Monday, December 1, 2014

Cyber Monday SALE

30% off when you purchase 3 items or more!

The coupon is on my Facebook Page .

Please share with everyone!  Thanks so much!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Holiday Shopping

Where has the time gone?  I cannot believe that I haven't blogged in two months!  What was I thinking?

Well I have been trying to find a job to supplement my small business since any new business takes some time to grow.

Lowery's Loft LLC is a wonderful place to find unique gifts for the holidays.  I do combine shipping and have many items that are priced to sell.

What types of products would you like to see in my store?

I tend to deal in smalls.  That is items that are fairly lightweight and easy to ship...

Jewelry is my favorite item to sell both handmade and vintage costume jewelry but I am open to selling a wonderful variety of items.

I will be listing like crazy so check my eBay store often in the coming weeks.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Super Savings Sale!

Now through September 15th, 
Save $5 for every $25 you spend.  

If I get a huge response, I might continue the sale... Please share.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Shipping Frenzy after eBay Auction Frenzy

Well I had hundreds of auctions starting at two dollars and some change.  Most sold at that so it was a little disappointing but at least I can turn my inventory over.  Many of the items had been listed for awhile.

Over this long three day weekend over fifty items sold.  I was so thankful that the post office was closed on Monday for Labor Day because it gave me more time to pack and ship.  I did three two hour increments...so it took me about six hours to pack over fifty items.

I'm proud of myself.  Of course, I need to increase my speed and up my auctions.  I still don't know how to make a living doing this but I keep trying new strategies.  I hope that sales pick up with the increased auctions and that the approaching holidays help too.

Fellow eBayers - Do you find that your auctions bid up or do you items sell at the initial listing price?

I find that a few items bid up but not to where I would like them to...Most sell at the initial price.  I will keep studying key words and categories to try to find the "secret."

In the meantime, visit my eBay store because you are bound to find a great deal!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Auction Frenzy

In an attempt to increase traffic to my eBay store, I have hundreds of auctions going on right now.

The starting prices are low!  Most auctions start between two and three dollars.  This is an opportunity to score amazing deals!

Please visit my eBay store and share it with friends.  You can either click the link or go to www.lowerysloft.com and click the link there.

Thanks so much!



Monday, August 4, 2014

Instagram Marketing

I don't know where I've been but luckily my friend/cousin-in-law Amanda shared with me the power of Instagram.

In addition to eBay I have been creating my own handmade jewelry (mostly earrings).  I just opened a small Etsy store but have low traffic.

Amanda told me about Instagram and how easy it is to add photos.  You can add information about your store in the description...

So I downloaded the app and tried it out!  I love it!!!  I am able to photograph my jewelry and add it to my Etsy store using that app and then use one of the photos in my Instagram app and share about the piece I added.  What a useful tool!

It's just another way to get your business known.  Right now I am only using it for my handmade art rather than my eBay items.  I might look into setting up a separate account for my eBay store.

As you can tell I am trying to have multiple streams of income.

Please share how you have used Instagram with your business.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Questions-Reflecting on my Goal

After reflecting on the next steps even more I've decided to narrow down my plan even further.  I keep asking myself, "What do I want to accomplish?  How can I make what I made? How can I make even more?  How can I manage my time so that I have a balance between work and being mommy?"

Here is my attempt at answering these questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish?  I want to earn a living from home so that I will be more accessible to my child and other wonderful family members if they need me.  I want to be able to manage my time so that I enjoy life fully and take nothing for granted.  I want to get ahead and not tread water all the time.  I want to have many happy returning customers and steady orders.  I want success!  More importantly I want freedom...
  • How can I make what I made?  Now this is perplexing... I am not going to say what I made outright but with over a decade of experience in the classroom and a Master's Degree I made a decent amount.  I've always wanted more that what I made because I spent a lot on my classroom and had a lot of debt so I always felt like treading water.  Right now I feel like I am sinking so to make what I made it is the first goal.  To accomplish that I want to have at least 20 orders a day since I do not have a lot of "higher priced" items.  Either than or change my inventory to a higher price point and sell at least 10 items a day.  In order to increase the number of orders, I need to list my items consistently and have at least 30-40 listings end each day.  My concern about this plan is the listing/eBay fees. All this additional activity would equal additional expenses.  Would that cancel out the profits?
  • How can I make even more?  I don't know.  I want to have multiple streams of income that is why it is a dream to learn how to properly monetize websites through blogging as well as continuing my eBay business.  I want to become a skilled artisan and make high end jewelry.  Right now I am starting out with costume/fashion jewelry.  As my skills grow, I hope my profit grows too.
  • How can I balance my time between work and being mommy?  Again a tough one... I have to work when she's asleep.  What I am finding is that I'm tired too.  I think I just have to push through and make a priority list each day of what needs to be completed.  I don't rest until it's done.  Raising my daughter will always be number one on that list.  I can also include her in some of the activities.  It's so cute that she pretends to bubble wrap her toys and takes them to the post office.  She helps me already get the labels off the printer and puts the packages in the bag to take to the post office.  She even gets the receipt from the postal workers at the post office when we drop off the packages. Oh and she goes with me when I am hunting for treasures to sell.  I just need to be more productive with squeezing in listing time and accept that I cannot have a long expanse of time to just work.  It needs to be broken into smaller chunks.  (Please note this is very hard for me so it is a work in progress.)
There are even more questions bouncing around in my head.  The worst ones are "Can you even do this?  Are you going to give up?  Are you failing your family by chasing your dream?  Are you being selfish for wanting this?"

