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All Bear All Bear by Paula
Kent
Posts: 5,160
Website

What an interesting comment! 

I rarely sell to shops these days purely through my own preference.  I was tired of making bears for such a low return and then having them sit in shops with huge price tags.  I decided to take back some control and sell direct to customers, either at shows, by mail order via website or at auction on Ebay.  Now I find I sell the bears at what I consider to be fair prices - fair to collectors and also fair to me!  The internet gives great coverage for my catalogue and so nowadays the bears can be seen easily by collectors and they aren't tucked away in the corner of shops any more!

nettie scotland
Posts: 2,160
Website

I have just read all the comments,very interesting.
I think many points are valid.I am with Brenda on ebay.Ebay has enabled me to give up going to shows which makes me very happy.I get to be at home with my daughter and all my animals and yet still reach a wide audience.I get approached by shops a lot but find the pricing tricky.Bears are my only income and I think that makes a big difference.A hobby that you enjoy and brings in a small profit is finebut for feeding a family and paying all the bills it's no good.
I probabaly sell 50% of my bears on ebay,the rest special orders and my website.Ebay brings in new customers and can be exciting too.I am lucky to almost always sell this way.I make about five bears a week but that is hard going and I get very little time off.I am steadily selling higher.This is a reflection of all the years improving and has not much to do with material costs.A three to five inch bears costs very little but hand sewing each seam twice costs a fair bit time wise.
I feel certain customers get to recognise good workmanship and will still choose the bear they like over a cheaper one.
Good luck to us all selling in2006
Diane xxxx

kathytaylor Ruby Mountain Bears
Northern Nevada, USA
Posts: 1,467

It was good to read all of your posts. Since I make mini's my prices are probably lower than most of yours however I don't sell myself short either. I consider the material cost, time and labor when I price each bear. I usually sell a three inch bear for about $50.00.
I have however fallen into that trap that when something doesn't sell to lower the price. But have stopped doing that as not only did I lose money, but left me feeling bad about my work going so cheaply.
A set standard of pricing just doesn't work though there are so many artist with varying talents, some command prices that lets be serious some of us will never match. Mary Halstead, Michelle Lamb, etc. ( thought we dream of it) Most of us make bears because we love the art, some of us are lucky enough to make money doing it.
Hugs,
Kathy

bearlyart Canna Bear Paint
NY
Posts: 749

Ah pricing, always a difficult subject!  I've both attended in-person shows and sold on the Internet (both eBay and off our web site) in the last year.  In all honesty, I have found the shows to be FAR more reliable sales venues than eBay is, to the extent that we're looking at doing almost 3x as many shows this year than we did last year and we're currently on hiatus from eBay.  We'll just have to see how it goes.  One of the things we all need to be careful of is to NOT let eBay drive down our prices.  We have had bears that we know are very good bears, and we know we have a good price on them.  eBay seems to look at us with a 'who do you think you are to ask that price?!' look, and it doesn't sell on eBay.  That same bear sells just fine directly off our web site, or at a show.  We will not drop the bottom out of our bear's prices to sell on eBay.  At some point I'm sure we'll be back on eBay to see how things are going, and if it's anything like our past experiences, some things will sell and some won't.  But we'll just keep moving forward, and if demand for our 'name' ever bumps up our eBay sales then fine, we'll be there more frequently.  All anybody can do is find what works best for them.

That having been said, it is interesting to have heard two streams of thought on this subject as someone who has sold at both shows and Internet venues in the recent past.  I won't kid you, there is a small level of grumbling at shows over sales made over the Internet (or more specifically, eBay).  It is common knowledge that many artists are selling their bears at discounted prices on eBay and NO it isn't helping anybody.  Bear artists that just do shows will say a number of collectors just stay home and buy online for cheaper prices.  This probably is true to some extent.  I know even some of the show producers have had similar thoughts expressed to them, and they have shown concern that even some of the artists that attend their shows are underselling THEMSELVES online with cheaper eBay prices.  Serious bear collectors aren't stupid, they understand why there is a price differential between novice and advanced bears, for example.  But I think the greatest problem occurs when the SAME artist tries to sell the SAME bears expensive at a show and then cheap on eBay!  Really, what would be the motive for collectors to attend shows if everybody did that?

