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Meet Kathleen: A Jewelry Connoisseur, Mom and eBay Seller

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Staff
Staff
Last Edited 12:57:03 PM

Kathleen says both her kids grew up with her eBay business.Kathleen says both her kids grew up with her eBay business.

If turning a job-loss into a successful business could be called an art, then Kathleen Palmer would be a masterpiece.

 

Kathleen started selling on eBay 15 years ago after losing her job as a graphic designer. Unable to find a job in her field, she took to eBay. Her first sale was a lot of five pairs of baby Levi's jeans.

 

Today, this 55-year-old mom, wife, and entrepreneur now sells ornate silver and gold jewelry on her eBay store called College Therapy Fund. Kathleen’s business is up 150% year over year and she attributes her success to careful listing practices and hard work.

 

She lives with her husband in St Louis, Missouri and has an 18-year-old daughter and a 20-year-old son. Kathleen says both her kids grew up with her eBay business, and both of them know how to start and run an online store.

 

Her hearty laughter and vivacious personality is the first thing that strikes you when you start talking with her.

 

"I actually relax by doing my business. I just can't wait to get on the computer and photograph my jewelry. It's very relaxing for me. So, I never feel overwhelmed with my work. Other parts of my life can be overwhelming, but this is such a pleasure", says Kathleen when I asked her about her life as a seller.

 

Selling on eBay rocks for me, because it gives me the flexibility that I need to live the life that I want.

 

I spoke to Kathleen about the jewelry she sells, her life as a seller, and her goals. 

 

Mansi: What makes you and your jewelry stand out in this competitive marketplace?

Kathleen: I've trained myself to have an eye for good quality. My niche is Native American jewelry, and I love it. I think I've built a reputation of honesty. My customers trust me for sending them exactly what they saw online and for shipping it very quickly.

 

I also don't mind when people return the jewelry to me. They get their money back and I still have the jewelry. Nobody loses anything but a little bit of time. I think that also helps my business.

 

More Mom-preneur stories:

 Mansi: How do you manage sourcing, and what’s the thought process behind it?

Kathleen: I am sourcing every time I'm on holiday. I've purchased jewelry in Clearwater Florida, on Piccadilly Road in London, everywhere. In fact, some of our holidays are actually just antique road trips.

 

Most of my inventory comes from antique malls and estate sales. I pick up whatever catches my eye, and I know one of my customers will like it. The second thought is will make a profit selling it or is too expensive?

 

Mansi: Do you have some sort of sourcing and selling calendar?

Kathleen: I do. Right now is garage sale season, and there are so many pieces of jewelry being sold at garage sales. May through September are probably my biggest inventory gathering months. My biggest sales months are September through November, that's because of the holidays.

 

Mansi: What steps did you take to boost your sales?

Kathleen: I started buying more gold. People always like gold jewelry, and it sells faster. Most of my items are “Buy It Now” with the “Best Offer” [option]. I start with a reasonable price, and I allow people to give me their price. I love to negotiate; I think it’s fun. Another step I have taken is that every Thursday, I put about five to ten of my items on auction. I have discovered that it brings a lot more traffic to my store throughout the week. I'm drawing the attention with my auction and more people are coming and buying from my store. That works out pretty well for me.

 

Mansi: What's your promotion strategy?

Kathleen: My jewelry caters to a specific market. It’s Native American jewelry. I make sure that I've accurately described what I'm listing. There are collectors of Native American jewelry who want my stuff, but if I've got the wrong maker or the wrong stone, they're just going to pass me by. They'll never even know that I have it.

My best strategy for promotion is being very accurate in my descriptions and listing titles.

 

Mansi: Do you follow any best practices while listing your jewelry?

Kathleen: For some items, people need to know the weight; for others, it's measurements. I have a template that reminds me to take care of dimensions, the karat weight of stones, and the exact weight of an item. My template also reminds me to click photographs from every angle. Buying jewelry online is kind of scary, because you're spending a lot of money. There's nothing worse than opening up a box and going, "I didn't know it was that little," or "That color doesn't look right.” I feel like I have an obligation to make sure that what my customers see is what they get.

 

Mansi: What do you keep in mind while clicking pictures of your items?
Kathleen: It's no good if you've perfectly described your item, if people cannot see exactly how it looks. Most of the time, I take the item in my hand and click a picture so that people get an idea of how it will look in their hands. My biggest consideration is good light. I want natural light. I don't like to use electric lights, because they make the shadows a little too sharp, and then it's not a clear picture. I ensure that the contrast is good, and I get clear clicks of the hallmarks, the back, the front, and the sides.

 

Mansi: Which eBay tools do you use to grow your business?

