Episode 33: Branding Your Ecommerce Business With thestylelister

Overview

Maria thestylelister joins us this week as we discuss branding for your e-commerce business. Maria was selected by eBay to present on branding for eBay Open Online 2021, receiving rave reviews from fellow sellers. Liz and Doug also give some branding tips, and some news!

The Seller Community Podcast from List Perfectly is the #1 resource for the seller community across all platforms and hub for information on growing your business with List Perfectly. Find out more at listperfectly.com/podcast, leave a message or ask a question at https://anchor.fm/sellercommunitypodcast, or email us at podcast@listperfectly.com.

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Links

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Episode 33 Links

thestylelister.com
thestylister Instagram 
thestylelister Facebook
thestylelister Pinterest
Fashion Sellers Selling on eBay Facebook Group
Maria eBay Open Presentation
snoopdougie eBay Tour
coloradoreworn’s first TikTok

Transcript

Intro

Liz:

Welcome to the Seller Community Podcast from List Perfectly. This is episode 33. Doug, how are you doing this week?

Doug:

All right, Liz, how’s it going?

Liz:

Pretty good. My head is still floating, talking about and thinking about VERO and really just answering some community questions across Facebook and Instagram about that.

Doug:

Yeah, that was a very illuminating conversation. I learned a lot about VERO. We did get a little pushback. People not believing that there’s not a VERO list. We were assured there’s not a VERO list. Basically, if you own something and it’s yours, you can sell it, but don’t take Nike’s images. Don’t use Nike’s logo unauthorized. But if Nike’s on the shoe, you can take a picture, take your own pictures, use your own descriptions. I learned that you can’t say “these knockoff blocks could be compatible with Lego” because that makes sense.

Liz:

Yeah, it was a very interesting episode. If you didn’t get a chance to go back and listen, go ahead and go back to last week’s episode and learn about the verified rights owner program from eBay. This is really interesting Doug, I was thinking about it last night, I was helping a user with Mercari. So somebody that’s new to List Perfectly is like, “Hey, I had a problem with Mercari and I don’t know how to get a hold of them.” And with Mercari, it’s a lot of steps. So I was walking this user through it and it was funny. One of the options to contact them was my listing was removed for rights ownership under the DMCA. So Mercari actually has the DMCA listed as a reason, which was the first I’ve seen an actual platform just use that.

Doug:

Well, and as we learn it is like, yeah, the platforms have to be on top of it because they can get in trouble from the brands or they can get in trouble from the government. It’s a law.

Liz:

Yeah, so brands. Doug. It kind of plays into this week’s episode.

Doug:

Yeah. So this was cool. We had our friend Maria on. Maria The Style Lister. Fresh off her eBay Open presentation on branding for eBay sellers. But a lot of the branding stuff applies across the board, across all the platforms. It’s like, I wouldn’t say basic marketing. It’s kind of next level marketing, but it’s something that you should definitely think about as a business.

Liz:

We’re going to talk to Maria more to where she’s going to share her branding tips. We’re going to talk a little bit about her eBay Open presentation, which we will put in the show notes because it was a very, very good presentation about branding. And a lot of sellers are like, “Wow. I never thought about branding my small business!” Because sometimes sellers are like, “I just sell stuff.”

Doug:

Well, what I liked about Maria’s presentation though, and her advice is it’s very dialed in. It’s like focus on these few things. It’s not crazy. I mean, we could talk for hours about logos or why that’s important, or your story, but she’s got just some basic things to focus on. So what you want to do is you don’t just want to be somebody that sells clothing or sells collectibles. If you can make some sort of connection with your customer, because people want to connect with brands. And that’s part of e-commerce, that’s part of social media is that connection now. I don’t want to reveal too much because Liz always tells me she’s like, “All right. All right, let’s save it for the show.”

Liz:

So yeah! Let’s get on with the show. Let’s talk to Maria about branding your e-commerce business. Doug, what do you say?

Doug:

Sounds good. So we’ve got Maria, we’ve got the news and the Seller Community Podcast is brought to you each week by List Perfectly for your enjoyment and obviously your listening pleasure and then show notes are always found at listperfectly.com/podcast. Let’s get started with our friend, Maria The Style Lister talking about branding and then Liz and I will share some tips.

Branding With Maria thesylelister

Liz:

Today, we welcome Maria back to the Seller Community Podcast. If you remember, Maria was featured in episode five, way back, it seems like years. But Maria, we are so happy that you’re joining us today. If you don’t mind, take a moment and just re-introduce yourself.

Maria:

Hey everyone! Hi, my name is Maria. I’m The Style Lister. I sell on eBay and a little bit on Poshmark. I’ve been selling on eBay. Actually. I had to call a concierge earlier this week and they told me that I’m coming up on selling up for 15 years on eBay. So I’m really excited. So that’s just been my journey so far. And I sell. I’ve recently shifted into the luxury goods section and I sell what sells and I also sell what doesn’t sell. So sometimes it doesn’t work. (laughing)

Liz:

Sometimes you list and sometimes you sell.

Maria:

Yeah, exactly. It happens, you know?

