out your pain for strangers to pick over. I sensed your candour would be rewarded and it sure looks like that’s happening. With any luck (and, of course, more hard work) you may have a positive update for us soon.

    I expect I’m not the only one eager to know how this pans out.

    With best regards and MANY thanks for sharing your story. :)

  • And if THAT’S not a good enough start to eveyrone’s day, I just got a $5 bid on ANOTHER half-box of ratty old overhead projector slides! :)

  • Hey Megan – I would also suggest putting packs of beads together and selling on Etsy and http://www.madeit.com.au

    And if you have any info on how to do beading, how to design beaded jewellery, history of beading, etc., that you could produce as a little PDF book….that could be a value add for those who purchase within a time frame?

    I would also look at your competitors – Any interested in taking a stack of stock from you just under cost?

    All the best Megan.

  • Thanks, Bambi! You put the brains into brains trust. Great ideas! :)

  • Megan, sorry I was unable to join in the discussions yesterday.

    However, just a couple of questions if I might that may help frame an appropriate and profitable approach to getting rid of the stock for as much value as you can get.

    1. Are you in a hurry to realise on it because creditors are pressing or have you got time to “drip it out” onto the market?

    2. If you don’t have time that will eliminate some of the options and perhaps some of the suggestions you have already received will help.

    3. If you have some time then perhaps between us all we could have a go at writing some breathless prose that really sets the items apart and has the target market itching to buy. I’m happy to award a prize for the best!

    4. We can then look and judge whether we have made them stand out against the competition on e-bay and, if we have (which would be the aim), re-list them for sale. In other words let’s re-engineer the products and their description.

    5. Apart from e-bay selling on e-bay, we’ve probably all got data bases and we could let them know about these great gifts that originate from a cyberspace friend of ours.

    So, if you have the precious commodity of time, let’s see where we are at and calmly and quietly consider our options.

  • Lucky you, Megan. We’ve just heard from a VERY big gun.

    Thank you Winston. Your ideas, as always, are FAN-TAS-TIC!

    No telly for YOU tonight, Megan! :)

  • Thank you everyone! such outpouring of help and knowledge is more than my than I ever expected from our first initial contact.
    Megan has asked me to respond on her behalf.
    Debra, Megan has mailed her clients a few times advising of the new prices, and we did receive a couple of purchases that way.
    Winston, Thank You! your generosity is very much appreciated and welcomed, Megan advised that she has time to drip feed the product however has been in a rush to sell because the debt is on a credit card. As long as she is able to cover the costs of the business bills, e.g. credit card payments and eftpos terminal fees etc she is happy. Furthermore Megan also suggested she is willing to offer a piece of jewellery to go along side your generous gift for best written item description.
    Bambi, those websites are fantastic and Megan handed them over to one of her designer friends that makes her own jewellery.
    You can find more about Megan’s stock here http://www.envi.net.au
    Thank you again everybody for all your generous help!

  • We aim to please, Darren. Right between the eyes!

    Can Megan flag or upload (ideally hi-res) pics of the ONE ITEM she MOST wants to sell?

    I’ll have a crack at getting breathless with it. If I strike a chord, I can widen the copy to include kindred products. It saves time if I start small.

    Might as well earn my keep! :)

  • Winston, WOW. Thank you so much, your generosity and knowledge are both so very appreciated. As Darren has mentioned on my behalf I have time to spare to sell the items as we have not got any debts that are due for collection, however we still have a fairly hefty stock credit card balance that is adding a bit of strain to the household budget. We are aiming to at least pay out this stock credit card with the sale of the stock, however I would be extremely happy if sales would cover the monthly bill rather than it coming out of the money we have to spread across other day-to-day bills.

    Also, as Darren mentioned we would be more than happy to add some goodies from our stock into the bag for anyone who comes up with the winning prose to sell the stock. It’s the least we can do for the wonderful ideas and support we have received from everyone here. You may not realise just how comforting it is to have someone tell you that it’s ok, that it didn’t work out and to keep your chin up and keep fighting because it is all too easy to want to give up, hang your head and call yourself a failure.

    Paul, I will get onto that image straight away. I am not quite sure how to add it via the blog, but I can most certainly shoot you one through via email tonight.

    Once again thanks to you all!

  • You are most welcome, Megan. I can’t speak for MYOB, but I feel this is one of the highest services a blog of this kind can provide.

    I’m sure others will benefit from this challenge and its resolution. And even more may avoid the staked, snaked pit you’ve stepped in.