Kathleen: I am glued to my Seller Hub dashboard. It's the first thing that I look at in the morning. It's got everything that I need to see about my business at a glance. I know if I have new messages, if I have any feedback, if I've sold anything, or if I need to ship anything. It's a really useful. I also send newsletters from my eBay account. In addition, I use the eBay Community for information. It's a great resource. When the eBay Spring Seller Update was posted, I needed clarification on some of the changes. I found all the answers about updating my listings from the discussions on eBay Community.

 

Mansi: How did you manage life as a mother and a seller?

Kathleen: Selling on eBay has been the greatest gift. I could be there for my children and homeschooled them. Many times, they were at the dining table doing their homework and I was working in the same room. It was just perfect. I feel so blessed that I got to be with my kids. It really freed me up to be the mom that I always wanted to be. 

 

A magazine called First for Women recently wrote about Kathleen and her business. Kathleen’s goals for the rest of the year include learning the ropes of social media to up her marketing game. She urges eBay sellers to believe in their product and have patience through the ups and downs of business. "If you keep working on it and you have a viable product, you will sell and you'll be fine", she says. 

 

More Mom-preneur stories:

12 Comments
by vintagecraze50 · Guide

Kathleen is an excellent seller and I remember purchasing something from her awhile ago. Keep up the good work Kathleen. You are an inspiration.

by vintagecraze50 · Guide

In response to the first post. Kathleen would not be where she is today if she had not gone through everything everybody else goes through here and COME OUT ON TOP, despite the challenges everyone faces. Again, hip hip hurrah for a stellar seller with guts and glory and persistance and patience and a method that has worked for her. Yeehaw! I am from the South.

by robsomic · Adventurer
robsomic
Adventurer

 We just have a look it ,that is fine,What we sell is different.The products are different, so the methods are different.But 1. the list title 2.descibe.3.photo.

if we can do three of factor well,we also will be a great seller.

 

 

pinkysplace23
Adventurer

I want to be just like you You ROCK!!!!!

lwlegacyfund2012
Adventurer

A wonderful story.   I have been selling on ebay for many years now.  I have found so much joy in selling.  It really makes my day when I get a positive feedback from a customer.  On those occassions when a customer is not happy, I try my best to please the customer. 

millesas.ymvsd
Adventurer

 Thanks for your story & advice on selling,

Hi @millesas.ymvsd thanks for your kind words; I just took a look at your listings.  Your photos of clothes are beautiful--I could use some tips from you!!  Continued success to you!

Thanks @vintagecraze50!!  Your encouragement spurs me on!!  So true what you said in your second post:  of course there are challenges to be faced in any business.  I hope I have the resilience to face and overcome whatever the future holds as well.   Perspective is key for me.  My worst day selling on eBay was better than the best day at my last 9-5 job.... Smiley Happy

by vintagecraze50 · Guide

Keep on rollin Kathleen. I will be there with you!!!

by richardjesperse_0 · Pathfinder | Updated by Moderator
richardjesperse_0
Pathfinder

Hey Kathleen!

I am new on ebay marked from denmark and sel beautiful glass birds made of coloured glass.

I have read you history and like this!

 

Greeting


mansi_aneja wrote:

Kathleen says both her kids grew up with her eBay business.Kathleen says both her kids grew up with her eBay business.

If turning a job-loss into a successful business could be called an art, then Kathleen Palmer would be a masterpiece.

 

Kathleen started selling on eBay 15 years ago after losing her job as a graphic designer. Unable to find a job in her field, she took to eBay. Her first sale was a lot of five pairs of baby Levi's jeans.

 

Today, this 55-year-old mom, wife, and entrepreneur now sells ornate silver and gold jewelry on her eBay store called College Therapy Fund. Kathleen’s business is up 150% year over year and she attributes her success to careful listing practices and hard work.

 

She lives with her husband in St Louis, Missouri and has an 18-year-old daughter and a 20-year-old son. Kathleen says both her kids grew up with her eBay business, and both of them know how to start and run an online store.

 

Her hearty laughter and vivacious personality is the first thing that strikes you when you start talking with her.

 

"I actually relax by doing my business. I just can't wait to get on the computer and photograph my jewelry. It's very relaxing for me. So, I never feel overwhelmed with my work. Other parts of my life can be overwhelming, but this is such a pleasure", says Kathleen when I asked her about her life as a seller.

 

Selling on eBay rocks for me, because it gives me the flexibility that I need to live the life that I want.

 

I spoke to Kathleen about the jewelry she sells, her life as a seller, and her goals. 

 

Mansi: What makes you and your jewelry stand out in this competitive marketplace?