Doug:

All right. And welcome back, Maria .Maria is a good friend of the show. Since you joined us last, you’ve been very busy. A lot’s been going on, you had a big presentation. Tell us about presenting at eBay Open. How did that come about and how did it go?

Maria:

I did apply on a whim. I applied the last day, the last night I was sitting on my bed with my laptop, and I was like F it, I’m just going to you know, like, clickity-clack and I’m like, I probably ate some popcorn while I was doing it. I just applied and I said, you know, probably help out with branding. It’s the number one question I get asked about my branding and how I’ve developed an image and a whole persona, I guess you could say for lack of a better term, for selling online. And you know, that’s the question that a lot of people ask me about and when we do discuss it’s that, and it’s always, you know, selling clothing, but definitely more so on how to brand and how I created that. So I decided, you know, this is my way to pay it forward to the community and kind of help out and share that information.

Liz:

You did an amazing job. I watched yours. It was so hard to pick, like who to watch live and who, you know, like, wanted to go back and forth, but you’re right. Everybody, all of the seller panels at eBay Open were awesome. I did watch yours. Yours was phenomenal. Every seller that I’ve talked to, every post that’s come about, it’s been like, “Oh my gosh, but did you watch branding with Maria?” You know, some of the things like, well, I did it. So some of the people that didn’t watch it, “Oh, it’s just me. I’m not a big seller. I’m, you know, user 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, it’s fine. I just kind of sell stuff.” And, you know, the conversation came about around brands, you know, but some sellers are like, Hey, I’m just Liz in my basement selling t-shirts. I don’t need a brand or what is a brand? Like, I don’t get it. That’s just for big companies, but we’re learning that that’s not really true. So if you don’t mind talking about brand or just that term overall, what is someone’s brand? And do you think sellers are, if there is such a thing as too small of a seller to have a brand?

Maria:

As of this recording, I have less than a hundred items for sale in my store. About two weeks ago, I had about 70-75 and I have a full blown website. I’m on every platform and all my branding and everything is streamlined and is legitimate. So I could say that you sell less than 75, you know, if you sell five items and you have like five items up, you know, please don’t worry about it. You know, if you’re just selling whatever’s in your garage, of course, you know, I, I don’t want you to sit there and go buy a domain and buy a website and pay someone to do all this work. If you’re just, this is not something you, or you’re planning on doing or investing or being legitimate about or serious about. People sit there and they say, “Well, I’m not big.” You know, I’m not big either. This isn’t my full-time work. This is my part-time work. You know, some people, you know, they run marathons on Thanksgiving. You know, like this is how I, this is kind of like my side hobby or the fun thing that I like to do, you know, and make money. I think that as someone that isn’t a big seller, like I said, I’m not a big seller. You know, what I sell is different. I definitely would admit to that. But two years ago, you know, my stuff was mid to regular range. I sold everything from Zara and TopShop, H&M all the way up to mid to high end items. There’s a range. I’ve had the range and I’ve just, you’re looking at, like I said, almost 15 years a seller don’t look at me as someone that, oh, I’ve been doing this for six months. I think that’s something that people need to look at. You know, and my branding wasn’t built in a day. Mine took several months and it was me tinkering and working with it, coming up with a business name because I wanted to take this more seriously. And I really felt that branding my business would help me grow my business. And you know what, at first it didn’t work. It didn’t do anything. I don’t think it did anything at first. Like, I won’t lie to you the first two years. I don’t think it did much. And it’s for a couple of reasons. One, I wasn’t branding appropriately. I wasn’t taking it seriously the way I should have been taking it seriously. And I wasn’t functioning as a business the way I am now. I said it in my presentation, which you can actually check out it’s it’s on YouTube. If you check out eBay’s channel, it’s on there and you can check it out. It’s about, it’s exactly 30 minutes. You know, I’m very lucky. I’ve a really supportive network and group of people around me. But if someone around you isn’t or if someone says, “Oh, what do you do for a living?” You tell them I’m a reseller. They knock you down. You’d be like, I have a website. I have an Instagram, I have a Facebook page. You know, I’m a real business. I’m just like everybody else. So I think that’s something that really helps us, you know, and I would say it helps, you know, maybe you mentally and psychologically are too, like self care, that’s a form of self care to value yourself and to value your business. And your business is part of you.

Doug:

How did you learn about branding? How’d you learn about marketing? What was that journey?

