Skip McGrath Bio
My wife, Karen, and I have been running a successful business on eBay since 1999 and Amazon since 2006. During that time, I have written 14 books about selling on eBay, Amazon and the Internet. What makes our books different is we write about what we actually do.
We started out selling used books and small antiques, and selling on consignment, and eventually moved into new merchandise
Before we started selling on eBay, my wife and I ran a small -but successful, antique business in upstate New York. We were located in the exclusive Hudson Valley Horse country -home to stars, politicians and other famous people. Some of our customers included the late Mary Tyler Moore, Kevin Bacon, James Earl Jones and Senator Howard Schumer just to name a few.
After ten years in New York, we moved back out West to a small town north of Seattle WA. Before we moved we put our large antiques on sale to get rid of them and we boxed up all the smaller items in case we opened another shop out west.
Once we settled in out West, we discovered the type of antiques we liked (English and Early American) were not very popular in the West, so we never got around to opening another shop.
In early 1999, my teenage son came to me and asked to "borrow" my credit card so he could open an account on eBay to buy and sell comic books. He showed me the site (which was only a couple years old by then), and I noticed two things: You had to be over 18 to open an account, which my son was not, and there were a lot of folks selling small antiques similar to the ones we had in boxes.
So, instead of giving him my credit card. I opened an account myself and let him use it (under my close supervision) to sell his comic books.
Within a few weeks I started listing a few small antiques. I was instantly amazed. About 90% of the items we listed sold and we were getting far more for the pieces than they used to sell for in our shop. For example, one of my early listings was for a late 19th Century pair of Brass Candlesticks. We used to sell these regularly in our shop in the $80 to $110 range. The first pair I listed on eBay sold for over $150. Needless to say, I was hooked!
Shortly after we started selling on eBay, eBay started the eBay PowerSeller program and we became one of the first group of PowerSellers.
It was about that time I started my newsletter, The eBay Seller's News (now, The eBay and Amazon Sellers News) and wrote my first book, The eBay Power Seller's Manual, which was an immediate success. (We were selling 100 copies a week on eBay for $19.95).
We started selling on Amazon in 2006, which was about the time that eBay stated going through some serious changes that were not for the better. Over the years we kept expanding our Amazon business until we had over 1,000 items for sale on Amazon. By 2014, Amazon was 80% of our business and eBay had fallen to 20%.
Today we still sell on both eBay and Amazon and we are looking for new channels to expand to.
Before selling on eBay, I had a 25 year career in International Marketing and Sales. I eventually ended up as a senior vice president of a Fortune 100 company.
By 2001, our eBay business had expanded to the point where Karen, who had gone back to work once the kids were grown, quit her job to work on eBay full time. In 2003, I joined her, giving up suits and ties, long commutes and $35 a day parking for the joys of working from home.
My corporate job paid well into six figures, but it only took me about 15 months to replace that. And, I no longer spend $75 a week on Gas, $125 a week on dry cleaning, eat bag lunches and pay $35 a day to park my car.
I am my own boss (well, actually my wife is), set my own schedule, and make enough money we can buy our own Health Insurance even at the ObamaCare rates that average about $700 a month more than we used to pay before ObamaCare. (Not being political here -just showing what happens when government gets involved in a business.)
We live in a small town of about 10,000 people on an island in the Puget Sound about two-hours North of Seattle. My oldest son is a Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy and my youngest son is a seagoing tugboat Captain who has almost completed his training to become a Harbor Pilot.
My dog, Kipling, sits at my feet and keeps me company while I work, and manages to score the occasional treat.
© 1999- Harry McGrath, Inc., DBA Skip McGrath, Auction Seller's Resource and Vision-One Marketing. All Rights Reserved.
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