As Top-rated seller texaseyes, Eve and Tom Farr sell for fun, using their profits to pay cash for the comforts in life.|
Working alongside her husband Tom—who she lovingly calls her shipping department—Eve Farr runs texaseyes from her home office outside Austin, TX. When asked why she sells, Eve responds, "My husband and I can easily spend all of our time together. We're joined at the hip and we just love doing eBay." That passion for selling has given Eve and Tom the ability to afford huge perks without dipping into savings. "Luckily we don't have to live on the money, so we put it toward big items. We've remodeled our kitchen and two bathrooms and we've attended eBay events, meeting some of the nicest people," Eve says. "I also have someone clean my house. That's a big deal for me. Next we'll probably save for a new car. It would be great to pay cash."
Eve first discovered eBay in November 2000 when her daughter requested Texas commemorative plates for Christmas. "I had no idea where to find them and she suggested eBay," Eve remembers. "I bought several, including some in lots with plates representing other U.S. states. I decided to sell what I didn't need. It's been a ride ever since." Looking at their inventory now, you'd think it was destiny.
Eve has a local source for sewing patterns and sells thrift-store finds, but incredibly, the bulk of their items were brought directly to the Farr's doorstep. "We sell a lot of audio books, videos, educational CDs, and games. Most of them came from the Austin public library where we used to help with books sales," she explains. "Someone found out we sold on eBay and called asking if we'd like to buy three and half palettes of media. That was 5 years ago and we're not through it yet."
Another hidden goldmine, her father-in-law's old suitcase, sat in an attic for decades before making its way to Eve and Tom. "It was full of paper: a program from the 1939 World's Fair, newsletters, postcards—it didn't look like anything to me. We were terribly disappointed until I noticed the Ephemera category on eBay," Eve recalls. "It's the most wondrous thing. We sold a ticket stub from the 1941 Puerto Rico Baseball League playoffs for $42 and a full ticket for $60. That really got us into it—old paper is good stuff."
Eve's favorite sale from the suitcase was an India Beer coaster, listed at $4.99 and sold for $169. From that experience, Eve learned an important lesson, "Sell what you know or learn all that you can about it." She now researches the market before pricing items, but admits she has other ways to drive sales. "It used to be that you had to start your prices low. That's not necessarily the case anymore. I can go a bit higher to cover my costs when I offer free shipping. Everything with free shipping sells like hotcakes."
|In addition to brisk sales, a friendly demeanor, professional presence, and fast shipping have helped texaseyes reach eBay Top-rated seller status, which Eve actively works to maintain.
"I can't write a novel, but I love writing descriptions for my eBay items. It tickles me to death when I list something and it sells the next day. It's an affirmation of my work."
- Eve Farr
|Now she gets a higher price and more exposure on eBay than she used to in consignment stores. Alicia is on the eBay site every single day since she and her husband buy so many of their needs on eBay.|
"When I wake up, I check to see what's sold and then answer any emails that came in overnight. I always try to respond to questions within a day," she says. "When buyers pay, I leave positive feedback and we ship immediately. They've taken care of their end of things."
Eve has found that having a good attitude is essential to receiving positive feedback in return. "There's a very strange world out there. We get some doozies," Eve shares when discussing email from buyers. "You have to be careful to couch things in positive terms or you won't hear back. Always be honest. I can't stress that enough. If you don't know something, say you don't know, you need more clarification, or that you haven't been able to find the information."
She has a similar philosophy for writing item descriptions. "Smile when you write or your descriptions come out really negative. Also have a good template—it lends a sense of authenticity and trust when you look professional," she advises. "Divide your paragraphs, using just a few sentences at a time to make things easy to read. It's okay when certain things are used or not complete as long as you're really clear about it. I once sold a vintage Barbie pattern missing the front part of the bodice, a glove, and a couple of other pieces. I noted everything and called out that a talented seamstress could make it work. It sold for $20."
More than the money, it's a love of selling that keeps her going. "I've always heard that if you work to create something, you'll love it. If you can make it your vocation, you'll always be happy with your work," explains Eve. "For me, that's true. eBay keeps me young."