I'm hoping someone can give me advice.I'm in a terrible funk right now and it doesn't help that my bears are not selling on ebay I am unable to spend a great deal of money to advertise and am going in the hole on my auctions .I cannot find any collectors here in Canada and cannot do shows.I have a question,does Canadian shipping costs scare buyers? I actually had one lady email me last year to say how amazing my bear was but that she wouldn't bid because she never buys from Canada.
I have never sold anything from my site(still under construction) because I never have ant bears done ahead and am not sure how to accept payment through my site.
Okay,now I'm just babbling,I'm sure you understand my dilemma.I need to make bears but I also need to sell them.Please help/
Blessings and hugs,poor depressed Shari.
I feel so bad for you. I know what you mean about being in a funk. I went thru that a bit ago and am still trying to get inspired. It is hard when you think you've made a great bear and no one seems to want it. I've been there many times. I expect we all go thru that, especially those of us that are new and really want to get known. I find it can be very discouraging, but have learned to just keep trying. Ebay started to slow down for me in June so I decided to try www. bearpile.com and that worked well.
You list for free and ONLY pay a commission (15%) if you sell. It's worth a try anyway. Please don't give up. I noticed ebay picks up in the fall so plug away and keep your chin up. Your bears are awesome !!
I agree with you about the ridiculous price for Canadian Shipping, but there isn't much we can do about that. Maybe we could increase our price a bit to cover part of the postage and offer lower or free shipping. The buyer may feel like they are getting their moneys worth ??? Just a thought !
I'm sure the more experienced artists here are aware of many more places to list bears.
Thanks girls,I really value your opinion and support.It's just so hard that now when I really need the income,I'm falling behind,oh well better days ahead. I'm almost finished my two big room painting projects and need to do the duvets and window treatments for their rooms but then I'm going to concentrate on more bears and maybe get some done ahead.
I have put a few bears on bear pile but no luck yet.I'm having a few other things going on that are bringing me down so I really need the bears to give me a lift.
I am thank-full to have found this board,you girls sure give me a lift
Hugs and blessings,Shari.
A few ideas...
1) Remember that the US is at war (I will NOT talk about politics on the internet; don't get me started), our economy sucks, morale is dipping lower, Bush's approval rating is dropping, budgets are tight, and money is in short supply. We pay nearly $3/gallon for gas in California. People are short on cash.
2) I'm very new to the industry (I started selling in March 2003), but I experienced a MASSIVE slowdown in sales last summer, and for that reason, didn't feel too badly being MOM FIRST, BEARMAKER SECOND -- and allowing myself to get distracted by other emotional, non-business issues as well -- this summer. Late summer just doesn't "feel" like "bear season."
It's August. People were just a few weeks ago on vacation, and/or are recovering financially from the one they just took, NOW. Kids are being sent off to college -- ouch, the tuition costs! -- or are having new wardrobes/bicycles/iPods purchased to ease the transition to Jr. High, High School, etc. It's not a great TIME to be selling bears, seasonally.
It IS disappointing, and disheartening, to post a bear that "no one wants." Remind yourself that it's probably less a case of "no one want"ing your bear, though, than it is a case of seasonal downflux in business... and tight pocketbooks.
3) I find, personally, that fall, winter, and early spring -- especially around Easter time, with bunnies and chickies everywhere you look -- are HUGE bear times. People like winter bears, Christmas bears, Hanukkah bears (did I spell that right?), and Halloween bears. They like Thanksgiving bears, icy bears, and Valentine's bears. They like St. Patrick's bears, Easter bears, and fresh, spring-y bears.
Not a huge market, that I've seen anyway, for the "Geez, I'm roasting hot, and what the h**l is there to celebrate in August ANYWAY" bear.
I haven't seen a huge run on "Back to School" bears.
4) Like anything in life, you've gotta remind yourself to derive your worth not from what other people think, but from what YOU think. If you love making bears, make them. Sales are the icing on the cake. If you're doing this as a business, it's like any business venture; some succeed, some fail. Reevaluate if things aren't working. Maybe move on. But don't decide your work is crap and give up because of that. Sometimes, the time is just not "right" for a particular idea or event, in a particular person's life. Such is the way of economics.