    I’ll be happy when you and Winston table the writing prize. I’d love to see a newbie writer come out of the woodwork and wipe the floor with me!

    So, onwards to victory! :)

  • From Megan:

    ‘Hi Paul,

    Please find attached a photo a one of the Pandora Style charm beads that I have a number of left, hopefully the quality is good enough.

    It is one of our priciest beads and it wholesales for around $15 each and retails at $39.95 each. It is 925 Sterling Silver (stamped) with green cubic zirconias larger than the rest of my gem/CZ beads.

    It has a threaded core to keep it on the bracelet and is compatible with most leading brands such as Pandora, Biagi, Etc. I also have this particular bead in clear and pale blue.

    If there is anything else you would like to know please give me a shout out and I will be happy to give you any details. Thanks again for your help.’

  • [img]http://mybrc.myobnet.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/0074-300×300.jpg[/img]


  • [img]http://mybrc.myobnet.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/0074-150×150.jpg[/img]

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  • Thanks, Megan. As you can see, I’ve not quite mastered the art of uploading images. But we’ll get there. Readers can at least see the item by clicking here.

    I found the file tricky to deal with. After cropping and optimising it, I couldn’t save it. If I can’t hold a product in my hand, I prefer lots of big pics so I can get a handle on its attributes.

    However, I’ve learned to work with whatever clients can give me, so I’ll start thinking about some purple prose for this green lantern. :)

    Meanwhile, Naomi, if you make a better fist of this image caper, I’d be grateful!

  • You’re all fabulous!
    Thank you all for the advice and guidance you have given Megan. This is what it’s all about! :-)

  • Anyone interested in a MyBRC membership bead?

    It is made of 925 Sterling Silver (stamped) with green cubic zirconias. The Green Cubic Zirconia is the symbol of Business Growth and support.

    As a contributor to this blog you have demonstrated your support of small business and directly assisted in the development of small business knowledge. To acknowledge that contribution and your willingness to share your trials, tribulations and suggestions, you are invited to buy one of the special and limited MyBRC Members Bead and wear it proudly!

  • Geez. Wish I’d said that! :)

  • Oops, sorry I’ve been incommunicado for a day or so… out on the hustings.

    Goodonyer Bambi a great starter effort to get our creative juices flowing.

    Now I hate to be dumb but(as guy)can I ask you to tell me more please? What’s the lure of these things,what do you typically do with these, do they make a bracelet or whatever special, what is its weight, where were they made and by whom, has anybody noticed any good luck positive events occurring when worn, could (would) a man wear them and if so how, would a woman love them as an unexpected gift from their partner, how many different ones of the same size would make up a set, how large is the one you’ve photographed (compared say to a 20 cent piece, what is their history, etc, etc.

    The more detail you can give the better please.

  • Geez. Wish I’d asked THAT! :)

  • Paul, as we are up to response #50 and I am sure that you lose a few people on the way no disrespect) could you start a new blog announcing “The great copywriting competition”? and summarise what we are doing.

    First prize (there may be more)is a download of “How to be a legend in other people’s minds” http://bit.ly/bCDgMI value $99 plus some goodies from Megan.

    C’mon folks let’s write some great copy!

  • A sterling idea, Winston. And a generous prize!

    Though I enjoy extraordinary freedom in this blog, Naomi’s still the boss, so I’ll just ask for her OK to do as you suggest. Naomi?

    Megan, it’d be great if you could table the exta info Winston requested (and the prize/s you plan to put up). If we take a little time to get this right, the results should be devastatingly effective. :)

  • Thanks Winston, happy to answer all questions.

    The beads are each a piece in themselves that are placed on a sterling silver charm bracelet (which I also sell). Beads are collected to represent a person, event, theme, colour, etc, making each bracelet unique to the individual. Many purchase their beads over time, collecting each piece as special moments in their life occur for example a wedding, birth of a child, graduation, or any memories that make the wearer who they are. For example I had a customer who used to enjoy scuba diving so she bought a dolphin bead. The same customer also purchased a house to represent her home, 2 boys and a girl to represent her children and a love heart to represent her marriage. She set her bracelet up like a mini timeline of her life, making a one-of-a-kind personalised bracelet representing her own life, something that is special to her and can remind her of all the moments in her life that she has enjoyed. In a different case I had another customer who purchased all of the silver beads that she liked as well as a number of beads in different colours, this way she could change just the coloured beads on the bracelet to match different outfits.

