collapse

* Navigation

* User Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

* Who's Online

Author Topic: Advice for a first-time seller?  (Read 375 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Lanner

  • Trade Count: (+7)
  • Secret Surprise Pony
  • **
  • Posts: 102
  • Gender: Female
Advice for a first-time seller?
« on: March 06, 2018, 07:39:00 AM »
(First: sorry if this isn't the right board to ask this in! I wasn't sure where to ask, but this seemed like the best place to start.)

Anyhoo! Hello there! I've been a casual MLP collector for about 7 years now, but I want to focus more on owning just the ponies I truly love, and not just pick up each one I see at a thrift store. (though that won't stop me from rescuing any poor lost souls I see on my travels! :P) So I'm getting ready to hopefully sell the extras soon!!

 I have a mix of about ~50 G1/G3/G4s in varying conditions, but I don't want to ask the Pony Corral to price each one of them for me since that's a lot of work and I'd feel bad. But I'm not savvy to the worth of mlps and I'm worried I might overprice them. So the questions I can think of right now are:

  • Is there a good rule-of-thumb for pricing ponies?
  • What's the best way to safely package them for mailing?
  • Is there a good way to keep shipping costs low?
  • How should I take pictures of each pony to best show their condition?
  • Any advice for a first-time seller?

I've bought many things online over the years but I've never sold anything over the internet other than digital art commissions. I want to do a good job so everything can safely find a new home, and who better to ask than the experts?  :good:

I hope I'm making sense! I've been rather anxious about asking, and still kind of am, haha. This is all new to me and I feel way in over my head. I get really anxious about doing things right, but I've been putting this off for far too long! Thanks for your time!  :happy:

Offline bluerose9978

  • Arena Supporter
  • Trade Count: (+441)
  • G3 Rosey Pony
  • *****
  • Posts: 8963
  • Gender: Female
    • http://www.angelfire.com/oh5/bluerose9978/MLP
Re: Advice for a first-time seller?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2018, 01:10:37 PM »
I know I can answer a couple of these questions!

1. I have found that the best way for finding updated pony prices is using eBay's completed listings. That's what I use in my pricing guide. But my guide only focuses on G1s: http://www.angelfire.com/oh5/bluerose9978/PRICE/
The market is constantly changing and pricing is up and down depending on the time of year and the economy. The best time for selling is late summer through the New Year.

2. For packaging, it all depends on what you're mailing. If you're planning to mail MOC/MIB ponies, you need to use a lot of bubble wrap/air bubbles and use a sturdy box so that it won't get squished in the mail. Use common sense: How would I want my ponies to arrive to me? Most of my packages go out with my ponies in zip locks and bubble mailers unless they have breakable parts. Then they are boxed with a lot of insulation (bubble wrap or those air pillows). And make sure they are tightly packed so that the box can't be indented and they aren't banging around inside.

3. You can usually find cheap mailing supplies online or at a dollar store, but you can't control USPS prices.

4. Make sure you take clear pictures from all angles in natural light and even describe any and all flaws you see.

5. Just make yourself available to your buyers if there are any problems that you are willing to work with them to rectify the situation and don't worry if you can't make everyone happy.

Offline FantasticFirefly

  • Trade Count: (+28)
  • Dabbles Pony
  • ****
  • Posts: 1373
  • Gender: Female
  • Loves Accessories!
Re: Advice for a first-time seller?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2018, 06:02:12 PM »
Me personally-

1- completed SOLD listings to give a ROUGH estimate. What finalizes that is things like how much effort I am willing to extend, and condition.

2-Agree with bluerose re: Common sense.
I use a lot of white tissue and fold top sandwhich bags. Fold tops breathe and don't mess up hair as badly.

I use ziplocks for small pieces to keep them together. When packed the ponies/pieces are suspended inside surrounded by padding.

Shipping mantra "if it shakes, it breaks".