Maria:

Just the internet. Like really the internet. And also another part of it is seeing what other companies are doing. Seeing what other businesses are doing, seeing how they market their products and they market themselves. You start small, you get bigger, you get bigger, you get bigger, you know, and it’s, it’s a brick by brick journey, you know? And I think mine was learning, okay, what is working? What isn’t working? Me, listing my stuff like this and doing hashtags, that’s not really selling. That wasn’t selling for me. It really wasn’t, you know, and then curating something and taking the items where I’d taken really good pictures of like, “Oh, this is a really good picture. I know I’m going to, I should post this on my Instagram.” You know? And I think that was part of it. It’s me taking my time, me having the privilege of being able to be a part-time seller and just do this on the side and just learning. I stumbled on a listing that I really liked how it looked and I created something that I liked aesthetically. I saw how they branded their business. And I said, this is a really cool idea. And I worked on that for my business. And what I noticed was, you know, and I took it from my own online shopping. I created a slogan. I did everything that a normal, I would say, an online boutique, a women’s boutique because I cater mostly to women. I looked at the high end stuff. Why not? Why can’t I look at the highest stuff, even though we’re selling regular stuff. We’re all buying the same thing. Just within our budget. We all want the same thing. So I marketed aesthetically so you feel like you’re having an experience. That’s my marketing. I want you to come into my store and feel like you’re not shopping on eBay. When you go in there I don’t want you to think you’re on eBay. I want you to think you’re in my business. You’re buying from my company or go to my listing and check it out. Do you feel like you’re on eBay? Do you not feel like you’re on eBay? You know, and I try and take you out of that experience and really bring you in as a client of mine, as someone that’s going to buy a product and buy it and make you feel like this is going to be a purchase. This is going to be something I’m going to be happy with when it comes home.

Liz:

And I like that you said that you said the aesthetic. And I think that when we talk about branding, you know, your logo is very important, but branding is more than just your logo.

Maria:

The logo is literally the foundation for any branding of your business. If you’re going to do anything, just make a logo, make a basic logo. I tell people, go to canva.com. It’s free. You can use their logo templates, delete, change the colors, edit the wording and make your own logo and make that your profile picture, make that your store logo and you start looking legitimate. That’s the first thing, you know, and I think it’s, to me personally, it’s the most important thing. You can have a plain banner in the background. You don’t have to have anything fancy, but when you have a logo and you’re starting to work on it, this could be something of a side project of yours. It doesn’t need to be done overnight. It doesn’t need to be worked on for two straight months. It could be something you work on and chip away at and tinker with over a period of time. My branding, honestly, it took me about six months to come up with my company name, to come up with the concept, to come up with the branding, to build the website and to build the entire process six months while I was listing. I started in January. It was January, 2016 when I really started it. It was like my new year’s resolution was to work on my eBay business. And it’s the only new year’s resolution I’ve ever actually done. It wasn’t done over a day overnight. It took me two months, maybe three, to come up with my business name that I liked, that I connected with, that I thought would resonate with my audience. From there, I then built, what do I want my branding to look like? What do I want the aesthetic to be? How do I want it to be? I then created my slogan. I then created every bit and piece. And then I used square for my website. So I pay like $22 a month I think it is, give or take. I have a wonderful website where I don’t have to worry about coding or anything like that. And they do these wonderfully aesthetically pleasing pages. And I have one with several pages. I think it’s a little cheaper if you have it with just one page and you can totally have it be one page.

Liz:

We have so many sellers now just like yourself, that are selling across multiple platforms. They’re not just an eBay seller or not just a Poshmark seller or not just a Depop seller. They’re selling across multiple platforms and their own websites. Do you need branding for each platform?

Maria:

Your branding should actually be one and it should be on all platforms. And that’s the aesthetic you develop. And when you streamline and when you create it. When it’s streamlined and it’s all the same, your customers like that. I know people think it’s crazy, but they like seeing the brand consistency. And so the consistency on all platforms, you make one logo one night, you can use that and you can use it for all platforms and everything. I created that, my logo, which you can see on every single one. I created it in March of 2016, and I’m still using it. I haven’t changed it. If you make something that’s good, that resonates with you, yourself and your company and what you’re trying to put out there, you can keep it forever. So you can create something that is a lifetime process for you. It’s something that you set it and forget it.

Liz:

I know if I wanted to Google you, I can type in Style Lister, and there might be different websites, but I know from your logo exactly which one. I don’t even have to give it a thought because I know your logo. I know that creative side of your brand.,

Maria:

Yeah. And it’s simple. It’s you know, people see the L and they see The Style Lister and, you know, they see that and they say, okay, this is The Style Lister, you know, and that’s it. And that’s, I want my customers to have that feeling that they’re shopping in an online boutique. Everybody markets differently, and everybody markets to different audiences and brands. So I want to clarify that before I move forward with this. I follow amazing and fantastic Instagrams where they are resellers, but they promote Amazon because they’re selling on Amazon, or they do things for Amazon, for example. Or, you know, you guys have an interesting hybrid of your stuff because you guys have List Perfectly. You guys have the podcast, you have a little bit of everything where you guys are helping out people. So I want to clarify for me, my Instagram has got a little bit of a dash. You like, maybe it’s like the cinnamon stick and like your apple cider for resellers. I touch upon reselling a little bit on mine, but if I do, it’s like the pretty side of reselling and I try and give it an aesthetically pleasing experience for my potential buyers. So you want to create an experience. Like my target audience are my clients, the people are my customers. It’s not necessarily the resale industry. It’s not necessarily other resellers just to hang out and socialize and have fun. You know, I see a lot of those there. They’re really cool. They’re having a blast with their videos and stuff, but they’re marketing to other resellers. There’s networking. Take a step back and think, how can you make your Instagram profitable? How is this making you money? Your branding should make you money. You know, if it’s not working, then tweak it and keep going and keep moving on. Like I said, look at my early Instagram posts, they weren’t making me money. So I tweaked them. I worked on them and it’s a complete 180 than what it is now, you know, and what I used to do and what I’m, how I spend my time and wasted my time, you know, in the reseller community. Believe me, I’ve done it. You know, I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t, but I realize that too. And I’m like working on my branding where I like to be working on my company. I could be focused on myself.