To a degree, I find artists at shows to be more sensitive to the subject of pricing than artists online.  I made a general comment at one show this past year to another artist that such-and-such type of bears seemed to be selling really well.  Her reply was 'Of course they do! This artist and that artist always underprice and sell more than anybody else!'.  Alrighty then.  I have actually seen other artists sneak over the table to anyone that's selling a little TOO well and check out the prices.  We had that happen to us at the Schaumburg show in the fall, we sold several bears in a short amount of time when the show first opened.  What actually happened was that we had planned ahead and had some special bears ready for certain people... like koalas for a koala collector we knew would be there, and a couple interested in my Golden Teddy nominee bear knew they could come get him then, and so on. On top of those sales, we made some 'regular' sales of people just walking past and falling in love with something on the table.  So it looked like a small-scale business boom.  One very well-known artist waited until my mother's back was turned (I think my mother looks more like 'the artist' at the table than I do), then went up to our table and started flipping price tags to take a look for herself.  The first tag she flipped was on a bear priced over $400.  Apparently having convinced herself we weren't complete strangers coming in to undercut everyone else, she seemed perfectly happy about it at that point and was very nice to us.  I think there is an important point to make here.  I think bear artists are VERY supportive of each other and I do NOT see competition between artists as a rule.  Bear artists are perfectly happy when the people around them make sales, they are nice people and happy to see each other's successes.  But ANY business person is going to get sensitive if they think someone else's work is only selling due to, shall we say, anti-competitive practices such as drastic underpricing.  That happens in any business, unfortunately the bear industry is not immune to it.

Bear hugs,
Kelly

Judi Luxembears
Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,379

I agree with you Kelly about shows being the place to really get a chance to see and feel bear up close and in bear-son.  Unfortunately some people just have a hard time doing shows...like me.  I have a health issue and young children so traveling to shows is not a good option for me.  I hope in the future I can do some.  I have done two in Kolher and I really enjoyed it.  I did think it was expensive as I had to stay in a hotel for the weekend.  It was fun and I would do it again...maybe somewhere in the future. bear_original

What I do like about ebay is the worldwide market.  I have sent bears to 12 countries and I love that I can work at my own pace and not worry about building up stock.  Things don't always turn out how I would like them to but as my mother always says, ""Things worth having don't always come easy."  I remind myself of this when things are slow.

Have faith bear friends.  Things will get better. :hug:

bearsbybeesley bears by beesley TM
Tofield Alberta Canada
Posts: 6,818

What a great topic Danni! I don't know guys, you know how I feel about ebay? I have not listed a bear on ebay for probably 4-5 months. I wish I had better luck with ebay as I am left to depend only on my web site. I am very fortunate to have many repeat customers. That is what has kept us alive. I don't know what is the right price. I tend to go with $10.00 an inch and a bit extra for extra work like open mouths, sculpted toes, double jointed necks.

We have only had our bear business for 11 months. We had made bears for years and gave them away to friends and family. It was only because of a friend who suggested making a business out of bears did we start a web site.

It is hard to say.

Many hugs Louise

thumperantiques Newcastle, Ontario
Posts: 5,639

I have learned a lot from this discussion.  I must have my head burried in the sand, because I honestly didn't realize artists were deliberately selling their work cheap on Ebay, just to get sales.  I can't afford to do that and I won't waste my time if I can't get a decent return for my product.   I always have a reserve and it's what I would sell the piece for at a show.

