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Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Chill of Winter Retail

Ok - Christmas is over and we're all getting into the swing of a work routine again. Not listed much over the festive season. As soon as it was over though the first thing I wanted to do was go stock hunting. Winter is a dull month for most retailers. I suppose Christmas has its advantages for some shops but for me it's a hard time. Can't find my stock as no car boots or flea markets. At the moment I'm totally relying on visiting Antique Fairs. Just been to one in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. I spent about £100 which for me is an average amount. I always get quite excited when I'm buying stock cos I get to buy the things I like, which is quite fun. I'll try to find a fair every 2-3 weeks. I attend the odd indoor car boot where I will pick up mostly my vintage style ladies clothing.

As an update to this blog, whereby I intended to discuss the ups and downs as they happen, I would say my website shop is not doing so good. No matter how much I try to do as the experts inform me I should be doing, it just doesn't seem to be getting the sales. Ebay is still my main income source but their very strict rules are proving difficult to abide by. I am a very customer focused kind of seller, after years of being in public services, but am experiencing difficulties with ebay (see earlier blog). To be honest I think I may have been the victim of some unscrupulous opposition who has purchased something from me thus allowing them to leave terrible feedback. It is only one person but you really aren't allowed many hiccups as an ebay seller.

Whilst discussing ebay I must tell you of another recent experience whereby they banned a listing of mine for a cake knife. I didn't mind them taking the listing off but I also received a penalty of having breached their rules and you are not allowed many of these either. Incidentally I have never knowingly breached their rules. Anyway I messaged them with my astonished reaction as they have many cake knives still listed so why pick on mine. Turns out it was done in error and I can now re-list the cake knife so long as I don't call it a 'cake' knife - oh the mind boggles. I also had my penalty point reinstated. So my point here is that it is worth enquiring about, if you do have this sort of experience yourself.

So, we're all awaiting the arrival of 2012 - a time when every business thinks - this WILL be a good year. Overall my income is increasing with ebay sales so I'll keep on trucking - for now anyway.  Speak to you all in the New Year.

Monday, 12 December 2011

My latest techy developments

whey hey - how cool am I !!!! Finally worked out how to open an account on Twitter AND open a business Page on Facebook. However, the finale is yet to come --- I actually managed to connect Twitter to Facebook - how clever am I ??? WHY??? I hear you ask - Because the experts tell me to do these things to get a higher ranking for my website. OH I hear you say - YOU MUST HAVE LOADS OF NEW SALES I hear you say - well, actually no-one reads my Tweets and no-one reads my Facebook page so not exactly sure it's of any use whatsoever.

Mind you I have also, whilst messing around sorting this lot out, managed to join a sort of forum group for likeminded vintage dealers on Facebook whereby, we can put our wares on show on the group page. So it's all techy stuff which can only be a good thing - can't it?

I'm not that excited really but I am trying all the top tips of things I should do to increase my place on the search engine ladders & spiders & bots etc. Don't think any of it is actually doing any good as my viewers haven't increased and my sales remain low.

On the bright side, the hitches I had with ebay, set out earlier in my blogs, seem to have passed over, I think. Ebay sales are doing good - thank goodness. We are receiving some lovely feedback, which makes one feel very good and like all this is really worth it.

Sales on my vintage style clothing is picking up a good pace to make it worth keeping. Sales on vintage style jewellery is happening but still early days so I'll keep it going a bit longer. Haven't done any Christmass advertising - no pennies for that sort of thing.

Anyway, what with Tweeting, Blogging, Facebooking, Ebaying plus my website daily updates, it's a wonder I have time to go to the post office with my orders. I'll try to pop in to my Blog before Xmas again but if not - have a merry one!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Limoge, French Pottery

Added to my web shop 3 Dec this lovely Limoge salad plate. We have 2 of them for sale. Great for Christmas or New Years tableware. visit Cathys Curios for more details.