We're moving quickly into "fall bear" season, so get your autumn colors ready. I feel pretty confident that the collectors, even those with tighter than usual bank accounts, will follow!
Sue Ann, Judi, other seasoned sellers... anything you can add to this? I'm a little out of my depth and talking a bit out of my... well, we agreed not to talk about THAT stuff anymore. ;):P:lol:
That is just so funny..... ROFLMAO.
Not a huge market, that I've seen anyway, for the "Geez, I'm roasting hot, and what the h**l is there to celebrate in August ANYWAY" bear.:lol:
Seriously though, you are such an inspiration to me and the others here I'm sure.
You're reply was right on the mark. I , like Gina and Shari take it sooooo personally when bears don't sell. You are right, sometimes it just isn't the right time and not that the bear is crap. Bills do make us feel that way, but we need to hold our head high and be thankful , and make a bear !
To make you feel better.......we are paying $1.04/litre which is about $3.80/gallon.:o
I wanted to say, too, that beating yourself up for not selling bears in August might be the same as being a Christmas tree ornament shop and thinking -- when sales are low in May -- "People must have started really hating Christmas."
I am anxiously awaiting confirmation from the more experienced sellers out there on this, but I think my intuition and experience are pretty much industry wide, in terms of late summer being the annual low-point of bear sales.
Shelli, you made some very good points! I am more than a bit concerned about the future of teddy bear shows. Attendance is way down at even the bigger and more popular shows. I participated in the Linda Mullins San Diego show back in Aug. of 2001 and it was HUGE! Two mammoth sized rooms full of exibitors and even tables out in the halls. Looking at the exibitor list for next weekend's show, I think only one room will be necessary. If money is tight, one of the first things people will give up is non-essentials (translation: collectibles like teddy bears). I know advertising is expensive, but in my opinion, it is one of the most important - if not THE most important - ways to get your name and product in front of people. If you don't advertise, don't attend shows, or don't have a website, teddy collectors aren't going to recognize you and your work. When people see your name over and over, they are going to start paying attention. The very first ad I put in Teddy Bear and Friends seven years ago resulted in about 10 phone calls from collectors and I sold out the whole edition of the bear that was advertised. My little anime bear Beezley was advertised in the most recent issue of Teddy Bear Review and I got a call immediately from a lady in Connecticut who bought him. If you can afford to advertise only occasionally and at the lowest price possible, it might help. Also, when you have a website, register with The Teddy Bear Search Engine and Bears Direct . . . they have lists of teddy artists. Do everything you possibly can to "get your name out there"!! I am sorry that you ladies have the blues about not selling your teddies. I'm really hoping that the bear business in general will pick up in the near future as just about everybody associated with the teddy industry is hurting. Good luck!
I'm sorry to hear that you're in a "funk". I really believe that being OUTSIDE the USA is a disadvantage. A lot of American's won't buy outside the USA becuase they don't need to !
My first bit of advice is to get your webpage up and running. You won't make a lot of sales through it, but if you have a mailing list, and use Bear Pile, you WILL make sales. I am very new to the bear world, and I have made quite a few sales through both bear pile and my webpage. There's only a 10% comission if you sell through Bear Pile - if not, you pay nothing. A pretty good deal!!!
Most of my collectors are from England, then USA (I'm lucky, I've sold throughout the world ALREADY!), then Singapore, and then Australia (Which I thought since I'm in Australia, I would make most sales in Australia.. nope LOL)
Things seem to be very slow this side of the world. Even though we are in Winter, sales are VERY bad on eBay Australia. The last two bears I've had on eBay didn't sell. At least I know I'm not alone. A lovely large traditional looking Mohair bear (about 17") sold for $5.55 Australian (Around $4 US) I bet the seller was kicking herself that she started the bidding at $1. So, I'm giving eBay a break at the moment,a nd working on getting things up on my webpage, and I'm working on something new.
