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Find Great Stuff

Art Collectibles Reflections by Kathy and Bill Lair

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Ebay Killed My Life Style

May 20th, 2008 · No Comments · Ebay, FleaMarket

During the 80”s and 90”s my wife and I would shop for collectibles all week, go to a flea market on Sunday to sell, and we made a comfortable living. Things started to change in the late 90”s. We started to hear a murmur about selling antiques and collectibles on the internet. In 1991 I bought my first new computer, a Mac Classic II. Up until then I was buying used Commodores , Amigas, and Apple IIs. I had little luck getting these garage sale castoffs to work. I justified the expense of this new computer as being a great tool to inventory our finds. Before the computer, Kathy kept our inventory on stenographer”s pads. I was having trouble remembering how much I paid for things after a couple of weeks… two years ago was impossible. Thank you ClarisWorks. In the early 90”s we felt more in control of our business. After Sunday sales we could add our list of sales and subtract the purchase price with our new database…cool. With this computer I could also use my telephone line to connect to the world wide web…far-out. So I joined America On Line, learned how to hand code HTML, built a website, set up an internet store and waited and waited for a sale. Sales were few and far between. I wasn”t going to pay for my new computer in a year after all. Fortunately the buying was still good and the selling was getting stronger. Customers were beginning to ask me computer questions. It seems I had developed a coffee clutch at the flea-market with a fellow Mac enthusiast. We were often doing computer speak. Some of the new found sales were to new faces. These new faces weren”t dealers I knew who did the big New York shows. Where were they selling? Yes, I had heard of eBay, but I KNEW internet sales were difficult. After all, I had worked very hard in building an internet sales site. Used some guerilla marketing by having an ugly lamp competition with prizes (T-shirt with winning lamp)… my site got so popular that I had to pay extra for bandwidth use. I knew the internet and marketing. I was computer literate. I wasn”t going to go to eBay and join the dilettante naive seller who didn”t have the years of experience and the large library of books that I had. It”s just a phase. Sunday sales were still strong, but It was getting harder to find enough new things in a week to keep those steady buyers (dealers) happy. By January 1, 1998, we bite the bullet and join ebay. We were now selling only twice a month, couldn”t find enough great stuff to support more sales days. Our life style was in transformation.

Bill”s words

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