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Ebay, Craft Shows, Selling, and Pricing...  (Read 19487 times)
Gimpdiggity
« on: July 31, 2010, 11:34:13 pm »

Hi everyone.  I'm sorry if this is in the wrong forum, I wasn't sure if it would be considered "marketing" so I just decided to put it in here.  If it's in the wrong place, please move it to the correct one...I can find it again by searching.   Smiley

Anyways.  I had entered into puppet making as a way to pass the time and get more puppets for myself...but I quickly found the people that I was showing them to telling me that I should try to sell them.  My mom actually sells things at a craft galleria in my hometown because she's pretty crafty, and asked me to bring one over after work one day so she could take it to the galleria to see what the other people there thought of them.  

Let me tell you about what I've been making.  I've been making Project Puppet Glorified Sock Puppets with the optional foam body.  I've been doing them out of Blizzard Fleece which the gentleman at JoAnn told me was about the best fleece that they had in stock regularly.  I do the arms stuffed, the puppet is all machine sewn, and I've added my own special skull piece so that the puppet has a foam skull to keep it's form.  I've been doing eyes one of two ways...one with the practice golf balls and animal eyes and one with fleece covered styrofoam balls so that the eyes are the same color as the body and then with cat/reptile looking eyes.  I add eyelashes to the ones with the golf balls and sometimes I throw some spikey hair onto them.  Some of them don't have hair.  

Well, my mom took one to the galleria and the people there loved them.  But, unfortunately, to sell there you have to have at least 10 AND you have to sign up to work there one day a month until your products are all sold or you pull them.  It's basically like selling on consignment.  I don't have an issue working there...but it's an hour drive and I already drive an hour into work five days a week.  I cherish my days off and I don't really like the idea of going into town on a day off every month when I already spend so much time on the road.  HOWEVER...the lady that owns the galleria told my mom that she would suggest selling them at $59.95.  She said that would be the price that she would expect to pay for something like the puppet I had made.  

Well, I thought that was a bit high...but I did happen to have another puppet exactly like the one that I had made already (I had two because I was trying different things with the mouth pattern) and I figured what the heck, I'll see if I can sell one on Ebay.  So I put one up on Ebay the other day with a starting bid of $25 and a Buy it Now of $45.  

I wanted to add that I also included an arm rod that I made that I found works GREAT and is able to easily be removed or switched from one arm to the other without any hook and loop.  

I was hoping that maybe some of you guys could take a look at the auction and let me know if I have priced it correctly, or if I should have gone a bit lower on the starting bid or the Buy it Now??  

Please know, I'm NOT trying to sell my puppet here, so I hope it's not against the rules for me to post the Ebay link.  I am interested in making puppets for myself, and if I can pass on the joy that they bring me to some other people out there and make a couple of bucks in the process, I am definitely interested in that.  I've just had a REAL hard time determining pricing on the items...because I know how much it actually cost me to make, so the prices that I see for other similar puppets seem to be a lot more than I would spend, but that's not really relevant because now that I'm making them myself I have a general idea of what those other ones are costing to make.  

So anyways, here's my auction.  I will be doing them from now on with Auctiva because the Image Hosting I've been using is HORRIBLE.  The images disappear quite often.  

http://cgi.ebay.com/Professional-Puppet-Good-Quality-FREE-Arm-Rod-/330455981859?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4cf0b61f23

I'm looking for serious criticism and suggestions to better myself as a puppet maker and seller.  If you guys think the pricing is horrible, please, let me know...my feelings won't be hurt.  If you think the pricing is right on, let me know.  If you think I should go higher on the pricing...same thing, mention it.  I really would like to be able to sell some of these little guys when I make too many of them...but like I said I've really wrestled with myself over the pricing.  In fact, that auction took me over a week to actually post because I went back and forth on the dollar amounts I wanted to put on it so much.  

Thanks in advance everyone.