So don't give up. Your bears are AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank-you girls for your much needed insight and support. Your the best,huuuugggggs to you all! Okay,chin up,keep praying to St.Jude ,who answers a great deal of my bear prayers and keep on keepin on I better get some sleep,I'm "stroke" for the 20 person breast cancer support dragon boat team tomorrow in the big races.My bodies so worn out and sore from all the painting,I hope they don't throw me over board :lol::lol:
I live in Ontario and I can tell you that even in the big cities like Toronto the numbers attending shows are down as well as the collectors unless you have a following. I took a year off from the shows and will give it another try this Fall. Try listing your bears on Nancy Tillberg's site ( a Canadian from Thunder Bay ) as it is totally free. Even if you don't sell you will keep your name in front of the viewers. It is very discouraging when you don't sell and then you start second guessing yourself. I may not sell very many bears at shows but it is pretty cheap advertising and since the bulk of my business is commission work for customers who want bears from their old fur coats I do pick up after show sales this way.
Nancy's site is www.northcountryteddybears.com
All the best to you and don't give up- not very many bear artists actually make a living from making bears
Shari! I feel it is so important as Shelli so eloquently said"If you love making bears please keep doing it" If they sell then that is gravy. (or something like that) None of us have the luxury of making bears without some type of sales. We found that by listing our bears on Bear Pile in the beginning we had a very good reception and quite a few sales. We list and pay a small commission if they sell. 10% of the price.
We still list our bears there and I must say we do better from bear pile than we ever have on EBAY.
You are a wonderfully talented Artist and your bears are wonderful! You MUST keep making those beautiful creatures. Canada is a very poor market for bears we have found for what reason I don't know? Our market tends to be the US and France.
Please keep going and do not become discouraged. You are a talented lady and you owe it to all the bear collectors out there the pleasure of enjoying your baby bears.
Please keep the faith Girl! It will happen!
I just wanted to say I totally understand how you feel, it is so very disheartening and especially hard to take when other things in life get us down. I've just been to your website and your bears truly are superb, I'm not just saying that. Just look into their faces and try to focus on the satisfaction you can gain from creating such amazing sweet characters. I know that we need to sell bears when they are our income, but it seems like a lot of us are in the same boat right now, so hang on in there and get ready for autumn and Christmas shopping, hopefully Also are there any craft stores, bear shops, gift shops that may be interested in stocking your bears? Keep going Shari x
Big bear Hugs,
Thank-you Louise and Catherine,I appreciate your strong encouragement.Thank-you Gail,I haven't had any luck with Bear Pile yet but I'll keep trying.I will definitely look into Nancy's site.
I'm back from the races and after spending the day with my Mom's breast cancer survivor group,I can't help but feel very fortunate and blessed.Tomorrows a brand new day.I'll say another prayer to St.Jude for a good outcome to my auction that ends tomorrow night and hope for the best.I'm off to count my blessings and spend the evening with my kids.
Big hugs to you wonderfully inspiring and tremendously caring and giving ladies.Blessings,Shari.
A belated "hello" Shari,
I just wanted to add... that if you don't have time/$ for a website... with Bearpile you 'kinda' get a website of sorts. This is what the web adress to mine looks like...
............you get the idea
so you can at least have a presence on the web... you can even put it on your biz cards! You HAVE a place to put photos and prices of all of your bears.
It's pretty easy to do too
Don't forget that posting your bears on Teddy Talk's For Sale section is FREE and will give you some exposure. I would like to say that my bear Regan sold the other day to a nice lady in Australia who had only seen her on Teddy Talk!! So . . . IT DOES WORK!!
I was sorry to hear that your Bears did not sell on ebay. I put two on a while back and they did
not sell either, which can make you feel a little depressed.
Your Bears are really gorgeous and you just need the right person to come along and see them,
fall in love with them and then buy them.
Do you have any in your local shop - I have some at a Gift shop and get paid when they sell. Could be worth a try.