With fragile pieces use sturdy corrugate boxes for shipping. There should be a certificate on the bottom that will show things like type (singlewall/doublewall etc) and the edge crush rating. You don't want to pack say a MOC in a box that could be easily crushed from a larger/heavier package falling on top in the bins during it's journey.

Sample package some things to give ideas of how much supply you will be using so you can account for that in item price. Do not allow anyone talk you into shipping things in poor ways to "save on shipping" like, using no padding, or putting fragile things in bubble mailers.


4- Macro setting on camera. Should be a little tulip or flower. If your hands shake, or you have many pieces having a tripod is handy. There are some good photographing tutorials online. Check your photographs to ensure the pieces look true to life, colours accurate and flaws you see show.
Using clean white pillowcases as a backdrop so colours show well, or a light-box.



5-I'll talk about descriptions here.
in #1 I mentioned effort.
High effort looks like this, and will be reflected in price, as it's time intensive.

description:
-What source did the pony come from - collector, toy flipper, second hand find
-if anything was done to it prior to my ownership I state what (I keep these records. especially anything that were previously repaired, and what products were used)
-what did I do while owning this piece -i.e gentle surface clean with dawn, conditioned and rinsed hair, combed.
- Can the head turn? if yes, and was originally a glued seal open and inspect for evidence of internal cleaning (most people miss spots in hard to access places- typically reddish/brownish was rust, black or grey was old mold, inspect for removed or replaced parts (evidence of rehairing and so on)
-with a light jostle does it rattle? (i.e loose tail washer)
-smells
-and how do things feel
-hold it to a light (briefly). Ponies that cast a weird dark shadow are filled with either mold or rust, even if you can't see evidence of tail rust on the exterior.  Compare  it to ponies you know to be clean inside.

Does it smell musty? fresh? like any kind of fragrance?

feels-
is the hair slick and silky, does it feel like typical well groomed hair? is it dry, coarse, frizzy, tacky?

Spots marks and flaws.
Use plain English and avoid collector speak.
If a pony has brown spotting, state that also clearly state which flaws will NOT wipe or wash off. (newer collectors often do not know, and buy flawed ponies with hopes the flaws will wash/wipe away)



I overemphasize what I see a little. The end goal is someone opening their package with delight seeing something a little better then they expected. This provides buyer confidence, and a bigger buying pool through word of mouth. I tell collecting friends about my favorite sellers who are detailed, and provide exemplary service. Those are the sellers I feel confident paying higher prices too.


Low effort:
i.e lots or batches, If I am selling ponies at low price points just to unload them I list critical flaws "some of these have ink staining" or "various flaws, spotting/marks, rubs, dry or frizzy hair. varies in severty. "could have prior repairs present, purchased from multiple sources"

Again, here smells a big one- people who get chemical migranes or have athma need to know if fragrance, smells from cleaners or smoke type smells, or foul odours are present on anything.

Photos, in neat rows I still try and show both sides of the pony.
I make it clear these listings are not for picky collectors, and they are not the listings I will do high effort inspections too (as mentioned, all that time investment would then be reflected in pricing)



« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 06:04:36 PM by FantasticFirefly »

Offline Lanner

  • Trade Count: (+7)
  • Secret Surprise Pony
  • **
  • Posts: 102
  • Gender: Female
Re: Advice for a first-time seller?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2018, 06:30:43 AM »
Thank you both so much for such thorough and helpful advice!! I feel a lot more ready to take on the task ahead of me now. I don't know how I can repay you other than by saying thank you, so thank you very much for your help! :good:

Offline Ringlets

  • Mrs. Chief
  • Moderator
  • Trade Count: (+182)
  • Thailand Tornado Mountain Boy
  • *
  • Posts: 22359
  • Gender: Female
  • Be yourself, dare to dream!
Re: Advice for a first-time seller?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2018, 01:24:17 PM »
Some very good advice there - thanks ladies!! :bigups:    :grouphug:

One thing that is very important to me personally when listing (or buying ponies)  - it has has been mentioned already but it's worth mentioning again as it's missing on a lot of ebay listings - when you are selling a loose pony especially ( the older the more carefully you need to check), it is best to describe  everything. I mean literally everything. Even if it makes the pony sound like it has a lot of flaws, it's always better for the buyer to get something better than they expect than the other way around ;) :awake:   And describe it as you would to someone who knows absolutely nothing about ponies or collecting-  in the simplest way possible. The more you describe the pony the better. It's always better for a potential buyer to have to take time to read a lot of description than to gamble on condition and then be disappointed.  This will also protect you as regards feedback etc should any potential problems arise :relaxed:
Buyers are also willing to pay more from someone who is completely open about all condition and writes a good description as well as taking clear pics of any (even the tiniest ) of flaws.
Good communication with your buyer throughout the transaction is also really important- cant stress that enough :)
Pack your pony in enough wrapping/sturdy box/padded envelope etc  that it cant get damaged in the mail. I usually waterproof (and postie -proof) my parcels by sealing them all over with tape so that boxes or other packaging cant get ripped open or wet. It's a bit of a pain for the buyer to open sometimes but it's waaaay better than the alternative . Make sure any packaging in contact with the pony is not coloured so that it cant transfer and damage it  (if you do special gift wrapping as I do, always use bubble wrap and/or ziplock bags before adding pretty colored gift wrap or coloured gift wrapping tissue )

Sounds like a lot of hassle to begin with, but it's easy once you get into selling more :hug:
visitors can't see pics , please register or login

:heart: Wanted:heart:
:glitter: :heart: :glitter: CHIEF LOVES RINGLETS FOREVER :glitter: :heart: :glitter:

Offline LadyMoondancer

  • *Arena VIP*
  • Trade Count: (+89)
  • G3 Rosey Pony
  • *****
  • Posts: 9378
    • http://www.superpony.com
Re: Advice for a first-time seller?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2018, 03:27:59 PM »
Thoroughness can be a double edged sword, as a lot of buyers will not read a description if it's "too long".  Which means you may still end up with an angry buyer.  The safest option is to keep descriptions as short as possible while still describing all flaws.

For example:

Hair:  Tail has been cut.  Silky, no frizz.
Eyes:  Rub on left eye.
Body:  Small permanent marks.  Children's initials on hooves.
Other:  No weird smells.  Rattles when shaken.

^  When paired with clear pictures (at minimum, pictures from both sides of the pony and preferably one of their hooves and one front the front), that is all you need.

If you sell on eBay, use the Fixed Price auctions.  Do not use the auction style format unless you are okay with your items selling for under value. 
Visit my Tumblr, Heck Yeah, Pony Scans!

Offline Taffeta

  • Trade Count: (+52)
  • Spain Piggy Pony
  • *****
  • Posts: 6867
  • Gender: Female
  • UK Pony, Jem and Mediaeval Japanese obsessive :D
    • The My Little Pony Scrapbook
Re: Advice for a first-time seller?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2018, 03:38:18 PM »
Bullet points are a good idea. If your pony has a notable flaw, take a close up photo of it as well.

Be open about your shipping policy. If you want to send via a particular service, say so. If you want to ship only within the US or are happy to ship internationally, say so. People appreciate those details especially given that this is a global community!

Pack safely, as everyone else has said.  Even loose ponies. Especially delicate ponies or ponies with delicate symbols etc. For example, Magic Message pony symbols rub easily, and Sweetheart Sister pony earrings can break. And even the most basic of pony can get squashed >< Imagine the mail guy dumping it in a tub and then dumping a lot of stuff on top of it (I have seen this happen!). Can your package stand up to being thrown around and being bottom of the pile?

And finally, as FantasticFirefly said - no jargon. I hate when people list flaws in pony jargon. Describe what you see and what you think the flaw is caused by (hair cut, frizz, mark possibly ink, maybe discolouration, etc). I've been in the community 20 years and I still have no idea what some of the restorer jargon terms mean, because I don't use them. Plainspeak is good. Jargon is bad.