Liz:

And I’m glad you said that because I am the seller. And I think that we touched on this once a long time ago in another podcast. If you do have that social media, know your why. Why do you have the social media? So for me personally, my social media is a little bit of List Perfectly a little bit about what sold and a lot about the community and keeping up with resellers. But I know that. Like, there’s very few things that I do direct sales, but it is under my business name. And I am very aware that anyone can Google my business name, just like your customer found you, and they can see all of my social media that I put on my brand. Anytime I post I’m very aware of that, that anybody, that my potential customers can see what I’m posting. And I think that that’s just a really good thing to think about. And I think sometimes we forget about that. And heck, now that I say that I’m sitting here thinking, do I have anything like, did I slip? Right? Cause we’re not perfect. We’re not something you keep in the back of your mind. And I think that’s a very good thing to be aware of is like the ‘why’ of your social media.

Maria:

Yeah, absolutely. And here’s another factor is one of my posts from my last couple of months where Vestiaire Collective straight up messaged me and they’ve recruited me to sell, to be a business on their platform. I don’t know if anybody else has had that experience, but you know, that to me was a really crazy experience. I’ve never had a platform reach out to me and say, we want to sell to you. And then when I asked them specifically, I said, “How did you find me?” Because I thought it was the weirdest thing, because I hadn’t posted anything. I hadn’t done anything. I hadn’t done the eBay Open or anything. And she said, “I was shopping. I was straight up shopping. I was looking at a bag of yours. And I said to myself, this person should be selling on Vestiaire.” They literally, that’s how they recruited me because she was looking at a Gucci handbag. That’s how I got discovered. I literally was approached by them, but I’ve also been approached by suppliers as well. I found the website via Instagram and on LinkedIn where they say, “Oh, you have a very viewable business.” It’s interesting because I’ve had, I’ve been approached several times and I tell people, I’ve got the receipts. I can post up the screenshots.” We found your business. And we think you’d be a great customer of ours.” It’s because of my branding. It’s not because I have a bunch of stuff listed because I didn’t. It wasn’t like people saw a bunch of luxury stuff that I was selling. And then they’re, “oh, well we want to sell to you.” All that had happened way before.

Doug:

And so that’s an interesting point. So you did pivot, but you still had your brand that you had built up. So you have a lot of brand recognition, you had your logo, you had some success and you had some business opportunities come out of that. So, what are some other ways that branding has benefited you?

Maria:

I think more than anything it’s even the confidence in myself to take myself seriously. We are all business owners. You know, I’m a business owner, you’re a business owner. Anybody who’s listening, you are a small business owner. So whenever you hear about it in the news, small business owner, they’re talking about you. They’re talking about us. When I created that, I felt really like a real business. I felt like a real company. I really feel like I’ve done this. Now I have to do something with it. And that’s what I’ve done. And that’s how I’ve worked at it. And I think that’s the thing, it’s taught me to value myself and to value my company, to value my work and, you know, to value what I’m doing. And it should be for everybody else. What we do is real, what we do is serious. You know, whatever you sell, whether you sell trading cards, whether you sell fashion, whether you sell power tools, it doesn’t matter. No matter what you’re selling, you’re providing something to someone who’s looking for it.

Liz:

Your brand is helping you stay accountable to your brand.

Maria:

You want to be a good brand and you know, you have to be smart about what you say, what you’re posting.

Liz:

I know people are out and about more. People are buying more than when we were talking last time. Have you been able to list and sell more?

Maria:

Yeah, my business has. I’ve definitely seen a bump. Regionally my sales changed when COVID hit. I used to sell a lot in Southern California and then the east coast, specifically the New York area pre-COVID. Those were two heavy hitters. I sold a lot in New York. I sold a lot, Manhattan island and New Jersey. And then when the restrictions came and actually we were quarantining, I’m in California and New York also quarantined. So my business basically dried up in these two states. And now that the states have all opened up and the restrictions have lifted quite a bit, I’m selling everywhere now. I’m back to selling to every part of the country again.

Doug:

What’s the current state of luxury?