I know that things are a bit slow at the moment but chin up and get ready for Christmas.
Shari, I just want to add that we Canadians are a very cheap sort!:rolleyes: Seriously! We are the cheapest bunch around. My Canadian market is lacking to say the least. Like my Mom used to say....Canada gets on the wagon about 10 years behind everyone else. If you are a Canadian reading this you know it is TRUE!!!:mad:So no hate mail please. Just look within your heart and you know that what I say is true!!!!:lol:Really!!!!!:lol::lol:
It will happen for you Shari dont you give up Girl or I will come over there and spankl you!!!
I just listed my first three bears on ebay and only sold one... for a whopping $5..... which is ok but out of the three I listed, i thought he wouldnt sell!!! Oh well... I am glad this subject was started, I am in the same boat... I was kind of depressed... but I am going to chug along... very good points about not being "bear season".... By the time it is, I will have plenty to sell if they dont sell now!!! LOL
I agree agree with what so many of you are saying. SHelli and Sue Ann you hit the nail on the head. I feel the more areas you can get your work out there the better. DOn't sweat it. Things often go in cycles and this is the time of year where I have often seen a slow down on ebay.
North Country Teddy Bears offers a free place to list bears for sale. nancy Tillberg is such a creative and innovative talented person who really keeps up on how to get things noticed on the internet. Check out that site and see for yourself. www.northcountryteddybears.com
I know of someone who runs a co-op add page for Teddy Bear and Friends. I know she is always looking for people to join in. There is never an on going obligation to advertise. You can run an 8th of a page for $250. If youwant more info on how to contatc her please let me know.
Even though ebay has slowed donw, I am still listing my bears. I have had to put lower reserves on some but I will not sell myself short. Things will bounce back. Think positive.
Thank's Judi...that make me feel better ....
I want to say I predict...the bear sites that really support the artist may later grow into a more know resource for drawing the collecters to see and buy artist bears....that would be wonderful !
I think it would be so much less hassel and stress for both artist and collector and the " vibes " are better ,with more " class" like a special shop has. ...Winney
No, not at all Gina.
I just list our bear, (which is free) and there are several options when you first sign up to list bears. One of them is paying NO commission.
The one that we choose was if the bear sells (THROUGH BEAR PILE) we pay a 10% commission. If that bear does NOT sell on bear pile but elsewhere, say directly from our site we pay nothing. You have to have a conscience here though! If my referral was from bear pile, regardless of where I sold the bear, I always pay Dave his 10%. It is only right!.
Check out The Olde Teddy Bear Shoppe in Kleinberg
I have no idea what their terms are, and haven't enough inventory even to contact them yet, but it looks like a very nice and very busy shop . . . I mean shoppe! :rolleyes:
Don't you dare give up, hear? Your bears are to die for!!
Speaking as an American who's lived in Toronto for the last 28 years, I've got to say that Louise is right. I'm not sure the problem is 'cheapness'. Maybe it's just a kind of practicality and reserve. Americans have less trouble going nutso with enthusiasm--just ask any of my Canadian friends! :lol:
Having said that, Toronto buyers go just a bit crazy around Christmastime. I'm going to be pounding the pavements with whatever inventory I can pile up by early October, trying to get the big and small shops to add some bears to their holiday displays. You never know. Sometimes people just don't know they want something until you tell them that they do--"GOT BEAR? That's where advertising comes in. I mean to be shameless and ruthless and much better dressed than usual :D
You go girl!!!! I won't give up,I just won'T !! I do realize the problem in Canada and my buyers are almost always from the States or Europe.I feel better knowing that eBay is very slow but my income is at a stand still with school out so I'm getting a bit down.I need income to buy supplies( both for bear making and for my three kids to go back to school,ugh) :(
Everyone was very supportive and very helpful. I'll get busy and get myself out there more.How does it work when you list a bear on here?Can you accept paypal?Tell me all the ins and outs,I just need a bit of info to get me started.
Thanks so much girls for all your help :D:D
Hugs and blessings,Shari.