Monday, February 22, 2010

High Hopes ~ eBay, Part 6

As I mentioned in the last post, I found an amazing product sourcing tool. I’m starting to sound like an infomercial as we speak but seriously, it’s REALLY FUN. Before I get into all that, let me tell you about the suppliers I found on my own.

I had high hopes for the beer journal. As I’ve said repeatedly, my husband’s into brewing beer. Many beer-related items were selling well on eBay at the time. So, my husband went over the items his fellow enthusiasts were looking to buy, based on brewing newsgroup discussions. I looked into turkey fryers, which are also used as brew kettles, but those were too costly to ship. I looked into some obscure-to-me brewing parts. I wasn’t feeling it. Eventually, I found The Beer Journal by Chris Wright. I contacted the guy and asked him about wholesale pricing. The price he quoted was a little steep so I tried to bring it down and never heard back from him. Then one night, my husband was at one of his brewery haunts and randomly sat next to him at the bar. Chris was visiting from Colorado. After talking for a few minutes, they figured out their small-world connection. Chris told my husband I should contact him. From there, we worked out a deal and he gave me a year from my last order to be his exclusive eBay seller. A few sold here and there. Nothing impressive.

The wall shelf opportunity disappeared without an explanation. I had sold about eight wall ledges that came with the houseware pallet of customer returns and then received a handful of requests for more. There were other types of wall ledges that you could buy on eBay, but none were as simple as mine. They came in various lengths, in black or off-white, and attached to the wall. I looked and looked for a supplier of something comparable, as it didn’t make sense to order a whole new pallet for a small number of shelves. Finally, I found a company in Canada that made something very similar. It was a new company and I was contacted by a brand new sales rep. He was somewhere in the Midwest, on his first trip to the States in his new position, and called me every day to provide info, check in, etc. The guy was my new best friend, I’m telling you. I asked him about a minimum order and he told me not to worry about it. He sent me two binders and samples. Then I sent him my order . . . it totaled $150. I needed to be cautious. I was still putting orders on my credit card. I lost my best friend; I never heard from him again. I emailed and called. Maybe he talked big about his lead in California and preferred to say it fell through rather than turn in my measly order. Maybe he had a horrible accident (I hope not). Maybe he was fired.

Then there was Lady Emily, the only drop-shipper I tried. It’s a line of organic make-up and skincare. It’s based in the South and its packaging is the Southern Belle version of Mary Kay. Even though it made no sense that I would be selling the stuff, I enthusiastically set up an account. I paid for the listings and otherwise paid nothing until something sold, at which time I paid half the retail plus a flat shipping rate of $6.95, and Lady Emily shipped the order. I got one steady customer out of it, a disgruntled former Lady Emily employee who had a thing for the shea butter scrub. That stuff is actually really nice. I was invited to join a fundamental Christian, women-in-business club because of Lady Emily, which was an experience in itself. There was so much competition for natural beauty products, even within the club. Some of the other skincare lines apparently came with Jesus Christ’s seal of approval and maybe Moses’ too. I'm not kidding. That is some stiff competition.

OK, next time I’ll tell you about the AWESOME – FUN - AMAZING product sourcing tool.


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