Saturday 26th July

The Pulse

Lessons shared

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29
Jun

Earlier this month Paul’s post ‘eBay Learnings’ ended up being a wonderful example of the small business community coming together to provide support, guidance and advice to a business owner in need of it. It really showed the true nature of our readers!  Love Your Work!

We have invited Megan Stones from Envi Fine Accessories to share her thoughts and plans moving forward based on this overwhelming advice.

Oh, and if you’re after some jewellery, check out Envi Fine Accessories!

Naomi :-)

 

Envi bracelet BP 29 6 10_

 

To put it simply – Wow! The online business community is amazing.

Paul shared his successful experience with eBay a few weeks ago, and it prompted me to comment about my failing business, my negative experience with eBay and need to liquidate my existing stock.

Such outpouring of help and knowledge is more than I ever expected from my first initial contact.

 

My situation

Unfortunately my business, selling semi-precious and fashion jewellery, has failed.  The left over stock is moving very slowly.  In fact I still have over $13,000 in stock left over and the associated debt of purchasing this stock. 

After reading Paul’s post suggesting eBay as another option for small business, I wanted to share my experience – that for liquidating stock I have found it very difficult using eBay due to competition from lower quality, lower priced overseas suppliers.

I do agree that for the right products eBay is fantastic. In fact I’ve seen a few great ideas on eBay, however I have lost money due to eBay fees. While I have already tried unsuccessfully with jewellery parties, eBay, email promotions and vouchers and school fetes and small market stalls, I was keen to know about other cost effective options for selling the stock.

I do have some time to spare to sell the left over stock as we haven’t got any immediate debts due for collection now, however I do need to get on top of it.  We’re aiming to at least pay out the stock credit card with the sale of the stock.

 

The advice

I was literally bowled over by the valuable advice that flowed from my initial comment.  My head is swimming with ideas!

To sum up, here’s some of the great advice submitted:

  • Trying auction houses
  • A stall at the Camberwell Market
  • Make the market thirsty for my jewellery!
  • Go back to existing customer base with a special offer that’s too good to refuse.  Offer them the opportunity of passing on special offers to two or more of their friends.
  • Donating some product to charity and claiming the deduction.
  • Going back to eBay and giving it another go, this time starting some pieces at 99 cents and seeing how it goes.   (I had never noticed the starting price of some items!)
  • Putting packs of beads together and selling on Etsy and http://www.madeit.com.au
  • Produce a little PDF book about jewellery or beading that would be a value add.
  • Look at competitors and seek if any are interested in purchasing stock just under cost.
  • A copywriting competition call out to assist with creative copy for selling on eBay (thank you for your generosity Winston!). Using Google Wave to collaborate with copywriters for assistance with some creative prose to describe my jewellery.
  • Using the networks of contacts I make.

This is all fantastic!

I was excited by the idea of a copywriting competition (caper!) for eBay listings, and it’s one I would like to try, but to be honest – for me it’s a bit of a case of once (or five times!) bitten, twice shy when it comes to eBay.

 

Moving forward

So while I need to keep up with monthly bills, I do have a little time available to put together a liquidation plan that will help me get the most out of the stock I have (even if we only break even and just cover the debt, I would like to try for that first before settling for losses).

I look forward to trying out a few of the ideas offered. It is amazing how simple an idea sounds however when you are trying to rack your brains for a solution, often the simplest one eludes you. I guess it’s like what they say – Look at it with a fresh pair of eyes – and that is exactly what all your comments and suggestions have given me. I am currently having a look into some auction houses as well as Camberwell Market (which from what everyone says is a winner for the type of jewellery I stock). I also am keen to keep in touch with the contacts I have made through this experience; I am a true believer that honesty and perseverance in business (and in life) will open doors.

What an overwhelming response I have received from you all, it really is much appreciated. This experience has given me fresh ideas, a new outlook on my situation and a drive to keep going. My husband and I are also discussing our possibilities of going back to eBay and trying out the tricks and tips we have been given. Fingers crossed our future experiences with eBay will be much more positive and that I will be able to come back here and share with you that my faith in eBay has been restored. I look forward to what the future may bring!

 

Thank you

Thank you to all the contributors to this blog, for all the hard work and effort you have put in to helping my business. I truly do appreciate it all. If only I’d known how to access this advice when I was starting up the business!  :-)

Thank you to Paul and Winston for the time you have taken so far in helping to gather people around me and offer their expertise. And thank you for going out of your way for someone you have never met before! The compassion you have shown is amazing!

Everyone has told me to keep my chin up, and I love that. It’s exactly what I’m doing.  And I look forward to updating you all in the following months!

Thank you all for showing me how a community comes together.

If you have any more tips for businesses in a situation similar to my own, please share!