To these questions I say "Choose Joy!" That's my mantra this year.  I am trying to push out these negative thoughts as fast as they pop in my head.  I keep praying to the Lord for guidance and praying that I will see the doors He opens for me.  I pray that if he wants me to change paths he makes it abundantly clear.  I am listening hard for the Still Soft Voice and I am putting my life in the Lord's Hands.  I hope I am not being selfish.  I pray that I learn from any lessons He places before me...
On that note, I better get to working this plan!  


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Coming up with a Business Plan...Can I Do It?

There is no question that starting your own business is a challenge...

Learning how to drive traffic to your site is a process...

I keep going over and over what I should sell...

Should I stay on this path or change directions?


I'm doing well but I am not earning a living yet and I want to grow, grow, grow my business.

Always the overanalyzer, I have been reflecting on what I can do better.  I've determined that I am trying to do too much at once. 
  • I want to add more listings to my eBay store.
  • I want to make more jewelry and add it to my new Etsy store.
  • I want to create products for my Teachers Pay Teachers store. (I need to update my store too!)
  • I want to keep www.LoweryLoft.com updated.
  • I want to expand http://llbookreviews.blogspot.com and link it to Amazon products.
  • I want to continue to blog at http://lowerysloft.blogspot.com about growing a small business and about some of the interesting things I am learning about vintage products.
  • I want to add more blog posts about Teaching with Everyday Objects on http://groovyeducator.blogspot.com and eventually turn it into a book with accompanying activities.
  • I still want to write children's books.
  • AND right now I am trying to find a part/full time job to supplement my income while this business grows.  
  • AND I am trying to be a good mom and spend as much time with my wonderful little girl.  AND I am trying to keep up the house.  
  • AND I am trying to be a wife who is not distracted by all of these things so my husband doesn't feel neglected.
I feel pulled in so many directions.  

I need to be proactive and make some tough decisions.  I've backed out of my booth at the antique mall and I have backed out of my booth at the flea market because it was just too much!   There are only so many hours in the day. 

I want to do some guerilla marketing with my business cards and make flyers but I don't know if I have enough products in my eBay store to keep people interested and the Etsy store needs to be build up more too.

With it being so close to the beginning of the school year, I should be making some items for TpT.  
I keep bouncing around from one want to the next.  

My current plan is as follows:
  • Post office= Every Day! Mon-Fri.
  • Monday-eBay all day!Please note when I say eBay all day I am referring to listing.  I need to grow my store and all day is not all day.  I still am mom in the morning until 9 and then mom again at 2 or 3.
  • Tuesday-Family Day with e-Bay during "nap time" and after "bed time"
  • Wednesday-Family Day with eBay during "nap time" and TpT brainstorming at bed time
  • Thursday-TpT / Groovy Educator all Day!
  • Friday-Treasure hunt and eBay, eBay, eBay
  • Saturday-Family DayDuring nap-time=catch up time (Possibly a trade school, craft fair, or flea market)
  • Sunday-Family Day - Squeeze it what I can when I can.
I will still periodically add to http://llbookreviews.blogspot.com and do quick updates to the blogs but I needed a plan.  Oops the jewelry making was left out.  I can always fit that in during Family Time since my daughter is very interested in the process.  We can each work on our own projects.

Notice there is a lot of family days because family is important!  I want to enjoy as much of my daughter's early years as possible.

In the mean time I have to keep searching for additional work.  I just don't know how this will all come together but I am putting it in God's Hands.  

I don't know if I am putting too much of an emphasis on eBay but it is where most of the income is coming in.  I would love to sell new products too.  I have a product line in mind but I have to keep it on the down low until I get the capital to invest.  I have some ideas for teaching apps and products but I will only pursue those if I am am successful and get ahead.  I watch Shark Tank and just wonder how do people do this?  How do they come up with all the money?  I don't feel comfortable asking people to invest in an idea.  At least not now because it is just a pipe dream right now.

Times like these I miss my Dad.  We would always bounce ideas off each other.  He was a wonderful listener and then always came up with some super insightful comments.  He was always encouraging and inspiring.  