Maria:

Current state of luxury is really good. It does very well. And not only that, I think the biggest part about that is that pre-owned luxury is huge. And I think it’s only going to get bigger, because you can buy something that’s not full priced and, you know, for some people they don’t want to buy pre-owned clothing, you know, so it’s changed. And right now with our environment and how people are being more aware of that, it’s shifting and what is selling and what’s trendy are luxury goods and buying pre-owned is the way for a lot of people who can afford them. And if that’s how you can afford it by all means why not? And then you can always list it and sell it when you don’t want to wear it anymore. Or you can keep it for a while and then see if it becomes more rare. I think handbags and certain accessories, I think are the things to hang on to, you know, but luxury, I think is something that’s is a mainstay at this point. And if you can make sure it’s authentic and you can invest, and you’re not spending too much money, I say, go for it and try it out. But be smart, check the solds, you know, check how much it’s actively sold for, check who’s listing it, check how many there are. I use Terapeak is my best friend. You know, I look at it over a year, how many have sold over a year? How much they’re selling it for and how much, and what’s the quantity and all that, you know, because if I see only 50 of it sold in the last 12 months, it means one of two things. One, it’s not a seller or two, it’s really rare. So you’ll know because you’ll see how much it’s sold for. So if it’s like only 50 sold, but they all sold for $5,000 each and you see it for a hundred dollars like, snag it. But if you see it’s $500 and you’re thinking, should I get it? And then you check the solds on eBay and you see 75 sold also for $550, don’t freaking do it. It’s not going to go up in value. Some things I will list and they will sell in 48 hours. And then sometimes I will list something and it has taken me a year to sell, so it’s hard. It is a game. It’s a bit of a game and it’s really learning the industry and learning what’s in style. And a lot of that is literally going on Instagram. These influencers are buying and I’m talking about people who get photographed, whether it’s Sarah Jessica Parker, or Kendall Jenner, or anyone if you pay attention and you see what they’re wearing, then you can get a good idea of what’s coming down the way.

Liz:

When you’re ready to sell luxury, make sure that you have your branding on point. Make sure that you’re ready for this. So in kind of wrapping up with branding, you gave a lot of tips. So we’re going to go ahead and put your entire 30 minute eBay Open online presentation in our show notes. We’ll put a link to that because that is a must see. So in closing, do you have any last quick tips for those that are getting their branding together?

Maria:

Take a step back and look at how you want to market your business. And, you know, I think one of the bigger ones, like the questions I got were, you know, “I’m a small company,” doesn’t matter, you know? And I tell people “I’m a small company too,” but I do believe that me branding my business the way I had, now when people are coming in and they’re buying items that they want to invest in, because that’s where I’ve shifted my business. That’s as good if I hadn’t branded it the way I did, if I didn’t have right. If I was selling all of that and it looked like crap, I wouldn’t be able to sell it for as much as I’m selling it. I think people wouldn’t be interested in it. You know, are you selling to a certain group of people, are you selling to an age group? And you can get your demographics from the people who like your page. So, you know, if they like your Facebook page, if they like your Instagram, their followers, it tells you the region they’re in and their age range as well. They have that information on there. So I knew, you know, my likers back when I first started my Facebook page, my likers and on my Pinterest, actually, a lot of the people who were, you know, repinning my stuff at the time they were from the east coast, they were from New York and they were from LA. And it lined up with the demographics of the people who buy my products. So know your demographic, know your audience, know who’s buying your stuff. And you can know that with your social media when you slowly start building that and implementing that, and you get those likes and follows and you get that customer engagement and then build from there. You know, I wanted something really simple. I wanted my products to do the talking. So I decided, Hey, I’m going to do a simple logo. I’m going to do a simple brand. I’m going to do a name that can be used on all platforms. That was kind of my thing. Even though I was only selling on eBay, I said, I want this to be something that if I wanted to not be on eBay, I could sell this anywhere. The Style Lister says that I list style. Find your name and really market that way. And market your business. People want to see something that looks like a legitimate business. Even if you’re selling a little bit of everything, they want to feel like they’re buying from a real company, which means a logo, which means a name. Come up with something that is impactful for you that will make you love it, that you will push for. And then work on that and create something consistent that looks authentic. That looks real. That looks legitimate. If you look like a real company, they will think you’re a real company. And here’s the other thing I tell people, you are a real company. There’s no difference between me and you. We are the same. We do the same thing. We sell online. We’re resellers. We need to value ourselves as resellers. I think we are taken not seriously enough by everyone else and the best way we need to do that is by saying, “You know what? I have a website. I have an Instagram, I have Facebook. I have a community. I network with other people. I am a real business.” And you know, because I do, I meet with other people who, their family members aren’t supportive. I don’t have that issue. I come from a group. I have a really good support group.

Liz:

So Maria, thank you once again, for joining us, talking to us about branding. Branding your business, really catching us up on how you’re doing in the luxury market. Remind us once again, where we can find you.

Maria:

You can find me everywhere at facebook @facebook.com/thestylelister, or you can find me on Instagram, instagram.com/thestylelister or www.thestylelister.com. So if you look up The Style Lister you will find me because that’s my branding and that’s how I’ve done it. I’m on Pinterest. I do have a Pinterest, which I’m not super active on. I do have a Twitter, which I’m even less active on. I’m on eBay and I’m on Poshmark. I’m slowly starting to branch out on Vestiaire, and I’m going to start branching out to actually other platforms in the next couple of months. That’s pretty much my goal for the fourth quarter. If you want to find me, you want to ask questions, I’m happy to answer them and I’m happy to help.