 

Megan Stones, Envi Fine Accessories

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What others are saying

  1. Author

    Naomi from MYOB

    June 29, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Hi Megan,
    Thank you for being so open and sharing your experience and thoughts with us.
    I truly hope the coming months are successful for you!
    Naomi :-)

  2. Author

    Paul Hassing

    June 29, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Thank you for your summary, Megan (and you, Naomi, for your guidance).

    I’m very pleased you had such a good experience in here and that our advice will go some way to resolving your situation.

    I was similarly bowled over when I put the call out to our readers. The way they dropped everything to offer instant, detailed, expert advice was extraordinary.

    So I’d like to personally thank:

    Smiffy, Angela, Adam, Stephen G, Susan, Russell, Joanna, Mike, Debra, Bambi, Winston and Stephen H.

    Your support is humbling. :)

  3. Author

    Naomi from MYOB

    June 29, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Hi Everyone!
    Megan is at her day job today – but is keen to log on tonight and respond to any comments.
    Thank you!
    Naomi :-)

  4. Author

    Naomi from MYOB

    June 29, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Hi Paul,
    You beat me too it! :-)
    I would also like to thank yourself, Smiffy, Angela, Adam, Stephen G, Susan, Russell, Joanna, Mike, Debra, Bambi, Winston and Stephen H.
    You are all fabulous representatives of the business community.
    Thank you,
    Naomi :-)

  5. Author

    Paul Hassing

    June 29, 2010 at 9:54 am

    BTW. I know we’re not going ahead with the eBay copy contest.

    As a writer, however, once I’ve crafted something I can’t leave it unpublished!

    So, just for the record (and a bit of fun) here’s the eBay ad I’d use to sell one of those green beads we spoke about:

    ‘Charm bracelet bead. Sterling Silver + Green Zirconia

    Green is good. Green works. Get your green thumbs on this little treasure and friends will turn green with envy.

    I bought this charming beauty wholesale for $15.

    It retails for $40.

    You can have it for less than one greenback!

    If you’re lucky.

    As you’d expect for forty bucks, it’s quality all the way:

    • Stamped 925 sterling silver.
    • Cubic zirconias bigger, brighter and more numerous than King Solomon’s mines.
    • A core that fits every thread that counts.

    This emerald-eyed baby can fry ants in the sun. And take out mirror balls at 30 paces. It’s the verdant charm of choice to make rivals see RED!

    1. Starting a bracelet? Shoot for green.
    2. Building a collection? Grow with green.
    3. Taking a stand on world affairs? Go Green!

    You’ll be jolly glad you did. :)

  6. Author

    Stephen Hamilton

    June 29, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Good to hear that there looks to be a positive outcome. The opportunity to be involved in a small way is appreciated – it has brightened my day to hear good news!

  7. Author

    Stephen Glanville

    June 29, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Hi Folks,

    I’m buggered if I know what you’re thanking me for…I contributed next to ‘zip’ on that eBay post…but I appreciate your kind gesture as always :-)

    And nice to see you out here in amongst it Naomi :-)

    Dear Megan,

    I reckon ‘Megan Stones’ is a pretty great name for someone involved with Jewellery :-)

    And if it’s any consolation, my business went under last year…I’m currently ‘not giving up either’ :-) , and trying to rebuild it.

    Being a ‘boy’, my experience with and knowledge of Jewellery and that Industry is limited to knowing that Jewels are crystalised memories. Rose Quartz is good for the Heart Chakra and that Malachite is green (Could use Paul’s excellent copy for that one):-P

    One thing that does stand out to me is the fact that on your website there was nothing obvious to me that indicated the fine stories behind your Jewellery. You eluded to the ilk of some of these stories in one of your comments on the ‘eBay Post’.

    So to me, the obvious thing is that you are not actually selling Jewellery…you are selling stories and memories.

    So if you do decide to revisit the Camberwell Markets, may I suggest that you employ some copy that suggests those stories. Actually, I know a bloke that excels at both copy and stories…especially Green sparkly ones ;-P

    Also, I got a great tip from my good friends Tracy and Pete from Slow Food and Hand-Forged Tools, (they make the best Pizza Tools on the planet :-) . Tracy and Pete spent many years in open-air Markets and I used there advice and will continue to do so (touch Pizza), when I get my business going again.

    If you are at a Market Stall, do something. Don’t just sit there looking hopeful or bored or depressed. It was easy for me because I was always making Pizzas. But in your case, you could be sitting in front of a big bowl of sparkly jewels and actually making necklaces etc in front of people. If that doesn’t attract attention I don’t know what will. You know what us humans are like with ‘pretty lights’? :-)

    And a sign saying something to the effect of – ‘Watch me making Sparkly Memories’ or ‘What colors are the stories of your family?’…(insert Paul here :-)

    Anyway, that kinda drift…

    That’s about it from me…I’ve gotta move…literally. My pizza oven is all packed-up and I’m about to take it to our new home…

    Cheers and good luck…

    Stephen G

  8. Author

    Paul Hassing

    June 29, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Onya, Stephen G (hi Stephen H). Megan, you are one lucky cat to have this fellow in your corner. Read and learn! :)

  9. Author

    Gina Lofaro aka the wordmistress

    June 29, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Sorry to hear about your business, Megan. Have you tried Grays Online? They liquidate products for companies. I know people who’ve been very satisfied with their results.

