View Full Version : Please, I need some brutal honesty and guidance...

10-10-2004, 04:21 PM
I really need some brutal honesty and guidance. I am brand new to this ebay thing and this is my first auction. I know ebay can be a fickle mistress and I am simply trying to learn the in's and out's. I do not expect to make a fortune here, just trying to figure out how to get some bids. I am already looking at listing this again so since it is a learning experience, I am wondering what you would change...please be honest, I am just trying to learn! :wave:
My first ebay auction (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=4931226323)

10-10-2004, 04:31 PM
Ok, you asked for it. Your pictures look washed out. There, I said it. *whew* I can't tell if your main picture is slightly fuzzy, or if it is the white background giving me fits. Your beads are lovely, but I probably wouldn't bid because I'm having trouble seeing them. And although I like seeing a side shot, the colors don't seem to match those in the front on shots. :confused:

You also might want to say something about careful shipping, and what brand of glass you use, just for the perpetually nosy. :)


10-10-2004, 04:34 PM
Here are my thoughts as a buyer. First your feedback; it is only 3. I like to see a big number. I know, I know how do you get there. Well, I also look at lots of beads and I have bid on beads from sellers that have low feedback, more than once. I enjoy finding an undiscovered artist and...... getting what I feel is a great deal. What is a great deal? Anything under $3 a bead, excluding spacers which I consider worth $1 in my pricing formula for finished pieces.
Looking at your auction I think you have good quality beads, your third picture could use a bit more contrast but that certainly wouldn't keep me from bidding. But your starting price is too high.
I know you don't want to lose money and you are probably pricing quite fairly. But when you first start out it is the buyer's market. Get yourself a feedback over 100, a following and a long list of glowing comments that say things like "great beads!" and you can ask for higher starting bids.
Good luck, it isn't your beads :)

10-10-2004, 04:56 PM
I think your starting price is a little high, as well. Only because you don't have much feedback. I am a newbie making beads, but a professional in buying them!

There are so many folks selling lampwork, I have often wondered why some sets command hundreds of dollars, and others maybe $20. There is often very little difference in the quality and beauty. Being new to lampwork, I look all the time and see that those that are really expensive are folks whose work I have seen in books, or in contests, etc. Your beads are are gorgeous!

I agree, after you get a little feedback, and a following, your beads will sell for more.

Just my opinion as a compulsive bead buyer!!

My "longest in my head" commercial would have to be: "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" Alka-Seltzer!

10-10-2004, 05:03 PM
I think that the auction looks great. Your pictures could be tweaked to be a bit more vivid, a bit more lifelike. The beads are fine, and the layout professional.

I'm going to disagree with some other posters, I don't think that your prices are too high. If you start selling your work dirt cheap, you will undervalue yourself. I think your starting price is fine!

It takes time, lots of time to build up a following. Try to always, always have something available. If you only have a few things to offer, don't post them all together in one big blowout....stagger them a couple of days apart. That'll take some of the pressure off.

10-10-2004, 05:10 PM
Feedback is a big issue as the others have stated. I also think the pricing is high for the amount of feedback. Ebay is evil for someone starting out. I believe in the "Kaye" theory. You have list constantly, meaning sets every day, and continue for months before you can expect higher prices and a following. AND even then it is hard to sell over 50% without a "name" JMHO. Everyone gets all excited to start listing on Ebay which is a great start, but it is hard to establish yourself into getting what you deserve for your beads.

10-10-2004, 05:23 PM
I think the auction looks fine and I also think the pricing is fine. If you could get more of a closeup on the first picture that would be good. I like the other pictures a lot, especially the second.

The one suggestion I have is for how you have your beads strung but I don't know if that would effect your sales. I would eliminate the silver rounds. I say this because the small lampwork spacers are already spacers...the silver rounds tend to stretch the set out more but makes it *look* like you're trying to stretch it out.

An alternative, if you want silver, are disks or daisy spacers that could add sparkle but not separate them so much. I hope that makes sense....It's just an aesthetic. Try it and see...It wouldn't be the first time I was wrong. ;)

10-10-2004, 05:26 PM
I want to see a large picture straight on of all the beads. I really don't like it when people try to get all artsy with thier photos and fail to include the most important pic of all...straight on of all the beads large enough to see them well.

