Saturday, February 28, 2015

The eBay Surfer--A Tribute to Etsy's HappyValleyAvenue

2004 Lynda Corneille Character Collectible SWAK Mug
At a yard sale in College Place, Washington, about a year ago, I found the fascinating headless mug featured above. I am a sucker for things that punch me in the gut and make me do a double take. 

I think I paid 50¢ for this mug. But in the process of paying for it, I struck up a conversation with the personable and attractive woman hosting the yard sale. I shared with her that I sold on eBay, and in turn, I learned that she was an Etsy seller. Naturally, we spent the next fifteen minutes heavily animated in shop talk.

In the next few months, my wife and I must have bumped into this woman and her adult son a half dozen times or so in the course of shopping at yard sales, estate sales, church rummage sales, and thrift shops in the Walla Walla Valley. Because my writer's mind is constantly on autopilot, I mused about how cool it was to actually know others who had an established and successful online presence.

We go online and see a very cool store or shopping site. We see independent brand names that we intuitively know are small business presences on those respective sites. But we seldom think about the actual people behind the scenes.

It's definitely an encouraging and reinforcing quantum leap to actually meet and interact with the real people propping up those virtual storefronts. One walks away from that very special entrepreneurial connection feeling very good about what one does.

All across America, people are elevating the status of thrifting to new- found heights. Our thrifting friends, Jan and her son, Eric, are hard working, conscientious, and responsible Etsy sellers. Jan's amazing store, HappyValleyAvenue, is a testament of the wonderful success that people who demonstrate such old-fashioned and yet timeless proactive traits can accomplish.

Traits that--hey, sonofagun!--my wife and I possess as well. It's enough to make even us sexagenarians walk a bit taller and lighter! 

Because of Jan's example and influence, I am currently more active on Etsy. Although I only have four items listed as of this writing, my goal is to list at least one vintage item per day over the next year. At just 20¢ per listing over a four-month period, and with post-sales fees that are very easy on the bottom line, the prospect of cross-selling eBay inventory on Etsy seems to be a most practical strategy. Having dual streams of income makes great sense to this island boy.

Ironically, I got so busy with other projects that I never did list the mug. But my wife did. You can find her store at:

As for my rascal online presence, you can find what I'm selling at:

And if you enjoy reading short human interest stories about Trash to Treasure adventures, you can find me at:

Finally, be sure to check out Jan's shop filled with beautiful clothing, accessories, and other attractive vintage items at:

Until next time, ALOHA!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The eBay Surfer--An Inaugural Post

Surfer at Hanalei, Kaua'i, Hawai'i
(Family photo courtesy of RKA Photography)

I am kicking off a new niche for my Hawaiian Odysseus blog today. Actually, it will be comprised of tutorials and/or human interest stories, if you will, about a subject I have already covered here--my eBay experiences. What's new is that I am formally christening these shared anecdotes and what have you under the self-inflicted (I see you smiling!) banner of The eBay Surfer. 

Whether you're an online entrepreneurial veteran or a newbie to, arguably, the global marketplace that receives the most commercial traffic, I earnestly hope you'll enjoy my musings and maybe even metaphorically walk away with something new or vintage in your pocket.

As I always state in my eBay descriptions: Thanks for stopping by. Welcome back anytime!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I Write for Bubblews

Bubblews Geyser
(aka Spouting Horn at Koloa, Kaua'i, Hawai'i)

In my spare time (what's that?), I enjoy writing short posts for Bubblews. Over the last year and a half, I've managed to write over 600 of these mini-articles. So far, my content has leaned heavily towards human interest stories about selling on eBay, my walking escapades, life experiences (past and present), and family. 

The site used to pay reasonably well, but growing pains contributed to its management team pulling back on the payout reins. The income, unlike the Spouting Horn above, comes in spurts these days.

Nevertheless, whether you just enjoy reading about a host of subjects or are looking for a comfortable setting in which you can hone your writing skills and/or revel in the joy of modern day pen-pal socialization, Bubblews is the place for you.

In any event, here's an invitation for you to enjoy some of the things I've written. Once you're there, it's a relatively easy matter for you to navigate around the site. 

Thanks for stopping by today. Welcome back anytime!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone!

A Bullfrog Stuffed into a Black & White Burrito?
I've been on blogging hiatus for far too long, so it's high time I get my writing act in gear and share my world with you. As some of you may already know, I love rambling in this venue about family, simple island boy philosophy, walking, writing itself, and--yes!--my livelihood, selling online, especially on eBay.

Yesterday, following going twelve rounds in the proverbial ring with tax returns, I found time to write a couple of posts for a favorite writing site of mine. I'm sharing the links below for your reading enjoyment. As time goes by, I'll be doing more of that, having discovered that in the sharing of what little I know about selling online, I'm able to learn and discover so much more in return from my readers. And that, my friends, includes YOU!

