I am just starting out (only have a few finished pieces), but am hoping to sell my critters. I was thinking I should wait until I have some inventory (8 - 10 pieces?) and make business cards, swing tags, birth certificates, register as a business etc. first. My husband though, says just put a piece on Ebay and see what happens. I would like to find some nice boxes also for packings and am not sure where to find them. My patterns are all in a pile and I would like to organize them into see-through envelopes, but can't find them on the internet, either. Does anyone know where to find these?
What have some of you done to start? Did you wait until you had a lot of inventory, get everything set up nicely as a business first, or just plunge in and try to sell a piece to see what happens?
Thanks for any advice! :hug:
I agree with you husband just try one out on ebay. Just make sure you get a good feel for you prices first and of course a good picture of your critter. I get my clear bags from a wholesale flea market thats not to far from where I live. I like you critters too. Good luck.. Denise
hi Ellen, It sure is a cute little bear in your avatar.
As for advice, I think if your confident in the quallity of your work, and have had feedback from others first, take the plunge with selling on an Aucton site.
If your abit hesitant, try entering some shows to get professional feedback on how to improve your work.
I actually had alot of bears that I had done previously as I tryed to refine my technique.
I still have them today, as a reminder of how far I have come.
If you go with Ebay, remember it can be quiet fickle, and can be disheartening if you don't get bids.
So I wouldn't take what happens on Ebay as a guide on how good your bears are.
If your not well up on scammers and their scams, I would sugest you try Bid4Bears.
Bid4 Bears is a much safer auction site and is run by Bear artists.
There is also Bearpile, but I don't know much about bearpile.
Hope that was a little help
I did what you husband suggested. After making bears for a couple years for gifts I decided to make one and put it on ebay. Which is actually the bear in my avatar. Now I just make one at a time and sell it on ebay, privately or commission.
I buy my plastic bags at Hobby Lobby, they are the clear "goodie bags" you use for party favors. I also buy Kraft boxes or small wooden boxes for their case. Of course this stuff is available at just about any craft store; Michaels, JoAnn, WalMart, etc. I make my own hang tags, certificates and business cards on my computer and printer. I also buy the clear plastic envelopes at walmart for patterns. They are under $1.
So for me, I took the plunge, which was the hardest (and best) step!
I agree with the bit about Ebay being fickle, it can be good, but it can be very disheartening but I would still give it a go but remember what Christine said about not measuring yourself by your success on Ebay. I would try to get a fair amount together and book a show as you get face to face feedback and it can give your confidence a big boost, you also see other people's bears in the fur and know how far you have to go then. You could alternate - one for Ebay and put one away for a show until you get a good amount of bears for a show. It is best to not put all your eggs in the same basket and use as many different means to sell them as you can think of.
Good luck and warm wishes
Ellen wrote:My patterns are all in a pile and I would like to organize them into see-through envelopes, but can't find them on the internet, either. Does anyone know where to find these?
Ellen: I put my patterns in plastic sheets that can placed in a three ring binder. They come in various sizes so for mini's you can buy them smaller and put them in address sized address book. For bigger ones use the normal size. You can find clear plastic sheets in in office supply story.
If you have several patterns, take a picture of the final bear and slip a picture in the plastic sheet with the pattern pieces so you know what the pattern will make. It might be a good idea to slip in a small index card in the plastic sheet writing down material (may include a fur sample) you used for that bear to include eye size, mohair index number and who you bought the mohair from. I learned that from a teddy bear artist a couple of years ago.
I am a hobbyist and don't sell my bears so for your eBay question, I will defer to others who know the business.
Best of luck to you in selling your bears.
Zip-lock gallon sized baggies exactly fit a sheet of 8.5" x 11" regular typing paper.
Depending on your pattern template piece sizes and whether or not you've got printed paperwork that goes with the templates (pix, invoices for materials, resouerces, sales, etc).
Even though my miniature bear pieces were 3" long at most, I found that having ALL of the patterns in the same uniform sized storage made it easier to keep track of everything when they're all put together in your files or drawer. Kits and their info was also stored in the same gallon ziplocks, though I did keep my retail pattern ziplocks in a separate spot from my kit lines.
