Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Encourage Child Development With Dress-Up Play

One of my favorite things to sell on Ebay is children's dress-up clothes and Halloween costumes. I think the teacher in me comes out when I say that dress up clothes are a wonderful part of a child's social and emotional development. I try to fill my store with items that I am interested in and enjoy selling. I love being part of the process that allows children to role play their favorite movie character or super hero or take them off to an imaginative land of make believe fairytales.

To view my current costume listings in my Ebay store, please click on the link below.
Dress-Up/Halloween Costumes

The Power of Imagination with Dress-up Play
As a former teacher and a mother of two young girls, I am always intrigued by the role of dress-up play in child development. Ask a child what they want to be when they grow up and they will not only tell you occupations such as doctors, pirates, princesses, and bus drivers, but they will usually find that special dress, outfit or hat needed to illustrate their chosen identity.

What are children learning by Imaginative Role-Play?
Encouraging imaginative play is the first step that we can take to encourage role-play that prepares for learning and preparation for the rest of their lives. Childhood role-play allows for children to learn about cooperation, taking turns and it encourages confidence and socialization. Research shows that children who engage in imaginative play are more creative thinkers who mature to better problem solvers. It can also improve vocabulary skills.

What can I do to Support my child's dramatic play?
When using the imagination, there is no limit to where we can go or to what we can become.
* Find or buy several big stuffed animals. Pull out your child's baby clothes and let them dress their stuffed animals in their old clothes.
* Put together a dress-up box for both genders. Old dance costumes and dance shoes are the best for girls. Add some feather boas, tutus, animal ears, leotards, crowns, ties and costume jewelry. Find some play cowboy hats, tool belts with plastic tools, or play doctor items.
* Buy new or used Halloween costumes that can be adapted to various dress-up options.
* Go camping! Pitch a tent indoors or make one out of blankets. Share the fun by reading a book, or having a snack in the tent with your child.
* Collect various Mr. Potato Head parts and keep in a tub so that your child can create various faces and characters.
* Connect play to stories from your child's favorite books.

You can encourage your children to play, make suggestions or even join in, but it won't be long before their imaginations run wild, taking them on a life journey of fun learning.

Be sure to check out my Ebay store http://stores.ebay.com/The-Sugar-Beans-Closet for many fun dress-up items and costumes. I have many items for both boys and girls of all ages. Let the power of imagination begin!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Selling on Ebay ~ Getting Started With Little or No Money!

When I first started selling on Ebay, I had very little start-up money. Going from 2 incomes to 1 was a tough adjustment financially. Luckily we had some money in savings to get us through the first few months until my Ebay business became profitable. For the first few months I was putting absolutely all my profits back into more inventory. I started my Ebay business by selling EUC (excellent used condition) items. I now sell both EUC items and new items, but I have to admit that going to garage sales and thrift stores are my favorite way of acquiring inventory. There are so many ways that you can start up your business with little or no money.

1. Sell items around your house that you no longer need.
Many sellers start their Ebay business with items around the house. Go through your clothing closets, children's toy chests, home decor, cooking utensils and the garage. I firmly believe in the phrase, "Someone's trash is someone else's treasure". There is a buyer for everything. I can still remember some of the first items from my home that I sold on Ebay...clinique make-up samples, Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic book, new crystal photo frame (a wedding gift that just wasn't my taste), a sport themed ball-cap, and a wooden home decor bird house. All of these were things that I had lying around the house or I was tired of dusting. I have done well with many of my children's clothing and toys. Surprisingly, my husband's clothing does well, especially his jeans. My husband was a minor league baseball umpire during the first few years of our marriage. When he changed to another profession, I sold a lot of his equipment and uniform items. I mentioned earlier that I have sold Clinique make-up samples. My aunt always gives me her unused make-up samples (Clinique, Estee Lauder, Bath & Body Works)that are not her color. I have done well with listing those in my store or at auction. Work on decluttering your home and you would be amazed at what you can find that would help you start up your business.

2. Shop Garage Sales
This is where I get the majority of my inventory, especially during the summer months. I love shopping for children's clothing and toys, but will pick up anything that I find interesting and think I can sell. I love the thrill of the hunt. Going to garage sales is time consuming and can be hard when you have kids. Thankfully, my parents are very supportive of my business and help me watch the girls on the weekends. The few times that I have had to lug them around really makes for a long morning. I also try and map out my route from the ads in the paper the night before so I don't spend anymore money than I have to on gas and I get to the ones that I think I will find the most items at first. Garage sale items can be a lot of work because of the time it takes to wash and iron many of the items. I even clean and test out all toy products to make sure they work before listing. For me, buying from garage sales has been most profitable.

If you are new to shopping gargage sales this book may be a helpful resource.
Secrets of Garage Sale Bargains

3. Thrift Stores
I frequently shop thrift stores such as the Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other local charity thrift shop organizations. Many of these stores have sales or a day each week with a certain percentage off. I always try to make sure and hit them when they have a stuff-a-bag sale. My favorite local thrift store has all children's clothing priced .50 a piece. It doesn't matter what type of item it is or the brand. I search the rack for boutique or high-end clothing. Be sure to take time to check clothing items thoroughly before purchasing. I don't know how many times that I have gotten something home to find a small stain or hole. It seems that the lighting in thrift stores is never very good and I sometimes miss things. Some of my favorite items to search for at thrift stores besides clothing include vintage hot rollers, wilton cake pans, holiday themed scrub sets, Halloween costumes and character toys. Here is a link to my latest thrift store purchase Ebay sale. I bought this costume at a stuff-a-bag sale and each item averaged out to .26 each. Wish all sales were this nice!