If you have any thoughts or suggestions I would greatly appreciate them.  I am so used to the structure of my teaching career and right now I have limitless directions I can move and I am not quite sure what to do with all this freedom.  With teaching there always has to be a plan as with a business there needs to be a plan.  Am I trying to do too much?  Not enough?  

As with life, just keep going...don't quit.  Never quit!




Monday, July 21, 2014

Lowery's Loft LLC on Etsy!

I have finally done it!  I've opened a store on Etsy.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/LowerysLoftLLC

There are only a few items in the store right now.  After listing so much jewelry on eBay, I've been inspired to start creating jewelry.

In the shop there will also be items under the theme "Choose Joy."  This is my mantra this year and I look forward to making magnets and pictures to hang with this theme.

With all the back to school hype, I might take a detour and make items on Teachers Pay Teachers as well.  There are just not enough hours in the day!

Please share, share, share Lowery's Loft LLC with your friends whether it is the eBay, Etsy, or TpT.  Please pin items on Pinterest and share on Facebook.

 I am trying to stay at home with my daughter and grow my business.  Thank you so much for helping to support Lowery's Loft!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/LowerysLoftLLC


Also please remember www.LowerysLoft.com has links to just about everything.  
(I haven't added TpT to it yet.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Shipping Lots on eBay (How Much Do I Charge?)

Tonight I am going to list lots of lots on eBay.

When I list in lots I weight the lighter lots.  If they are less than 13 oz I mail them and charge between $3.00 and $3.75 for shipping.  I try to keep shipping costs low for the buyer but I have to factor in the cost of supplies (e.g. mailer, bubble wrap, printer ink, label) and the fees (PayPal & eBay).

If it is a small lot that weighs more than 13 oz I try to ship it in a flat rate envelope which I charge $5.00 since I do not have to pay for the envelope itself.  I prefer this method because it is more economical than the flat rate box and it hold more.

The flat rate box is ideal for breakable or fragile items.  I charge $5.75 usually to mail it via this method because it costs a wee bit more.

When the lot is larger I aim to have it fit in a medium flat rate box.  I charge $10.00 and eat some of the fees.  Chances are if you are using a medium flat rate box that the value is higher.

Regular boxes shipped priority that weigh two pounds or less I charge between $6.50 and $8.00 depending on the weight.

Large flat rate boxes are great for very heavy expensive items.  I really do not like to use them often through because the shipping is $17.00 which can eat into profits.  So rather than shipping a ginormous large flat rate lot, I may break it into two smaller medium flat rate boxes to make shipping more affordable for the buyer.

Well, that's my take on shipping!

You can check out my listings to see how I do it.

Please note sometimes I charge less than what it costs me to ship and build it into the price.  For example If I think a pair of earrings is worth $6.00 I may list them for $3.99 and only charge $2.00 shipping.  It will cost me more to ship it but I like to change it up some to see what motivates buyers.  I have found lower shipping costs can be a deciding factor.

Happy Shipping!




Monday, July 7, 2014

Understanding eBay (Trying to Build Traffic)

It can be overwhelming to try to understand eBay.  I know how to list products, manage my store, find items, but I do not know how to build traffic.

Merely stating eBay is huge...is an extreme understatement.  There are millions of sellers and gazillions of listings.  (I may be exaggerating...or not, your call.)  The question of the day is:  How do I get others to notice my items in my store?

I've been looking into SEO optimization and it sounds interesting.  I do know that when I am super descriptive in my "description" my items get found (especially if they are on the rarer side).   

But when I list an average run of the mill costume / fashion unsigned jewelry bit or bauble, it is like a needle in a haystack.  I guess I could simply limit my listings to items that have a name per se and clearly identifiable attributes.  I am getting better at doing this but there are many pieces that are beautiful and they go unnoticed because the words to describe them are overused.  What do you do then?

I guess the solution would be to draw more people into my eBay store where they happen upon these items while perusing the listings.  BUT...Do people actually do this?  What type of shoppers are on eBay?  Are they the ones who are looking for hard to find items and hone it and buy just that item or are they leisurely lookers who glide from one eBay store to the next?

What can I possibly do to set my store apart?  In all essence I am just another resale shop.  I try to have excellent customer service.  I know that is important.  What can I do to get satisfied customers to share my store?

How long does it take to grow an online store?  

I'm sorry to ramble but this is how my mind has been revolving since beginning eBay.  I research and I research and I research.  I apply some techniques and I research and I research and I apply but my wheels are spinning.  

If you have any surefire advice on growing a business that does not cost money, I would love to hear it. 

Also, I am at around the 1,000 listing mark.  I want to grow my store further but then the fees grow too.  Would it be better to just remain at this level or take it to the next step?  

AND when it comes to pricing I want to keep things at the impulsive price point because it is such a good deal but I feel that I might do better selling less for more. 