I've always been involved in art work in some form - I did Craft shows for 20 years and also did children's portraits in coloured pencil on commission.   I've never made a huge amount of money, but it was always enough to allow me to stay home with our kids, and the money paid for the extras, like sports, that they wanted to do.   It was important for me  to be able to contribute.   

I've been involved with bear making longer than anything else I have done, and I think part of the reason is because Ebay gives me total freedom.  I am dabbling in another area now, just because I get bored and just in case my bear sales decrease. 

Judi, you must have hands made of steel - I couldn't make three bears in a week no matter how hard I tried.  I think my downfall is that I get wrapped up in costumes and props and spend as much time on them as the actual bear.  I love your bears, especially the eyes - what wonderful expression!

Paula, I agree with you about the shops.  It's not only having the shops making money from your work, they are sitting in a shop, getting dusty.  It feels like you aren't in control (okay - I'm a control freak, if you havn't guessed by now LOL!)  By the way,  I loved seeing all your bears on the other thread about bears made from different colours and remnants.  They are wonderful!  It is amazing to see what everyone's imagination comes up with! 

It's obvious that the internet has really affected the bear industry, especially in the past 5 years.  Customers can shop from home and have a wonderful selection.  There has to be a happy medium somewhere. 

Anyway, Happy New Year to everyone on Teddy Talk!  Bye for now.

                                                            Hugs,

                                                            Brenda

Helena Bears-a-Bruin!
Macclesfield, UK
Posts: 1,291

I've enjoyed this discussion  :). I think you are so right Brenda, when you say there has to be a happy medium somewhere. And a space for everybody too  :hug:.

gotobedbears Posts: 3,177

Happy New Year Girls and Boys  bear_flower

i have'nt had the time to read all of this discussion yet so forgive me if i repeat anything already said  :redface:

I think that eBay is a great way to sell bears. The advertising is also invaluable and extremely cheap - anyone paid stacks of money for a magazine ad lately? it's horrendously expensive but does'nt reach nearly as many potential customers as selling on eBay does.

I always start with a price that is the very least i would happily accept for a bear - usually the making costs, listing fee and a little profit. I've found that the more i use eBay the more bids i'm getting on my bears as people get to know me and my work, so it may be a question of customers trusting you as a seller before buying from you.

I don't sell myself short because i'm not in this beary business to get rich or take over the world ha ha - i make bears because it's a passion of mine and if i get some financial reward from it then whoopee dooooo! but money is'nt the driving force behind my work, bears are.

I now always recover my costs plus a little profit when selling on eBay (i bet i flop now that i have said it), and really enjoy the experience of designing the auction page and writing the description and then sitting back waiting for a bid - it's FUN  :dance:

I also think that collectors will always go for quality if given the opportunity no matter what price the bear is selling for - and as everyone seems to have wildly differing tastes when it comes to collecting bears, Lady Luck has a lot to do with whether you sell on eBay or not.

I could rattle on for ages about this subject but i don't want to drive you all nuts so i'll shut up!

Penny  :hug:

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

bear_original Wonderful topic and very helpful insights!

I've only 'sold' one bear, in the Teddies4Charity auction, but I'd like to sell more, if I could only stop starting projects and start finishing projects! It didn't help that I had to drop everything else and make a Christmas Critter for my penguin-obsessed daughter!

Having been mostly an eBay bear-market Watcher over the last year, it does seem to me that a lot of people are jumping on what must seem to them a bear-selling bandwagon. Maybe they've seen some of the higher bids and selling prices, and decided that they can make money in the same way. These trends tend to burn themselves out.

In any case, there are many more bears on eBay than there were less than a year ago. The eBay market seems to be flooded right now, but I think it's true that many sellers will give up and go away once the costs overtake the profits.  As far as I'm concerned, it's a matter of having a go, hanging in there, and never letting a bear go for less than its value to self. I'm in favor of reasonable reserve prices. Even if a bear doesn't sell, it's been seen.

