I received some correspondence from AuctionBytes reader Jim Mannella of Unique & Precious, Inc. Jim is a Trading Assistant who sells for consignors on eBay. I don't know Jim personally, but the ingenuity and flexibilty in his approach to running his business demonstrates the skills that many experienced online sellers have. I hope you enjoy Jim's letter.
As of now, we are the first to actively promote an eBay consignment service in S. Florida. We (four of us) have been doing consignment sales on eBay since 1998 and a Trader Assistant for 2 years now. Back in March when AuctionDrop opened its first location, I was also in the process of doing so. My main selling name unique_and_precious (604 unique feedback's) (http://digbig.com/3txt) was doing all listings both personal and for consignors. But, we needed a seller name that would be indicative of the consignment aspect. So, SoldOnTheNetcom (168 unique feedback's) (http://digbig.com/3txw) looked good and the URL SoldOnTheNet.com was available.
We started posting consignments under that name in June and have done very well with it, so well that the retail location we had selected was not needed unless we hired 3 more people who know what we do about eBay, writing ads and posting. So, for now we work out of a home office, which has a business occupational license in Palm Beach County.
We set up at local antique, gem and horse and buggy shows to advertise what we offer plus placing flyers in many of the retirement communities that are all over South Florida. We hold auction post meetings in the club houses of these communities and connect with those who can use our service. They love the idea of our doing all the work while they watch the action of the auctions on their personal PC's. We also do the Auction Post meeting with Nonprofit organizations, civic and schools.
Of late, we have calls from those who live on the island of Palm Beach in their Multi Million Dollar homes. They like to be discrete and will not come to a retail location to conduct business. So, we go to them. Another reason why we have held off with a store front is one of these Palm Beach Millionaires wants us to post a multi Million Dollar collection of antiques and art on ebay in one deal. We are working out the details with their legal representative now.
We don't just post collections on eBay, we make complete web sites for the collection and then post them on eBay. We have done that for a 300+ item collection bought from Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. The largest collection of Witchcraft related items from the Gerald Gardner, Witches Mill Museum in the Isle of Man. (http://www.witchesmill.net). To date we have sold 55 items worth over $30,000 on eBay from the collection. We have them listed in our eBay store under http://digbig.com/3txs.
We have been in business in Palm Beach County for 20 years with both antique and jewelry stores. We have done antique, jewelry, art and gem shows all over the US since 1971 and belonged to the International Society of Appraisers for many years. My specialty is all areas of antiques, jewelry and art. My partner Ray is very astute in Civil War collectibles, fossils and he is the computer whiz. My wife Cindy and I also have a rare and out of print book business (http://www.dustyjackets.com) with over 25,000 books. We are members of Florida Antiquarian Book Dealers Association. So we are actively searching out book collection to consign and post on eBay.
We believe the come to your place Pickup service will be the best way to go with consignment in the huge retirement State of Florida. It permits organizations, churches, schools and retirement communities the benefit of an organized means of placing items with us. We even have a retired Clergyman on our staff who also worked in the PR field. He is going to be contacting the civic and religious community.
We hope to train a few more people to do posting and imaging and then we will look into a storefront again and leave the private visits to us.
With regard to drop-off chains,...
I was in the gold, silver and coin biz back in 78-83 when shops sprang up all over the place with signs in the window "Buying Gold & Silver," even barber shops and gas stations had those signs up. I had a full time antique, coin and jewelry store and had been buying gold and silver since 1966 as a teen. We lasted way past the crash of '81 and continue to do so. Why, because it's our expertise and we know and live in the community we do business in.
Unique & Precious, Inc.