Is it better to sell less for more or more for less?  Sales is quite complex and there are gazillions of books and blogs about it all trying to sell you something.  I just need to continue to plod along and discover as I go.  It's just hard to be patient and grow slowly because what if it doesn't grow?  I'm thankful that it is manageable but I am ready to hit the ground running.  I guess I could just try to up my daily listings and make sure that I do not become complacent. 

That's my new plan of action.  List more daily.  Gradually find items that are at a slightly higher price point or sell the smaller items in lots and never give up.

On a very personal note:  My Dad passed in March and he was my eBay mentor.  Last week while digging through a bin at the top of my closet I found an autograph book from 5th Grade. Dad had written a message for me 25 years ago that struck home.  "Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win.  Andrea Never Give Up."  Needless to say, I am not giving up!  Learning is an evolving process and that is why I love it.  Learning eBay is just that.  Will I ever understand all the ins and outs of eBay or for building traffic for that matter? No but the quest continues...   



If you haven't visited yet...Check out www.LowerysLoft.com    
                                               
 The portal to my eBay store....oooooo.....ahhhhhhh


I added this nice little image (that you see everywhere) in case you wanted to pin it on Pinterest or share it on Facebook...Hint...Hint

Thursday, June 12, 2014

$0.99 Auctions! Ninety-Nine Cents!

Everyone has heard of Spring Cleaning...

Well, this is a beginning of Summer Blowout!

This week many, many, many of my auctions will start at $0.99.

There will be other starting prices too.

Most items will be jewelry but not all...

Come check it out:  LOWERY'S LOFT LLC on eBAY


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's JUNE! - SALE!

Now through the end of June you get 15% off if you spend $50.00 or more on Fixed Price Items.  

There are fun items for Father's Day or just unique items for any day.

I mostly sell vintage jewelry but you never know what you will find at www.LowerysLoft.com.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Learning to Sell on eBay by Studying Other Sellers on eBay

I am still a Top Rated Powerseller ... Phew!

I've been researching other sellers that have 100% positive feedback because 99.8% bothers me.  Can you say perfectionist? 

What I have found is some sellers clearly state in the description to please contact them first if there is any problem.  

Well, that makes sense!  I need to go back to the mindset of a teacher and never assume.  I need to plainly state in my description to contact me first.  

I will say that I spend a lot of time on eBay in buyer mode (not always buying) but looking to see what other sellers do well.  

If you are thinking of selling on eBay the best thing to do is to start out by making a few small purchases to learn how others pack their items, what pamphlets, cards, or notes, are included and how they communicate with you.   

Take what you have learned and then create your own style. 

There are also a lot of discussion forums and online communities you can join.  I have done just one Q&A forum.  This is an area that I need to improve in.

In case you haven't noticed I love learning and adjusting and learning and adjusting.  It keeps things interesting and my mind stimulated.  Selling on eBay is rewarding.  You just have to find what works for you.

Friday, May 23, 2014

What Can You Do?

As you may or may not know, I am trying to make my new business work.  I am taking a leap and trying to sell on eBay full time and it is nerve wracking.

In life I have come to accept that you can't please everyone (this took years and I'm still working on it). Right now, I am a little frustrated trying to do the right thing.  

If I see an imperfection on an item, I note it unless I don't know that there is one to begin with.  I am not an expert on all vintage items so I take pictures and if something doesn't seem right I say it.  When it comes to sizing I can only state what it says and offer to measure it.

I offer a 14 day return policy but only hope/ask that the buyer contact me first so I can resolve any problems. With eBay's new return policy, if a buyer initiates an item not as described returned, it is considered a defect on my part and affects my rating.  

I do not deliberately mislead anyone and I answer and welcome questions.  I wish that returns were not considered defects because we have all bought something and decided it wasn't quite what we wanted or expected.  I buy and sell many things that are vintage.  I can only state what I see and not comment on the unknown.  

This is not the buyers fault because he/she deserves to get his/her money back if it is not what they wanted or what he/she thought it was going to be.  I just wish a return wasn't considered a defect because I welcome returns if someone is dissatisfied.  I would rather he/she feel comfortable to buy from me again.

What I do take issue with is when I refund the money and let the person keep the item and I get a neutral rating because ... What else can I do to make it a pleasant experience.  

People that are newer to eBay do not realize how important these ratings are to the sellers.  I am trying to keep everyone happy.  Normally I do not react like this but I am frustrated because even when I am a conscientious customer oriented seller, I cannot make everyone happy.  I wish I could.  

I want to remain a Top Rated Power Seller but I guess some things are just out of my hands and I have to accept the outcome.  

I'm trying to stay focused on this dream of working from home BUT with what's in the news AND with the uncertainty of income AND with feedback I really cannot control (even if I try my very best) ... It's Hard.

I keep repeating "Without Risk There's No Reward - Do Not Give Up" as my mantra.  Right now I am not so sure...Tomorrow will be another day.   