Jeff
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 12:23:41 am by Gimpdiggity »
Gimpdiggity
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2010, 11:45:59 pm »

Oh, I need to add this now, too.

I just got a question from a buyer asking if I can add legs to the puppet.  Of course I can, so I told him that I could.  He said in his message that he would be willing to pay more for the puppet if it had legs, so I quoted him a total of $8 to add the legs to the puppet on top of the price that he would pay for it, whether he wins it by bidding or if he wins it with Buy it Now.

Thanks.
Jeff
Chensational
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2010, 04:18:37 am »

Oh, I need to add this now, too.

I just got a question from a buyer asking if I can add legs to the puppet.  Of course I can, so I told him that I could.  He said in his message that he would be willing to pay more for the puppet if it had legs, so I quoted him a total of $8 to add the legs to the puppet on top of the price that he would pay for it, whether he wins it by bidding or if he wins it with Buy it Now.

Thanks.
Jeff

Hi Jeff,

   Only $8.00!?  How long does it take you to make legs?  Materials won't cost much, but...your time is worth money too.  I think you are at a place where you are just building for fun, which is nice.  Your pricing reflects that.  I remember when it was a rush just to have someone WANT to buy one of my puppets.  That made up for my low prices (to me at the time).  I think if that is the way you are looking at it, then your prices are fine.  But, if you are wanting to make some extra money from this, you will need to actually look at what you are offering and what the true costs are (material costs AND your time).

- Kanja

P.S.  I read your blog and left a message on there too, but I wanted to add one more thing.  When pricing material, you should charge what the materials actually costs.  If you happen to find some for a discounted price, it doesn't mean you pass the savings on to the customer.  It was your time and your effort that got that discounted price.  Those are YOUR savings.  If you offer a low price for materials and your customers are expecting that price, you are getting yourself into a difficult situation if you have to jack up the price slightly because the material is no longer on sale.  Customers can be finicky at times.

My two cents.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 04:31:25 am by Chensational »
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2010, 08:09:57 am »

I think your price is pretty good.  I do think like Kanja that $8.00 is a bit too low to add legs. How many hours well it take you to add legs to the puppet? Smiley  How much are you paying yourself per hour? In my opinion there is a big difference between offered and custom.  If you make up a bunch of this style of puppets you can do it more efficiently and thus perhaps charge a bit less for them thus increasing your chance of selling them. If you have to go back and customize that puppet or for that fact build something to a clients needs it takes more time then when you "mass" produce something.

P.S.
It is fine if you promote your sale of puppet here.  In fact there is actually an eBay button that lets you embed your auction. Click the button then paste the Item Number for your auction between the ebay tags that where added when you clicked on the button. It shows up like this!

Click To View
Gimpdiggity
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2010, 10:00:14 am »

I think your price is pretty good.  I do think like Kanja that $8.00 is a bit too low to add legs. How many hours well it take you to add legs to the puppet?   How much are you paying yourself per hour? In my opinion there is a big difference between offered and custom.  If you make up a bunch of this style of puppets you can do it more efficiently and thus perhaps charge a bit less for them thus increasing your chance of selling them. If you have to go back and customize that puppet or for that fact build something to a clients needs it takes more time then when you "mass" produce something.

I had kind of thought of that.  The only reason I threw $8 out there is because I think it will only take me about 15 minutes to put them together and I have some scraps left.  Also, I haven't really done many legs, so I figure it's going to be kind of a learning experience for me.  In retrospect, $8 does seem really low.  I probably should've thought that one through a little bit more.  Next time. 


Quote
It is fine if you promote your sale of puppet here.  In fact there is actually an eBay button that lets you embed your auction. Click the button then paste the Item Number for your auction between the ebay tags that where added when you clicked on the button. It shows up like this!

Click To View

Ah!!!  Just the item number!!!

I was trying to use that button last night and I tried about 10 different versions of links to my auction...I never once thought to just use the item number!!!

