Ed Weber begins his day at 5:30 a.m. After sending his kids off to school, he tries to “get as much work done as possible” before the 2:45 p.m. school bell rings.
Though he operates an online consignment store from home, his days can be fairly routine: shipping on Monday, errands on Tuesday, and meeting clients and documenting new items Wednesday through Friday. Evenings are spent writing and editing new items for that week.
Weber runs Gully Farm Consignment, an online consignment store based out of an old farm house situated on 55 acres in Maine. The eBay business allows him to enjoy those things that are important to him, including spending time with family and watching the wildlife on their property.
With so much forest around him, the view outside his office depicts the five distinct seasons of Maine: summer, fall, winter, “mud season” and spring.
“Mud season is that stretch when its warm enough for the ground to thaw, but too cold for plants to start budding and growing,” he explains.
He first turned to selling on eBay in 2007 after he had searched for car parts for his 1984 Corvette.
“I started to realize that people were selling parts that were in worse condition than those I was replacing,” Weber says.
Hobby grows into a business
Aware of the opportunity to earn extra cash for his hobby, he began posting his old parts online. At times, he would purchase replacement parts from sellers whose photos and descriptions left little competition and a small price tag, he says. Then he would post his old parts and sell them for a higher price.
When he lost his management job three years later, Weber realized he could stay home and sell items on eBay. This allowed his wife to return to a full-time job while Weber stayed home with the children. Thus, the home-based Gully Farm Consignment store opened in May 2010.
I enjoy the work I do so much that I frequently tell people this is the only job I have ever had that made me wish I had more time to work
Weber describes his online consignment store as “eclectic,” which makes sense since his clients bring in a variety of items every week. Gully Farm has been known to sell antiquarian books, car parts, reel-to-reel tapes, china and porcelain, Apple iPhones and everything in between, Weber says.
Niche areas—such as vintage equipment and vintage toys—do particularly well, but Weber believes his thorough research and product descriptions are one of the reasons his online consignment store is set apart from others. Before he lists anything, he performs a background exploration to find out what is important to the buyer.
“Different niches demand different types of descriptions,” he says. “For example, when I sell camera lenses, buyers always want to know about the quality of the glass elements, and they want me to use their language.”
The best of both worlds
One of the perks of running an online business is being able to spend more time around his children, Weber says. But his biggest challenge is finding the right balance between being a family man and a business man all within the same building.
“I enjoy the work I do so much that I frequently tell people this is the only job I have ever had that made me wish I had more time to work,” he says.
Selling online allows Weber flexibility and opportunity that he didn’t have in his management job. It also provides a venue to bring new value to goods, rather than tossing them at the dump. There’s a need for general interest sellers on eBay, Weber says. And his local clients are “greatly relieved” for his consignment service because it means their treasures will bring happiness to somebody else.
Weber uses popular social media sites to promote his online consignment store. He says he likes to use Twitter to post newly listed items, and Facebook to give lengthier explanations about the items. He also utilizes Pinterest for the visual appeal of unique consignment items he comes across.
Selling online has been so enjoyable for Weber that he wants to encourage others to give it a try.
“Just jump in and try it,” he says. “Pick something that will be easy to ship and photograph, and give it a shot.”
When he started selling car parts five years ago, he would never have guessed it could turn into a family-friendly online business that lets him help others, and earn extra income.
Visit Gully Farm Consignment on eBay.