Frankly, a lot of the bears on eBay fail to tempt me--the ones I see here on TT  in the Showcase and Bears For Sale tempt me so sorely that I have to force myself to remember the necessity of buying next week's groceries! There's definitely a difference, and I think it's just a matter of time, faith and patience.

Eileen

starlite Starlite Bears
Renfrew,Scotland
Posts: 1,676

This is a great topic ladies and very interesting to see the different comments - so I will plunge in - I have been making bears since about 1999 - in 2000 I tried my first show - there are few in Scotland and as I work full time traveling to England where there are more shows could not be afforded either time or money wise - so for the first three years it was two shows the first year and then three shows the next then three shows - then back to two till last year.The shows were great I enjoyed the displaying of the bears, talking to bear makers and collectors - but the attendance at the shows began to reduce so much so that the organisers of the shows I mainly did were unable to continue organising them.I felt this is such a shame but can understand it was almost like a viscious circle - less people came - less bears sold - less artists attended - less people came etc  bear_sad
I have sold to two shops in the past however one of them the chap wanted me to make lots of tiny bears - similar to one he had bought but tiny bears I can only do occassionally as my hand play up in winter :o( 
So now I have had my bear site for about a year and a half - I have sold some bears from it thought generally be special order for a similar bear to one created.  Ebay I have done for just a little shorter time - I think I probably start bears cheap(ish) but honestly I never know what to start a bear at - I have a very haphazard way of pricing (please do not shout at me!!)
But I have been getting my costs + a little profit Like Penny said - though realistically my bears are really little compared to many artists - so I have actually been really pleased that my bears have been adopted - and I just love them to travel to different places in the world  bear_original
Having watched ebay and artist bears on it I think there is no real predicatability about bears in general - (except perhaps really great bears by famous artists) - although having said that I have seen some unusual buyer behaviour on ebay and I have come to the conclusion that part of it is having two people who really want a bear (or any othe item for that matter) and that they are willing to bid high for what they want.  Starting cheap on ebay I think is a great risk although I have seen it succeed with bears -I think it comes down to being in the right place at the right time - hmmm no conclusion at all really!!
I would like to say that when I become a lottery winner I will be out there snapping up as many bears as I can - however that may be a big wait  bear_grin  bear_grin I will continue to window shop in the meantime
hope I haven't bored you all it seems a bit of a ramble !!
:hug:  :hug:
Anne

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413
Website

One of the reasons I am nervous about ebay is the auction sniping that goes on lately. On my last auction (for a bear) I had about 40 watchers....and a few bids not really anywhere near the reserve. I had lots of emails asking what the reserve was...and I am always wary of saying what the reserve is because otherwise I'd have put it as the starting price...anyway...in the end because I was worried about not selling I decided to lower the reserve slightly....still no movement happened except that Ebay embarassingly slapped a slogan on the auction page stating that I'd reduced the reserve (which seemed to me to be counter-productive since it just announces that 'this bear won't sell' to all the watchers...my own mistake).

Anyway the upshot was that it sold in the last 10 seconds for the reserve and yet I'd had offers originally for more than this from people who wanted to do 'buy it now'....

So now I am nervous of putting my 'better' bears on there because as someone so rightly said I do believe there are a few serious buyers on there but on the whole it's becoming a bit of a bargain basement...except for the handful of folks who get excellent prices for their bears. I have had really good prices for mine on there  ...and then that happened.

I think that often people who regularly bid do this last minute sniping to get the best possible price, and who can blame them, but it can be difficult to set a price.

thumperantiques Newcastle, Ontario
Posts: 5,639

I just checked Ebay and there are 1777 bears in Artist bears and 610 in One of a Kind.  This is up a bit from last year, but these numbers are about 1/2 the number of bears on Ebay when I started, almost 4 years ago.  It averaged 3300-3500 in Artist bears then and about 1200 in the One of a Kind.  My niece and I were just talking last weekabout how many "fewer" bears were now on Ebay.  It is starting to go up a bit, but it's really not that many compared to before.  I was just assuming some artists were not able to make a go of it, and had dropped out. 

