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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: MaryW
Date: 10-03-2005, 09:11 AM (1 of 4)
Here are some tips for those of you who sew or quilt and sell on Ebay.

Auction Selling Tips
By Monica Resinger

Selling items at auctions is a fun way to bring in extra income and reduce clutter in your home. If you’re like me and peruse yard sales and thrift stores, you can add even more to your income. Most of the time, you’ll get more for an item up for auction than you would selling it at a yard sale. Sometimes it is very surprising and exciting to see how much you get for an item!

I recently began selling at eBay and have learned quite a bit about auction selling through trial and error. This article will teach you the most important things I have learned so far.

1. Shipping and Handling: You'll need a good scale - mine is a modern food-weighing one (not the old ones that you can barely balance anything on). This type can be found at your local Target, Big K or Wal-Mart. When you weigh an item be sure to also weigh the box/package it will be shipped in or estimate for it so you get a correct weighing and charge enough. I use U.S.P.S. and they have a website where you can figure shipping here:

When figuring what to charge for shipping, we also add in other shipping expenses like the cost of boxes, envelopes, shipping tape, etc. Some eBay sellers like to add these expenses into the price of the item.

2. Packaging items: This can be a personal preference, but we use newspaper because we have lots of it. Just be sure the item is packed tightly in the box with whatever packing material you are using. You can also use shredded paper, packing peanuts, or bubble-wrap.

We purchased shipping boxes that are movie (VHS) size because we sell a lot of movies and another common size box. These are great because you don't have to wrap them with shipping paper - just tape the seals with shipping tape. Here's where we get our boxes:

This site has a huge variety of different sized boxes for good prices. If you plan to sell for a long time, I recommend you get a common size box for the type of items you are selling because it will save you a lot of time and hassle.

We also use other type boxes such as cereal boxes depending on what we are shipping. These type boxes aren't as strong so they're better for things like clothing or things that can handle a 'push'.

You can ask your neighbors, friends and family to save boxes for you and be sure to keep your eyes open at local businesses for sturdier boxes - a lot of times you‘ll see them sitting outside by the dumpster free for the taking.

If you use Priority Shipping through the U.S.P.S., they will give you free shipping supplies.

3. Postal Insurance: We have made it an option for customers to get this and we have noted on each auction that we are not responsible for broken or lost items. If something gets broken or lost then they can use their insurance if they bought it. It costs $1.30 for anything up to $500. If they buy it, you just buy it at the post office when you are shipping and they give you a receipt. If someone's item gets damaged you can then send them the receipt so they can take it up with the post office.

4. Pictures. You will need pictures of the items you are selling so will need to either invest in a digital camera or get pictures developed on disk. People will not buy from you without pictures - I know from experience.

5. Payment Options. As far as online payment services, my personal preference is Paypal especially now that they offer a debit card. When Paypal is used, you get instant payment and are able to instantly use that money with the debit card. There is a fee involved with each transaction but it is very nominal considering the gas, time and hassle saved from cashing or depositing checks and money orders.

Paypal’s website:

It is best to accept as many payment options as possible. This will help you get more bids on your items. Don’t be afraid to accept checks. All the checks I have received from our customers have been good with no problems at all.

I know it can be intimidating - I was feeling the same way when we were first thinking about auction selling. But once you know the basics, the best way to learn is to just do it!

©, 2001, Monica Resinger

Monica Resinger enjoys auction selling. If you’d like to view her eBay store, click here:
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owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: Sewspecial
Date: 10-06-2005, 06:53 AM (2 of 4)

I agree with you ebay is a good source of additional income. You do however have to learn a lot, in my case the hard way. I think Ebay as a subject would be a great topic of discussion.

Last year I wanted to get reestablished in the community and did a Christmas Craft fair, I made several small items, but I had made 23 Little girls extremely fancy Holiday dresses, None of which sold. I also brought one window treatment from every room in my house. It was a lot of work. I got about 6 customers out of it..

Any way I tried to sell the dresses on ebay. One Dress "Victoria" was a Red velvet dress, with Venice Appliques, The back of the dress had rows of gathered Venice . This dress would resale anywhere from 150 and up. These types of items don't seem to be appreciated on ebay....everyone is looking for a bargain. 2 of my dresses sold for $ 12.00 what a heartbreaker.....Learned real quick to set a reserve. It has not been a good experience for me.....

I donated the rest of my dresses to the House of Hope....They had 20 little girls who got to look real good for Christmas.

Anyone who has successfully sold, Custom, or higher priced items on ebay< I would love to hear 1. How you do it? and 2 Strategy.

User: Sewspecial
Member since: 09-24-2004
Total posts: 30
From: MaryW
Date: 10-06-2005, 09:48 AM (3 of 4)
Thanks for your comments Marie. I think EBay is worthy of its own thread too. There are lots of tricks to business. I had a girl ask me the other day why she couldn't sell a particular fabric. The problem was she had mostly flannels, poly blends and cottons. She was trying to sell pure silk along with this. It won't work that way.

Your dresses went to some deserving little girls but if you want to make some $$$ next time, you have to give the dresses their own space and exposure with prices that reflect your time and talent.
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: Zabelle
Date: 10-09-2005, 01:46 PM (4 of 4)
Marie... Such a heartbreaking misadventure indeed. :sad:

I too have considered selling a few handmade items on Ebay (purses for instance), but I really have no idea how to price my work. :nervous:

Hearing others' experiences would be very interesting. :bluesmile

English sewing journal: Kitty Couture
In French: Journal d'une cousette
User: Zabelle
Member since: 02-25-2004
Total posts: 98
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