Sell what you know, or know what you sell?

No primary category set

I was talking to a new eBay seller at Live. He told me he’d sold a few personal things on the site, but with the credit crunch, he needed an additional income stream and was looking to eBay to provide it. “The problem is,” he said, “I don’t know what to sell. People tell me to sell what I know, but I don’t feel like I know anything!”

Since we were trading stories, I told him about how I first got started selling on eBay, and how it was nothing to do with what I knew at all.

It was actually my boss who first introduced me to eBay. In early 2000, he called me into his office. “Look at this!”, he said, showing me a web page that had a list of second-hand clothes marked with some pretty decent prices. “I’ve finally found a way for my wife’s shopping habit to make a profit!”

Two weeks later, he called me in again. “Okay, here’s the deal. There’s this guy I sit next to at football. Turns out he’s in charge of importing all the Italian designers into the UK. I was telling him about the prices my wife’s been getting for her old clothes on eBay, and he’s going to let me have some new stock. I’m going to sell designer clothes on the internet and you’re going to run it for me.”

Those of you who’ve met me will know that there is probably no less likely candidate for Versace saleswoman on the planet: skinny Bond Street girl, I am not. But my boss had found a superb opportunity and even I could see that it was too good to pass up. I can’t possibly read Vogue for entertainment, but call it research and I can manage it. I don’t in the least care what next season’s hot bikinis are supposed to look like normally, but if I have to find out so I can order my summer collection, which has to be done in the depths of winter, then I will.

If you’re offered or find an opportunity to fill a unique niche on eBay, don’t pass it up because it’s something you don’t know about. Knowledge can always be gained: great suppliers are always much harder to come by.



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