Mostly I sell English Staffordshire but it's always nice to put on a piece of french Limoge as most pottery from that area produced to a high quality finish. At the end of the 18th century, the substance Kaolin, needed to produce china, was discovered near the town of Limoges, France. Between 1700-1930 there were numerous pottery factories in Limoges city, France that were producing fine porcelain. However, few remain today and often Limoges factories only produced the blank product whilst others would design the patterns. Haviland Limoges tableware was once very popular in USA andthe Pieces & Sets were handed down through generations. More than 50% of porcelain in France, comes from Limoges.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Bad News on the Ebay Front Line

I promised I would give progress of my ups & downs so today I'm chatting about an ongoing problem for a lot of sellers on ebay. After a few years of being Top Seller we have all of a sudden started to receive some bad ratings. One I know of was for postage by someone who wasn't happy that he received his parcel on day 3 instead of day 2. Ok, a little petty of him but there's nothing a seller can do about this. The rest of his feedback was good. Then shortly after this, we received another rating of 2 (out of 5) for postage, but have absolutely no idea why. We couldn't think of any parcels that had gone out late. Again we could do nothing about it as we didn't even know which of our customers was so unhappy. Then we had a great shock that one of our customers left us a rating of 1 for everything, yet still left a positive comment in the feedback. Again we have no idea who it is so we cannot contact them to recftify the problems. We can think of no-one who we have had 'Bad Communication' with yet this category was rated as 1.

All very frustrating for the innocent seller who hasn't a clue what they have done wrong. I post this on my blog because this blog is about the ups and downs of my business life. It's hopefully going to summarise if I grow or if I fall. Sales have been down for a few days, which is always worrying for any retailer. Strangely they can just as suddenly increase. It's a bit like the slow moving traffic jam, and once you get to the end there appears to be no problems whatsoever to have caused the snail pace. It's the same with online sales, you don't know why sales just suddenly dropped off or suddenly come all at once, all with no apparent reasoning to it.

I'll keep my blog updated on how serious this low rating effects us. Not sure what happens as we have never had any low ratings before now.



Friday, 25 November 2011


These beautiful chunky earrings are listed on my web site under the category of vintage style jewellery. Whilst all my selected pieces are actually modern, unworn and brand new, each piece will have a vintage or antique style. This keeps to the theme of my vintage shop. None of the jewellery is expensive ie real gold or silver, as it is only costume jewellery. I have managed to find myself a good supplier that sells at a reasonable cost but also, I feel, sells quality cheaper jewellery that looks and feels nice.
 
When I first listed jewellery I decided not to buy any stock but to just list the goods from a drop shipping company. This meant if it didn'e take off, then I wouldn't loose out and be left with unsold goods. I soon got my fingers burnt with my very first order from a dropshipping company. They took the payment, and processed the order, only to inform me 2 days later that the item was out of stock. Thus resulting in an unhappy customer for me when I had to refund their money and disappoint them with an 'out of stock' email. I literally DROPPED all my dropshipping and put it down to a bad experience. I then surfed the net for a good wholesaler. I was nearly tempted with one in China but it just didn't feel right. So much could go wrong again with all that distance. Plus most wholesalers will only sell to you with a minimum order of £60-£100. So it took a while and I nearly gave up but eventually I found one in England with a lower minimum order band and I'm now happily selling their products that suit my market. I've chosen these particular earrings to display for this blog chat because they were my first jewellery sale. 
 
On another note, I celebrated my best financial week this tax year, a few weeks ago. But guess what, it's all been down hill since that week. So next time I have a good week I will not be getting so excited. It just makes up for the poorer weeks. However, so far this year each month has increased on its equivelant of last year. 
 
On another note, I'm going to have a moan about ebay, well we're allowed - ok! Just received a rating of 2 for my postage from an annonnymous customer and I can't think for the life of me when I sent anything out late in that last couple of months. Afraid it's out of my hands so no point complaining but it just goes to show, some people are just out to be unhappy souls. My customers really are important to me but the way ebay works, you can't always know what your customers are unhappy about if they choose not to contact you directly and just fill in the feedback form. Of course I love it when I get good feedback, which fortunately is most of the time, but bad feedback makes you feel bad. Knowing someone out there is unhappy with your services and not knowing why. Just one of the many drawbacks of being an ebay seller. I've already recieved one rating of 2 because it took 3 days for a parcel to arrive on someones doorstep instead of the promised 2. I understand if I receive any more 2s I will loose my status that I've spent 2.5 yrs building up by posting out over a thousand parcels successfully. I'll keep you updated. If you've had a similar experience I would love to hear from you.