10-10-2004, 05:33 PM
I agree with the posts about the pics- could be sharper. The beads have a very crisp design so I'd expect to see them represented in a clearer pic. Try sharpening and adding more contrast in your photo editing program.

I think your page has a very professional looking design. One thing I would change for the future is the type face you used in the body copy. Heavy sans serif type can be difficult to read. A face that is lighter works better if you have a lot of copy. A serif face is designed to help the words "flow".
Narrower type columns with more space between the pic and copy would help readability too.
This all may be more than you asked for :rolleyes: There's just so much competition, everything you can do to set yourself apart can only help. ;)

10-10-2004, 05:40 PM
The one thing that struck me is your eBay ID. I might not buy beads from "callmemartha" with a feedback of 3, but I probably would from "beachglassgirl" because I know who you are.... I know we don't like to admit it, but many of our best customers are other WC'ers ;) - not that there's anything wrong with that!
Anyhow - I think your auction looks very nice, and so do the beads :)

10-10-2004, 06:21 PM
I like your beads! When I used to buy lampwork beads I loved to buy from new artists whose beads looked good. The reason being is that they usually priced their beads too low. I think your starting price is just right. It still gives the bargain hunter a bargain but lets you make a fair profit.

eBay is not much of an auction site anymore. There might only be one buyer for a particular set of beads. If you price your beads say at $9.99 you might have a potential buyer for them. But if there is only one buyer you won't get more than the starting bid. What you don't know is that your buyer might have been willing to pay $40.00 for those beads! So don't underprice yourself!

I do believe that those that have a following can do well with auctions that start at very low prices.

The only suggestion I have for you is to include a straight shot of the strand that is a little larger. I sometimes put silver beads or pearls in my strands because I like the way it looks. I really don't know if that impacts the auction. I have made myself some jewelry from lampwork and I don't use 9 lampwork beads in a bracelet! I like 3 or 4 so to me the silver spacers look natural.

Also, most bids are coming in at literally the last minute. I notice that when I get early bids that those tend to come from my repeat customers. So hang in there - you have a good eye for color and the beads are well shaped and attractive.

10-10-2004, 06:24 PM
I would change the first pic and make it a bit sharper and a bit bigger. That's it. I would be really surprised if you don't get a bid on them before they end. Great set and fantastic price. I have a friend that got over $100 for her first set on Ebay... nothing really special and the pictures sucked. If you come across friendly and hit the right chord with just two people... you've got a bidding war. Keep it personal and friendly... you've done that. Best of luck.

PS- The rule in retail goes... if it doesn't sell, raise the price. People may also be looking and wondering why they are so cheap. Also people want what other people want... one bid can start a revolution.

Best of luck! They are nice beads... nice work! :clap:

10-10-2004, 06:50 PM
thank you all! That was exactly what I was looking for - some other points of view. We all get so attached to things that it gets hard to see them from another angle. About the callmemartha name - it was my id I choose years ago because my entire family thinks I can make anything out of anything. Now that "Martha" is spending her time in a different sort of "home" I think maybe I will change it! Can't hurt, since my feedback is nil anyway! Thank you again all for your suggestions. I will probably use a mishmash of all of your suggestions!

10-11-2004, 10:25 AM
I'd say that you need to work on your photos. They are NOT awful! I've seen and taken much worse....I've all but given up getting a decent photo of a tiger bead..... But, no one can touch your beads on e-bay, so they need the very best photo possible. The best thing for me is to take my photos outside in a shaded spot, using a tripod and my macro. I know that a bunch of folks here prefer to be in a shaded spot on a sunny day, I actually get my best shots on my porch @ noon on a cloudy overcast day :confused: So, try both and see what your camera likes...
I think that your price and description are great! If you lower it and don't get more than one bid, I'm afraid that you'll feel as though you are giving them away. I have a hard time listing my own beads, because I want them to sell, but my starting prices are always "high" compared to most. I don't have a regular following yet and can't count on bidding wars to get my prices up. So, I list at what I consider the 1/2 way mark of my "retail" & "whole sale" price. Every once in a while I get adventurest and almost always regret it. I'd rather not sell my beads for less and give them away as gifts as a last resort, than "give" them away on e-bay to folks that I don't know.
just my 3 cents :wave:

10-11-2004, 01:08 PM
I agree about the photos.

Get that feedback higher by buying a few inexpensive items.