Here we go, then. Have fun, and have an absolutely delightful and memorable Valentine's Day weekend! And, don't forget, if you're so moved, please send me your comments and questions.


Joe aka Hawaiian Odysseus

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lords of the Fly 1 Cent Auctions on ebay

Beatles Trading Cards, ca 1964
Hawaiian Odysseus Photo

Special Holiday Fun for our Enthusiastic Buyers
Welcome to our eba
1 cent auction!

Are we NUTS? 

The simple answer is: Yes, we are! We're absolutely nuts about our terrific ebabuyers, and at this very special time of year, we're inviting you to engage in some old-fashioned ebaholiday frivolity.

In celebrating the conclusion of our twelfth year on this wonderful global marketplace, we'll be tossing in a penny auction from time to time from Halloween evening through New Year's Day, 2013. So please check back with us often, and let's all have a great time commemorating the good fun days of founder Pierre Omidyar; first employee, Chris Agarpao; and the brilliant President and CEO, Meg Whitman.

Up on our penny auction block tonight, we have...


And so begins our 2012 holiday campaign on ebay! 

What better way to do so than to go retro with a penny auction emphasis!

Sprinkled throughout our usual store and auction offerings will be a handful of spicy and saucy 1 cent listings. It's a great way to thank our loyal customer base while appealing to the curiosity and sense of intrigue of new visitors to our online site. You can find us at:

Penny auctions are the exception rather than the rule these days. Administrative changes on ebay, the topsy-turvy global economy, a more sophisticated and internet-savvy shopper, and a tremendous surge in online marketplace choices have all contributed to a greater emphasis on Buy it Now prices that are set as well as higher starting amounts for auctions.

At Lords of the Fly, a mom and pop ebay shop for a dozen years now, we believe in honoring tradition. That's why we're very excited to provide our customers with a nostalgic, fun, and what we hope to be  successful business strategy--the 1 cent auction! 

The penny auction campaign kicked off on Halloween night and will run through New Year's Day, 2013.

Obviously, we're not giving any credence to the Mayan calendar issue. No disrespect to the Mayans or their wonderful descendants, mind you. On the contrary, we'd love to have all interested Mayans participating in our penny auctions. And while we're on the subject, if anyone has the last known Mayan calendar and would like to make a generous commission, we'd love to be your ebay Trading Assistant.

So where's the action at? Right here, at Lords of the Fly on ebay!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Makalehua--An eBay Adventure in Island Couture and Collectibles

Sig Zane Medium Fuchsia Dress
It's mid-September, and I'm feeling autumn's chill slowly making its way into the Walla Walla Valley.

Like a tentative pubescent high school boy tripping over his size eleven shoes as he scans the gym floor for the one girl that might say yes to a dance request, the ambience of golden leaves, pumpkins, weekend football games, and the donning of coats and sweatshirts approaches timidly.

It's that time of year when I start thinking, I want to be in Hawai'i for Christmas.

Chances are you've had similar thoughts sometime this year. Maybe you've been to the island several times and have enough warm memories tugging at you to repeat the experience yet one more time.

Or maybe you've never been to pacific paradise and are telling yourself, If I don't go now, I'll never go.

Whatever the case may be, take it from me, you don't want to waste precious time and maybe some embarrassing situations and, most of all, any of your hard-earned money buying your island wear after you get to the islands. No, even a former Kaua'i boy like myself knows better than to pull out the vintage Magnum, P.I. aloha shirt clones and old jeans from storage. Besides, they'd no longer fit my, shall we say, more mature manly build (read: sexagenarian fat man).

Perish the though of procrastination. Now you can be well prepared at a fraction of the cost and, for the price of a handful of dinners and movies, have a week's (or even two weeks') worth of 50th state wardrobe before boarding that flight to the islands.

How? By clicking on the following link and treating yourself to a delightful and aesthetically pleasing line of pre-worn yet very high class Hawaiian attire at a fraction of their original prices:

Manuheali'i Women's Size Small Dress
The personable and down-to-island Mom and Pop team of Makalehua is a relatively new presence on the gargantuan eBay global marketplace, but they're definitely leaving some giant menehune (pardon the oxymoron) tracks in the wake of their fledgling entrepreneurial success.

The simple reason? They practice the old school protocol of excellent customer service--intelligent sourcing of an appealing product line, great communication, superb hygienic preparation and care of their pre-worn clothing items, a sprinkling of outstanding Pacific Islander and Asian collectibles, very reasonable prices, and super fast shipping. 