Ebay really is fickle - I have one artist friend in Canada that makes wonderful bears, but she and Ebay do not seem to be compatible.  She is impatient and assumes she should immediately get the prices that the gets in shows and shops.  I've tried to tell her to start lower and build up a customer base as ebay buyers may not know who she is, but she's having none of it.  As a result, she has tried half a dozen times, and hasn't been able to sell at all there.

Jenny, I wasn't aware that you could lower the reserve once you had bids,  even it the reserve hadn't been met?   Was it on U.K. Ebay or Ebay.com?  I wonder if they add the slogan if the bid is lowered without having bids - that would make me more than a little upset.  I used to be anal about not telling anyone my reserve, but now it doesn't bother me.  I figure if only one person is bidding it will only go up in small increments, and if two people are bidding, they won't worry so much about the reserve as about each others bids.  I often disclose my reserve to my regular cutsomers, when I send out notifications of a new auction.   As for sniping, sorry, but it's the only way I bid.  It just makes sense to me to get something at the best possible price. 

Anyway, that's my two cents - take care and have a wonderful New Year's day!

                                                                     Hugs,

                                                                     Brenda

Judi Luxembears
Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,379

Eileen wrote:

Frankly, a lot of the bears on eBay fail to tempt me--the ones I see here on TT  in the Showcase and Bears For Sale tempt me so sorely that I have to force myself to remember the necessity of buying next week's groceries! There's definitely a difference, and I think it's just a matter of time, faith and patience.

Amen sister

kbonsall Kim-Bee Bears
Pennsylvania
Posts: 5,645

I had a reserve a while ago on a bear, I think it was Halo and two people emailed me to ask what my reserve was... so I told them which I dont think was a big deal because they were the two who were bidding on it and it went over my reserve by about $5.00 LOL.... I guess it wasnt a big deal becuase people dont want to waste their time if they cant afford a bear... It goes back to whether or not to put prices on bears on your website... I sometimes will avoid a bear on ebay with a reserve because I figure if it  has got a reserve, I cant afford it, much like if the website has no prices, I cant afford it... I am a very shy person (I am talkative on the computer so no smart responses LMAO) both online with people I dont know as well as contacting people about bears on websites.... I dont want to email about a bear that I love on a website and have a price in mind and be told it is over $400.00.... then I feel like a jerk becuase I cant afford $400.00.... and then I feel that the artist thinks that I am wacko  bear_wacko  LMAO....

I do think I might be selling myself short but like I said before, I am still in my learning stage... I have only been making bears since April of 2005.... and I am not a well-known artist yet so it is like advertising on ebay and I have been getting more bids and selling higher... I have a few "regulars" so I am getting there and I intend to increase my prices eventually but the prices are not in any way related to quality or time or any of that... I HIGHLY value my work and put a lot of time and attention into it... sure, every once in a while I have a "flop" bear that I dont like but I list them becuase they are ususually the ones that sell better than the ones I myself like, go figure....

I think that some regular ebay collectors realize that artists on the lower end are probably newer bear_original

I have a couple artist bears that I have bought on ebay and I check back on their current auctions and their prices have gone up with more watchers and more bids so eventually it will happen bear_original

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413
Website

Oh Brenda..It was on Ebay UK...and for the life of me I can't work this out but I actually got a notice from Ebay suggesting I reduce my reserve...I checked up on their site though and it says you can't do that...but I did anyway..and it did backfire.

I don't see the point in having a reserve on an item and then telling people about it as all it means is that they are able to snipe the auction in the knowledge that they will get the item at the reserve.

This is why I am not selling on ebay right now...and am holding off doing it. I'll probably give it another go at some point when I have a bear that I feel may be a good candidate for ebay...