I use file folders for my patters. You can buy folders with sides, but they're very expensive, so I buy the store brand and use a Scotch clear packing tape (it's about 2 inches wide) to take the sides of the folders. Inside I have a sheet with all the information about what supplies I used and a sample or two of the mohair and wool felt, where the bear went to live and any notes I might think of for the next time I want to use the pattern. I file by bear name. I also put in a picture. They're easy to put in a file cabinet or a file tray.
I didn't know about clear envelopes...that sounds great.
I wouldn't worry as much about having large numbers of bears for Ebay or bid4bears. Most people list one bear at a time. They might have 1-2 ready and set to go when that first auction ends, but it depends on how you work. For example you may like to have a larger inventory set during holiday times or summer vacations so your listings aren't interrupted.
Best advice I can think to give....use the library feature here to it's fullest!! The information on this site is golden. I cringe when I think of my first photos for my first listing ever...whoo boy were they schtinky There are topics in the library about tush tags, business cards, auctions, web design, packaging, lighting, techniques, web sites VS blogs....the list is huge....it's such an amazing resource.
For me personally having a little bit of a plan makes me feel better. At least for those little things that make an visible impression...like a logo, tags, auction templates, etc.
Can't wait to see your stuff out there!! You avatar bear's a real cutie!!
PS..oh and I like accordion files for most of my stuff....patterns, receipts, etc. I like the flexible plastic ones that have the blank tabs for labeling. Holds a ton, but stores away nice & compact! I use Staples for most of that stuff
You wont know if you don't try.
Maybe you have something the world is waiting for and maybe you don't. But give yourself a time frame. Say 1 year...if you aren't selling fairly regular by the end of a year you need to do some homework....and figure out why you aren't. Of course, you will be questioning your self all along....
But if your guys go like hot cakes then you can figure that you are on the right track.
Why do you want to sell?
You need to know the answer to this-its important.
It will color how you market yourself, and how you frame your business plan.
Are you determined to be the next best crittercreator? Or are you selling to support yourself?
Or are you selling to support your habit?
All three are valid, but if you don't know the answer you may end up spinning your wheels.
Do you have a business plan?
It doesn't have to be complicated, and you don't have to know all the answers, but having a simple business plan can assist you in deciding many questions you will have.....
like: what do I sell and where
what do I charge, will it cover the cost of the listing? Will it allow me to replace all the supplies I used? will it afford me any kind of incomE?
Keep a list of your supplies-what do you use? What do you need to replace? what are the costs?
If you don't make back your costs you will go bellyup in no time unless you have another source of income that is willing to support your foray into the mad world of e-bay and Bid4Bears.
I say go for it. And here's my real reason:
when you are on your deathbed you wont be wishing you had a bigger house or more money, you will be wishing you had more fun and had taken the opportunities that came along....Being a member of TT is an amazing opportunity. We have nearly `1000 members, and who knows how many people that simply cruise through....It can only help you if you decide to go forward.
And to add to that make sure you list your creations here in the bears and friend gallery when you are ready to sell. I have a a number of sales that have come from people seeing my work here first. Take the plunge I say but don't let you results on Ebay or bid 4 bears affect how you feel about your own work as it does take some time to get noticed....Good luck and above all Have fun!!!
Thanks again for all the helpful responses and encouragement! Have to make the swing tags, business cards, and figure out how to do an ebay template (found some info. on that in the library, thank you,Chrissi!)
:clap: :hug: :hug: :hug:
Marlys, I couldn't remember the name of the clear (more like translucent) envelopes before -- they are vellum -- I found some on the internet, but they seem kind of expensive. There are glassine ones, also. The zip-lock bags sound like they would be cheaper. :-)
Right - every grocery store carries these - in Quart & Gal sizes. If you're a Cosco member or Sam's Club, etc... thereare boxes available with double the number in the box for perhaps a bit less than the same brands (Glad, Hefty, etc) as the grocery shops. The ones for Freezer use or w/the the zip slider aren't necessarily a better buy - how often will you be going into the pattern? Unless it's daily I'd get the least expensive available. The zip slider ones actually don't open up as wide, being that the slider takes up about 1/2" to 3/4" at the end of its channels. It's important when your instruction sheets/kit info are standard sized 8.5" x 11".
Most of my first kit line's bags are in perfect shape after 15 years. The marker pen names on some of them have changed several times but the plastic itself is perfect. Putting them into your drawer or box alphabetically really helps find them fast. It's one of the many tiny things that helps one work more efficiently.