Good luck with your sales :D

visitors can't see pics , please register or login
|夏草やつわものどもが夢の跡|

Offline FantasticFirefly

  • Trade Count: (+28)
  • Dabbles Pony
  • ****
  • Posts: 1373
  • Gender: Female
  • Loves Accessories!
Re: Advice for a first-time seller?
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2018, 04:30:22 PM »
Thoroughness can be a double edged sword, as a lot of buyers will not read a description if it's "too long".  Which means you may still end up with an angry buyer.  The safest option is to keep descriptions as short as possible while still describing all flaws.

For example:

Hair:  Tail has been cut.  Silky, no frizz.
Eyes:  Rub on left eye.
Body:  Small permanent marks.  Children's initials on hooves.
Other:  No weird smells.  Rattles when shaken.

^  When paired with clear pictures (at minimum, pictures from both sides of the pony and preferably one of their hooves and one front the front), that is all you need.

If you sell on eBay, use the Fixed Price auctions.  Do not use the auction style format unless you are okay with your items selling for under value. 

I have to agree with using bullet points, and breaking up by category (body, paint, hair, neck seals). It does make it much easier to weed through a description.

Like, I don't care about the odd tiny brown spot surrounded by a fainter ring (staining caused by now dead fungus, indicator of past high humidity). Or hair being coarse or rough on some ponies, or starting with a tangled mess. For others, those flaws are a no go period.

I will never collect ponies treated with acne cream, re-hairs, hair cuts, or with painted feautures replaced. I also like having original paint intact, and free of scuffs, smears or areas missing.

I also skip buying ones who were cleaned of rust or mold, or who are rusty or moldy. Ponies with the neck seal broken. Unlike me, for others, they happily restore ponies and buy restored ponies, or ones with the flaws I mentioned present.

Bullet points of various areas make it much easier to pick out anything relevant quickly, in order to place a bid or buy.






And finally, as FantasticFirefly said - no jargon. I hate when people list flaws in pony jargon. Describe what you see and what you think the flaw is caused by (hair cut, frizz, mark possibly ink, maybe discolouration, etc). I've been in the community 20 years and I still have no idea what some of the restorer jargon terms mean, because I don't use them. Plainspeak is good. Jargon is bad.



Exactly, plain speak protects the seller, and is good for all buyers.

Also, you are not alone. Use I have seen of some jargon is so inconsistent- from new and old collectors alike. Some make ME wonder what the current consensus is for which flaw a pet name covers.
"Smooze" I have seen it describe anything from a pony rusty or moldy inside/outside or ink staining, all the way to ponies having a bubbled surface that collected oils/dirt/dust/debris. That collector speak term is not even the worst offender for confusion and constant "what does this term mean?" question posts.




« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 04:31:59 PM by FantasticFirefly »

Offline Lanner

  • Trade Count: (+7)
  • Secret Surprise Pony
  • **
  • Posts: 102
  • Gender: Female
Re: Advice for a first-time seller?
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2018, 07:05:32 PM »
Even more great advice! I'm learning a lot, thank you all so much!! :accomplished: Be thorough, but keep it short. I could always just add "Message me for more pictures/descriptions" or something like that so I can have the option to be thorough but not clog up my post. The bullet points are a good idea!

I don't think I'd have any issues shipping overseas, so long as the buyer is willing to pay the shipping costs. Is there anything I should be aware of when it comes to international shipping? All I can think of that would be a problem is the shipping prices. I have a friend in the UK that I sent a gift to once and while I love them dearly, I'll never forget seeing that postage cost...  :drunk:

It sounds like using a box is better than using a padded envelope, to keep the ponies from any undue damage. Is that the best way to go, do you think? Then again, a padded envelope sounds like it'd be fine for a single pony so long as she's sturdy/secured enough. And the built-in bubble wrap would help protect against any water damage I think.