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Vintage Style Ladies Clothing

I added this item on 16 Nov, 11. Sometimes my clothing is brand new and will still have original tags attached. Sometimes they are slightly used, but always in excellent condition. Whatever the condition I will give a full description of it in the listing. I also try to look for top name brands that my customers will recognise as well made. This little red number I chose because of the low waistline and tiered skirt. It has a bit of the twenties, charleston look about it.

I titled the category vintage 'style' so that customers will not think they are actually vintage items. As a female I thoroughly enjoy searching for stock for this category (not that a male wouldn't) but it's just a refreshing change to the usual ceramics I'm normally on the look out for. So if you fancy a perusal of my ladies vintage style clothing then log in to my website www.cathys-curios.co.uk I'll add a piece of my vintage 'style' jewelry next time, All my jewelry at the moment is brand new and only vintage 'style' and would make great christmas pressies. Anyway, next time. cathy v

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

my very first picture on my very first blog


Ok - I know I've already posted a blog item today - but this is a bonus - whehey I managed to add a piccy!!! This lovely item is the latest addition to my shop. A large breakfast cup & saucer duo produced by Portmeirion, English Staffordshire Pottery. There are a few Collectors out there seeking Portmeirion but, unless it's a special item, they don't reap much in the way of profit. However, we can't afford to have our shop full of instant money makers to we add a variety of Collectable vintage items.

PORTMEIRION - BRIEF HISTORY - January 1st a designer named Susan William-Ellis & her husband take over Grays Pottery. In 1961 they also take over another potters Kirkhams Ltd. Janary 1st 1962 the company is renamed Portmeirion Pottery Ltd. The business continues to expad with such names as 'Magic City' & 'Botanic Garden' ranges. 1977 experienced a fire at the pottery. The 1960s saw the backstamp as reading '"PORTMEIRION DESIGNED BY SUSAN WILLIAMS-ELLIS MADE IN ENGLAND". 1970s backstamp started to include "DISHWASHER PROOF" and "FREEZER AND MICROWAVE SAFE". The 1980s saw new ranges such as 'Pomona' and 'Romantic Shape' and also a British Heritage collection. 1980s sees the business floating on 'the market' thus becoming Portmeirion Potteries Holdings (PLC) which goes on to purchase Sylvac potteries. 1990s sees the introduction of china. A fantastic source of information on history and backstamps, can be found at http://www.thepotteries.org/allpotters/817a.htm

Why Vintage???

Well - why did I decide to sell vintage items in the first place? I certainly don't and never had enough money to have ever been a Collector of anything let alone furnish my home with beautiful antiques. Infact prior to this business I was a cafe owner. But ... I always liked olde worlde things. I'm the sort of person who would purchase an old house as opposed to a modern new build. Character I think is the key word. For some facinating reason old things just seem to have a character and new things just seem dull. An expensive shiny, posh new Royal Doulton dinner service just wouldn't have the same feel as a vintage or antique one. I would be imagining who had eaten off the older plate. Thinking about its previous owners. Silly things like that. Basically I have respect for old things because they've managed to survive however long.

Now I'm going to contradict all the first paragraph and tell you that although I've started to sell vintage style clothing and jewellery - these items only have a vintage look - they are actually new. My ceramics are my main domain of olde worlde. No way would I ever want to sell modern ceramics. I find it quite a challenge to seek vintage type dresses and vintage type jewellery. Maybe as I get richer - oh how I wish - I might afford to purchase real vintage jewellery that some aristocratic lady has adorned around her personage. For now however, it's all modern stuff with vintage look about it. I'm really enjoying my 2 new lines of clothing and jewellery. Because it's not just your normal bog standard clothing so it's quite challenging rummaging around for articles. The jewellery, though I hate to confess, is purchased from a wholesale manufacturer - - - oh those words sound sooooo modern 'wholesale' & 'manufacturer'. Well, at the end of the day I'm just an ordinary business woman who has to find her stock the most efficient way I can.

So - now you know I not only love rummaging around in the dust but I also love anything old and dusty. Which leads me on to the subject matter of my business. I'm hoping to teach myself how to put photos of my stock on this blog. However, patience is needed for all you young and fast people out there. Not that I'm very, very old but this techy thing takes time to sink into my brain cells before I know what to do. So far my blog has been a long labourious rambling of words. So I need colour and piccys. It is a lonely path blog writing cos you wonder if you're actually just talking away to yourself. Perhaps you can pop into my e-shop and send me some comments - good or bad, I welcome all feedback. Back again soon. 