Finding Items to Sell on eBay (Part 2)

There are many places to find items to sell on eBay.  It depends on your purpose and niche.  I am still reluctant to have a niche even though that is probably the best way to go.  I like a wide array of items but if I had to be categorized into a niche it would be vintage (with a focus on costume jewelry).

With that said there are several sources where you can find items to sell on eBay:


  • Your House-Start out by selling items around the house that are in good condition.  It might be an odd item and that is okay as long as you can describe it where others can find it.  The key is to find things that are in good to fantastic condition.  Be honest when describing and photographing the item.  Make sure that you highlight any defects or imperfections.  It might sound counterproductive when you are trying to make a sale but honestly I would rather not make the sale than have an unhappy customer.  If you have a bunch of small items you can sell those as a junk drawer lot.  Simply fill up a medium (or large) flat rate box.  When it's full list it as a Mixed Junk Drawer Lot
  • Yard Sales-These are amazing for finding unique items at a fair price.  This is the treasure hunting part of eBay.
  • Flea Market- Here you have to go EARLY to find the treasures because there are others searching for a deal to resell too.  Either that or you have to be an expert in your niche and see things that others do not see.
  • Thrift Stores-The treasure hunt continues but it is much harder to find items at a price where you can make a huge profit.  I was very discouraged when I found out a local thrift store has a jeweler on staff who has first dibbs and who helps price what's left.  Still be relentless, check back often, look for clearance items too.  Eventually you will find something that slips through.  Recently I found a Budweiser Beer Stein for less than ten dollars.  When I looked it up on eBay, several have sold for sixty dollars or more!
  • eBay-You can find items to sell on eBay too. Sometimes sellers make mistakes and misspell important words in the description or list an inopportune times (I'm guilty of this).  You can find items for a great deal on auction and then sell it under buy it now for the price you want.
There are more sources but I can't give ALL my secrets away...Can I?


Finding Items to Sell on eBay (Part 1)

Part of the fun of having your own business is the "treasure hunt."  I love looking for gems that are overlooked.  Now I know I am fairly new at this and cannot get to the sales before everyone else sometimes so I have decided to delight in finding the "overlooked" wonders.

The amazing thing about selling on eBay is that it is accessible to the world.  You never know what someone is looking for.

When I am shopping I've learned to look for a few distinct things:

  1. Is there a name?  Is it signed.
  2. Is there a size or other pertinent information on the item.
  3. Is it broken? Does it have spots?
  4. Can I ship it easily?
  5. Will the shipping take too much from the profit?
  6. Can I make 9 to 10 times the cost?
  7. Am I excited about it?
Now I know the last one is very subjective but I want to sell things that I like.  I know that may not be the best route but for now it's the one I'm on.  

Number 6 is a key question:  Can I make 9-10 times the cost?  
I aim for ten but settle for double occasionally.  Currently I tend to sell smaller items so the profit margin is smaller.  I have to factor in the time I spent finding the item, photographing and listing the item, as well as packing it up into the price.  If I pay a dollar I want to charge nine to ten dollars to make it worth my while.  Sometimes though something is just too cool and I have to post it because of the enjoyment and other times I am trying to sell something I have had for a long time and I just want it to find a new home.

Please like Lowery's Loft on Facebook.



Monday, May 19, 2014

Growing a Customer Base

This last week I have devoted countless hours to web reading trying to discover how to build traffic to my website.

I've looked into stumbleupon, digg, trafficswarm, Facebook, Google + communities, Pinterest, & more.  I wish I could crack the code to exponential growth.

Perhaps that is reserved for startups with a fantastically original product.

My store celebrates unique items.  I tend to focus on jewelry and collectibles but like to add other "fun" items.  I've considered changing my strategy but this store is something I enjoy right now and I want my customers to enjoy it too.  I do not want to sell items that I am not interested in.  Perhaps that is poor judgement... Only time will tell.

This Saturday, I worked the local Flea Market.  I brought a lot of my teacher "stuff" to sell and items to declutter my house.  In a smaller corner of the table I had some of the collectible type items I like to list.  Anyone who seemed interested in those items, I handed out a business card.

Handing out business cards is new.  Is there an etiquette to this?  It is yet another area I plan on researching.  Everything is new.  Everything is exciting.  Everything kind of feels like being caught in a rip current where you don't know if you will make it back to shore or drown.

Any advice is always welcome.  I will share as I learn which will hopefully help others succeed like me or learn from my mistakes.

Here's to adventure!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Special Promotion Going on Right Now-See Below

This week my eBay hobby officially became a business.  Lowery's Loft is an LLC!

It is an exciting, yet somewhat nerve-wracking, time.

Starting a small business is a leap of faith.  As a former teacher, preparation is key yet there is a HUGE learning curve.   Like anyone who takes a risk, there is HOPE.  Whenever I start doubting myself I keep repeating in my head "Without risk there is no reward" and "Give it your best try and live with no regrets."