Doug:

And you’ve got a great website. You’ve got a great blog on there that’s got some great resources. You’ve got your Facebook group.

Maria:

Oh yeah. Fashion sellers selling on eBay.

Doug:

Another great resource obviously, your eBay Open presentation, which we will link in the show notes. But it’s always great to have Maria The Style Lister on the show.

Branding Follow Up and News

Liz:

What a great conversation with Maria. But I think that there’s a couple of really great points to remember. And one that I really want to emphasize to our listeners is take your business seriously so others will take you seriously. And that’s one of the things that she said, and that’s one of the things if you go back, we interviewed Maggie Weber and that’s kind of one of the things that she said too. You know, take your business seriously. Even if you don’t feel like a serious business, you are.

Doug:

You’re sourcing, you’re listing, you’re shipping. You’re going to have to deal with customer service at one point. You’re going to have to deal with returns, no matter how much you sell. So if you go to thestylelister.com, she has, doesn’t she have a brand guideline you can download?

Liz:

She does, and it’s free.

Doug:

It’s free.

Liz:

So, yeah, and you can go to thestylelister.com. It’s called brand your reseller business. And it is a 10 page guide. It’s packed with information, but in an easy to read format. And it’s just right to the point.

Doug:

And she covered some of that stuff in our chat that we talked about. But there’s a couple of things Liz and I are going to talk about. I learned long ago to always be building up your personal brand if you want to work in online content or social media. So that’s why I do a lot of the stuff I do on LinkedIn. I’m trying to build up a brand and become like a resource for content, for social media, for e-commerce, for social commerce. But now my brand story is that, you know, I worked at eBay for four years and, you know, I try to be a resource for the seller community and I sell online and I have a podcast with the awesome Liz O’Kane. The whole point is, when we touch on this is your brand is you, it’s your story, and try to work that into what you’re selling. Not everybody wants to do that. Some people just want to sell piecemeal stuff. But like, Liz is a great story too. She’s retired Air Force. She’s a mom. She lives in Colorado, she’s into sustainability and recycling and she works all of that into her brand. Colorado Reworn is her brand. So she’s consistent everywhere. You can Google that her website comes up. She’s also active in so many Facebook groups, active in seller communities, active on LinkedIn, a resource for the seller community. And that’s part of her brand.

Liz:

And Doug, that is so weird to me because as I hear you say that in my brain, I’m Liz in the basement listing stuff on line. Seriously, when I actually rebranded, because I’ve only lived in Colorado for seven years. So before, I think I started off, I don’t know, I started off on eBay and it was probably like user 1 8, 6, 8, 6, 8, 2, 5 ABCD or something. I don’t know. And then I changed my username to probably Liz. And then I changed it to Shopping Addiction. And it stayed Shopping Addiction for awhile until probably about the third email I got with, I don’t know, trolls, potential customers? It doesn’t matter who it was, talking about how I really should not be making fun of addiction. And while I thought it was fun and innocent, I was like, ah, don’t want to, are they being sensitive? Am I being not sensitive? I don’t know, but it didn’t matter. But at that point I knew it was time for a rebranding anyway. So I took that feedback into consideration whether I agreed with it or not. It didn’t matter.

Doug:

And perception is, that’s a great point, perception is part of your brand, how you’re perceived. I’m a little tongue in cheek. So that’s part of my brand. So I’m a little snarky, that’s part of my brand. And I think people come to expect that. But it’s like you said before that my brand, I, across the board, I was DAsmith090104. And so that’s how some people knew me. Sellers helped me rebrand into Snoop Dougie, and so the association there, it was something that was funny, something that kind of tied into my personality, but something that people know me as. But Liz, I literally, like people know the fairytale story of Doug and Liz and how they connected and got together. But I remember when you were, I don’t want to say just Liz in the basement, but is when we were literally in your basement and you were showing me how you do things, and then you kind of started to grow your brand from there. Launching, you know, with a couple of other sellers, launching a meetup, working with other local meetups, getting connected at eBay, getting that growth and then starting to get involved with being an influencer at eBay and then in the wider seller community as well. And now, you know, we all know that a couple of months ago you were selected to interview the CEO of eBay. And now you’re very prominent and very well-known in the seller community. So you’ve built up, that’s part of your brand, too. And that’s the crazy thing is like, that’s all part of your brand, especially online.

Liz:

Which is crazy to me because I’m just Liz in the basement. I’m Colorado Reworn, you know, I rebranded, I just came up and I did exactly what Maria said. You know, you can use anything. I didn’t want to use my last name. You know, I was like, okay, well I live in Colorado. This is an easy play. Colorado is a beautiful state, Colorado, you know, that’s an easy one. That’s mountains, fresh air, right? And at the time I was just selling used clothes. So I was like, okay, well, I mean, but that’s a great sustainability, like to kind of showcase that I was selling used, reworn, recycle. You should see some of my earlier logos that I did on Canva for free. Ooh, Doug! (laughing) But you know what? It was a logo and I was proud of it. It’s changed a little bit and that’s fine. And it’s still not perfect. And I’m okay with that too, by just even using my state. So you could just take the state that you live in just like Maria was saying and add something about your store into it. And that’s how that became that. And that’s how Colorado Reworn became. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect. And I have been thinking about changing it and everybody’s like, “No, don’t!” Snoop Dougie selling books? Something about rolling paper?