Friday, 28 October 2011

Scrummaging and Rummaging

I love the summer period. This is when I find most of my stock. We do lots of scrummaging and rummaging at the car boots on sundays. It's worth trying to find a car boot that specialises in antiques and vintage items such as the York Races car boot in Yorkshire on a Saturdays. Only problem when they specialise though, is there are a lot of traders selling and their prices are just too high, so I avoid these. Personally I wouldn't sell my wares at a car boot because you only have your passing audience. I prefer to have a worldwide selection of customers as with my e-shops.

It's a good feeling, when you do manage to find a bargain. My best ones have been a pair of laleek earrings purchased for £2 and sold for about £100 and a shaving mug for £1 that sold for about £130. So there are bargains to be had, but few and far between. On neither occassion was I aware I had a bargain, until I got home to appraise the items. Most of the time I pick up old crockery for a few pounds, take it home, clean it, research its history and sell it on acording to its present market value. It's really is good fun walking around a car boot on a lovely sunny day and searching through the dirty, dusty, damp boxes and speaking to sellers about their wares. I don't hide the fact that I'm also a seller but I never get in to a deep debate on antiques. Too many people believe that just because something is old then it is valuable. I hate to say to them well I'm sorry but it's only worth what someone is willing to pay and that will all depend on its popularity and of course condition, not just age. Best to play ignorance and just smile at those who think they know all. You will find yourself surrounded by lots of different cultures with many languages chattering away in the background. Varying ages from children screaming at their mums for toys to adults seeking second hand furniture. A proper car boot seller will be out to rid themselves of accumulated unwanted items and are happy to sell on nice n cheap. When you see the same face selling at different car boots, you know they are traders. Most 'punters' are, of course, out to find a bargain and pick up their own individual wanted items cheaply. It's a great feeling getting home with achey feet and tired muscles and then looking at all your 'new' stockall laid out on the table and awaiting to be logged and listed into your e-shop. I love it. All that lovely research to be done.

As winter approaches and the car boots fade away, we start to look for indoor car boots but they are few and far between in the North, so we visit some local antique fairs.  Expect to pay more for items at the fairs as these are the real traders, hoping to sell to collectors. Some traders are understanding and once they realise you are another seller, they will give you a good deal, especially if you buy lots of items from them. Also you don't have to look as hard but its still worth rummaging around. It I look at an item on a stall and notice their prices are high, I just move on and don't bother to haggle. Some traders just won't budge on thier prices. I don't have a problem with this, we're all in the same game at the end of the day and how they sell is their choice. I think I have more fun though.

Very occassionally I buy from ebay, especially if its local and I can go pick up. Mainly I will seek out the local fairs from November to March. I also get a few calls from private sellers who have picked up my number or email from my e-shop. I don't usually take these sales up unless it's a local one. Heavy postage takes a toll on my profit and usually these types of sellers are looking for top prices that they just won't get from another seller.

Finally there are the auctions. When I first started with these they gave me quite a buzz. But they really are costly. You will not get a plate for £1, you would probably have to buy a whole box of mixed & matched pottery for £20 and not have a clue what you have until you get home. Unless you have hours to spare to go view the auction items the day before. I quite like it when the 'battle is on' and we're all sticking our hands up with our offers for our chosen bids. All too often though I go over what I mean to spend and far too often I get home to find my items damaged. Auctions aren't too bothered about letting the buyer know each and every nibble and crack. It's a good day out though if you have at least £100 to spare. Don't go dressed up, this is another dirty, dusty place with dirty dusty treasures awaiting.

So, I'm now preparing for my Winter season. To help me get through I've diversed a bit from just crockery and now sell vintage-style ladies clothes. I'm actually enjoying this new line as I do specialise in a particular style but we do seem to be profiting at from it thus far. Hopefully by the end of the Tax Year I will see my profits up so I can go on to run another year in the world of antiques and vintage collectables.