  10. Author

    Darren Stones

    June 29, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Hi everybody. Thanks once again for helping Megan out.

    Gina I would like to field the Grays online question. We have tried unsuccessfully for 3 months in trying to get anyone from Grays online to help. We have called multiple times to call centre staff who only take a message and advise they will hand on to their sales professionals to call back – no call back ever received.
    We have sent three emails to the sales department asking for a call-back or advice on how to sell through Grays. Nothing has come through from them which is a big disappointment, from a company we thought would target failing businesses like ours.

    On a second positive note, we did receive a letter through the Envi form on our webpage advising to 2 other options to try, Buyinvite and brands exclusive (Google them) and to me they look like a fantastic idea!
    So a big shout out, thank you and visit the online store of Binnywear if you’re looking for some cool (or should I say hot since it’s winter) fashion items!

  11. Author

    Gina Lofaro aka the wordmistress

    June 29, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Oh that’s a shame! I wonder if sometimes companies take their eyes off the prize when they get too big. Well at least you found an alternative that works for you. Glad to hear it.

  12. Author

    Malcolm Owens

    June 29, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Hi Megan,

    As a regular reader of Paul’s Blog I was sorry to have missed this one on your business as I was away overseas. Any way if it’s not too late I have a couple of ideas:

    1. Forget Greys on line. We use them successfully but we have quantities of high value items. They are not interested in the smaller stuff I don’t believe.

    2. You are right about EBay. Everyone is looking for a bargain and the stuff sold out of Hong Kong is super cheap.

    3. Forgive me if I am going over ground already covered but I see your best opportunity to be your current customers. If you have a decent mailing list then you should be making an offer to them on the basis of loyalty rather than a distressed clearance sale.

    So as not to devalue the merchandise I suggest that you make an attractive offer for multiple purchases. Along the lines of ‘Buy one for yourself at 10% off our normal prices. Purchase a second as a gift for a close friend and take 20% off the second purchase, 30% off the third’. Alternatively buy 3 and receive a 4th for free.

    The key is to maintain the value of the products by not overtly discounting them. Offer free delivery or other value added incentive.

    4. Perhaps take a drive up in the hills and find a number of gift shops that may put them in on consignment for you. No risk to them and they make a good margin. May take a while to move through the stock but better than sitting on it.

    5. Find a company that is selling premium products to women and offer it to them as a promotional buy for them to include as a give away in a sales promotion.

    6. Markets are good. Perhaps put up a sign that says you are donating 10% to charity and select a worthy cause. This helps to remove the barriers to sale or too much haggling on price.

    Just a few ideas that I hope will assist with your planning.

  13. Author

    Paul Hassing

    June 29, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    The love fest continues!

    Thank you, Gina, for your idea.

    And you, Malcolm, for a comment I want to steal and call my own.

    This really is the blog where the gifts keep on giving! :)

  14. Author

    Helen Robinett

    June 29, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Hey guys this is bloody awesome. Look at the assistance available to us all when we need it. I’m inspired!
    H

  15. Author

    Paul Hassing

    June 29, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    FABulous to see you here, Helen! :)

    Everyone who wants to look and feel better, go to Helen’s website NOW! :)

  16. Author

    Megan Stones

    June 29, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Hi All, I continue to be amazed at the response I am recieving! Thanks to everyone you have all given me much to consider. I would like to take this opportunity to that each and every person who has given their advise, ideas and support – it means the world to me.

    Stephen and Malcolm you have both given wonderful suggestions! I wish my client list was bigger, I have a very small email list as I was originally operating through party plan through wich I collected a couple of email addresses but not many, these few I have contacted in regards to the current sale with no success.

    Stephen I love your idea of putting together the jewellery at the market table, not only does it creat a talking point but I personally feel there is nothing worse than a sales person who looks bored or like they don’t want to be there. What a FABULOUS suggestion!

    Thanks again to all, I look forward to testing out these great ideas and continuing this great discussion.

  17. Author

    Paul Hassing

    June 30, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Good on you, Megan! Just as we thrilled to Stephen G’s harrowing pizza adventures, so are we following your fortunes with great interest.

    The real-world immediacy of your situation (and its resolution) is more instructive than any theoretical treatment.

    I’m grateful to you for letting us follow your journey and I can’t wait to see what you do next. Do please keep us posted. :)

  18. Author

    Stephen Glanville

    June 30, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Well I’m glad someone’s thrilled… ;-P

    And you’re welcome Megan…good luck :-)

    Cheers

    Stephen G

  19. Author

    Naomi from MYOB

    July 2, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Stephen G – thanks! :-)
    And thank you to everyone for all your great advice!
    Megan – let us know how you go!

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