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tip jar

A few people have emailed and commented for eBay advice, and while some may read and think I am super amateurish/don't know what I'm talking about, I can give some tips I've learnt over the years that have made me improve my auctions! I hope they help because there is such good stuff out there in charity shops that is calling to be sold!

Setting...
It took me ages to find the right setting for photos. I used to just take them in the room where our computer was, from far away with a flash *cringe*. I tried other places like the living room or garden but all were a bit rough.

Now it's so much better to have a plain, simple background. It draws attention straight to the item and enables light to reflect off the wall so no flash is needed. Natural light provides a clearer, less brash photo. As you can see below, I didn't use natural light as it was too late in the day, but only used one lamp in the room. It created a softer light which helped the camera focus. A good camera totally makes a difference as you can compare the above photos to the better quality ones below.

Model...
I've always used my sister to model as she can wear anything. She's slim with big boobs (damn her genes!) and brown hair. This means she can fill out most vintage dresses that are strapless or low cut but doesn't take over the picture and dominate over the item. I think photos can look better if the model wears sunglasses because it's easier to imagine yourself in the item, rather than the super pretty model who would look good in anything.

We have signature poses that we always use. We used to do cute, girly poses with popped hands and big smiles but now it seems eBay has gone hipster- you have to look cool, not crazy. The sunglasses help with this, and also a little smile rather than a big cheesy grin. I usually try to include one picture of the face at least, as a constantly headless model can seem weird. Usually hands are placed on Chloe's 'fake' waist, higher than normal, to make the dress look more flattering, and a dress is always pulled out to show how much material there is; even if there isn't much, it will seem like there is.

Some of the American eBay sellers can accessorize their items so well but I prefer to keep it simple as mine always look like I've tried too hard. I try to limit to one accessory and some cute shoes, I try to make the item look hot, not necessarily the model.

Photographs...
The more is not always the merrier. When bombarded with a ton of photos in a million poses you have more time to think against the item, but of course quite a few photos is useful if they each have a purpose. I always close up on every detail, whether it be just a plain collar or button fastening. It makes the item seem more special and gives an accurate appearance.

Description...
I make a point to never lie, just exaggerate... If a dress has a fabric tie round the middle it becomes a 'cute bow belt' see? But if something was originally a child's dress or has a stain, it's best to add that in, just don't make a big deal about it.

I use a choice of words like 'super cute', 'hot', 'sexy', 'darling', anything that bigs up the item. You might as well include the measurements because someone will always ask for them, then never proceed to bid! I don't add a counter and if anyone asks a question I don't display it in the auction, and also don't start bids too low. If you start on 99p you rack up loads of bids that don't reach that high. If I see an auction with loads of interest I will sometimes pass by it as I don't think I would win. I accept cheques and postal orders but most people pay by PayPal anyway straight away after a last minute bid.

Extras...
When starting out it was tempting to get a blog and a MySpace and little pictures advising to check out the shop or think about combined shipping with a huge logo. If all this looks bad then you look like you've tried too hard and this would put off buyers. On UK eBay it's best to keep things simple because we're not used to high power vintage sellers. Simplicity shows you get what you're shown.

Love your buyer...
It's common to get messages asking to buy it now but unless it's for loads of money, I never accept their offer, especially if people have already bid as it's not fair on them. Some buyers don't pay for ages which is annoying, but it's best to leave it a week until you ask where the payment is or they get all shirty. I've heard the excuses 'sorry my aunt/nan/dog died, i wasn't able to pay' a million times.

Posting and Packaging...
I hate it when buyers over charge on p&p so I don't. I don't go as far as tissue paper and a little note, which I do think is a nice touch, because after going through the whole week of looking after the auctions and packing everything up, it's too much hassle! I do however always put lollipops in the packages because they sell them in the post office, I feel that's enough! I ALWAYS ask for receipts of postage in the the post office with the address on them because packages do get lost and you will be blamed. This only happened to me once over a £3 beret to Texas and she she managed to get her money back, though I posted fair and square. Oh well!

Hidden costs...

When I first started selling I was bombarded with a bill that I didn't realise I had! Ebay tells you how much it costs to list the auction just before you list it, including insertion and image fees. I only add one image, the gallery images, and ALWAYS add the 15p gallery fee or the picture will just a be a little camera in searches! I add a second mini title as I think they attract attention when scrolling through searches, and put the rest of my pictures in as HTML. Then PayPal takes money from the money you receive which is usually around £5, though if you sell festival tickets for up to £500 they take around £30! Then at the end of the month eBay tots up your selling fees as well as a fee for the things you have now sold, depending on how much you sold it for, including the tax. So when you sell something, you've made alot less than it seems once you take away what you paid originally, the p&p costs and eBay and PayPal fees.

If you guys have anything to add, please do! Before I create an auction I always check out hot sellers are get ideas from their sales. My auctions are up now here.
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