Not sure what I'll discuss in my next bulletin. I'll read over what I've already covered and see what I've missed. Would love to hear from like-minded people on this subject if you have any comments, they are very welcome.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Running an ebay shop

Well I've been at it now for approx 2.5 yrs so I can't remember the hitches of when I first started. It didn't take me long to realise that listing with the auction method at 99p (for free) just wasn't worth the time and effort. Hence I soon dropped auctions altogether and just listed with 'buy it now' or 'make me an offer'. This means I am able to put the least offer I will accept and leave the automatic system to run itself. Any silly offers just get automatically rejected without my even knowing, unless I go into the settings to check.

I said to myself that when I reached 30 listings I would get a shop and that's when I got my first cheaper shop for around £15 a month. This is a good one to run with if you don't do this for a living. Even though each listing is cheaper with a shop, it's not worth investing in until you have a fair bit of stock. You still have to pay a fee per listing so if you add that to your monthly shop fee and divide between how many items you have, you'll soon see it only becomes profitable with a fair bit of stock. When I reached a target of approx 100 listings I promoted to the next shop of £50 per month. I felt this was a huge commitment but I have never looked back.

I run with around 400 items. I wish I had time to put on more but that's anther story. My target is that each month should be a bigger profit than its counterpart on the previous year. Bingo, I'm reaching this continually. It's a slow rise but it's an encouraging one.

The other point I've noticed that the quality of my stock has improved. Again another story really but basically I don't just purchase any only old crockery - I'm slowly learning what sells and what is rubbish. I've also added vintage-style ladies clothing to my categories so I'm expanding aswell.

There are many pitfalls to working with ebay and most sellers continually moan about them - and rightly so sometimes. However, if ebay didn't set high standards then the customers wouldn't have the confidence to shop there so I'm also quite glad of these standards. Basically the customer gives you remarks and points for your service. 99% of customers understand the importance of this method and are honest and helpful. It is, as always in life, the minority of mean people that can spoil the system. It is a constant worry that you will get a very low point for your postage and the fault could quite easily lay with the courier - but there's nothing a seller can do about this excuse. Note I'm not giving great details of each bad experience I've had, I'm trying to speak generally of this because it is one of drawbacks of selling on ebay and can be very, very frustrating. However, my shop has survived thus far. By the way some customers never leave feedback and this is ok too. Not everyone wants to live their lives with 'red tape'.

Fees are another bug bearer of ebay selling. I have 5 different sets of fees for every item I sell. Ebay shop fee, ebay listing fee, ebay final selling fee, paypal basic fee & paypal final selling fee. So you need to be on top of calculating these to ensure you are making a profit. Plus also allowing for packaging costs and the price you paid for your goods initially. All takes time and effort. I keep a lovely boring spreadsheet with all this info so god help me if my computer goes doolally. I also tie this stock info in with my tax accounts so if I were audited, I know all my fees ins and outgoings.

Going on to the tax man - I have no idea at what stage you should declare this as income. I do it as a living so I've always done my tax return. There are sellers on ebay who have thousands of stock and still don't express themselves as a business. Not sure about that one.

I do make a good profit from my shop on ebay but it is a long working day ie from the minute I'm awake until I go to sleep. Of course not continually but at least once an hour I'll be tap-tap-tapping those keyboard keys. If I go on holiday I have to ensure I have internet access. The one time I shut my shop down for a holiday had a big impact on sales. My ebay shop certainly makes a better profit than my 'private' e-shop does. I don't link them together so they do run as different shops.

I also have help running my ebay shop in that someone else takes the photographs of my goods and also does someof the finer technological aspects of the computer side of things. This person is unpaid and does it for love so that does help. Probably only skimmed the surface in this discussion but I'll think of things I've missed and discuss another time.

Next time I have a chat I'll be discussing purchasing of my stock. I would welcome any comments from readers and would love to answer any questions resulting from any of my blogs.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Trying to get the attention of the robots and crawlers

I have visions of  invisible spiders with glasses on and mugs of tea, all reading everybodys blogs and e-shops keywords etc and then arguing it out who to put on the top page. It's a bit like the universe, I simply cannot comprehend what they look like and what really goes on. As I've mentioned previously, I'm not a very good techy person, but what I have done is research what the 'experts' say I should do for my e-shop to enable it to climb the ladder to page one. In reality I don't think that will ever happen but I spend at least an hour a day in my attempt to make my shop noticeable. Anyway, I'll list it as I remember my efforts:-

