My handsome husband Jimmy is, also, a seller on eBay. He loves to attend local estate sales. Although we have separate eBay stores and businesses, we often work together when selling ‘stuff’ on eBay.
This time he signed me up for a project without discussing it first but that’s how husband’s are, right? 😉
Now, our normal procedure is for Jimmy to do the eBay listings and I do the shipping. The exception to this is fine china or very fragile items.
Jimmy likes to stay clear of delicate, breakable items and, truth be told, I like him to stay away from them too!
As a side note, I actually enjoy the shipping process and take great pride in my eBay shipping skills. Through all 18 years of selling I’ve had very few claims.
So, this weekend Jimmy brought home a set of fine porcelain china made in Limoges France by the Haviland Company.
Ohhh! Antique/vintage china! Yaayyy!
When you add the words antique, vintage, china, porcelain, Haviland, and Limoges together that should mean the big ka-ching, right?
Not unless the word ‘RESEARCH’ comes FIRST!
In the absence of thorough eBay research, those fancy schmancy dishes you just bought might as well be paper plates value-wise!
And where I’m going with all this is…
Try before you buy
If you’re not super familiar with china manufacturers (old and new) and dish patterns, you must, must, must spend some time researching before you fork over your hard earned $$$ to buy a china set you ‘think’ will make money on eBay.
If you want your eBay store to be successful, if you want to actually make money and be profitable on eBay, you have to “try before you buy”.
Trying before you buy means that you try your best to determine if buying and listing an item is worth an investment of your time and available cash.
Prior to purchasing any china, dishware, glasses, wine goblets, etc. you’ll want to do these 3 things:
- Research the items on eBay:
- Run a Terapeak report:
- Check every square inch of items for cracks, nicks, chips, wear, etc.
Here’s a step by step of these 3 procedures…
eBay Research for China & Dishware Sets
Using our case as an example; Haviland china.
The first thing to know when researching china and dishware is that most brands come in a gazillion patterns. Not all are popular nor do they command high selling prices.
There is more to a rose than just being a pretty flower. Example, the Baltimore Rose pattern seems to sell for the most compared to a Wild Rose pattern. Also the Moss pattern does better than swags. It’s a crazy fine tuned world when it comes to the identification of fine china but with all the resources out there, the pattern in hand can usually be found.
Jimmy’s dishes have pink and blue flowers with a scalloped trim of gold inserts.
When I did a search for this pattern, the sad truth was that this pattern was not in high demand. Thus, my husband should’ve done more research before he gave the lady $100.00. Just sayin’! 😉
But, I’m a team player. So I will do my best to list them in such manner that will help increase the odds. Maybe we’ll (at least) make our money back.
To accomplish this, I must turn to my eBay research BFF – Terapeak.
Researching China & Dishware With Terapeak
With so many patterns on the market, when researching dinnerware sets on Terapeak, you cannot count on getting accurate selling info if you only search the name of the manufacturer. In this instance – “Haviland France Limoges”.
If you do not put the name of the pattern in your search, the returned results could be huge. Additionally, you could be mislead by the results.
Using only “Haviland France Limoges” in a search on Terapeak brought up 15,695 with only a 15% sell through rate. The highest priced item sold $2,278.00. It was a footed pedestal serving bowl, eBay item # 111796214054 sold on Oct. 15, 2015.
Next on the list was a 66 piece set of dishes sold for $1700.00! Exciting! But, not for Jimmy and me. 🙁
If you’re in a hurry and search too quickly instead of paying attention to details, the search results can be deceiving.
Always remember, patterns equal profitability!
Some patterns are rare while others are common. They all carry the same brand of “Haviland France Limoges” but the designs can be very different. Some may have pink roses while others have blue with moss and/or Forget-Me-Nots. Most have gold trim but some have a double row of gold while others have scalloped gold edges.
Identifying a pattern like this can be tricky. It can also be time consuming but it can be time well spent.
If you don’t know the name of the pattern, then you can’t search it on Terapeak.
To find the pattern name, begin by searching Google. Many times patterns can easily be found on the website Replacements.com.
Once you have a match and can properly identify the pattern, return to Tereapek or eBay and conduct your search using the pattern name along with Haviland Limoges.
See what kind of items are being sold for and which styles sell best. You can also take a look at the current market to see what the current listings are looking like. Are other eBay sellers over pricing their items when compared to the selling prices?
Once you have these details, you can decide whether to buy the china, list the china, what price to charge, etc.
One more “try before you buy”…
eBay Research Happens Offline, Too
Another thing my husband should’ve done was to inspect EVERY dish. This eBay tip may sound like a “Duh. Of course”. But when I say, “inspect” I mean reallllllyyyyy inspect.
Before purchasing a “box lot” of dishes like this it’s a good idea to pull them ALL out of the box and run your finger tip around every edge of each dish including the bottom rim.
You’re going to have to do this anyway if you intend on creating a detailed and accurate listing on eBay – not just for china, dishware, and glassware but for every item you list. This is how you build a solid reputation as an eBay seller that people can trust!
Plus, if he had done this I am sure they would’ve come down on the price.
eBay Marketplace Research Bottom Line
Marketplace research make a huge difference on how successful a listing will be on eBay. Pay attention to the detail when doing the research on items like this. It can be a tricky procedure. More words will be needed such as color and pattern name.
Researching a product to sell on eBay might get a little tedious sometimes. But items that have lots of ‘details’ which need to be checked for proper identification can be highly profitable.
No matter how much of a hurry you may be in, inspect and research before you buy. You save time and, in the long run, make more money.
Think about it.
If a buyer is looking for something exact and it’s hard to find, they will likely pay a premium for it.
Sometimes we make a hasty decision and it’s okay. It’s all part of the learning process and every day is a day of learning when it comes to selling on eBay.
Finding the goods as a treasure hunt seller can be challenging so we do the best that we can.
We win some and lose some but the most important part is not to stress about it.
Now that you know more, you can do better!
Always remember there is more money to be made on the next sale!
We wish you big sales!