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When did you start selling on-line

    • Moderator
    • 181 posts
    July 18, 2015 4:45 AM EDT
    We want to hear your stories, how did you start selling on-line?
    • Moderator
    • 62 posts
    July 27, 2015 12:46 PM EDT

    I started selling online in the summer of 2007 on eBay.  The global company I had worked for had decided to pull out of the U.S. 4 years earlier and after handling the "run-off" business, I decided to take a few months of much needed R & R.  After 40+ years of working, I was ready for a few months of play.  One of my hobbies was collecting old glass like carnival glass, candlewick, Greentown glass and Roseville pottery.  I enjoyed going to auctions, glass shows and antique stores especially with my mother and sister.  However, I had moved to North Carolina in 1999 and they both still lived in Indiana - not fun going on 'glass' hunting trips alone.  So, I started hanging out on my son's computer.  Wasn't too familiar with the internet, but soon discovered eBay.  I came up with the profile name of CAROLINABLUELADY.  Carolina because I live in the Carolinas, Blue because we have the prettiest blue sky in the world and Lady because I really want to be like a sassy southern lady (Scarlett O'Hara) - still working on that last part.  

    It was just so easy to add 'must haves' to my collections.  It wasn't long before I realized that being unemployed and adding to my collections just wasn't going to work.  I decided to start selling on eBay!  Now mind you, I was still using my son's computer and he was starting to get a little irritated with me asking him more and more if he was using his computer and could I use it for awhile.  I decided I'd better buy my own.  I really enjoyed selling on eBay and learning how to run my own 'business.'  There is a lot to selling just isn't listing.  I love the research, I love designing the templates, I love interacting with customers especially when they are really excited to find something that brings back a wonderful memory of theirs.  I've heard some fantastic stories.  I also enjoy talking and sharing ideas with other online sellers........And, I love trying to take that elusive perfect photo.  

    Within a year or so, I decided that I really wanted to have my own store and not be tied to dealing with constant changes.  I wanted to have more control and make my own decisions.  I firmly believe that an owner of any selling platform has the right to run their sites any way they want and charge whatever they feel they need.  I started to look for other options to sell online.  The people behind Auctiva (they are a template provider for eBay sellers) announced that they were going to start an independent seller's hosting platform.  I requested to be included in the beta testing for the start-up site.  A month later I also joined the eCrater's hosting platform.  I have been very happy with both hosting platforms since early 2009.

    I love selling online.  I may not understand a lot of the technical aspect of the internet, but it sure is amazing and a constant learning experience.

    • Moderator
    • 181 posts
    July 27, 2015 4:50 PM EDT

    Very nice CBL.... I have always loved your items. You really do have to be dedicated to vintage and have a real passion for it and it's very clear you do! :)

  • July 29, 2015 7:57 PM EDT

    I started from "oh no - I've got to learn THAT too?  

    Back in 1998 I was a happy store owner.  A super goal in my lifetime - a store of my very own - became a reality in 1994. By 1996 I had moved two more times into the store of my dreams.   And a big store too.  But - soon after opening it became very apparant that  internet selling was a MUST for business survival.  In those days it was all about eBay.   Start of Chapter 1.

    Honestly, not really sure what chapter of the book I'm on now but I know one thing for sure:  antiques/vintage and internet selling are here to stay.  Yes... we live in a global economy.  It is exciting - fast paced - and very rewarding.  I never dreamed some of my "trinkets" could ever end up in a museum in Australia! 

    Selling online has been a joy to me.  As I approach the waning years of my business career, I completely enjoy the worldwide commraderie I 've come to know.  The Vintage Village has been a MAJOR player in that too.

    This post was edited by Barbara Another Time Antiques at July 29, 2015 7:59 PM EDT
  • July 30, 2015 2:57 AM EDT

    Like you Barbara in the 1990s I was also a store owner but could see what was happning and what young people wanted which was a Plasma TV, Leather Suit and a coffee Table and take away food and mugs for Coffee.

    Which meant the following was not going to sell i.e. Cut Glass, Fine Porcelain Tea, Dinner and Coffee sets, Silver Ware and most of the bread and butter lines, so I sold up and at the age of 60 with no knowledge of how to turn a computer on let alone anything else started on Ebay in the good days when there were very few rules.

    I purchased a PC, Desk, Printer, Chair etc for just over £2000.00 and within 6 weeks I had paid for everything and was in profit.

    From knowing nothing I have gone on to advising severl well known companies on how to set up online Stores / Shops, in 2008 after advising British Telecom how best to start I then gave a 25 minute talk to 40 IT, management and Directors on my management experience and online selling on behalf of the then 75,000 members that they had in their first year.

    As I have previously said I do this as a hobby and love doing it, It is getting much harder to find nice quality items at a reasonable price to be able to resell, but having done it for over 26 years I do from time to time get people contact me with unusual things that they want to sell and as long as it is fairly small and I can post it without taking out a mortgage I am happy.