Thanks!
Gimpdiggity
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2010, 10:06:42 am »

Hi Jeff,

   Only $8.00!?  How long does it take you to make legs?  Materials won't cost much, but...your time is worth money too.  I think you are at a place where you are just building for fun, which is nice.  Your pricing reflects that.  I remember when it was a rush just to have someone WANT to buy one of my puppets.  That made up for my low prices (to me at the time).  I think if that is the way you are looking at it, then your prices are fine.  But, if you are wanting to make some extra money from this, you will need to actually look at what you are offering and what the true costs are (material costs AND your time).

- Kanja

P.S.  I read your blog and left a message on there too, but I wanted to add one more thing.  When pricing material, you should charge what the materials actually costs.  If you happen to find some for a discounted price, it doesn't mean you pass the savings on to the customer.  It was your time and your effort that got that discounted price.  Those are YOUR savings.  If you offer a low price for materials and your customers are expecting that price, you are getting yourself into a difficult situation if you have to jack up the price slightly because the material is no longer on sale.  Customers can be finicky at times.

My two cents.

Thanks for the ideas.

That was about the biggest thing I wrestled with when determining the price.  I'm listing it as a professional puppet because I don't think it's a toy, but I don't feel that I priced it as such.  I think that people looking for a professional puppet might look at the price and think there's no way it's more than a toy. 

I don't know if this helps put any perspective on it, but my Buy it Now price is based on the $10 worth of materials which is nearly exactly the material cost and two hours worth of my time...I based my time value at $35 on the fact that I get paid about $35 for two hours of work at my job.  The materials to make this puppet in particular were actually more like $6 because I got stuff on sale, but I did price the materials at "list" cost, not what I actually paid. 

I'm guessing that charging what is effecively only $17 per hour for the work is probably too low??  I mean, obviously my skills aren't to the point that I could charge several hundred dollars for a puppet, but maybe figuring my hourly rate at higher than $17 would be a better starting poing when figuring out what to charge next time. 

I have two more puppets that I have that are extras that I will be listing on Ebay soon.  Both are different than that one...one is more human looking and the other is quite a bit larger.  I think that I will have to do some more figuring when I go to list prices for them.  The larger one I feel will be easier for me to price, for some reason.  Maybe because I am viewing it as "it's bigger so it should be more expensive."

I don't know.  This has been the most difficult part of this endeavor so far!!!

Thanks for the comments guys, they are helping. 
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2010, 10:35:55 am »

Well you are correct that $17 per hour is not great but I don't know that it is bad. Smiley  I normally go for between $20 - $25 an hour depending on the project. 

While what we create may be worth much more I think that you have to take into consideration the market in general.  For example check out the prices at http://www.folkmanis.com/ or http://www.thepuppetstore.com/ now granted those are mass produced but people are going to compare when it comes to price.  I think the fact that your puppets are individual and hand made makes them worth more and people well pay for that but you can out price yourself I think.  Also remember that folks shopping on ebay are looking for a deal. Wink
Na
No Avatar
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2010, 01:32:25 pm »

Personally, I think anyone who expects to pay less than a couple of hundred dollars for a pro muppet-type puppet is an idiot. Because that's pretty much what they're worth, in terms of the time spent making them. The fact that Folkmanis *are* priced so low leads people to assume making puppets is cheap. Of course, convincing the wider public to pay for what your work is actually worth is not easy, which is why so many people price their puppets lower.

Aussie puppet maker Jarrod Boutcher regularly sells his puppets (I would consider him to be the Rick Lyon of Aus.) for $500 USD or more on Ebay.

If your work is good enough, then you can charge quite a bit. So don't get fooled into thinking that lower is better; in a number of threads on this site, people mention that you should price your puppets not just competitively or to cover costs, but to make it 'cheap' actually diminishes the impression of quality of your work.