If you are using USPS Priority Mail up the cost to $3.85 or state in description that Priority Mail is only $3.00 and that they are getting a savings of $.85 on shipping.

When I first looked at the shipping I assumed it was for First Class Mail and thought it was really high and went back and looked after I posted my response. Most Buyers are only going to see the shipping costs and not the method unless you bring it to their attention. They know Priority is $3.85.

10-11-2004, 02:07 PM
Well I'm certainly no ebay expert, but these are my thoughts for what they are worth.

Great beads and wonderful color ... I love them ... I agree that perhaps the pictures could be a bit crisper (something I'm struggling with myself at the moment). I like the page layout and styling - it's looks very professional.

I think the feedback issue sucks big time and would never hold it against anyone myself (since I am there too) - I was amazed about a year ago when a lampworker was concerned about selling to someone because they had low feedback. It was someone whose work I really admire as well, so I was rather taken aback at the attitude. However, the attitude obviously does exist and there's nothing I can do to change it ...

Price .. umm ... that's a tricky one. I think you should get your wholesale price as a mimimum and that is what I plan on setting my first prices to. Your set is nice and colorful and I don't think your price is unreasonable.

I was a bit surprised at the postage and also didn't cotton on that it was priority (and cheaper).

best of luck with your auction!


10-11-2004, 06:05 PM
Here's my .02 as a lampworked bead buyer on e-bay; I think your beads are terrific, especially for your first e-bay outing! Your dot placement precision is great! I agree that your photos could be more crisp, though. I think your starting price is just fine. I wouldn't recommend lowering it, you'll end up being disappointed. I also agree that it takes time with e-bay to establish a following. I think you just need to be patient, also someone recommended that perhaps you make a few purchases to increase your feedback, that's not a bad idea. Perhaps you could buy some glass/supplies from a couple of different vendors?

Be patient grasshopper! :)

10-11-2004, 07:14 PM
HI Tami,

I like your auction - I think you did a wonderful job. The pictures could be a little sharper, but I've seen much worse on ebay and with bids. I think your price is very good also. The only thing that really stood out to me was the size of the beads. If I were buying beads through the internet and couldn't see them in person, I would want to know how wide the bead is - hole to hole also.

I'm trying something a bit different on ebay (haven't been there for a while and need to get started back up again). I started with low prices but set a reserve. Several of my items have bids already. The reserve is not met yet, but bids draw more bids and I'm hoping they will go high enough to meet the reserve (plus some) and, if they don't, I'm not too upset because I'm not giving my beads/jewelry away. I also put a set of beads at .99 to start with no reserve. I really don't like doing that, but I wanted to see what would happen.

Either way - good luck with your auction and don't get discouraged - once you get your name out there on a regular basis people will bid on your beads.


10-11-2004, 10:29 PM
My 2 cents plus $25....Your beads are wonderful. Would I buy them??? No....Why? I do not buy handcrafted beads......I make them and then I design with them. Would the ebay surfer buy them? Probably Not. ....the "collector" of beads is looking for the "name". The bead is not the issue...the name is....The bargain hunter will feel your beads are too high priced...but in relation to what???? What is that bargain hunter going to do with your beads? Why do people buy handcrafted beads? IMHO beads as an "art" form has become lost in the crazy scramble to be the best name, have the best book, teach the best class. I do not buy beads for the name...what book the artist has been in, what class they have taught....I buy beads because they talk to me or they shine with the artist's inner soul. Mushy...huh.... I will never forget soaking in the bead bazaar at "The Gathering" in Portland this year and coming across a wonderful mask bead from a quote famous beadmaker. I bought it and was she so very happy. It was one of her least favorite, you know, wrong color, lopsided and was she glad to get rid of it without even having to dicker. It was lost on her that her work spoke to me and the imperfections did not matter. I came across another "famous person" and waited patiently to buy "my treasure" while he dealt with the person behind me buying one of his signature beads. He kept appologizing for making me wait and when he did get around to me....I gave him my money, told him how happy I was to have his bead because it looked like the flames on my husband's car. Little naive me....that is not what he wanted to hear and he told me he would not be making that type of bead again. Doesn't matter.....the bead talked and I bought it. The artist is secondary. So in my ramblings, I come to the conclusion....make your beads from your heart, toss them out and if they speak they will be bought but never value your work by whether it is bought, value it for what it gives you in the creation.