Doug:

So Liz is telling me I’m doing a terrible job with my branding. Snoop Dougie’s my association, like within the seller community, you know, I also do online content. I also do social media. So I have my company that’s DAS content or DAS content. So DAS content is my professional brand. It’s where I do side work from. It’s what I sell from. And yes, I sell books. I sell collectibles. I don’t sell a ton, but you know, what Liz says too, is your logo’s important, your header’s important because what you want is you want to have something that people are going to make that association with. So when you see Liz’s logo, you make that association, it’s easy to see in all your different little spots. On your website, across social media, in your online stores. Even if you don’t share your story, it’s like, what’s your story? Why did you start selling online? Did selling online change your life? Are you doing it full-time? Are you doing it part-time? Just something to think about in the back of your head. And it helps you build up that brand a bit. And then obviously, you know, Liz and I actually were talking about this and we’ve talked about it before, you know, social media. So social media is a tool that’s out there. It’s largely free. There’s a lot you can do for free. Think about social media and building your brand on there. It takes some time. But the question I hear a lot is like, “well, why should I do it?” Well, the point is, you’re helping to build up your brand. You’re helping that association, but you also need to think about sending traffic to certain things, whether it’s sending traffic to your website or sending traffic to your listings across the board. Say somebody searching for a fashion seller, they search, they want to buy some stuff online, they search for a fashion seller. If Liz has built up her brand and she’s got some content, she’s got some social content she could show up in Google as a fashion seller. And then she gets that traffic. She gets that Google notice. It’s sending traffic to whatever of Liz’s assets that are out there. And then think about that, too. The more assets that are out there, that helps you build up your brand. So Liz has got her website, she’s got all her stores across the board on the platforms. She’s on Instagram, she’s on LinkedIn. She’s on Facebook. That all can come up in Google search. And that all kind of builds up your brand. And Google holistically looks at all that stuff.

Liz:

It really does. And while you were talking about that, I Googled Snoop.Dougie. You got a little bit of competition with some guy named Snoop Dogg. I don’t know. (laughing) But I may have found some interesting information. Do you have a YouTube video? Maybe?

Doug:

I don’t know.

Liz:

So I challenge you to go online and search Doug Smith eBay YouTube. Did you know Doug Smith has done eBay commercials?

Doug:

Yeah, kind of some how to stuff. There’s some stuff that is social too.

Liz:

There’s some podcast interviews, YouTube interviews. You take us through a tour of eBay headquarters.

Doug:

Oh yeah. That was pretty fun. Yeah. That’s a good story. We had fun with that.

Liz:

So yeah. There’s a couple of things out there.

Doug:

God knows what will come up.

Liz:

So yeah, you do my story and you get, you type in Colorado Reworn you get eBay, Facebook, Mercari, Twitter, Instagram. Oh, videos. My first TikTok.

Doug:

(both laughing) So Liz is basically saying that her brand is dialed in more than mine is.

Liz:

No, I don’t know. A tour of eBay headquarters is a little more cool than me pushing the ‘you’re bad-ass button.’

Doug:

So, I was literally at eBay because when I worked at eBay, I’d go up there a week or two a month. And I was literally at eBay in a meeting, because we knew each other, they texted me and they’re like, “Hey, Snoop Dougie. We’re in town. If we come by eBay, will you give us a tour?” And I was like, “yeah! I have to catch a flight at like two. But if you guys get over here around lunchtime, I’ll give you this Snoop Dougie tour.” because that’s what I used to call the dime store, Snoop Dougie tour and I would walk people around. And so they came in and it was right before the holidays. And I gave them the quick tour, you know, brought them into eBay Main Street, showed them the laser pointer. You do the laser pointer. You do the touch boards that are in eBay Main Street that there’s live updates and you see what selling and all that. The people like to see the cafeteria. And the cool thing is all the buildings, there’s cool stuff on display, you know? And I take you up to the second floor of, I think it’s building seven where eBay started. And then I tell some of the stories, you know, do a couple of Griff jokes. If Griff’s hanging around, introduce you to Griff. So I did that, but it is apparently it is video documented. I haven’t watched that yet.

Liz:

Yes it is. You’ll forever be connected to eBay via that video.

