Friday, May 25, 2012

How to sell baby clothes on eBay and not get too nostalgic

I keep seeing the baby on the Jolly Jumper box out of the corner of my eye. It's not just that his facial expression is somewhat reminiscent of a blow-up doll.

Alright, that's all it is.

Given that I'm not having any more babies, I've been selling all Luka's all baby stuff on eBay. Word to the wise, that shit is the shit. Admittedly, I did keep pretty much everything, and I have been selling kids clothes on eBay for a while before now (thanks, Savers). But not having to outlay for all the stock has been pretty good, I've made over $800 profit just from Luka's stash.

I have my own little rules for selling old baby clothes on eBay.

First, take a scalpel and sever the memories of your baby from the more valuable items. Specifically, if you have any Seed, Fred Bare, Ralph Lauren, Bebe, PureBaby, Grobag, Eeni Meeni Mini Moe, oh I could go on. Suffice to say, if you have a reasonable label, imagine your tiny googly tiny perfect tiny baby never looked cute in it, and instead imagine the quite nice quiet dinner in a restaurant without your strapping filthy "I WON'T and you can't MAKE me" 4 year old it could buy you.

Rule number two: Wash the item of clothing and de-stain it as much as possible, and dry it flat. Lay it out on a white sheet in natural light, and take a pretty photo. Fold down one sleeve in a devil-may-care manner, if you're feeling wild.

Rule number three: Keep your descriptions short and formatted. I have a template for my listings that basically runs like this:

Brand: [insert]
Description: [Keep it brief and try not to be too embarrassed about the exclamation marks. Eg. "This lovely boys romper features a dragon motif and is striped in blue and red. Fastens at shoulders and crotch with studs. So cute for winter! Winter is coming!"]
Material: [insert, eg: cotton/acrylic/polyester/steel mesh]
Condition: [If there's nothing really wrong with it, I go with "Excellent secondhand condition, no faults." Amend as necessary, eg "Very good secondhand condition, overall light pilling, one hole (neatly repaired) due to dire wolf incident"]
Size: [I always say "This item is tagged a size [insert]. If you require any further measurements, please ask." That way if the tag says 00 but it's based on Hodor-sized babies, you're covered.]

Rule number four: Have a returns policy. Mine basically says if I missed something then it's my fault and we can bargain. If it doesn't fit as your baby isn't Tyrion it's your fault and you should have asked because who knew things are tagged different sizes in different lands. If someone kicks a major hissy I usually just refund them, as the reputation of my house is more valuable than $5.50.

Rule number five: If you can, list about 20 items at a time, have them all end at close-together bidding-friendly times (eg. weekends late morning or after kiddy bed time or just after a battle), and mix good brand listings with ordinary stuff so that people, as I do myself, will think "Well, I'm bidding on this one quality item, I may as well fill up a Postpak to the full 500g to get my money's worth."

Rule number six: Post stuff fast. No one likes a Bastard Slow.

That baby is still looking at me, from the cardboard box of the Jolly Jumper.

I do remember Luka bouncing about in it. Incidentally, it kept us both happy in the same room for long periods, I played loud Beatles music while singing along and listing stuff on eBay, and he jumped about in the doorway in a puddle of his own drool, gurling the lyrics along with me in his own curious language. Possibly Dothraki.

But it's just a thing. It's a thing I don't need, and a thing that can make me money that I do need.

When I need more stuff to sell, or better quality brands to blend in with the Target/K-Mart stuff left in the current tub of Luka-clothes, we get on the bus together, as we've done since before he was born, and we go to Savers. Instead of being a swimmer in a belly, or a baby in a pram playing with a plastic Savers coathanger, these days he keeps himself happy in the toy section blaring up and down with a toy truck while I flick through the brands on the racks.

And when I've gathered together a stroller-handle-load of stuff to sell, I tell him to pick which toy he wants to take home that day, as they're cheap as proverbials.

He always picks the biggest toy car possible, one that he can't hold on his own lap even all the way back to the bus stop.

And we pay the $5 for it, get on the bus, and go back home.

In the mornings and evenings when he's asleep or away, I list the Savers stuff and our own old stuff on eBay.

Next week, some other baby might be dancing in a doorway to Twist 'n' Shout.

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