I am reading as much as I can about successful businesses, tips and tricks for gaining more traffic, to my store, and just the "how to's" of everything.

The "How to's" is what led to this post.  In eBay's Manage my Store page, there is a new option for creating a special promotions.  In the marketing tools section, it is under item promotion.  I had to give it a try by clicking on manage promotions.

In an attempt to build a repeat customer base, I want to reward my customers so I am exploring options on how to do that.  This tool allows sellers to create coupons (in a link form) that can be added to websites and social marketing sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Right now you can get $5.00 off every $50.00 you spend but you have to follow this link.  CLICK HERE.  This is only good through May 22, 2014.

My eBay Seller ID has Changed...

 GroovyEducator is now LowerysLoftLLC

If you are looking for me on eBay and want to do a seller search, I am no longer GroovyEducator.

You can type it as LowerysLoftLLC or lowerysloftllc.

I don't plan on changing it again but if I wanted to I would have to wait 30 days.  By making everything Lowery's Loft, I thought it would be less confusing.  I will still be Groovy Educator on TpT and on my education blog.

I am slowing transitioning and trying to grow this business.  Any advice is welcome.  :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

www.LowerysLoft.com


I'm so excited!  Lowery's Loft has a new home - www.LowerysLoft.com.

It has a link to my eBay store and a link to my blog.  It also has a link to my Groovy Educator blog.
I still plan on blogging.  It feels great to finally hit the ground running.  Working from home can be a challenge in that it's easy to get off schedule.  I am tweaking my "home" work schedule and have even purchased business cards.

My DBA (doing business as) paperwork has been filled out and, and, and...It's just exciting!
As always feedback is welcome.  This is an ever evolving process with loads to learn.  That's why I love it so much!

Friday, April 11, 2014

List, List, and List some More...

Well,

I cannot believe how much time has passed since my last post.  Where does the time go?  Really...

It has been a tumultuous month.  My dearest Dad died at the end of March and I am still reeling from the loss.  He was my eBay mentor and biggest supporter.  He believed strongly that I can make a living off eBay.

Right now I am praying he is right.  Tomorrow is the deadline for letting my school district know that I will not be returning next year.

I have been on a leave of absence since the end of November due to my Fibromyalgia (not contagious- just a pain disorder that I am learning to live with).  I have been blessed with short term disability and thought that I would have that through the end of May.  Surprise!  Nope!  It unexpectedly ended and for the first time in my life I do not have the security blanket of a steady check.

Aside from loving to teach children how to read, I loved the security of the job.

Change is so hard.  Life is unpredictable.  In my Dad's honor I am going to give my all at eBay and hope for the best.  Right now I am growing my store.  If you have any suggestions on how to spread the word about my eBay store I am open to suggestions.

I am giving myself until June to see if this can be a sole source of income.  If not, then I promised my husband I would get another job to make ends meet.  I love him so much.  He supports me in this endeavor.  It's just so scary to be so financially tight.  We can do it!

Without risk there is no reward...at least that is how the saying goes.  I just can't give up yet.  I need to try to succeed at this or I will regret it for the rest of my life.

I've managed to get over 780 listings.  I am trying to reach the magic number 900 so I can ask eBay for an increase.  Once a month you can ask for increases.  My goal is to reach at least 2000 listings.  Ideally I want to net a couple of hundred dollars in sales a day.  That would be selling 20 ten dollar items.

So far with the increase in listings, I have not seen an increase in sales.  Hopefully this is only due to the fact that Tax Day is looming.

It is way late and I am rambling.  If you have any expertise in this area, I am open to suggestions.

I am chasing the dream ... on a wing and a prayer... (okay enough cliches for tonight).


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Listing Signed Necklaces on eBay


 Miriam Haskell is a fabulous designer.  She created a very versatile 52" necklace.  It can be layered as pictured.  You could even add a fancy brooch to upcycle the piece.  If you ever run across a Miriam Haskell piece hang on to it because they are harder to find and more costly.

Whenever I am shopping for items to sell, I look for tags on the necklaces because that is often a signed piece.  Signed pieces are easier to describe and sell because often there are people that like a particular designer.

 If the signature is not on the tag is will usually be found near the clasp on or the clasp if it is a signed piece.  When it is in one of these spots it is often super tiny so you need a magnifier.


I found a "loop" in the coin section at the bookstore.  It is a 16x powerful magnifier that folds up.  When I worked the flea market, I learned about these type of magnifiers because a male shopper had one hanging from a lanyard around his neck.  He used it to inspect the pieces that he purchased.

 I try not to think of the pieces I may have underpriced and still underprice due to my lack of knowledge.  I focus on each aspect of this journey as a new learning experience. 


