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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 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

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.