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It’s a Small World After All

Fashionista discovers a global customer base for stylish pieces.

For Margarette Page, selling on eBay has, quite literally, opened up a whole new world. One of the many advantages and intriguing aspects of e-commerce, she notes, is the ability to serve customers around the globe.

“As I look at various locations to which I have shipped, a song comes to mind from when we took our kids to Disney World: ‘It’s a Small World After All,'” muses the seller of six years.

As owner of Margarette’s Fashions on eBay, Page happily ships her stylish pieces to destinations including the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland and Switzerland—to name just a few—and has used online translating services to communicate with buyers all over the world.

“My 13-year-old son always asks, ‘Where are we shipping to today, Mom?'” Page says. “I would like to one day mark the countries on a map that I have shipped to, as a geography lesson for him.”

Page’s online selling “adventure,” as she calls it, started in 2005 when she was doing a little spring cleaning.

“I decided to put a few items online, and was hooked after the first successful sale. As I reflect on the journey, I am amazed by the process,” she recalls. “I had never seriously used a computer, much less knew anything about HTML code or digital photography. The abilities I now consider common were the result of many hours of research, learning from others through online forums and, of course, from trial and error.”

As a girl in middle and high school, I tended to push the fashion envelope with trendy attire

Dressing the family

Page’s eBay Store features an array of stylish new and pre-owned attire for men, women and children. She carries brands like Bailey Boys, Chicos, Ralph Lauren, Lilly Pulitzer and many others. “The list goes on,” she notes. That’s why Page encourages shoppers to check back regularly to see what new pieces and brands she has to offer.

Page admits she can’t remember a time when fashion didn’t excite her.

“I remember, as a girl in middle and high school, I tended to push the fashion envelope with trendy attire,” she recalls. “I was never satisfied with the ordinary, and frequented trendy shops looking for deals and that special look that would set me apart from the ordinary.”

Her favorite look back then depended on her mood, Page notes. But an outfit that included blue and pink wedge heels paired with a long Maxi Coat sticks out in her mind as one of her favorites.

“I was a teenager in the ’70s, and my most favorite casual wear was patched jeans with a tank top and stacked heels. Hey, I caught my husband with fashion,” Page laughs. “I paralyzed him with an appliquéd butterfly I had sewn on a pair of jeans.

“Now, as an adult, my dressing has calmed down a bit. I consider my style simple with a nice piece of jewelry. Saying this, I can choose clothing for the modern young woman and the most elegant dresser,” she explains.

Part-time fashionista, full-time customer care

Page considers herself a “part full-time” seller. She goes through phases in her business sales, at times continuously moving products in her eBay Store, other times slowing down.

“While I enjoy the process, I tend to allow myself time to go through my inventory, revamp my listing process or just go hunting for that special something to put online,” she explains.

Page adds that sellers should occasionally take a breather from selling, to avoid exhaustion and help keep things in perspective. She adds that while achieving sales goals is a big part of good business practices, sellers should allow themselves to miss a goal or two “to avoid a driven behavior, which can burn a person out.”

Page avoids burnout by having about 100 items listed on eBay at any time. This helps her take a breather and gives her more time to focus on her customers. She notes that as a “one-person operation,” it’s easy to feel overwhelmed if the volume of inquiries overpowers her ability to respond. And with her business’ motto being professional service, prompt response and promised satisfaction, customer care is a top priority.

“I strive to present and ship each item with the utmost care and attention to detail,” Page says. “My orders are shipped the next day upon receipt of payment, and I will do whatever possible, within reason, to assure my buyers are satisfied with their shopping experience.”

This includes offering shipping discounts for items purchased within five days of each other. Shoppers love this deal, and Page loves informing customers when they qualify for the discount, especially if they weren’t aware of her policy.

I find Auctiva’s interface easy to use, and all for a great price!

Finding the right balance

Page admits that having no physical store—where shoppers can pop in and out—can be challenging and can make selling “mechanical.” For this reason, it’s important to stay creative and interact with other sellers via forums or other means, she notes.

It can also be hard to find a balance between doing business and staying on top of her everyday life, Page adds. There isn’t a secret to finding the balance between the two, but “when the laundry room is overfilled with your clothes, it’s time to stop and clean up,” Page notes.

However, Auctiva’s clean and easy-to-use interface makes listing on eBay much easier, and reduces Page’s workload. The seller loves being able to prepare several listings in one sitting, save them and come back at any time to launch the listings, or relist them, she says. “I also enjoy the customized templates,” she adds. “I find Auctiva’s interface easy to use, and all for a great price!”

Page promotes her items on Twitter and Facebook. She uses eBay Items to share her eBay listings on her Facebook Wall. Clicking on these postings takes viewers directly to the listings, where they can make purchases or enter bids. While Page has just started using this app, she says she’s excited to see where it leads.

Page continuously strives to improve her business, enlisting practices like looking at closed listings to see what’s hot and what’s not, and to see what’s worked for other sellers, and could work for her. But overall, her business is built on sharing with families her love for fashion at good prices.

“I could not afford boutique outfits for my girls when [they were] growing up,” Page recalls. “I was such a fashionista that I taught myself to sew. I wanted them to have the ruffled twirl skirts, the matching top, interview suits and beautiful gowns. As my girls grew, they were in pageants, wearing my new creations that I made the night before. Yes, the night before!

“I value the limited budget of the hard-working family, and that’s why I offer new and pre-owned clothing,” she continues. “I am thankful, and count every sale as a blessing, and I promise to give customers prompt response, professional service and promised satisfaction.”

Visit Margarette’s Fashions on eBay and on Facebook.

About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of TheOnlineSeller.com. In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.



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