    The beads are made in Thailand for an Australian supplier and are targeted at females. For women who have a bracelet, a bead is a fantastic gift to receive from a partner or loved one as it creates another memory and helps them complete their bracelet, which is an exciting milestone for most women! The style of bracelet originated in Europe as many great fashion trends do, having the idea of a high quality, personalised piece of jewellery that reflects a person’s life and individuality.

    This bead is roughly a third of the size of a 20 cent piece and anywhere around the 20 bead mark will fill a bracelet depending on the size bracelet you need and the size of the beads you choose.

    To make is easier I will email to Paul some photos of this particular bead against a 20 cent piece, a picture of a completed bracelet and also a picture of the items that I will be contributing to the first prize pool!

    My thanks again to everyone!

  • Thanks heaps, Megan. That info is gold. The stuff you learn in here!

    Looking forward to the pics. :)

  • Thanks Megan! Now where do you get the bracelet to suit the beads? And how many different beads are there to choose from? I’m starting to get a few ideas already!

    Now Paul, how are we going to promote this great competition? I’ll certainly blog and twitter away about it but we need to expose it to the aspiring copywriters out there. I guess that you’ll need to see what Naomi decides.

  • Good show, Winston!

    Naomi said she’ll be checking this thread tomorrow. We’ll take it from there. :)

  • Wow. I’ve just very quickly scanned this post and the related comments. What a mountain of helpful advice!

    I don’t have much to add, other than if you guys are looking to collaborate further to help Megan (and feel that somewhere other than this blog would be better to brainstorm) I’d recommend using Google Wave. I find it tremendously useful for online collaboration between smallish groups!

    I think invitations for Wave are no longer required, but if they are, and you need one, just shoot me an email and I’ll send you one.

  • Thanks a lot, Stephen. I’m particularly proud at how everyone has pulled together on this.

    If Naomi gives the green light for a follow-up post (or some other way to implement Winston’s suggestion) it’d be great to have you there.

    I thought Google Wave was a toasted rice snack. Can you please explain? Or would that make an IDEAL guest post from you? :)

  • Yes, we write small messages on rice crisps, scan them and email the image of our idea-laden snack to each other. It was going to be called iSnack, but someone beat us to the punch… :)

    Seriously though, I’d be happy to write a post about Google Wave. I’d love to know how many of the readers are currently using it already?

  • Hee hee! :)

    I’ve heard the term Google Wave echoing around the joint for months, but I’m utterly ignorant of what it is, does or costs[?].

    Though it sure sounds like a goer to me, Naomi will have a better handle on the suitability of such a post.

    What do you reckon, Boss? :)

  • Paul – thanks for making me feel like I’m the “boss” 😉
    Hi Everyone – fabulous ideas! Paul and I will touch base and see what’s possible. :-)

  • In answer to Winston’s questions, I sell the bracelets that correspond with the beads as do a number of other brands who’s bracelets my beads are compatible with.

    I have roughly 300 styles of bead to choose from in a variety of colours, some glass (with sterling silver core) and some Sterling Silver. Some beads are plain sterling silver in the form of cars, flowers, food, animals, etc, others are patterned and may include gemstones, cubic zirconias, crystals or enamel detail. Most have a threaded core meaning that (corresponding with the end of the bracelet) the beads “screw” on to prevent them falling off when the bracelet is opened.

    The bracelet has a “bead” clasp that looks just like another bead so that it gives a completed look when full and also has two “stopper” points on which you can place a stopper bead allowing you to break up your bracelet into 3 sections whilst collecting your beads. This way your beads can be kept evenly spaced and do not group together, weighing your bracelet to one side while it is only half full.

    I have emailed to Paul those photos of the bead next to a 10 cent piece (would you believe I did not have one 20 cent piece in the house!?), a photo of a full bracelet and a photo of the goodies we are adding to the prize!

    We will be giving to the winner a necklace and pendent set with matching stud earrings from our Infinity Range in the colour Champagne. Each piece is 925 sterling silver and contains Swarovski cut crystals that create an elegant and dazzling effect. This prize has a retail value of $69.95 and would make a beautiful gift for someone special or even a lovely little present for yourself!

    Hopefully this is helpful information. As I have said, please keep any questions coming!

  • Hey Megan, this is sensational information. I’m learning heaps every day about these beads and it should all be great fodder for our playwriting competition when it gets under way!

  • Megan has also sent in some ripper pics.

    Naomi’s people are working with my people on a solution of best fit. We should have news soon. :)

  • OK, we’ve got a direction! Winston and Megan, I’ll be in touch with you via email to table our suggested path for next week. This looks like it’s going to be fun! :)

  • Another coupla questions Megan!