4. Nationwide Discount Stores
Many nationwide discount chain stores offer namebrand items at a fraction of retail price. TJMaxx, Marshalls, Stein Mart, and Big Lots are a few that I can think of. I shop these stores at the end of the season when they are clearancing out their items. I always try to only purchase new with tag items once they are 75-80% or more off of the retail price. You might have to hold onto some of these items for several months before they begin selling since they are off season, but I usually list all of my items immediately. You never know when someone is going on a cruise in the winter and needs a swimsuit. A child may even be in an end-of-the year school play and may needing a costume. I also sell internationally and other countries are in different seasons.

5. Coupons
I receive several different coupons in the mail for different stores or products. Some of these I use and some of them I do not need. I have put some of the coupons on Ebay and don't make a killing, but again it is free money since the coupons were free to me. I have personally purchased baby formula coupons on Ebay.

6. Craigslist/Local Newspaper
This is a great way to acquire inventory. Craigslist is a huge online classified ad. This is a free service. You can post items that you have for sale or items that you are interested in purchasing. For example, if you would like to get the word out that you are willing to buy children's clothing you could place a wanted to ad. Just be careful and be very descriptive about the brands and condition of the items, and price that you are willing to pay for each piece or outfit. It is also a great site to advertise your larger furniture. You can have buyers do a local pick-up so you don't have to worry about shipping it. I have sold several items on this site and they were great transactions. You can check this site out at www.craigslist.com

7. Offer your services
Do you have a special talent? Do you have a special interest in sewing, scrapbooking or writing articles? Do you have experience with html or web design? There are many people who use their talents to either sell on Ebay or build their own website. If you like to sew, make custom outfits or costumes. If you like to scrapbook, make special themed custom pages for albums. If you are experienced with HTML, make store logos or storefronts. There are many people like myself, who buy store logos and selling templates. I buy all of my daughter's hairbows from an online website www.bluemonsterbows.com. She makes beautiful custom made bows. If you don't have any HTML knowledge, there are many great website builders that you can subscribe to. One that I have heard great reviews about is www.merchantmoms.com. I have not personally used this site, but the guy who owns has great customer service and responds quickly to any questions. The sky is the limit when it comes to selling your own products or services.

Best of Luck starting up your Ebay Business! Please feel free to comment.

My Ebay Store: http://stores.ebay.com/The-Sugar-Beans-Closet
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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Doing What You Want?

Hey, stay-at-home moms: Is what you're doing now what you always wanted to do?

Many people ask me this and ask me if I actually like being at home. I had always known that I would stay home with my children. I just never really knew when I would find the courage to give up my teaching job of five years. Finances were also a big part of it. I never wanted to have the feeling that we were living paycheck to paycheck. Yes, money is tight, but we live within our budget. Luckily, my husband is very supportive with my decision and he gives up things because he knows that this is a priority for our family right now. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't think twice about staying with my job. I have learned that teaching jobs will always be around and that I can always go back to work, but my children won't be young forever. I hope that I will be able to continue to be at-home with my kids until they are school age. I wouldn't give up this opportunity up for any amount of money (or at least that is what I tell myself). I respect both moms who choose to be at home with their kids and moms who choose to go back to work. In the end, you have to choose what is right for your family. Is becoming a Stay-At Home Mom the right decsion? At the end of the day, I can say, Absolutely! Here are some links that I found interesting.

Ten Things Now To Stay At Home Later

Making The Transition from The Workplace to Home

Is Becoming a Stay-At-Home Mom the Right Decision?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Sugar Bean's Closet

I am a stay at home mom to two beautiful daughters, Jaidyn (AKA, The Sugar Bean) and Addison. They keep me busy and I am enjoying every minute of the time that I get to spend with them.

Because of my husband's job relocation, I left my teaching job. I have always hoped to be able to stay at home with my children. At this time Jaidyn was 5 months old and this was my opportunity. Wanting to be able to stay at home, yet still help out financially, I decided to give selling on Ebay a try. I first started Ebaying with things around the house just so I wouldn't have to move them and since then have become hooked. I decided to seriously devote time to selling on Ebay and opened my store, The Sugar Bean's Closet. I primarily sell new and gently used children's clothing, toys, and nursery items. I also love to sell Halloween costumes. However, I sell about anything that will help out my financial gain. A lot of time and effort has been put in to making my store successful. I am giving the link to my store because many of my blogging will relate to selling on Ebay. This is my store's second year anniversary. I am so proud of the gains I have made the past two years. I hope to continue to grow as an entreprenuer.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Days Of My Life as a WAHM

I started this blog so I could share with everyone the Days of My Life as a WAHM. I plan to journal about my successes, failures, and questions that I face as a seller in the world of Ebay. My hopes for this blog is that it is not just a place for me to gather and share my thoughts, but a place that others will share their comments. I have so many goals that I hope to accomplish with my at home business. I also hope to share and discuss things about everyday life...kids, fitness, home, and education. My blogs will also inlcude links to articles or quotes that I find interesting and that will relate to the topic I have chosen to blog about. Feel free to comment on my blog posts. :)