Also, can I ask what to do about the pony hair when you package it? I recall once buying a pony and she came with paper towels wrapped around her hair to secure it to her body. Some of my ponies have straight hair and others I gave them curls, so does that change how they should be wrapped up?

Sorry for all the questions, lol, and thanks again!

Offline Taffeta

  • Trade Count: (+52)
  • Spain Piggy Pony
  • *****
  • Posts: 6867
  • Gender: Female
  • UK Pony, Jem and Mediaeval Japanese obsessive :D
    • The My Little Pony Scrapbook
Re: Advice for a first-time seller?
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2018, 07:11:31 PM »
Very important you don't use coloured tissue or newspaper in wrapping, as colour can transfer.

I don't personally wrap manes unless there is some special feature to preserve (for example, I recently sold a pearlised pony and I wrapped her hair accessory thing and mane separate so they couldn't rub her body).

It's normal for buyers to pay shipping. We're well used to being extorted by international postal offices (and our own!) in the pursuit of ponies, so most international buyers will expect the price to be higher. You will need to fill in a custom form for international stuff. Don't tick the gift box if someone buys items from you. It's considered mail fraud. Sometimes people ask for sellers to do this, but it's risky and illegal. Many countries have import duty on items over a certain amount. You are never responsible for that fee, the buyer is when they receive the parcel. But you must make sure you are 100% honest on the custom form about the value of the item. For example if you sell it for $10 and you think it's worth $30, you have to put $10 on the form, because it's the actual cost of the transaction that can be proven rather than what you think the value should be. There's a big difference between $10 and $30 when it comes to import duty in countries like here in the UK (basically if you priced it up to $30, you'd be costing your buyer an additional $25 or so even though they actually paid less than the custom threshold.

Not trying to scare you but it's worth having that info on board ;)
visitors can't see pics , please register or login
|夏草やつわものどもが夢の跡|

Offline LadyMoondancer

  • *Arena VIP*
  • Trade Count: (+89)
  • G3 Rosey Pony
  • *****
  • Posts: 9378
    • http://www.superpony.com
Re: Advice for a first-time seller?
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2018, 08:54:23 PM »
Ponies to always be shipped in boxes would be:

- MOCs / MIBs
- ponies with fragile wings (like Summer Wing / Windy Wings);  in the case of flutter ponies who have their wings, remove the wings (they pull right out), wrap them up, and put them in a small box.  Sending them while attached to the pony means they might break--even if the flutter pony is sent in a box.  They are just sooo ridiculously fragile!
- any ponies who have other fragile "sticking out" parts, like Sweetheart Sisters (due to their earrings) or maybe Precious Pocket ponies.  (I've never actually sent a Precious Pocket pony, but I assume they're semi-fragile?)
- DREAM BEAUTIES.  Dream Beauties are made of a hard plastic that will break easily under pressure, unlike vinyl MLPs.

That being said, most MLPs are extremely sturdy.   A "normal" pony (i.e. made of soft vinyl, doesn't have specials wings or stick-out parts) can absolutely be sent in a padded envelope.   

I typically send ponies inside a plastic zip-top sandwich bag, inside a padded envelope.  The sandwich bag is to keep their hair neat and to prevent ponies from rubbing up against each other, if there is more than one in the envelope.  (Also provides watertight protection in case the postal carrier drops the package into a puddle or something.)  I've never had a buyer complain about this method or tell me that their ponies were harmed.


Edit:  About pony hair . . . For the tail, I tuck it between the pony's hind legs so that it's under her belly.  I don't do anything with the mane, aside from making sure it's lying flat in the plastic bag.  In my experience the sandwich bag will keep it neat and in place.   I don't wrap it in tissue or anything like that.

If a pony has really elaborate curls or great original curl, I put her in a sandwich bag and then wrap the sandwich bag tightly in a layer of bubble wrap, taping it into place.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 09:02:42 PM by LadyMoondancer »
Visit my Tumblr, Heck Yeah, Pony Scans!