Kathleen: I've trained myself to have an eye for good quality. My niche is Native American jewelry, and I love it. I think I've built a reputation of honesty. My customers trust me for sending them exactly what they saw online and for shipping it very quickly.

 

I also don't mind when people return the jewelry to me. They get their money back and I still have the jewelry. Nobody loses anything but a little bit of time. I think that also helps my business.

 

More Mom-preneur stories:

 Mansi: How do you manage sourcing, and what’s the thought process behind it?

Kathleen: I am sourcing every time I'm on holiday. I've purchased jewelry in Clearwater Florida, on Piccadilly Road in London, everywhere. In fact, some of our holidays are actually just antique road trips.

 

Most of my inventory comes from antique malls and estate sales. I pick up whatever catches my eye, and I know one of my customers will like it. The second thought is will make a profit selling it or is too expensive?

 

Mansi: Do you have some sort of sourcing and selling calendar?

Kathleen: I do. Right now is garage sale season, and there are so many pieces of jewelry being sold at garage sales. May through September are probably my biggest inventory gathering months. My biggest sales months are September through November, that's because of the holidays.

 

Mansi: What steps did you take to boost your sales?

Kathleen: I started buying more gold. People always like gold jewelry, and it sells faster. Most of my items are “Buy It Now” with the “Best Offer” [option]. I start with a reasonable price, and I allow people to give me their price. I love to negotiate; I think it’s fun. Another step I have taken is that every Thursday, I put about five to ten of my items on auction. I have discovered that it brings a lot more traffic to my store throughout the week. I'm drawing the attention with my auction and more people are coming and buying from my store. That works out pretty well for me.

 

Mansi: What's your promotion strategy?

Kathleen: My jewelry caters to a specific market. It’s Native American jewelry. I make sure that I've accurately described what I'm listing. There are collectors of Native American jewelry who want my stuff, but if I've got the wrong maker or the wrong stone, they're just going to pass me by. They'll never even know that I have it.

My best strategy for promotion is being very accurate in my descriptions and listing titles.

 

Mansi: Do you follow any best practices while listing your jewelry?

Kathleen: For some items, people need to know the weight; for others, it's measurements. I have a template that reminds me to take care of dimensions, the karat weight of stones, and the exact weight of an item. My template also reminds me to click photographs from every angle. Buying jewelry online is kind of scary, because you're spending a lot of money. There's nothing worse than opening up a box and going, "I didn't know it was that little," or "That color doesn't look right.” I feel like I have an obligation to make sure that what my customers see is what they get.

 

Mansi: What do you keep in mind while clicking pictures of your items?
Kathleen: It's no good if you've perfectly described your item, if people cannot see exactly how it looks. Most of the time, I take the item in my hand and click a picture so that people get an idea of how it will look in their hands. My biggest consideration is good light. I want natural light. I don't like to use electric lights, because they make the shadows a little too sharp, and then it's not a clear picture. I ensure that the contrast is good, and I get clear clicks of the hallmarks, the back, the front, and the sides.

 

Mansi: Which eBay tools do you use to grow your business?

Kathleen: I am glued to my Seller Hub dashboard. It's the first thing that I look at in the morning. It's got everything that I need to see about my business at a glance. I know if I have new messages, if I have any feedback, if I've sold anything, or if I need to ship anything. It's a really useful. I also send newsletters from my eBay account. In addition, I use the eBay Community for information. It's a great resource. When the eBay Spring Seller Update was posted, I needed clarification on some of the changes. I found all the answers about updating my listings from the discussions on eBay Community.

 

Mansi: How did you manage life as a mother and a seller?

Kathleen: Selling on eBay has been the greatest gift. I could be there for my children and homeschooled them. Many times, they were at the dining table doing their homework and I was working in the same room. It was just perfect. I feel so blessed that I got to be with my kids. It really freed me up to be the mom that I always wanted to be. 

 

A magazine called First for Women recently wrote about Kathleen and her business. Kathleen’s goals for the rest of the year include learning the ropes of social media to up her marketing game. She urges eBay sellers to believe in their product and have patience through the ups and downs of business. "If you keep working on it and you have a viable product, you will sell and you'll be fine", she says. 

 

More Mom-preneur stories:


Dick

Hello @richardjesperse_0!  Thank you for your kind words.  I wish you the best of luck and great success here; eBay is a great venue!!

zbee2011aaj
Adventurer

I am inspired Smiley Happy  Congratulations and continued success. You are a testiment of how a seller can achieve at the highest level if they follow the basics when listing. I'm looking to purchase a new camera and  I like the sharp images of your camera. Can you tell us the name of the camera you use? Again congrats.