Doug:

Just that video. Back to social media, one quick thing about that is you have to think too is you can also sell now via social media. You’ve heard us talk about social commerce so you can sell on Facebook and sell on Instagram, you can sell on TikTok. You can sell pretty much across the board. And that’s really evolving right now. So you got to think about that. And then the other thing I want to touch on really quick, cause I think it’s important is think about a website. So it’s not that expensive to buy a domain name. And what you need to think about there is if you want it, that’s a little bit of next level stuff as Maria does mention. But what you want to think about there is if you have a website, that’s your hub. You can do whatever you want on there. You can put whatever you want on there. You can forward a domain name to an eBay store, or you can put it forward it to your link tree. But the point is, is you’ve got this hub that is something you can do whatever you want with. If you want to sell, if you want to launch a blog and try to get SEO traffic, you can do that. Shopify. Shopify is great because it gives you all these plug in e-commerce tools. It helps you design a website. You don’t have to be a web designer. You can get a domain name via Shopify. It’s not free and they have multiple levels. But Shopify is, I think it’s the number one e-commerce website solution out there. List Perfectly integrates with Shopify. So that’s a great option for you, but just think about, it’s great to have that hub to send your traffic to, and you can do something like your brand, your Colorado Reworn, here’s all the places I sell. And you can also sell directly from your website if you have e-commerce tools enabled.

Liz:

We’re not done yet, are we Doug? We’ve got some news!

Doug:

We always have news.

Liz:

First, if you don’t mind me starting out with, you know, there may be some follow-up questions to Maria’s interview. Doug and I will actually be live if you’re listening to this on the first day that the podcast releases, we will be alive Wednesday night, September 29th at 4:00 PM, PST for an hour. Kind of catching up on the news, doing recaps of our episodes and taking listener questions.

Doug:

It’s going to be amazing!

Liz:

It will be.

Doug:

So Liz, I see that there’s some USPS news. So I know you love to deliver the USPS news, so.

Liz:

I just want to pause a second and I just want to point out and let listeners know. Did you see how he just led right into that and gave it, put all of that bad news right on me. (laughing)

Doug:

I’ll do it if you want.

Liz:

No, I’ll do it. It’s fine. So really just a reminder a couple episodes back, we talked about USPS increasing rates, starting on October 3rd, we will put a link to that announcement with prices, but some new news that has come to light. And this isn’t so bad. USPS is actually decreasing the size of quite a handful of their priority mail packaging, giving you less room to ship your items. Now I went through this and I looked at the email that USPS sent out. And some of them were just getting decreased by like an eighth of an inch on one side. However, the priority mail regional rate box B2 is being reduced by two inches, two and a half inches, actually. You’re losing that much space at that flat rate. If you use those boxes, be aware, if you have those boxes that are at that larger size, they will still honor the price on the bigger box. If that makes sense. Doug is now snoring because he does not use regional boxes.

Doug:

You know what beat box is to me.

Liz:

Beat box?

Doug:

(Doug making rap noises)

Liz:

B! As in the letter B.

Doug:

I’m Beat boxing!

Liz:

You beat box behind that.

Doug:

I’m a little, my B box is a little smaller this year, but I’m, beatboxing. (laughing)

Speaker 1:

A little quieter, Doug. USPS just shut you down.

Doug:

That’s right!

Liz:

It’s stupid. Okay, they VERO’d oh wait. You can’t say that because eBay owns VERO. So really that’s the big change. Just be aware of it. USPS will honor the rates on the bigger boxes. So if you do use regional rate, B2 boxes stock up on them now, before they disappear.

Doug:

All right.

Liz:

So that’s the bad news. I have about six more news articles I want to cover, but I won’t.

Doug:

All right.

Liz:

For the sake of time!

Doug:

Because that all the news that fits today, Liz. But save those up. We can touch base on them next week because there’s always news. Always e-commerce always social commerce news and we can be your news source. 

Outro

Liz:

So Doug, I think that about wraps it up. Thank you for joining us this week on the Seller Community Podcast from List Perfectly. This week, we talked to our friend Maria The style Lister about branding your e-commerce business. We also had some seller news and some List Perfectly news.

Doug:

That is true. You can find us at listperfectly.com/podcast. You can leave a message or ask a question at anchor.fm/sellercommunitypodcast. Email us at podcasta@istperfectly.com. You can also post a question in the List Perfectly Facebook group and use the hashtag seller community podcast, and mention Liz or Doug,

Liz:

You can listen to us anywhere you listen to podcasts and be sure to subscribe and tell your friends. You know, and if you’re listening on Apple podcasts, we would love if you left us a review. As a reminder tune into our live show tonight, Wednesday, September 29th at 4:00 PM. PST on the List Perfectly YouTube channel and in the List Perfectly Facebook group. You can also follow us on Instagram. I am at ColoradoReworn. Doug is at Snoop.Dougie and of course, follow @ListPerfectly. We will see you tonight.

Doug:

On YouTube and Facebook. And next week…

Liz:

And next week too. And tonight. And next week.

Doug:

And next. All the time. Forever.

Liz:

Do you want to do that again?

Doug:

A thousand episodes. No, I like it. It’s authentic, Liz. People are going to connect with it. We don’t want to be too stock.

Liz:

Oh. Man. I don’t know. Sometimes I think we’re borderline dorks.

Doug:

Don’t bring me down. You’re bringing me down to your geekiness. I’m just kidding. (laughing) Liz is an influencer.

Liz:

Uh, I’m a dork. I’m sorry. I’m no, actually I’m not sorry. I’m just a dork and I embrace it.

Doug:

All right. Well, that’s a good thing. I can be the cool side.

Liz:

Mmmhmmm.