REVIEWS & CLICKS - First I joined up with a site that promised 30 hits guaranteed every day for my shop. All I had to do was click on 30 sites from their directory and review 5 of them. In return my site would also be reviewed. Fantastic, I thought, That should put my fame up the ladder. Well according to Google Analytics it certainly put my clicks up - but the big but is coming - it played havoc with my bounce rate. What is a bounce rate I hear you ask, well it's something to do with how long customers stay on your site. The longer they stay then the more popular you must be, so the robots and spiders will 'like' you. The average bounce rate needs to be around 30-40 but mine was 60-70. Those wonderful 30 hits were doing just that, hitting my site and bouncing right out again. I didn't look popular, It just made my site look like the visiting customers couldn't wait to leave my shop. So definitely a no go area. Plus some of the sites I was forced to review to get my 5 a day stats completed, were appalling and very time consuming - that is if you were to give a worthy review, which I liked to do. Needless to say, I simply didn't have the time to keep this pretence clicks game going. so I pulled out.

FREE DIRECTORIES - ok so you have lots of admin work to complete every time you join a new one, and I don't mind that so much. But they always want reciprocal link and I simply don't want that many links on my site. Particularly as they always want the best seat on your homepage. Greedy of me I know to only want a one way relationship but they really aren't Free then are they, and shouldn't advertise as such. I go on a few but it does take precious time completing all the details they always seem to ask for. Can't say I'm impressed with this type of PR.

LINK EXCHANGES or 2-way links - I can never work out how this one works as most of us are little sites anyway, so are we doing each other any good by linking to each other. What you must be wary of here is having too many links. I refuse to link up with anyone who has, say over 50 links. Who is going to wade through that lot to find you. Plus I've heard it's not classed as useful if you're connected to too many rubbishy links. So what's a useful link -- obviously first choice is relevant links, shops similar to your own. Then links you yourself might find interesting ie I think I have an e-book link on mine, simply because I like reading a lot. Quality is the main keyword here. So the big-wigs won't link up to us little pea-pods but there are plenty of good little sites out there. I often wonder though what kind of customer is going to ponder over the links pages. I certainly never have done as a customer - other than for my own PR. I've read this is fairly important though I can't say why, cos I'm not a techy, that's my excuse anyway.

FREE SHOPS - I'm not sure what these are called but I have a few smaller shops where I advertise so many goods for free. For example I have one on BT Tradespace. I'm thinking of also putting some stock on Free ads just for the PR. I only do this if I can put a link directly to my main e-shop. I'd say the hardest thing here is ensuring you delete stock from every shop once you have sold it. I've never actually sold anything in any of these freebies but it's another link out there and it's free PR. Warning though, they do take time to keep well organised but I think they are well worth it.

DROP SHIPPING - I got a little adventurous and fancied adding a different category to my shop but couldn't afford a whole new load of stock. So I advertised their goods, using their pictures and descriptions. Sounds ideal but oh no. They change their stock so quickly that when a customer finaly bought one of these said items, the drop shipper was out of stock. Resulting in irate customer for me. I dropped the drop shipping like a ton 'o' bricks. Too unreliable and you really don't have much control stock wise. Could ruin your reputation.

AFFILIATES - With this one supposedly all you need to do is advertise their shop, even if its just a little one-liner but it does have a link to their shop. Then if the customer that linked to them via you, just happens to purchase something from them within a month or so, then you get commission. Where can this go wrong. I set a page just for my Affiliates and titled it 'Recommended shopping sites'. Of course there is no PR in this one, just the hope of a few extra pennies, but not a penny did I earn. So anyway I dropped the affiliates as I didn't see what my site was gaining by having that extra page. After all I already have a mini directory of shops from my 2-way links page.

So - my latest attempt at PR is this BLOG. Have a blog everyone advises. Something to do with the spiders and robots like blogs, so if people read your blog and you have a link to your e-shop and the reader of the blog then presses said link - then bingo - the spiders and robots think your e-shop is QUALITY and will up you up the ladder.

So - if you understand any of that then please contact me and let me know what I'm talking about. Seriously, I would love any one with the know to tell me how I can get friendly with the spiders and robots. You will, of course, have to tell me in lay mans terms as I'm still on the 'idiots guide'.