(If you haven't already, seek out the puppet pricing calculator mentioned on this site. It's extremely useful)
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2010, 03:58:55 pm »

Here is a link to Jarrod Boutcher's blog if anyone wants to check out his work. http://jbpuppets.blogspot.com/  One reason he can sell for a higher price is he has a reputation. He also seems to produce puppets that are very collectible to those interested in the Muppets.  While not stated what would you say his current ebay puppet looks like?

Click To View

These are one of a kind puppets and that are not produced from a pattern.  That I guess is the point I am trying to make, or at least one of them.  I think that makes a difference in how much you can charge.

I truly don't think that we should undersell ourselves as artist but I also don't want to give any newcomers false hopes.The road is a long and rough one when it comes from making money with the art of puppetry weather you are a builder or performer.  I had a pretty good start in puppetry because I studied and worked under and established company with a very long history.  I got a bit of a slap in the face when I struck out on my own. Smiley  I kind of had to back up and realize that I did not have the same reputation even though having worked with them did lend some credibility to my skills. I had to start out a bit lower and build myself up.  That meant selling at and performing at lower rates then the ones I was used to working with the company I had worked under.
Na
No Avatar
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2010, 04:22:41 pm »

I agree JB is well known, so he can price higher. However, I'd suggest that his popularity comes from his ability to make extremely good puppets (and some do look Muppet-y, but some are not so much), so my point that the better you make them, the more you can charge, holds true.

In every freelance area, the recommendations for pricing is always to start out with a base price that is based on time/materials and then as your reputation/experience increases, to raise the prices. Ie. in web design or writing/editing, it's usually $20-25 per hour, and then after time, it can increase to (in some cases within a hundred dollars or so) $40 and upwards.

... This is my point. That a lot of the time I think we feel that the customer has the right/expectation of 'setting' the price; if they don't like it, they'll go elsewhere. But I think if we take more ownership over pricing, and be more confident with it (that is, the price is correct because this is what X materials cost and what Y time I took, etc etc), then people will care less about the price tag and more about the quality that goes with it.

My two cents at any rate... Smiley
Sunbeatle Puppets
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2010, 04:43:25 pm »

I think you have it at a good price, im sure there's someone out there who would pay for that puppet, it looks great! but i agree that with expirience and skill developement and maybe even a better reputation you'll be able to charge much more for your puppets
Gimpdiggity
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2010, 12:15:45 am »

Hey everyone.

Just wanted to update this.

My puppet sold for $25.  Then I added the legs for $8.  For a total selling price of $33.  Add in $8 shipping for the product (actual cost $7.75) and then take out Ebay and PayPal fees and I made about $30 on the sale of the puppet.

Not nearly what I was hoping for, but better than nothing.  I'm hoping that the person that bought him really likes him, and then I will get some positive feedback to use to build upon.  Also, this was a positive from the sale...the guy that bought him actually bid MORE than $25...I know because he placed two bids so one had to be higher than the $25, but unfortunately nobody else bid so it only sold for the starting auction price. 

Here are some of my ideas for the next puppet I'm going to list, which is basically the same puppet only without the hair. 

1.  I'm going to up the shipping costs to cover shipping AND handling.  The $8 covers shipping, but if I have to buy a box (which I didn't this time) that will be another couple of bucks, and I also have to get to the Post Office.  I'm thinking that I will up the shipping to about $12 to cover the shipping and handling. 

2.  I'm going to start at a bit higher price for the bidding.  After looking around and reading quite a bit on here, I think I underpriced myself and that low price may have scared some potential buyers off because they were under the impression that cheap price=cheap product.  Basically, they were looking for something that was good quality and my price was so low they thought there was no way they could get a good quality item for that price.  Right now I am thinking of a starting price of $40, with a Buy it Now of $60-65.  Here's going to be my "catch," if you will.  I'm going to INCLUDE a puppet stand to anyone that uses the Buy it Now feature for free.  If the puppet goes to auction, then the puppet stand won't be included, but could be purchased for a small fee on top of the final value of the auction.  I've had good luck with this type of strategy in the past on Ebay...offering things like free shipping or half prices shipping with Buy it Now seems to give people good incentive to just purchase the item with the Buy it Now.  I coul actually do this with the stand, a shirt, or a separate arm rod.  I'm thinking the stand would be a good first thing to give away, because I've got like six of them on my table....hehehehe...