    Well it's 7.52am in the morning and I have just checked my mail and have just received an Etsy order from Brooklyn New York, for a Mother Pearl knife and fork Fruiit set, so I had best go and make a box to send it along with the other 2 Etsy orders from yesterday.

    Have a great day guys.

    Best wishes Ken.

    This post was edited by Ken Antiques et Cetera at July 30, 2015 3:00 AM EDT
  • August 5, 2015 11:01 AM EDT

    We started selling on eBay in 2006. DH comes from a family that has always had stores: his mom had an antique shop, his dad sold collectibles at shows, and he at various times has had a bookstore and a hobby/gaming/head shop. So when we needed extra cash he started listing some of his old hobby-shop stock on eBay, and oh my how they sold!

    Around the time the hobby stuff started to run out and we were scrounging around looking for other things to sell, my mother passed away and I found myself with a lot of very nice costume jewelry that just wasn't my style, and wasn't DD's either. So I decided to turn the pieces I didn't want into cash. We still do some small collectibles (ephemera, vintage toys, small ceramics, advertising novelties) and always have an eye out for anything unusual, but jewelry is our mainstay. I branched out onto Ruby Lane in 2011 and am currently busy trying to set up a Shopify store.

  • August 8, 2015 1:59 PM EDT

    I started selling on eBay in 1998 looking for fair prices.  My mother had started downsizing and we had placed some pieces in a group shop where I already had been renting space for a few years.  We guessed at some prices (she'd been given things as gifts) and when some things got snapped up by other dealers ( who actually asked for further discounts) we realized after doing further research that we had terribly underpriced some things.  Not wanting to keep falling prey to folks we had thought would have helped us, we stopped placing her things there if we weren't positive about prices.

    We went on eBay hoping to at least get a reasonably fair value on pieces we knew little about.  We figured an auction format would work better than our just guessing.  It worked well for a long time, but probably about 10 years ago I quit listing in June, figuring to start up again in September but the prices never came back and the whole thing has gone downhill ever since, at least for what I want out of it. I have kept selling there but nothing like I would have wanted to, because of the increasingly toxic atmosphere. It used to be a great deal of fun selling on eBay but not any more. It will be interesting to see what the new management does, but under Donahoe it seemed as though they were deliberately discouraging small sellers, in favor of the Chinese behemoths that wouldn't be much of a customer service bother to eBay the way small sellers require.

    I found Ruby Lane through the view counter they were offering that would work on eBay and joined Ruby Lane in April 2000.  Over the years it has worked out to be the best fit for me, especially when they stopped charging commissions.  Their records system dovetails perfectly with mine and the purchase order system that has developed over the years works great for me.  It hasn't been the absolutely most user friendly thing but I've managed and have figured out and fine tuned it. I've done very well over the years. My expenses have always run under 10%, averaging around 6% - 7%. It's a little higher now that they have discontinued just about all of the "reduce your shop costs" programs,  hovering around 8% (but still under 10%).  I have to struggle to keep as close to 150 - 200 items as I can in my shop.  



    This post was edited by Jane Time's Treasures LLC at August 8, 2015 2:05 PM EDT
  • September 1, 2015 5:19 PM EDT

    I started selling on line approx. 1 year after eBay made it's appearance on the internet. I think that was in 1997?? Can't even remember now what the exact year was. I loved it from the start even though it was difficult with no photos and having to learn some html, which I have since forgotten. We were connected to the phone lines and very soon people began complaining that they could never reach me. Was I Always on the phone?? lol

    Very soon the photos came along and I quickly realized I couldn't sell anything without a photo. So, my first camera and another new learning experience. My goal was to sell the vintage things our parents left us and our children did not want. I was dumbfounded at the prices I got for those things. Soon I began haunting yard sales and thrift shops for more vintage. I bought books about vintage and went to the library to borrow more. In other words, I had found something I enjoyed, something to learn about and a way to make some money. I honestly think this venture has helped to keep me younger than I would have been had I not found this....and now, I must call it a hobby. I actually do live on a farm and we get very busy in the summer with gardening, canning, haying, and taking care of our herd of Black Angus cows. We recently got help with the farming part because we are not getting any younger and we just can't do it all anymore.

     My husband enjoys going to estate and yard shopping with me. He finds some great buys right along with me. It's great to have another pair of hands and arms at those big sales. And, we are traders at black powder events around our area, so we shop for our traders tent as well. 

    I left eBay long ago for ArtFire and Etsy. I decided I wouldn't sell vintage anymore, but I soon realized that that was a bad idea. I found I really missed all those lovely vintage finds and selling them on line. I still just love it.


  • September 8, 2015 10:53 AM EDT

    My vintage hoarding got the best of me and in 1996 I opened a shared booth with a friend in a local vintage mall. 

    That led to doing shows which I love most. 

    In February 2002 I started to make my own website. I put Antiques in Google at the time and kept coming up. 

    So I opened a shop there instead and was there for 10 years. 

    During that time I ventured into every new mall or site that came along it seems. 

    Back then social connections in vintage was more friendly IMHO. 

