Selling original art and handmade crafts on eBay can be challenging because the designer is usually not an established or known “brand” yet.
Building brand awareness and generating sales can take time – sometimes more time than artisans are willing to wait.
But there’s hope!
I have a special place in my heart for craftsmen of all kinds. They fill our world with beauty and wonder and I want to see every one of them succeed!
eBay also supports artisans by offering a whole category for these items – OOAK (Original One-of-a-Kind).
So, I’ve written this in-depth tutorial to encourage all you artists and crafters (potato/potahto) out there to get started selling on eBay and stick with it. The world needs your special brand of beauty and your perspective.
Below you’ll find some of my best kept secrets for selling on eBay. Put these eBay tips into action so you can spend less time on the “business” side of things and more time doing what you really love, creating art and crafts!
How to sell on eBay: Getting started with a PLB (Private Label Brand)
Wait. I thought this was a tutorial about selling original art & handmade crafts on eBay. What the heck is a “Private Label Brand”?
If you’re an artist and/or crafter, YOU are the “”Private Label Brand” and your art pieces are “Private Label Products”.
As an eBay selling coach & consultant, when I advise artists who are trying to get their name out there, I generally recommend opening an eBay store up – ASAP!
Now, I do not recommend this to the beginning eBay “Treasure Hunt” seller like myself because they are taking baby-steps in learning how to sell on eBay.
However, artists and crafters need to fast track getting their products in front of potential customers and an eBay store is, often times, the way to do it.
Opening an eBay store is an inexpensive avenue for artists to get their name out there by tapping into the zillions of buyers who are searching on eBay every day.
Further, these buyers are likely looking for the “kind” or “type” of art and crafts you want to sell.
And there is “the” secret.
Again, artists and crafters want to spend time creating, not “business-ing”.
When you open an eBay store, right out of the starting gate it is “search engine friendly”. Meaning, instead of having to create a website of your own and try to get customers to it, eBay gives your brand an instant boost because it already has the right, built in traffic.
If you sell custom made baby booties, there’s a category for that. If you sell oil paintings of fairies or dragons, there’s a category for that.
So, by opening an eBay store, artists and crafters have instant potential for sales because the audience that they need to get in front of is already baked into the eBay buying community.
Setting Up Your eBay store for success
1. Look for beauty and profits in words!
Now, if you’re an artist or crafter, you likely know what “category” your creations fit into (oil paintings, sculpture, stained glass, miniature dolls, etc.).
But, before you list anything on eBay, start with some “market research”.
Go to the eBay marketplace and spend some time looking up listings in the categories you think your “Private Label Products” best fit into.
Take note of the sell-through-rate and how many sales the other craftspeople have.
You’ll likely find some surprises!
Take a look at all the words and phrases the most successful sellers are using to promote their products.
Valuable words and phrases you hadn’t thought of will be right there, waiting for you to use them and achieve the same success as the seller who is already making money on eBay.
2. Artists are very visual people. So are customers. eBay pictures matter – a LOT!
You may be the most talented glass blower or quilt maker who’s ever lived. But potential customers won’t know that unless your pictures are as outstanding as your art.
Plus, and here are 2 BIG SECRETS most folks never think of…
The public will market your products – FOR FREE! As long as you have great pictures, folks will share them all around the Internet and you don’t have to pay a dime!
A. eBay has an affiliate program. An affiliate program allows approved applicants to promote the eBay products of their choice and receive commissions from sales that are generated based on those referrals.
If you happen to make items that are within a subject matter that an affiliate program participant loves, then you must have terrific images for them to share. This ups the odds for you both to make more money on eBay!
B. Social Media People with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc. LOVE to share GORGEOUS images about the subjects that matter most to them.
Plus, just about everyone wants to be the FIRST one to show off a new or unusual image. It’s social bragging rights!
That sounds like a, “Duh. We know that!”. But if I had a nickel for every person who doesn’t make the most of of their eBay photography and pictures I’d be mega-wealthy!
Put up shareable images and let social media lovers do the marketing for you!
3. Don’t tell eBay I said this but…Google is a good market research tool, too. 😉
While you’re researching for the best ways to set up your eBay store, conduct a few simple Google searches for items comparable to your own.
If you start seeing eBay sellers show up then you need to get on the bandwagon so your items will show up in those types of searches, too!
