Sometimes a girl just likes to shop, and to be able to sell designer clothing on eBay can be all the satisfaction one needs in a career.
Marina Tovbin has been running her eBay Store, DVF and More, for more than seven years. She sells name brand and designer clothing, shoes and accessories for women of nearly every budget. Her listings start at around $30 and go as high as $4,800.
Before she became an online seller, Tovbin was simply doing some good ol' shopping on eBay. She likes to buy items by Chanel, Coach, Diane von Furstenberg, Jimmy Choo, Marc Jacobs, the list goes on. After a couple of successful purchases, the eBay buyer realized she could become an eBay seller with some of her own gently used clothing.
"I started selling some of my own items, and when that took off I decided to start buying [with the intent] to resell," Tovbin says.
I started selling some of my own items, and when that took off I decided to start buying [with the intent] to resell
And with that, the shopper became a conduit to pass along her favorite products at discounted prices to other like-minded gals. And she's done a standout job with her inventory, which apparently is what makes her store a success.
"Based on buyer feedback, they like the fact that I have a great variety of the current styles and sizes to choose from," the seller reports.
Sourcing products she knows
To stay on top of the newest items hitting the fashion world, Tovbin says she is constantly looking for new sources. She buys much of her inventory over the phone, but from time to time she likes to pick up products at off-season sales. She says the salespeople at Anthropologie, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom have come to know her by name and will set things aside for her.
For the most part, Tovbin sells what she, herself, likes. Being familiar with her favorite designers, she can be assured that what she sells is authentic.
"I sell designer items, and it is essential that the items I sell are genuine; therefore, I only source them from reputable department stores and their outlets," she notes.
Out of all her inventory, it's the designer shoes that have been her best-selling items.
"Bad economy or not, women will always find the way to buy more shoes," Tovbin quips.
Staying alert to consumer trends
I would not attempt to sell something I have no knowledge for and would not enjoy shopping for, like fishing gear
But to maintain her success on eBay, Tovbin also pays attention to consumer demand. If she notices certain brands don't sell as they used to, she'll stop buying them, but she'll also look for new ones to source for her online store, she says.
DVF and More sells mostly clothing, shoes and accessories for women, but demand has encouraged Tovbin to expand her boundaries a bit by offering men's shoes. Yet, she still maintains her passion to sell only what interests her.
"I would not attempt to sell something I have no knowledge for and would not enjoy shopping for," Tovbin notes, like fishing gear. The eBay seller has no interest in the sport, so she leaves that market to her brother, who loves to fish "and knows everything about it."
Besides getting to shop for a living, being an online seller allows her stay connected to a global community.
"The best thing is that the world is your customer," Tovbin says.
Physical storefronts just don't have the same reach that online ones do, she adds. Plus, selling online allows her to work from home, in the library or even while she's on vacation.
Returns are a challenge
But, as with any business, there are still challenges. Tovbin finds most of her challenges as an online seller center around product returns. Because she's in the clothing market, it's necessary to offer a fair return policy.
"Buyers cannot physically touch the items and try them on before they purchase," Tovbin notes.
Most of her returns come from U.S. customers, whereas international buyers are more careful with their purchases because it's more difficult to ship them back, she says.
While managing an online business affords sellers like Tovbin a lot of freedom, handling returns can be costly with time and resources
Thus, while managing an online business affords sellers like Tovbin a lot of freedom, handling returns can be costly with time and resources.
And while eBay allows Tovbin to be an independent businesswoman, she joins some camps of unrest about eBay policies, which she finds can sometimes be too rigid or inflexible.
For example, sometimes negative feedback is inaccurate or unfair to the seller, and a case-by-case review should be made available, Tovbin says.
"I understand that it is impossible to review each case individually, but there has to be something that can be done to improve in that area," she adds.
In her time as a seller on eBay, DVF and More has acquired more than 9,000 feedbacks, and Tovbin is a Top-rated Seller listing as many as 3,100 products.
But this success didn't originate from a desire to be an entrepreneur. Tovbin says she's just a girl who likes to shop.
Visit DVF and More on eBay.