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Carlyle Bear Co. Carlyle Bear Co.
decatur, tn
Posts: 492

I am wondering, wondering, worrying really. bear_wacko

Where is everyone selling these days?  I hope this isn't an inconsiderate question but it seems that things are a changing in the teddy bear world and I have only been in it for 4 years.

I was doing so well on Bear Pile and for the last two months I haven't sold anything at all.  I work a day job so I don't churn the bears out very quickly and sometimes I worry that hurts me.  Ebay is well....Ebay.  Sometimes I do okay but I don't prefer it.  I joined PFATT a couple of months ago and they showcase a new bear each month but that hasn't helped me either. 

It does seem that Bear Pile has really grown in the last year and there are ALOT of bears on there but it is a great website. 

Is it just a slow time of year?  I am pondering making smaller bears since they seem to sell much better and I do understand that with limited space and all for Hugs. 

Any thoughts on any of this?  Anyone else struggling?  Or am I ALL ALONE! :crackup:  Kidding.

Thanks for your input ladies and gents!

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399
Website

I think it is very important to spend time developing a mailing list.  For me this is the best way to have my work seen by the people who want it.  I have done this by keeping my work out there on FB, blog, flicker with links back to my website.  There I keep a mailing list sign up.  I use Mail Chimp, it is easy and free.  Ask people to join your mailing list.  They will.  Then when I have a bear somewhere for sale I email the list and let them know it is there. 
It is hard to keep up with the networking you must do on the internet, but to me this is a worldwide market and you have to be the places that people are looking so that they will find you. 

Joanne

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 5,991
Website
Carlylebear wrote:

I was doing so well on Bear Pile and for the last two months I haven't sold anything at all.

I feel your pain, and I think a big part of the slow sales we're seeing is the time of year. I have two nice bears sitting unsold (at least I think they're nice :)), and several other artists (more well-known than I am) have them as well. I knew that was a possibility in the summertime, and I don't mind having some inventory.

I think Joanne's advice about networking directly with potential buyers and building a mailing list is excellent, and as much as I'd like to travel to London or even Philadelphia to do an in-person show, it's just completely out of reach for me. I sell around 20 to 25 bears a year, and I've already spent $700 this year on advertising (TT banner, BearPile membership, website, Hugglets guide, TB&F magazine, and an online show). I'm happy to support all of those resources, but to think about spending another $1000 to go to Philadelphia or $3000 or more to go to London is just not feasible for me, as much as I'd enjoy either one.

Here in the US, bear shops are not plentiful either, so online sales are absolutely essential, in my opinion. Figure out which venues you can spend some time on - be it a blog, a Facebook page, BearPile, or this forum - and do those things regularly. You make lovely bears, but with a glutted market and tough times, you need to keep up an online presence. I believe the right people will find you. :hug:

Becky

mulberrybendbears Posts: 16
dangerbears wrote:
Carlylebear wrote:

I was doing so well on Bear Pile and for the last two months I haven't sold anything at all.

I feel your pain, and I think a big part of the slow sales we're seeing is the time of year. I have two nice bears sitting unsold (at least I think they're nice bear_original)
Becky

I severely want Elodie, I want you to know that! It's one of my future goals to own one of your bears. From a "buyer"'s perspective, things ARE very tight for me right now...and I'm sure I'm not alone bear_original I'm trying to put a little money into making my own bears so that maybe I can afford some of the ones I see here and love so much.

Gabriele~GJOYfulBears GJOYful Bears
Posts: 511

I really don't mean to sound as though I'm bragging or anything nasty as that is not what I mean, but I am having more sales at the moment then I usually have. I sell a bit through Bear-Pile but mostly it's word of mouth etc. I design and make bears from the pattern up for very well recognized organizations to use as "logo" or "mascot" bears ~ mostly this makes up my sales. This is because I offer a "consultation" with the customer and discuss shapes for the bear, what they're trying to acheive in the bear's expression and stance etc, colour palette, accessories and even eye and nose shape and colour.

I design lots of my own bears for general sale and these are where my heart goes as well as my imagination, and these creations are my favourites however most of my sales come from the exclusive kind of offer I give of designing someone's bear from the pattern up with the promise it will be a OOAK ~ sometimes I even patent the pattern I design, depending on the customer's comments.
These bears created like this are not cheap, but I find most people don't mind too much as they want a bear to represent them that is exclusive to their company or gallery etc that will not be seen anywhere else.

I have to be honest I wish my other creations sold better as they are what I love to create and I love them the most, but my bears do have to pay bills so I can't refuse an offer to create a custom order bear.

I hope things do pick up for everyone, there are a lot of collectors out there you just have to reach them! My bears are on Youtube, lots of forums, hopefully soon Facebook, and I talk to lots of people so it is all about networking (even if the networking only brings you more custom orders and no purchases of bears you've already got lol).

I really do hope things improve for everyone, this is an art form so you can't sell yourselves short however finding a happy medium is hard with bears as everyone has a different price range and budget.

Bear hugs to you all and hope everything works out and lots of bears get adopted soon!

Carlyle Bear Co. Carlyle Bear Co.
decatur, tn
Posts: 492

:clap: Wow,  such great input and some terrific ideas.  I would LOVE to travel to Hugglets one day but as I "bearly" get by as it is with my day job and supporting myself it is not a possibility.  I do wish they had more bear shows here in the US but the only near me is in Atlanta and it was canceled.