When photographing a necklace, try not to overlook the clasp.  It can be an indicator of the age of the piece.  A person who is a an avid jewelry collector will look for these type of details.  Others will have a better idea of what they are purchasing so the outcome is often favorable. Close ups of the piece are essential for indicating more subtle details that cannot be noted in the average picture.
                                                                       

Right now I am focusing on learning how to list items as accurately and efficiently as possible.  I plan to have a notebook on my desk just to jot down these ponderings so that I can research them in my spare time.  I can't express how exciting it is to learn a whole new "area."  I have focused so much of my time on classroom best practices when I was teaching that I missed out on learning about this type of topic.  I really appreciate the layers of knowledge that are required in learning about jewelry.  Aside from types of clasps, types of beads, types of chains, types of gems, types of metal, etc...There are also oodles of designers to learn about and what influenced those designers,  AND there is all the historical periods.  Oh my it is overwhelming.  That is why I want to share, share, these tidbits as I learn them. 







It's time to "Tweet" for Business - Learning to Use Twitter to Grow Your Business

I have been a "pin-a-holic" on Pinterest in an attempt to grow my business.  It is a platform I that I have felt very comfortable with from the beginning.  Perhaps it is the structure and organization...Twitter on the other hand not so much.

That is about to change.  I am resolving to focus more of my energies on Twitter.  It seems so random with tweets - small snippets of information.  That can be a good thing. 

The eBay mobile app makes it very easy to share your postings in the most popular social networking arenas (Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter in no particular order).  All you have to do is click on share your listing after it posted and then select which social network you want to share it with.  It's that simple.  With a couple more clicks you can share to all three!

I have been religious with Pinterest and somewhat on Facebook.  I hesitate with Facebook because it shares to my personal page and not my business page.  I do not want to barrage my family and friends with numerous postings.  Twitter, I've avoided because it can get overwhelming trying to learn too many new things at once. 

It's time to "Tweet" to grow my business.  The question is how to grow followers.  Customers that are interested in purchasing from my store.  When I make a sale on eBay, I've been including an information sheet that includes my return policy and main website www.GroovyEducator.com that links up to my blogs and eBay store but I have not really been pushing the social media.

What made me want to spend more emphasis on this is silly really but on an episode of American Idol there was mention how important social media is.  I hope I didn't lose you yet!  Well that planted the seed.  Tonight when I was visiting eBay's seller information center, there is was again-mention on utilizing social media.  You can follow @ebayforbusiness to learn more from eBay!  How neat is that.
If you are interested in following me, here is the info: @GroovyEducator

I will work on tweeting new items in my eBay store as well as products in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  I have been focusing so much on eBay lately that my TpT products have been pretty stagnant.   It's hard to balance it all because I have so many interests.  In time I will work on tweeting when I have a new blog post.

To get started I am just going to tweet away and hope that more followers find me.  The theory is that people only want to follow someone worth following...At least that is what I am guessing. As I learn more I will be sure to share more. 

If you have knowledge in any of these areas and would like to share/comment, I would love that.  It would accelerate the learning curve substantially. 

From being a teacher for many years I have learned that sharing sessions with colleagues is often the most effective professional development. There's even a term for that now:  Learning Communities.

Okay, it is late, late, late and I am beginning to ramble...

Here's to "Tweet" dreams!  (cheesy play on words I know...)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Overcoming Self Doubt

When I wrote the last post, I was over the moon at achieving top rated power seller.  Now I am full of self doubt because I keep questioning whether or not I can make this my livelihood.  I've been a teacher for years because I love the children and I loved the stability.  Now I have my own child that I want to be there for. It has been a challenge finding balance with being the kind of teacher I want to be and the kind of involved mom I want to be, especially now that I have fibromyalgia.  For years I've lived paycheck to paycheck and fear that may always be so.

With eBay I love the idea that the earning potential is limitless!  BUT...How is that achieved?  I am trying to grow my store and will continue to do so.  I just hope my vision is realistic.  I want to have my own business with every fiber of my being but at the same time I want to be economically free,  not fearful if there will be enough to cover the bills.  If you read this and are a successful seller or know someone who is...

Can you please leave a comment and assure me it is possible?

I probably shouldn't write this post and admit to this self doubt but I'm human and I do doubt myself from time to time.  I am as much of a realist as I am an idealist.  I have my baby girl and my husband to consider. 

Tomorrow I will wake up rearing to go again.  I will visualize a successful business and continue to do my very best to learn, grow, and sell.  

When I was a second grade teacher, I made a bulletin board with DREAM, BELIEVE, BECOME written in clouds that hung next to the bright sun (symbolizing success) and above our classroom tree (symbolizing growth).  It was always important to me to encourage the children to be self motivated.

Now I need to heed my own advice.
DREAM, BELIEVE, BECOME
Picture courtesy of www.mycutegraphics.com

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Top Rated Power Seller on eBay!


If you read the headline you may understand why I took a short break from blogging.  I have dug my heels in the sand and focused on sell, sell, selling on eBay.  It has been an extraordinary adventure thus far and I am sure it will continue to be one. 

