… continued from part 2.
Several months ago I decided I would, after much deliberation, try to sell some models on Ebay. This is the continuation of my journey!
To get things started I decided upon painting and selling some Artizan miniatures, figures from their old west range. Three of their figures sell for £6.00 but add the cost of postage and the figures work out at about £2.50 each if you buy a few packs to spread the cost of the £3.50 postage. Financially I wasn’t going to go under if this little eBay adventure didn’t work out. Worst case scenario I would simply end up with a few figures I would have happily bought, painted and kept anyway.
Painted, based and varnished they were ready for listing.
I still wasn’t sure what the best price was to list a figure at or how best to list it but completely out of the blue settled on £15.00 for each figure and went down the standard auction route. The way I saw it I had to start somewhere and one way or another I’d learn something from the experience. I drafted a brief description and said in it that I would be willing to paint a specific figure if there were others which were of interest. A bit bold but I was feeling confident at the time so went with it. In April 2018 I pressed the go button and then spent the next few hours checking how many bids I’d received. Needless to say sod all happened!
Not only did nothing happen in the first few hours but nothing happened during the 7 day listing period. I did have some views and I did have a couple of the figures “watched” but nothing sold. The listings duly expired but were automatically relisted by eBay. I chose not to keep an eye on them, adopting instead a “watched pot never boils” approach. I got lucky.
I woke one morning to find that I had opening bids on six figures. On closer inspection they were all from the same guy in France. He also sent me a message to say he wouldn’t bid higher but was interested in having some figures painted. I can’t say I was bothered if he didn’t bid higher, either way I had sold the figures, but the fact he was interested in having some figures painted was exciting. He also wanted the figures sent in one batch but didn’t want to pay Ebay postage costs. This final bit was a little lost on me. I understood what he meant by combining the postage but not the eBay cost element. As there were a few days before the auction ended I investigated a little further.
It turns out that when you list on eBay postage for overseas buyers automatically defaults to their Global Shipping Program. The program works as follows. The UK seller, in this case me, posts to a central address in the UK at the cost of UK postage. eBay then post overseas. The Cost of posting overseas is higher and presumably increased by eBay as well to cover their involvement and it is this cost that the overseas buyer sees on their countries eBay. As it would be cheaper for me to send direct to (in this case) France the buyer would save money on postage. There are some incentives for using the eBay method as a seller but if it puts a buyer off then what’s the point? Fortunately you can simply switch the Global Shipping program option off and then raise your own invoice to send to the buyer which includes your own overseas postage and packing cost.
The auction ended with no further bids so I raised an invoice, packaged the figures, calculated the cost of sending to Paris, France and posted them care of Royal Mail. I then sent an email to the guy in France with tracking details and told him to let me know what figures he was interested in. A few days later I received very positive feedback on eBay from the buyer in respect of the quality of the figures but never heard from him again. I was disappointed but looked on the positive side, I’d sold six figures for a gross income of £90.00. In the words of Del Boy Trotter, this time next year I’ll be a millionaire!
Selling six figures was great but now I needed to replace them on eBay. Figures were duly painted and listed at the same price and using the same basic auction option. Nothing happened during the first week, or the second or the third. In fact nothing happened in the fourth, fifth or sixth either. I needed to rethink my approach. After a good start things had ground to a halt. Had I got the price wrong? Were the figures not good enough? We’re they painted well enough but not what anybody wanted?
I decided not to relist the figures when the auction ended. I needed to think more about what I was doing and why.
If I’m being honest I was at a low point. Others were selling their figures but I wasn’t. In fairness I could accept that the high quality figures were selling but other figures which I didn’t think were well painted at all were selling also. I decided to give up but despite having made the decision to do so couldn’t stop thinking about what I could do differently. Was my pricing right? Were the photos good enough? Should I write a better description? Were they listed in the right category for people to see?
EBay Listing – Take 2!
In September I decided to give eBay another go. I spent time trying to get the photos right. Because the camera exaggerates I wanted images which were more representative of what the eye naturally sees. I wrote a better description and left out a link I had previously included to my blog so people could see my gallery. Calling myself The Imperfect Modeller might not be the best name when it comes to selling! I increased my auction starting prices from £15.00 to £20.00 but allowed potential buyers to make offers. Was that enough? Time would tell. It was now a case of listing the figures and being patient. If there were buyers out there then I needed to give them time to discover my figures.
As it turned out I didn’t have to wait long. A guy from Chester made a reasonable offer on three of my figures. I accepted the offer and began to start painting some replacements. I was encouraged but refused to get carried away this time around.
In October the same guy came back. Not once but four times to buy some more. In total I sold him seven figures that month but nothing to anyone else. I was pleased with the sales and the money added up to a nice little sum. It was also great to think that the chap liked my stuff enough to come back for more. The only problem was he was just one guy. There was no pleasing me!
November saw some more sales. One customer purchased two figures, another bought one and a guy from Manchester bought seven. Oddly none of them chose to make offers, choosing instead they all sold for £20.00 each.
I was on a roll but a bump in the road was just around the corner!
To be continued …