4. Conclusion: eBay is a win-win when it comes to SEO and a ready-made audience. For as low as $20.00 (per month) you can open an eBay store. That’s peanuts compared to the massive exposure your brand gets by joining eBay!
Selling on eBay: Consider consignment
As a consignment seller, I do accept original artwork and handmade crafts every now and then. Consignment can be such a great choice for artists and craftspeople because it takes all the “un-fun” stuff out of their hair.
One of my most favorite consignment stories is actually what inspired me to write this article.
Recently, a young man of 85 contacted me about consigning some of his art on eBay. His name is Mr. Marshall and he’s an expert woodcraftsman.
Mr. Marshall lives only a few miles from my home office in Ocala, Florida. Immediately I was intrigued and inspired by this 85 year old who clearly knows that it’s never too late to follow your dreams!
Once arriving at his home, Mr. Marshall greeted me with a smile as was just as charming in person as he had been on the phone!
I also had the privilege of meeting his lovely wife who was decorating for the holidays!
After we got to know each other a bit better, Mr. Marshall guided me into his porch area. I gasped when I saw the beautiful clocks he designs and builds! I was in awe!
The above clock is the one we decided to list first on eBay. We agreed on a price and listed the clock as a “Fixed Price – Make An Offer” item. eBay item #391358723193.
The next item of Mr. Marshall’s that I’m consigning, is man’s wooden jewelry box with Navy Retired on the top of it.
The hinged lid opens to show a removable box with two compartments inside as well as the bottom area. Though this box sports a Navy insignia Mr. Marshall can customize these stunning wooden boxes with ANY type of logo on top.
My mind was going a mile a minute thinking about designs Mr. Marshall could put on top of the lid! His tools allow him to do pristine craftsmanship and there’s almost nothing he can’t make!
But, back to business…
After researching basic wooden men’s jewelry boxes on Tereapeak, I find that the average selling price is about $25.00.
However, this box design is specifically for the retired Naval Officer so I did a quick Tereapeak search using only the words “Navy Retired”.
The highest priced items were actually bracelets and I was getting items that have the words “Navy Blue” in the title so a search like that can be all over the place. Nonetheless, it is a good idea to to give it a try to see which category the highest priced items are selling in.
Once the eBay research was concluded, I listed our box in two categories, “Jewelry boxes and Military” – eBay item #391358855521. As with the clock, the jewelry box is listed as a “Fixed Price – Make An Offer” item.
The final item from this talented artist is a wooden rolled box. It reminds me of a vintage powder-puff type of box. It wouldn’t work for powder because of the grooves but it is perfect to store just about anything else – including potpourri!
Round wooden trinket boxes are not big sellers on eBay.Their average price a bit under $15.00.
Yes, this one is unique and is one-of-a-kind, plus it is a consignment item so we will have to price it a bit higher if I expect half of the sale price to make it worth my while.
This item is an exception to my consignment rule because I am so in love with Mr. Marshall’s art and I’m committed to helping out this talented “young man”. eBay item # 391359120357
Selling your art and crafts on eBay
If you are an artist and/or crafter and want to gain more exposure, I suggest opening an eBay store. I am available for consulting if you need assistance with setting it up.
Will your item sell on eBay?
I cannot promise that it will. BUT…when you are building a brand it’s not all about sales. It’s about gaining name and product recognition. What I can promise is that if you open an eBay store you get that added exposure.
Over time, this can lead to purchases. The more people hear and read about a brand, the more apt they are to make a purchase.
Marketing studies routinely show it takes consumers an average of 7 views of an item before they make a purchase. Once they become confident in the brand, they do buy.
And, if an 85 year young gentleman can start up an eBay business so can you!
As a business consultant I always remind artists and crafters that, while they bring joy and beauty to our world with their incredible talents, selling on eBay is a business and must be treated as such. Be sure to educate yourself on what write-offs you can use and be sure to file your taxes appropriately. It may seem an odd thing to bring up but through the years I’ve had more conversations about taxes with entrepreneurs then you can shake a stick at.
Since refunds are the best part of paying taxes, TurboTax has a nifty free tool that you can use to estimate your refund by using a no cost tax calculator. Go ahead and give it a try! click to view TurboTax Calculator.