Secrets of Thrifting: Excellent Customer Service & Feedback on Ebay

I’ve had my Ebay store, Name Brand Thrift, for a little over a year now. In that time, I’ve racked up nearly 1,600 positive feedbacks, 1 neutral, and 0 negatives. On top of that, I’ve been fortunate enough to maintain a perfect 5-star rating in all the categories that a buyer has to choose from.

So, what’s the secret?

The first things is this: be kind. Never argue with the customer and always do everything you can to make them happy with their purchase. This starts with the shipping process. If you’re using poly mailers for lighter items, like I do, double bag them. They cost about $.04 and it’s well worth the nickel to make sure that the shirt/pants/shorts arrive in good shape in case the bag gets ripped in the shipping process.

Bags get ripped or torn all the time and even though it’s not your fault that it got ripped, it is your fault that you didn’t package the item well enough. Buyers are happy to see that you put in the extra effort to make sure their item arrives safely. If the item you’re shipping is a little heavier like jeans/shoes/jackets, Priority mailing supplies are free when you use Priority shipping. I always use two flat rate mailers or put them in a Priority tyvek bag and then in the flat rate envelope.

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Name Brand Thrift

The next step to maintaining positive feedback and excellent customer service is to follow up after the item has arrived. I message the buyer on the afternoon that their item has arrived. Once I click on the tracking info in Ebay, I can see if it’s been delivered. This allows me to catch errors before the buyer has a chance to leave feedback. I simply send a nice, personalized message making sure that they are happy, and ask for positive feedback if they were. If there is a problem, I ask them to let me know so that I can make it right. It only takes about 10 minutes to send out all the messages and is well worth the time.

Nearly 100% of the time, the buyer is happy. They are happy because I go the extra mile to inspect my items before shipping and to describe them accurately, listing any flaws if there are any. On the rare occasion that I missed something or that they are unhappy, I do whatever it takes to make it right. Sometimes it’s a discount on a future purchase, a partial refund, or a full refund if the mistake warrants it. I’ve found that the buyer has an issue with the item about 1% of the time, and it’s usually minor. When I first started, it was closer to 3-4%, but I’ve learned and gotten better as I’ve grown.

Before I offer a refund, I check the feedback that the buyer has left for other sellers. If they appear to be an honest person, I’m more than willing to work with them. Two times in the past year I’ve had buyers try to take advantage of me, and when that happens, I still do my best to make them happy. On one occasion I was able to resolve it. On another I had to have Ebay help me, because they wanted a full refund, and they were unwilling to return the item for the refund. They wanted to keep it and get their money back.

The bottom line is this: be kind to others and they will be kind to you.

Visit my store for more Ebay guides, to see how I list/photograph items, and for great deals as well:


With the Completion of My Third Book…

This past year has been the busiest year of my life. As I look back on the past 18 months, I’m determined to grow in all areas over the next year. Here’s a few major things I’ve been able to accomplish since the beginning of 2013:

February 2013: Finished writing The Earth Bleeds Red (2nd book, 1st novel)

April 2013: Signed my first publishing deal

July 2013: Moved from Oregon to Georgia with 4 kids, an overpacked minivan, and a one-eyed pug

September 2013: Launched a business: Name Brand Thrift

October 2013: The Earth Bleeds Red was released

August 2014: Finished writing The Lights Will Never Fade

As I look back at this timeline of accomplishments/major life events, I’m both joyful and troubled. I’m happy that I was able to achieve several goals, but disappointed that it took me so long to finish writing my next novel. If I had kept writing at my regular pace, I would have finished writing it in September 2013, and finished the next book that I’m only beginning now. It feels as though I’ve lost a year of writing.

It wasn’t because of laziness, however. I’ve been finishing up school at Oregon State and growing the business I started last year. I couldn’t believe how quickly it took off and absolutely love working from home and doing something that brings me joy.

Now that the business is where it is, I’m able to devote regular time to reading and writing again. It feels like my life has more of a balance.

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I’m trying to decide if I want to go through the query process again of trying to find a lit agent or publishing company, or if I want to self-publish and avoid the long waits and frustrations of traditional publishing.

How I Became a Professional Thrifter

A lot of things can happen when you’re preparing for a cross-country move. A year ago, I moved from Oregon to Georgia with my wife, 4 kids, a one-eyed pug, and everything that could fit into our minivan. Prior to doing so, I had to make a bunch of tough decisions. I kept the van, but had to get rid of my car. Time was running out and I wasn’t able to sell my car. I had recently begun trading after watching the TV show Barter Kings. Long story short, I traded my car for a beautiful wedding ring for my wife, cash, and a 2-hour drive back to my house from the people who bought my car.

I began trading even more because I enjoyed the hunt. I bought a massive autograph collection from a student at the University of Oregon. I stuffed them (nicely) into my van and once we arrived in Georgia, guess what we needed?


I got on Craigslist and began to trade the autographs for coffee tables, trunks, a TV, and other things we needed. Then it hit me: I can make money doing this. I had bought the autographs for what turned out to be $13 each. These were signed and framed autographs of Michael Jordan, Mickey Mantle, Larry Bird, and more just like them. So, I started selling on Ebay and used a little bit of money in my savings to buy things that would sell. I searched Ebay, Craigslist, yard sales, and thrift shops. After a couple months of buyings and selling, I found my niche.


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Now, I still buy other items here and there, but of the 1,000+ items currently available in my store, the majority are clothes. The premise is simple: buy low and sell lower than the rest.

I have not only found something that I love, I’ve also found a way to earn a living doing so and provide for my family. My dad, wife, and kids all help me buy things when they are free and it’s turned into a great family business. A few months ago, I bought the domain name and it has helped grow the store even more.

This little business has turned into a solvent company that I’m proud to own and run. It provides a great service, allowing people to buy name brand clothes for way less than the stores. Many of the clothes I sell are new with tags (about 20%) and this business creates a trickle down effect to other sectors of the economy. I spend an average of $800 a month in shipping, spend an undisclosed amount at thrift shops & yard sales, and purchase shipping materials from other businesses.

Who would have thought that thrifting could turn into a profession and that it could contribute so much to the economy? I literally ship worldwide and have found more fulfillment with Name Brand Thrift than I ever have before. Small businesses can still be started and succeed. But, in order to be successful, you’ll need to do two things: find what you love and work harder than the rest.

The Dog Days Of Writing

I’ll admit it: I’ve been in a writing slump lately. The novel I’m currently working on should have been finished seven months ago. I only have one chapter left to edit, yet I haven’t touched it in two weeks. I’ve been discouraged with the results of my first novel, The Earth Bleeds Red. I think the book came out great and my publisher did a good job editing it and designing an eye-catching cover, but…

There’s always a but.

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The Earth Bleeds Red

Marketing has left everything to be desired. I’ve gotten burnt out by doing all of the marketing myself and stopped doing any marketing a few months ago. After I did, sales slowed and then slowed some more. My first book, which I self-published 3 and a half years ago, is outselling the new one and I haven’t marketed it in longer than I can remember. I pushed it hard for the first year and it has outsold the new one by leaps and bounds.

The truth is that I’m working 70+ hours a week with a business I started last August. It has grown at a tremendous rate and I absolutely love it.

Name Brand Thrift


I’m also finishing up my degree at Oregon State and will graduate in December after taking my final three classes in the Fall.

I will have more time to write this Summer when I’m not in school and as the new year approaches with school winding down. My passion for writing has not waned but sometimes, we all need a break. With my new novel, I’ll be querying lit agents and wait patiently for the right situation. Oh yeah, did I mention that I’m married with four kids? Life is rather busy 🙂