    1. Do you have the thingos(bracelets I think)that the beads go onto so that you can make up a complete item with a number of beads on it?

    2. Do you have a supply of these which could be available for sale… a necklace and pendent set with matching stud earrings from our Infinity Range in champagne colour.

  • Hi Winston,

    I certainly do have some bracelets left, however sizes and numbers are limited. All quantities of what I have are on the website http://www.envi.net.au. The bracelets come in 17cm, 18cm, 19cm, 20cm (no stock left) & 21cm. 19cm is generally the most standard size. I also have a choice between “bead” clasp bracelets and “parrot” clasp bracelets. The bead clasp looks like another bead on the bracelet giving it that “no clasp” look, whereas the parrot clasp is like a standard hook style clasp.

    I do have a small supply of Infinity pieces left, however none (other than the prize set) in the colour champagne. I do however have the matching set in green, pink and midnight blue and have the studs in purple, clear and red, dangle hoop earrings in black and green, long “bella” dangle earrings in light blue and rings in brown and pink. A beautiful range and also our best selling range when business was up.

  • Hi All,

    I have a couple of questions about selling on eBay that I would like to throw out there for anyone/everyone to answer.

    1. Do you think having the wholesale price listed in the description would set a cap on the bidding?

    2. Would you put every item up at a starting price of 99 cents, even if you bought it wholesale for $20/$30/$40? (keeping in mind you have a credit card bill that needs to go). Basically in your opinion or experience is it better to take that risk of selling potentially thousands of dollars worth of stock at 99 cents apiece, then paying eBay fees, then footing the rest of the credit card bill (which is what is putting strain on us financially at the moment).

    I guess this second scenario is my biggest worry. Debra has given some excellent feedback already on this topic which I really appreciate I guess I would love to just hear a bit more about what everyone thinks or what they would do in this situation.

  • Hi, Megan. I’m glad you put these questions to the floor. I’ll just add what I wrote in my last email to you so others can see what I said:

    ‘With regard to your starting price, my reading of the expert comments we received is that you must start low to end high.

    With regard to revealing your wholesale price, such disclosure hasn’t put a ceiling on my eBay auctions.

    In fact, the more transparent and explicit I am, the better I do.

    I’ve found that you need to take risks to do well on eBay. Fortune really favours the brave.’

    I’ll now add one more point:

    With regard to sustaining big losses, I suggest you take big risks with just a few items, rather than make this your entire strategy from the outset. That way, if the $0.99 start is a fizzer, you don’t lose your house.

    Like you, I’m very keen to hear what the others think. :)

  • I’ve found Pricing to consistently be the trickiest of the 4 P’s of Marketing. So the ideas I’m putting forward are by no means supposed to be expert advice, just something you may want to consider.

    I agree with Paul: transparency is valued and you will probably have a good result by being as transparent as possible. So definitely include the wholesale price.

    However, make sure you do this as a way of conveying the value of the transaction, so the customer knows they are getting a great deal! To do this however, you firstly need to use another price (I’d suggest the price the customer could realistically expect to pay if they bought the items elsewhere, such as a jewellery store) to anchor the price. You can find out more on price anchoring here – I suggest you read it.

    Basically anchoring is about setting an expectation in the mind of the customer. If the anchor is (relatively) high for your products, then when the customer sees a lower price for that same product, they’ll realise they could be on to a great deal, and be more likely to buy.

    Be careful not to set your price anchor too low (ie to yourwholesale price).

    I hope this helps.

  • I hesitate to ask but Megan, whilst you’ve been gaining excellent advice,have you – since this began – attempted to sell anything?
    Because I keep getting the uneasy sensation that you’re waiting for the perfect solution.
    Newsflash: There is is no one perfect solution.
    It’s through trial and error and learning as you go that you’ll get results.
    I encourage you to START. Not wait, not prepare, not plan, but DO!

    As John Kennedy, Sr. former coach of Hawthorn said: “At least DO SOMETHING! DO! Don’t think, don’t hope, do! At least you can come off and say ‘I did this, I shepherded, I played on. At least I did something.'”

    Come on, give it a go!

  • Thank you both yet again, Stephen and Debra. You continue to give and give.

    There was lots of communicating behind the scenes on the weekend. Seems there are a few more factors involved than meet the eye. However, I hope to report some action in a follow-up post soon. :)

  • Pandora glass beads

    Great post!

  • Thank you for (both of) your kind words, Pandora glass beads.

    Your selflessness is salutary.