    The suggestion about eggs in many baskets was all over the place. I took it seriously. 

    Ebay 2 stores, Epier, Yahoo auctions, Ioffer, Praizebid, Bonanzle, Artfire. 

    Cyberattic store, JosephMarc store, GoAntiques store, Ruby Lane store back in 2008. 

    2 Etsy stores. 

    I had 7 venues at one time before and it was doable but exhausting but the paperwork come income tax got to be way too much.

    I always kept in mind Ruby Lane was my ace up my sleeve if I ever went Exclusive which I did in 2011. 

    This is nearly 14 years selling on the internet. Things have drastically changed. 

    People are spread out everywhere. 

    I am now back selling some in the real world and trying to decide my next move. 

    Personal setbacks and time factors are what is coming to the forefront on my business decisions lately. 

    It has been fun and one thing for sure is I love vintage more than I ever did. 

    With all the repurposing being done I get all nostalgic when I run into real vintage. 

    I get downright misty eyed when I run across real Antiques. 

    I really expect the next 10 years to be the hottest time ever for this field. 

    Young people are very conscious of green living and leaning more that way every day. 

    Once you get hooked for me at least there is no turning back. 

    I am still having fun in this career of mine that found me. 



    I am now at Etsy with 2 shops. 

    One for vintage clothing, accessories, jewelry and sewing item. 

    It is

    My other shop is for everything else. 

    Antiques, Collectibles, Glass, China, Kitsch etc. 

    @oliviaandshae on IG.




    This post was edited by Non Member at August 22, 2016 10:06 AM EDT
    • 30 posts
    February 5, 2016 6:04 PM EST

    HI, All! I started selling in 1999 on Ebay. My first sale was a Kliban Cat Mug.....found it at a garage sale, and my boys said sell it on Ebay! So I tried and it did. My second sale was an antique cast iron bottle opener, that turned out to be a little rare, and I got it for a dime! $62.00 later, I was hooked. I now sell on Ebay, where I have two shops, and also on Etsy. I have tried other venues, and doing a website, but have just settle into the 3 I have now, as well as here!

  • February 9, 2016 12:10 PM EST

    Gizmo, you started on eBay about the same time I did. I left there long ago however. I am far from the power seller you are. Just down to one shop on Etsy now.

    Good for you to have so many active shops.


    • 30 posts
    February 21, 2016 4:29 PM EST

    Sue - Yes, I ventured to ETsy and did well for a long time, BUT, when they changed the definition of the word handmade, and basically quit booting items off that were not vintage, it went downhill from there. It didnt help that I had several deaths in our family, one after the other and I just wasnt listing the way I had been, but, that doesnt seem to be what is causing all the trouble there now. I have been back up and running and listing the way I was before, and am getting virtually NO looks compared to the way it was.  My seo etc is wonderful, and in my stats, search comes up first, so I am doing something right, but still not getting seen. I finally opened a store on Ebay and with it and the power seller rating get some help on the fees, so am thinking about quitting Etsy for good.


    • 2 posts
    August 21, 2016 4:48 PM EDT
    Well...seems like an eternity now. With a lot of persuasion from a friend of mine, a little pushing from her, I started with eBay back in July of 2004. Lil bit of this, lil bit of that, but I generally leaned towards more vintage selling. Had fun with it, learned along the way....still learning, and just kept going with it. The usual of research of items, taking all those pictures and then to edit them, putting listings together, trying to do what you could to be found online with your items, and sometimes it was like a 24/7 job that I really enjoyed!

    At 1 point I felt I needed to do more. So, I slowly ventured from eBay, and found other places along the way etsy, ArtFire, bonanza, and etc. Then, I got into having my own blog, trying to work on my own websites, getting my domains, so on, and etc.

    Along the way I tried to share things with my friend, teach her, help her, and etc. Today she has her own eBay store, her sales keep getting better, and she now understands some things I tried to help her with. She tells me I was ahead of my time with things I tried to show

    Anyway, due to some personal family issues, health, and etc....its been almost 3 years since I have dealt with sales online. Guess what? I miss it, and I am starting to get a lil antsy to get back into the groove of things. It has taken me a long time to get to this point, and have the desire to do things again. But, I am getting more anxious to do things, and working on putting things into place/getting organized again.

    We were in the process of moving into a bigger place again, more private, making plans, getting organized, and unfortunately it is on hold till sometime this next week. The farm might have sold. Urgh!! Hope not so we can continue moving, but we'll see.

    So, once I get through this part I hope to be working back into things again. Working on my blog, working on website again, and doing what I like doing. I have a close friend who is pushing me, she misses me being online doing what I did, and hubby seems to be enjoying watching me getting excited about all of this again too.

    It's a working progress!!

    Times have changed, but vintage is still desirable and appreciated by many. I wish you all well, and much success in your ventures!! I shall be joining you all very soon...crossing my fingers

    Kim ~ LilacNDreams
    This post was edited by LilacsNDreams at August 21, 2016 4:52 PM EDT