That may be a while as I am being really slow at the moment

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568
Website
Eileen wrote:

Frankly, a lot of the bears on eBay fail to tempt me--the ones I see here on TT  in the Showcase and Bears For Sale tempt me so sorely .......

Do you think you are tempted by the TT bears because you've come to 'know' the artists who make them and maybe even some of their techniques and all they put into their work? But mostly that they are 'friends', thus perhaps you appreciate their work more?

That's a personal connection you just can't really get by surfing eBay. You CAN get it by doing shows, participating on boards like this one, etc.

From personal experience, I've acquired many new collectors this year. Ya know what? A majority are TT members! AND, I've actually and honestly adopted a couple of TT member bears that I would not have even considered buying had I just seen them on eBay. Why? Becasue they may have been too new to the scene to really have a feel as to how good the quality was. Or, they may have been well known but I'd never appreciated all the work that went into their creations to realize what a special addition to my collection one of their bears would be. But, getting to know them here, making that personal connection, made all the difference!

I think it's important to make connections with other artists and collectors in any way you can!

When you are giving descriptions about your bears in an auction.... be personal. Tell it like the potential buyer is face to face with you. Let your love and commitment to making quality bears show. Tell them a bit about yourself in the auction... not everyone goes to the About Me page! Let them know you! I think there needs to be a balance between your accomplishments as an artist and your personal info.... perhaps what got you into bears, how long you've made them. Whether you do this full-time or what your full-time occupation is. Do you think a particular artist many of us know peaked more interest from some in her work because she's a police officer? I have a close friend who is a 'rough around the edges' cop and couldn't understand my wanting to make bears. It was too girly! (Good thing she and hubby have 2 boys!!) Once I told her about Nancy Tillberg she became a bit more interested and actaully asks to see what I'm working on and has a couple of teddy bears now!!

My point is just that making personal connections between artist/collector can make a difference in your sales.

And of course, I do encourage you to participate in a bear show if you can.... pick a well known one... a good sized one. A well advertised one. If you've never even attended one, go as an attendee. See what it's like to meet the artists, touch and hug the bears, enjoy the atmosphere. Decide for yourself if there is benefit to buying bears in person or if indeed the internet is really the way to go.

thumperantiques Newcastle, Ontario
Posts: 5,639

Daphne, you have touched on some extremely good points that all artists should consider, especially new ones.  I'm a fairly solitary person, and have only joined bear groups in the last 6 months or so.  I had to be cajolled into joining some bear groups, and I love them.  I do have to say, I like Teddy Talk the best - just the base of knowledge offered here is worth joining, but the added company of other artists and collectors makes it tops. 

I have perhaps a dozen artist bears, and I definitely agree that they all have a personal connection for me.  I've traded for quite a few, but after I met the artist and found I really liked them.  It was a natural progression for me to want on of their bears.  It's almost like having a little bit of that person to take home with you.  There really is nothing like picking up a bear and hugging it.

I have to admit, I think I would probably have stopped shows even it my son hadn't been injured.  I always did shows in the NE U.S.A and we had no trouble getting across the border with our stuff.  Since 9/11 it has been very different - much more difficult crossing into the U.S.   

For those of you who have just started on Ebay, or would like to try, Daphne has another good point - toot your own horn girls!  I still don't have a web site or "Me" page, but I do list all my experiences and accomlishments with each auction, and I do think potential customers like to know who they are dealing with.  If you get enquiries, try and answer them as quickly and courteously as possible.  If I am interested in an auction, I will always send a question to the seller to see what type of response I get.  If I get a favourable and timely response, I will bid - if not, I just kiss the auction goodbye.  It's been a good gage for me. 

I also agree that it's good experience for an artist to participate in at least one show.  It's an opportunity to meet other artists as well as gage your work and prices with the other bears at the show.  And don't always judge a show by the sales - sometimes making a contact with a customer or shop can make or break a show, but it might not be apparent at the time.   Also if customers have seen you at a few shows, they are better equiped to figure out from an Ebay auction, what the bear would be like. 