3.  I am going to use a better auction template...probably just sign up for the $3 a month Auctiva auction service.  That will allow me to post more and better pictures, embed videos, and just generally make the auction more appealing to a buyer.  I found halfway through my auction that at certain times of the day my images weren't showing up.  Who knows how many buyers viewed the auction and just left because the pictures weren't there.  I think that the $3 a month for Auctiva will be money well spent...not only on the puppets, but on any of the other random stuff I sell on Ebay. 

4.  I am going to emphasize more about the "making" of the puppet.  I'm going to focus on the time spent and the fact that it's a custom puppet and not something you'd find in a store.  I'm really going to try and get it across that it's being made by someone...not some machine somewhere. 

5.  I now have two patterns for legs that can be put together in about 30 minutes.  I will offer to add legs to any puppet for a fee of $20.  Do you guys think that $20 is a fair price for adding some basic legs to the puppet that take literally about 25 minutes to put together?? 

I still welcome any other insight or advice.  I've done a lot of reading around here and I really think that I priced Dart too low to begin with, and that low price really made people's impression of him fall off before they even really knew what he was. 

I am also working on a nice little vampire puppet that you guys may have seen in my other thread.  I'm currently working on some clothing for him, and he's got a cool little surprise.  I'm thinking once I get him done I will make another one and try to sell that...but that will end up coming in at a completely different price point than Dart did...mainly because the clothing is going to come with him automatically and it's going to be fairly intricate and detailed...which means he's going to take significantly longer to make than Dart did, and thus will cost quite a bit more.  But that's another thread altogether. 

Thanks in advance for reading this long rambling, and like I said, I welcome all comments...and thank you in advance for them!!

Jeff
Na
No Avatar
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2010, 02:48:54 am »

... and I made about $30 on the sale of the puppet.

Is this inclusive of your time spent making it?

I know because he placed two bids so one had to be higher than the $25, but unfortunately nobody else bid so it only sold for the starting auction price.

This is why I don't like ebay. There's a whole community of people out there who are more interested in the 'game' of bidding, than of actually buying items of quality. ... But that's another issue and not really relevant here.

1.  I'm going to up the shipping costs to cover shipping AND handling.  The $8 covers shipping, but if I have to buy a box (which I didn't this time) that will be another couple of bucks, and I also have to get to the Post Office.  I'm thinking that I will up the shipping to about $12 to cover the shipping and handling.  

You should be doing that anyway. You lose money every time you ship otherwise, which adds up over time. I always use a shipping calculator (the Australia Post provides one on their site) to calculate the cost of the shipping + cost of the box. -- Make sure that you have a return policy, and that it includes whether or not the customer is to pay for shipping the item back to you. (This is also expensive if you return the cost of shipping/handling)

2.  I'm going to start at a bit higher price for the bidding.  After looking around and reading quite a bit on here, I think I underpriced myself and that low price may have scared some potential buyers off because they were under the impression that cheap price=cheap product.  Basically, they were looking for something that was good quality and my price was so low they thought there was no way they could get a good quality item for that price.  Right now I am thinking of a starting price of $40, with a Buy it Now of $60-65.

Good idea. There's lots of sites out there on selling on ebay, I think perhaps a reading of them will give you an idea of the types of people who use it, the theory behind pricing, etc. I used to have a list of bookmarks somewhere, but may have misplaced them... anyway, learning about the auction process might help you with pricing that makes it worthwhile for you.