I do keep my blog current and network as much as possible but these activities don't translate into sales for me.  I suppose I am just in a slump right now.  Maybe I was just getting a bit spoiled to tell the truth. bear_whistle

Thanks, Becky for saying you had some inventory too, it helps to hear that. bear_flower

You know, the mailing list is an idea that I have tried in the past but I feel like maybe I"m not utilizing it the way I should.  I can't get over the idea that I'm annoying someone with another email in their inbox.  Do you ask permission to send future mailings to your collectors when you sell to them or do you just make the assumption that it is fine to send them mailings?

Thank you all for your input!  It is greatly appreciated! bear_wub

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399
Website
carlylebearco wrote:

:
You know, the mailing list is an idea that I have tried in the past but I feel like maybe I"m not utilizing it the way I should.  I can't get over the idea that I'm annoying someone with another email in their inbox.  Do you ask permission to send future mailings to your collectors when you sell to them or do you just make the assumption that it is fine to send them mailings?

Thank you all for your input!  It is greatly appreciated! :love:

I do not ever add anyone to the mailing list unless they ask to.  The purpose of the list is to notify of bears available, it is stated right about the mailing list sign up.  If you go to my blog on the right top corner you will see the sign up.  I designed just what I wanted in Mail Chimp, they gave me the code and I put it there.  When someone fills in the form Mail Chimp contacts them and asks them if the want to opt in to the list.  After them taking the time to do that I know that they want to be there.   When and only when I have a bear available I go back to Mail Chimp and use one of their templates to send a newsletter to the mailing list.  It has taken years to build up a decent list, but that list is for the most part where my buyers come from. 

I was on Bear Pile for a couple of years, and while it was a very good place for me to be seen I never sold a bear there.  But again I think it drove people to the website to sign the list.

Joanne

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 5,991
Website
mulberrybendbears wrote:

I severely want Elodie, I want you to know that!

:hug: Elodie and I are happy to hear that. :hug:

Joanne wrote:

I designed just what I wanted in Mail Chimp, they gave me the code and I put it there.

I need to look into this now that I have a website where I can do a thing or two (like insert an html code). Your mailings look terrific, Joanne.

Becky

Gabriele~GJOYfulBears GJOYful Bears
Posts: 511

I really hope no one took my post the wrong way ~  I noticed no one commented on it and I guess I stress unnecessarily about these things but I hate to think I've upset anyone. I really don't mean to sound as though I'm bragging or anything like that I was just adding to the conversation. I really hate these little posts as there's no tone of voice to go by and none of you realize that I personally have a horrible time accepting that people actually want to pay money for my bears, and the stress of all these things has contributed to my current illness of Chronic Fatigue ~ again this is not trying to gain pitty from any of you or any such statement of "Awww poor thing," I just wanted you to know I'm no bragger and I hope my post didn't sound this way.
It sounds silly but the way people interpret things on these forums really does effect me and I worry unnecessarily about it when I think about it, so I hope nothing I've said anywhere here has been taken the wrong way....  bear_sad

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 5,991
Website
Gabriele wrote:

I really hope no one took my post the wrong way

Not to worry, Gabriele. :hug: It's encouraging to hear that you're doing well, and your post supports the theme of direct contact with buyers. I don't think you've offended anyone. bear_original

Becky

Carlyle Bear Co. Carlyle Bear Co.
decatur, tn
Posts: 492

I am off to check out Mail Chimp on my break this morning.  Joanne, your system of setting up a mailing list sounds very helpful.  I wouldn't feel badly about sending new bear info out that way.  I have a "contact me" button on my website but I think that most people feel it is there to order only.

Gabriele-I absolutely did not think you were bragging! bear_tongue   I am always happy to hear that any bearmaker is doing well.  I enjoyed your post and will check out your posts on YouTube soon.  I never thought of putting my bears on there and I thought that was a very clever way to network. bear_thumb

I really think that selling on BearPile was just so easy at one point and now that it is flooded with so many bears, even orphaned ones, that I need to go back to Ebay for a bit for some new exposure. 

I do wish we had more bear shows in the US!  It would be so much fun to participate in at least one a year. 

I am also considering making my website more professional and have looked at Potbelly Bear designs recently.  Love her work!

I really value all of these great ideas everyone!

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399
Website
carlylebearco wrote:

I am also considering making my website more professional and have looked at Potbelly Bear designs recently.  Love her work!

I really value all of these great ideas everyone!

Shelly's site is all done in Blogger and it is free.  She has done an excellent job.

Joanne

Conni Germany
Posts: 1,794

It probably goes for many in such a way. The times do not feel well. Luckily my bears are small and do not need so much place in the house. 
With Ebay the buyers search a good price....
I think, quite good suggestions have been written.

Gabriele~GJOYfulBears GJOYful Bears
Posts: 511

PHEW thanks everyone bear_original bear_original

By the way carlylebearco, my bears are on Youtube however I did not put them there ~ customers who ordered bears to be their logos have posted them there. I believe if you search for Andama Galleries you will find dear Logie the bear, who is a logo/mascot for Andama Galleries now, I think Andama has entitled it "Logie at home with music" or something similar. There are other companies who have also posted amusing little "Day out" videos of their bears "going to work in the office" etc.

I'm so glad I didn't offend anyone! That is my constant concern on these places as there's no tone of voice to go by! Thanks for the reassuring replies bear_original I'm very glad I didn't upset anyone bear_original

Carlyle Bear Co. Carlyle Bear Co.
decatur, tn
Posts: 492

Very cool Gabriele!  I will check those out when I get home.  We are not allowed to watch anything streaming at work any more. bear_sad

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