Kim, I am like you - I don't do so well in person - that's why I like internet sales.  For some reason, I am much more relaxed on line.  It gives me time to gage my response to questions and I like writing.   Sometimes I'll re-read an email and realize - oops, I can't say that!  It gives me a second chance LOL!  If I blurt something out in person, well too late!! 

Jenny, if a person doesn't know your reserve and snipes at the end with a high bid, it's still only going to show up as having met the reserve, unless there are two bidders.  That's why I finally relented and started letting people know what my reserve was. 

Anyway, enough said - I seem to be babbling now!

                                                                      Hugs,

                                                                       Brenda

Laura Lynn Teddies by Laura Lynn
Lexington, KY
Posts: 3,647
Website

Laura Lynn Banner Sponsor

I'm still reading thru the posts..... but I wanted to mention something that was said to me at a show.

At the October ABC Show in Schaumburg (it was my first show) I was talking with one of my dear friends.  She makes her living with her bears and has been doing so for 20 years.  I was VERY nervous.... and I mentioned to her that I was afraid that maybe some of the other artists may think/say I was too underpriced.  But I had priced my work at what I am comfortable with.  She told me NOT to worry what anyone else says about my own pricing because that is my business bear_original 

I'm not saying we shouldn't be discussing this subject!  Far from it.... I told my hubby that pricing is THE hardest part of selling my bears bear_original 

WHat I AM saying is if someone tells you your pricing is "wrong"  remember... that your pricing is YOUR business, not theirs. 

Also... it is different if you ASKED their opinion.... but heck.... many times you get many UNsolicited opinion on how you do your business?   bear_wacko  (LOTS!)

Much of the "pricing talk" in the past has helped me TREMENDOUSLY in setting the prices for my own work.  But don't let anyone TELL you what to price your work at.   Just look at that shop that told Patsy "what to sell her bears for".    Take EVERYTHING with a grain of salt!

Laura Lynn Teddies by Laura Lynn
Lexington, KY
Posts: 3,647
Website

Laura Lynn Banner Sponsor

Donna wrote:

Having worked in bear retail I understand how ebay is hurting sales in the stores.

Things and times change of course!  My favorite teddy bear store now sells on eBay and does very well bear_original  Sometimes people do not like to change what they need to do.... the ones who are not afraid to change are the ones who will probably still be in business.

Laura Lynn Teddies by Laura Lynn
Lexington, KY
Posts: 3,647
Website

Laura Lynn Banner Sponsor

Sandi.S. wrote:

A lot of the times, I don't get bids until last minute. Is that because I don't start as low as some others? Who knows...

I'm not sure about other people... but sometimes when I'm surfing eBay for teddy bears and I don't want to go thru ALL the listings... I'll just click on the button so that it only shows me what bears are ending today.  Maybe that's why?

Oh, and many times I'll use bidnip.com to snipe for me - which is always at the last miniute bear_whistle

Laura Lynn Teddies by Laura Lynn
Lexington, KY
Posts: 3,647
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Daphne wrote:

...... Tell them a bit about yourself in the auction... not everyone goes to the About Me page! Let them know you! I think there needs to be a balance between your accomplishments as an artist and your

Thanks VERY much for that tip Daphne!  I never thought of that..... and will do for my next auction!

kbonsall Kim-Bee Bears
Pennsylvania
Posts: 5,645
Laura Lynn wrote:

WHat I AM saying is if someone tells you your pricing is "wrong"  remember... that your pricing is YOUR business, not theirs.