Here's going to be my "catch," if you will.  I'm going to INCLUDE a puppet stand to anyone that uses the Buy it Now feature for free.  If the puppet goes to auction, then the puppet stand won't be included, but could be purchased for a small fee on top of the final value of the auction.  I've had good luck with this type of strategy in the past on Ebay...offering things like free shipping or half prices shipping with Buy it Now seems to give people good incentive to just purchase the item with the Buy it Now.  I coul actually do this with the stand, a shirt, or a separate arm rod.  I'm thinking the stand would be a good first thing to give away, because I've got like six of them on my table....hehehehe...

This is an interesting strategy, and would probably work well. I think a stand would be best because most people who buy will not know how to store it and may ruin their purchase because of it. Whereas they're not likely to want to change the costume or use an extra rod. ... Make sure you add the cost of shipping/handling of the extra item/s to the total so you're not paying for it. (People don't question the cost of S&H normally)

3.  I am going to use a better auction template...probably just sign up for the $3 a month Auctiva auction service.  That will allow me to post more and better pictures, embed videos, and just generally make the auction more appealing to a buyer.  I found halfway through my auction that at certain times of the day my images weren't showing up.  Who knows how many buyers viewed the auction and just left because the pictures weren't there.  I think that the $3 a month for Auctiva will be money well spent...not only on the puppets, but on any of the other random stuff I sell on Ebay.  

I actually did research on online auctions years ago, and found that most people are more likely to make a purchase if there are decent images (video helps, but that was a new addition to ebay back then). Learn about SEO (search engine optimisation) so that you're also giving your product title/category placement the best possible chance of being found in search engines. (Note that most people who sell puppets on ebay title have "muppet" in the title, often "replica", etc. It may not be entirely true, but it's more likely to get hits than "foam puppet" or whatever)

4.  I am going to emphasize more about the "making" of the puppet.  I'm going to focus on the time spent and the fact that it's a custom puppet and not something you'd find in a store.  I'm really going to try and get it across that it's being made by someone...not some machine somewhere.

Head to Jarrod Boutcher's ebay page; he has a good, brief description of how his puppets are made. Emphasis on: custom, hand made, use of antron fleece, use of Scott foam, etc etc.

5.  I now have two patterns for legs that can be put together in about 30 minutes.  I will offer to add legs to any puppet for a fee of $20.  Do you guys think that $20 is a fair price for adding some basic legs to the puppet that take literally about 25 minutes to put together??  

Yes, but so long as it is inclusive of both time and materials.

I still welcome any other insight or advice.  I've done a lot of reading around here and I really think that I priced Dart too low to begin with, and that low price really made people's impression of him fall off before they even really knew what he was.  

I work with some people who have various online businesses. One of the things they've taught me is to experiment. Online trends change and develop; your methods of selling may not be one thing or the other, or may need to change over time. Test things out, and if you find one or two methods that work better than others, use those.

I'm the same way: I've discovered that I sell fewer patterns on my site if I remove a rotating banner advertising them. I've discovered that offering CDs (which include the patterns, plus extra stuff) barely sell at all despite being a better product than just a download. ... Etc. Trying stuff isn't a bad thing, and eventually you'll figure out what works best for you.
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2010, 06:43:06 am »

Na, This caught my eye.
Quote
I've discovered that offering CDs (which include the patterns, plus extra stuff) barely sell at all despite being a better product than just a download.
I know I am guilty of this kind of.  When I am on the internet in search of something I don't want to have to wait for it. If I am going to buy I want it then not later in the mail. Smiley I guess that is pretty typical. I have seen some sites that sell a download but for an extra fee well also send you a backup on CD.  I wonder if that strategy would work or is that how you already have it set up?
Gimpdiggity
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2010, 03:18:36 am »

Is this inclusive of your time spent making it?

I spent about two hours making it...but most of that was redoing arms because I cut them too close to the seams and the polyfill was leaking out.  So no, probably not really inclusive of the time spent. 

This is why I don't like ebay. There's a whole community of people out there who are more interested in the 'game' of bidding, than of actually buying items of quality. ... But that's another issue and not really relevant here.