So my next 'issue' I think I'll tell you what I think of having an ebay shop - which incidentally is a different shop to my e-shop cathys curios. Also which, incidentally, is where I make the most of my money from.









Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Creating an independant online shop

Don't let anyone try to convince you that running an online business is a doddle - it  is definitely hard work on the brain. Actually I do cheat, I get the hubby to help me with 'techy' bits. However, I have done the creation and mainentance of stock additions all by myself. AND I say that with great pride. My IT skills are pretty good other than techy bits - you know the internal machinations that only males seem to understand.

Ok - I went for the cheapest online shop package I could = £6 per month and paid for a domain name (about £10 for 2yrs) thus keeping initial outlay to a minimum, just incase I was rubbish at it. In all honesty it is a constant ongoing organic creation - just as a bricks and mortar shop would be. Plus, I have created other miniature shops that are free and link to my main online shop. The freebies usually allow you to have between 10-30 items for sale. I have to ensure that if an item sells in any one of my shops, that I also delete from the other shops. Too much hassle I hear you say - But it's all free advertising.

Anyway, It's taken me a couple of years to get my main shop up to the professional standards expected with all the key words and quality links etc. I pick up bits of free advice (as there are a lot of people out there giving it) on how to make your e-shop climb the ladder with google and get more hits.So in my next blog, which will hopefully be very soon (time allowing), I'm going to tell you the things I've tried and tested to help my e-shop climb the mountainous ladder of obtaining hits to gain a place on page 1 of google.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A few tips to ebaying

Some people are aghast at the idea of selling on ebay, because they believe it to be too expensive. However, consider the expense of bricks and mortar - Rents can be cheap if your shop is not in the centre of a town or city -  but Business Rates are never cheap. Plus you're only capitvating the 'passer-by'. With an ebay shop the world is your audience.

Anyhow, I started my ebay shop with only 30 items and customers began buying immediately. Don't mis-understand me - it's not an easy ride. Running an ebay store is hard work with high administraive demands. Plus, in my opinion, you have to be a customer friendly kinda person. I have heard of horror stories of both bad customers and sellers but in my own experience, customers are nice, friendly and honest poeple. Yes I've had one or two moaners and been conned ie parcel never turned up so I want my money back type of customer. Honestly that does not happen very often.  Though I do give full refunds and take full responsiblity for my goods whilst in shipping process, but really if customers knew their rights more, they'd realise that they are actually covered from all angles when it comes to laws. So anyway, if you're going to be a seller, be an honest friendly one - not one of those who just wants every penny that can be grabbed.

So, we've established I'm an honest seller and, in my humble opinion, 99.9% of buyers are nice people.

My rules to having a happy ebay shop are:
*Be honest with your listing description - tell people if there is damage - don't hide it
*Believe customers when they say they have a problem and help resolve it - dont ignore them on the hope they will go away.
*Don't moan because the customer has more rights than the seller - that's what gives the customer confidence to buy from ebay
*Don't moan about the fees - if you calculate for every overhead then you will make a profit

okedoke - that's it for now - but as I said before - I will be back and eventually I may even start promoting my stores instead of ranting on.

Try and visit my private e-shop at cathys-curios.co.uk if you can and HAPPY SHOPPING





Sunday, 21 August 2011

New to Blogging

Ok - I'm starting up a blogger as I understand that's the way forward for my online store. Create something chatty and interesting about my shop. But ... what can you say about a shop I ask myself? Hopefully I'll improve at this technique. Sort of talking to myself. Or maybe someone out there will click on me and think 'Oh no ... a newby!' Yep that's what I am at the mo.

So anyway, I hope to talk about how I scrounge around for my little treasures called 'stock'. How I rummage in dusty car boots and wave my arms around in dingy auctions. I think I prefer the nice organised antique fairs cos they specialise in what I'm looking for.

I started a couple of years ago selling vintage tableware and it's just developed from there. I'm slowly becoming an amateur 'antique-ified' person.

Of course I do other things too - like being a wife, a mother - oh and writing a book which I hope to print on the new ebook thingy - obviously will need lots of help sorting that one - that's where gadget husband comes in handy.

Ok enough for now as I haven't decided where this is going yet. I'll be back with more trivia soon when I know what I should actually be saying here. I suppose I'll get on to telling you all about my stock and things like that. catvic