Thank you for that  :hug:  I was feeling slightly guilty LMAO... I think we all have our own reasons for prices.. and I hope one day to make double what my bears take in now or even triple but I am just starting off so I am happy with my materials costs plus a bit bear_original  It is something I love to do and if I can make back what I put in and a few bucks and have people who are happy with their purchase then I am happy  bear_original

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
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There are some wonderful, thought-provoking ideas you've all brought up here, that I'll be pondering for a very long time.  Daphne, you've made some particularly helpful, experienced, and probably very important points, I think, about the importance of being not just a mechanized "bear maker," but a real human being, with a personality and a presence, with and for your collectors. 

As a personal example... I felt a connection with Lori Ann Baker and loved her work; reading her website let me a little into her life.  She's a funny gal, full of humanity!  After looking for a long while, I finally found a bun-bun of hers I wanted a while back, but it was sold by the time I asked for it; it held some strawberries.  My second choice held a carrot.  I hate carrots.

:)

I wrote to Lori and asked her to reserve that bunny, but mentioned my loathing of carrots, and she took that ball and ran with it!, offering on her own to personalize that item so I would love it all that much more.  She made me a bright burgundy red strawberry for that bunny instead!  What a great gift!

I felt a connection to her via her website and work before that, but after that, I felt a "relationship" with her.  Such as it was, anyway.

I have to watch my pocketbook, like most people, and don't have a lot of extra fun money to spend on beautiful artist bears -- even though I love and collect them, as well as create them.

But you can bet that I have since acquired a second Lori Ann Baker piece; a panda.  That personal, "known quantity" feeling and connection I had made with her and her work -- even though we don't really know each other in any way at all! -- helped me choose HER piece as the one to bring home, at that time.

I'd like to be more available to shows for this very reason; as Daphne nicely points out, exhibiting is a great way to create not just an impression, but a relationship, with your collectors.

Also, as she mentions... I make my auction listing descriptions personal.  I think it "reads" better when you've stated that, "I fashioned a neck ruff for this bear out of vintage silk ribbon which I found at an antique store and then distressed to a pleasing, old-style finish"... than if you state, "This bear wears a neck ruff of distressed, antique silk ribbon."

The information is the same, but the relationship you have, as a reader, with that information, changes entirely.  Or so it seems to me.  And, apparently, Daphne.

:)

Anyway... pricing, in and of itself, is not something I've quite figured out either.  But I do subscribe to the notion that these auctions are largely based on psychology... and not financial readiness to buy.  People seem to avoid auctions which start high, as a general rule... and bid on those that start low.  However, I've seen that oftentimes, the low-starting auction has a HIGHER reserve than the actual Buy It Now pricing on the higher-starting auction!  And, of course, I'm talking about items that are very comparable in terms of quality, that "aww" factor, artist renown, etc.

When someone gets the "formula" down on this, let me know.

Pricing gets even MORE complicated when you are dealing with a shop.  They want wholesale pricing (the sticker price stays the same but you make less) or they want a commission.  As they should!  They're not in this to be a charity organization!  But you, the artist, have to keep a grip on the big picture impression your work makes globally, and be sure that your retail pricing, as it appears from the vantage point of the collector, is compatible from one venue to the other.  Why would someone pay $300 when they can pay $200 somewhere else for your work? 

As an artist, figuring this all out and kinda making it up as I go along, trying to be fair to myself AND my retailers AND my collections (really trying!,) it's been VERY confusing and diffulcult for me to calculate my bottom line, and predict my securtiy, when I make X on eBay, and 1/2X via retail, and X+10% selling directly (because there are no listing and final value fees, etc.), and X-40% selling at shows (which really ends up being X-60% when all show costs are added into the total profits), and X-3% if someone pays by PayPal, and X-5% if someone pays with a credit card... and so on.

Man, now I have a headache.  Laughing here....

Interesting thread; great contributions.  Thanks, all, for your time-consuming and helpful comments.  I'll be rereading this one over time.

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
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Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Why are my posts always five times longer than everyone else's?

Remind yourselves I type about 100wpm and that I DO have a life outside TT, please.

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