An educator at heart, I love learning. It has been a balancing act trying to study, read, and list as much as I can while being the best mom I can be to my "almost" two year old daughter.  Now that doesn't sound like too much of a balancing act but you have to factor in my recent diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.  It has changed my world...

A Little Personal History...  (Feel free to skip this part.)

This would have been my fourteenth year as an elementary school teacher.  I love teaching!  In November I had to take a leave of absence because I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  I have always been one of those annoying overachiever type people who have to do everything 110%.  With fibromyalgia, there is a lot of pain.  If you have ever suffered from chronic pain or even had the flu, you know that it's impossible to stay full steam ahead. (Can you tell I like cliches?)

My body hurt SO bad all day long.  Stress aggravates the symptoms.  Because I was so sore, I had a hard time focusing after school on paperwork so it took longer.  I found that I was COMPLETELY out of steam by the time I got home.  There was no time to recharge because my sweet dear daughter was waiting for me when I got home and I had to be mom for her.

To make a long story short I had to go on a leave of absence while I figured out what to do.  I've had a gazillion appointments with different doctors and specialists.  I recently got a second opinion and the result is the same....So in an effort to find a more stress free life where I can pace myself, I turned to eBay.  It is my dream to make this my livelihood so if you have any suggestions or advice I am open.

Becoming a Power Seller

Slow and steady seems to be the best way to start.  In education Harry Wong, the author of the First Days of School, emphasizes the importance of starting the year slow by thoroughly teaching the rules and routines in a way which there is a firm understanding.  There is a lot of review.  That is how I approached eBay.  In the beginning I did a lot of research on eBay success stories.  I mostly read articles I Googled and listened to sellers on Youtube.  I listed a few items making sure that I was very honest in describing their condition.  I later chose to take a lot of pictures as the majority of my description. 

After some time I was a little frustrated in that I was listing more and was limited by selling limits.  In retrospect, eBay's selling limits are VERY practical.  They afforded me time to craft my packing technique, create a schedule (still struggling with this somewhat), and figure out pricing (still learning here too).

Each month I worked on reaching my selling limit and then requested an increase. 

Let me go back and say I did not begin with a store.  After about a month I opened Lowery's Loft at the basic level.  I subscribed to the monthly rate as I wanted the freedom to move up to the next level.  When I finally reached my 300th listing, I moved up to the $59.99 a month store.  I rarely sign up for yearly subscriptions so I am paying the month to month rate.  I like the freedom of moving up and down as I see fit.

This week I reached my 400th listing and achieved Top Seller status.  I hope to keep it by continuing to think like a buyer.  Oh I forgot to mention when I started out I bought several items off eBay and analyzed the seller.  From a buyer's perspective, I took note of the packaging, correspondence, and overall impression of the seller.  I took many mental notes and applied what I consider to be best practices.

In my classroom my number one rule was "Treat others the way you want to be treated."  That applies to eBay.  From my perspective that is the road to becoming a Top Rated Power Seller!

There is so much to say.  This is a brief overview.




Thursday, January 16, 2014

What is Stanhope Jewelry?

Last night I was listing watches and jewelry on eBay.  As I list, I research the item to find a starting bid price.  One of the last pieces was this beautiful heart shaped necklace.

I did not see a signature and went ahead and started taking pictures.  As I was ready to write a description or note any flaws, I noticed the center stone looked different.  At first I thought it was broken where a rhinestone fell off.  In order to see it better I moved it closer to the light and VOILA! Inside the center of the heart is a mini magnifier stone that has the Lord's Prayer printed on it.  It also said Made in France.  I was shocked.  Tucked in the heart of the heart is a prayer.

So now I realize that I have this unique piece of jewelry without the vocabulary to describe it...  After several attempts at google searches and eBay searches the word Stanhope pops up.  Apparently this type of item was fairly popular some time ago.

Here is a link that gives more history about the term "Stanhope":  Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pinterest Power-Have YOU Harnessed it?

Okay, I had a crazy idea today.  Instead of simply pinning to the Pinterest board I had already created (My eBay Store - Lowery's Loft), I decided to create several different boards based on they types of items I am selling.  That way people can follow the board they are interested in and have less pins to sift through. 

Right now these are the boards: 
Women's Apparel
Men's Apparel
Entertainment Memorabilia
History
Collectibles
Bears, Dolls, & Toys
Lots,Lots, Lots
Unsigned Jewelry
Signed Jewelry
It's a Bling Thing (rhinestone jewelry).

Can you believe I pinned just about every item from my eBay store to one of these categories?  I was
"pin happy."

I'm hoping to gain followers on Pinterest and Facebook for Lowery's Loft.  If you have any advice on how to grow a business I have OPEN ears and an Open Mind.






My Amazon Store

Please visit my Amazon Store for essential teaching resources, great read alouds, and children's books.

Here also some music I just love from the TV show Nashville.



There was an error in this gadget