Vintage Reyn spooner 100% Silk Aloha Shirt

Makalehua has 100% positive feedback. Their customers are extremely satisfied with the par excellence service. Here's some of their feedback:

Excellent shape, hard to tell if it was used at all. Great deal! I love it!

Great seller. Super fast, cheerful and honest! Mahalo!

A++++ all the way: lovely dress, as desc, fast ship; highly recommend seller; thx

No ka oi eBay seller!!!!!!!!!!


Very nice eBayer with fast transaction and nice items.

Got it!! Thanks for this great item at a great price and an easy transaction!!

For a comprehensive look at their feedback rating and most current customer raves, you can visit:

Sig Zane Small Linen Fuchsia Jacket or Blouse 
If Hawaiiana is your thing, Makalehua offers a spicy eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary collectibles along with their entree clothing line. Here are a few examples:

Vintage Asian Tea Set in Woven Basket
Japanese Cranes Lacquered Plate, 7-3/4"
Ritz Carlton Hotel Silver HEPP Exclusive Silver Plated Water Pitchers
Maybe you want to go to the islands but the budget just isn't right for making the trip this year. Treat yourself to a healthy compromise, then, and make MAKALEHUA your cyber vacation stop for your holiday shopping needs. 

At the very least, you'll be prepared for presenting the special people in your life with an exquisite array of choice gifts.

At best, you'll definitely be at the head of the class, dressed in your Makalehua clothing and looking beachcomber spiffy for next year's trip to the wonderful Islands of Aloha!

A wonderful video featuring Hawaiian fashion designer, Sig Zane

For a heartwarming and lighthearted behind-the-scenes story, we invite you to enjoy this very special narrative--

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lords of the Fly Eclectic $.99 Sale

A Caesar Hernandez Water Color Painting

Aloha! When I'm not lounging around in my favorite coffee shops in downtown Walla Walla writing profusely while sipping on a tall cup of bold or, whenever I feel like splurging, guzzling down a venti-sized caramel frappucino, I'm diligently taking photographs and working on listings for my eBay business, Lords of the Fly.

The large majority of our sales have been through our fixed-price items in our eBay store. Lately, we've opted to complement those Buy It Now listings--on a weekly basis for now and, hopefully, more frequently in the future--with a nostalgic throwback to the good old days of eBay...the 99 cents listing.

Yes, there's always a risk, more so in an unsteady economy, that we could take a loss. But the marketing psychology behind the move is akin to driving in slippery conditions: Turn your wheel in the direction of the skid!


Call me crazy (don't worry, I call myself that all the time), but nothing in life worth striving for ever came without risk. Sales have been down these last couple of months, so I'm simply retrieving the old welcome mat from storage, giving it a good dusting, and laying it out there for the global marketplace to tread upon. 

My metaphorical welcome mat--the 99 cents sale--says loud and clear in my language of origin:

E komo mai!

Come on in!

So here are some of the items that I'm listing today. First, a mention of the artwork at the top of this post. Caesar Hernandez was a prominent watercolor artist in California. His paintings have sold for hundreds of dollars. My listing of this particular item for a starting bid of 99 cents without any reserve (a set amount that the seller determines ahead of time that is unknown to the buyers, unless the seller chooses to tell them; if it isn't reached, there is no winner...thus, no real risk to the seller) is probably the highest kind of risk I could take with my eBay item(s). Ah, but what the heck? What's life without risk? Besides, read the beginning of paragraph 5 again.

Here are more interesting items.

Collectible Vintage Hershey's Kisses Christmas Wishes Mug

Collectible Vintage Set of 3 Teddy Bear Porcelain Thimbles

Collectible Vintage Duck Figurine 

Collectible Vintage Brooding Hen Salt or Pepper Shaker

Collectible Vintage Bee, Hive, & Flower Salt or Pepper Shaker

Collectible Vintage Leanin' Tree Greeting Card featuring
Norman Rockwell's 1947 Saturday Evening Post Cover--"Family Outing"

National Geographic--October, 2009 Back Issue
The Tallest Trees 

Collectible Vintage Schramberg Cow Figurine

Collectible Vintage Konica Minolta AF Maxxum 70 SLR Camera
With Quantaray Lens 28-90 mm f/3.5-5.6

Dipinto A Mano Hand-Painted Vintage Collector Plate
Venezia Ponte Di Rialto

Vintage Collector Plate
Mission San Juan Capistrano, California

We earnestly pray that our eclectic 99 cent auctions will be a fruitful venture and a great win-win experience for our buyers and us. We truly believe it keeps us entrepreneurially sharp, focused, and motivated to honor the heart of the buyer. Empathizing with our customers  and uplifting their perspective will help us make steady progress on the road to becoming better sellers.