Yah, I was really just hoping for one more bid, just to see if it would spark some people going back and forth on it.  It had several watchers...but only ended up with one bidder. 

You should be doing that anyway. You lose money every time you ship otherwise, which adds up over time. I always use a shipping calculator (the Australia Post provides one on their site) to calculate the cost of the shipping + cost of the box. -- Make sure that you have a return policy, and that it includes whether or not the customer is to pay for shipping the item back to you. (This is also expensive if you return the cost of shipping/handling)

I don't really worry too much about handling, because the Post Office is right on my way to work and I generally have to stop there at least once a week anyways, so it's not like I'm going out of my way to go to the Post Office to ship things.  I lucked out with the shipping itself being basically exactly what I was charging.  But in the future I will definitely be charging more for that just to make sure I don't end up coming out on the losing end.

Good idea. There's lots of sites out there on selling on ebay, I think perhaps a reading of them will give you an idea of the types of people who use it, the theory behind pricing, etc. I used to have a list of bookmarks somewhere, but may have misplaced them... anyway, learning about the auction process might help you with pricing that makes it worthwhile for you.

I figure it can't hurt to try it.  What's the worst that happens??  It doesn't sell and I relist it for a lower price for no cost because it didn't sell.  I'm really hoping that people will see that little bit higher price and just equate it to better quality. 


This is an interesting strategy, and would probably work well. I think a stand would be best because most people who buy will not know how to store it and may ruin their purchase because of it. Whereas they're not likely to want to change the costume or use an extra rod. ... Make sure you add the cost of shipping/handling of the extra item/s to the total so you're not paying for it. (People don't question the cost of S&H normally)

That's why I thought the stand, too.  It would give them a nice looking and functional way to store the puppet without having to worry about throwing it on a table or the floor or something.  Not to mention, it's nice to have a stand to display the puppet. 

I actually did research on online auctions years ago, and found that most people are more likely to make a purchase if there are decent images (video helps, but that was a new addition to ebay back then). Learn about SEO (search engine optimisation) so that you're also giving your product title/category placement the best possible chance of being found in search engines. (Note that most people who sell puppets on ebay title have "muppet" in the title, often "replica", etc. It may not be entirely true, but it's more likely to get hits than "foam puppet" or whatever)

I definitely will be adding more images and just generally making a more aesthetically pleasing auction.  I've been meaning to do that for a while now, anyways.  I sell on Ebay relatively often...often enough that paying for Auctiva for $3 a month would probably pay for itself in increased auction sales. 

I thought long and hard about throwing "Muppet" into my auction somewhere, but ultimately decided not to.  I think if I were to do that, I'd just add it to the body of the auction instead of the title, so that it would pop up in any searches that searched the entire listing.  Maybe just something along the lines of "Quality Muppet Style Puppet" or something like that. 


Head to Jarrod Boutcher's ebay page; he has a good, brief description of how his puppets are made. Emphasis on: custom, hand made, use of antron fleece, use of Scott foam, etc etc.

I will look at that as soon as I get a chance. 

Yes, but so long as it is inclusive of both time and materials.

I think it is.  I can make the legs out of the scraps of fleece that are left over from the rest of the pattern, so the fleece cost is absolutely minimal.  And it did only take me about 30 minutes to do, not including the fact that I had to make a foot pattern up because the customer was interested in some reptile style feet.  I'm actually glad, though, because I think the feet I designed work better with the style of puppet that the Glorified Sock is, so I'll be using it repeatedly.  So the fleece is minimal, and the $20 is basically for 30 minutes of work. 


I work with some people who have various online businesses. One of the things they've taught me is to experiment. Online trends change and develop; your methods of selling may not be one thing or the other, or may need to change over time. Test things out, and if you find one or two methods that work better than others, use those.

That's a great idea.  I think I'll just go ahead and put another auction up with the ideas that I've had and just see how it goes.  Like I said earlier, the worst that happens is it doesn't sell and I have to relist it. 

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