Here are the questions the designers discussed in our group this week. If you have a question for a team of experienced designers, please send it to us using the link on the right.
Do you offer "freebies", or "gifts" with your sets? If so, do you give the same thing to all buyers, or do you give your favorite buyers something better? Does the amount you would spend on a freebie or gift, depend on the ending price of your auction? If you don't give out freebies, why not?
Most of the designers do offer some sort of freebie, weather is is free shipping to mailing list customer, a discount off a future purchase, or some stickers/toys for your child that come with the set. I don't think it was ever really stated "yes, I give better things to certain buyers, or no, I don't." I think that would depend on who the buyer is, how much they have purchased from that designer, if a friendship was formed, etc. And, it was mentioned that sometimes certain designers send out freebies, and sometimes they don't...so if you get a freebie one time from a designer it is possible you won't get a freebie the next time.
Here is what was said in the group:
I would like to say it should be at the designers disgression and can be based on how often that person buys or how much they spend or whatever other reason. BUT it always seems like other buyers feelings will get hurt. Because you know just like anything else on eBay, buyers will tell their friends about their freebies and that will leave the other buyer scratching their head wondering why they didn't get something.
I give these goodies 'as time allows' or 'finances allow'. So it's not a rule for each purchase.
Here are the questions that were discussed in our group this week. If you have a question for a team of experienced buyers, please send it to us using the link on the right.
Do you work with a lot of designers off eBay and Etsy? As in custom sets discussed through email, but not won in auctions or BIN's. How many times would you have to buy from a designer to form this kind of relationship? Do friends have to recommend them?
We all work with designers off eBay and Etsy, and some of us do most of our buying that way. We do have to work with the designer a few times on the websites, though, because we have to form a trustworthy relationship with them. We really are careful when it comes to buying this way, though, because we have had some bad experiences and some issues with sets not shipped on time when the designer doesn't have to worry about the feedback they will be receiving. We do make some friendships with designers we work with, and we will go to these ladies for most of our off-eBay transactions.
Here is what was said in the group:
Some of the worst experiences I have had have been with people I bought from without them having the fear of feedback. There are certain sellers who do a great job when you buy from them on ebay, but the second you buy from them privately they take months after they have been paid and have the measurements and/ or sell sets with less details and less quality.
The ones I do this with MOST, are those, of course, with whom I have developed a "friendship", a relationship which is MORE than designer/buyer, if that makes sense.
Every month we are doing something new on the blog, called the Guest Writer. In our eBay group we invite one person in for the month, so we can get to know them better, and they can see the "behind the scenes" of how the blog is run. That person then writes one article on the blog for the month that they are in the group. This months Guest Writer was Susan of Little*Moonkey. I have enjoyed getting to know Susan more, and think she is such a sweet person. Here is her article:
I've been doing some reflecting on my first discovery of children's boutique on Ebay & my time selling children's boutique on Ebay. It all started when I had my daughter. I was doing a search for a strawberry dress for her to wear for a summer portrait. I did my usual search & up came hundreds of dresses in strawberry themes. Out of those hundreds of dresses I found the cutest 'custom made' dress I just HAD to have. I won that dress & when it came in the mail I couldn't believe my eyes at how perfectly made it was. From that point on I was hooked. Several custom boutique sets later from various talented Ebay boutique designers I decided I could... in fact I needed to learn to do this myself. I had a sewing machine I received as a baby shower gift that was still sitting in the box. I went to my local fabric shop & picked out a simple pattern & got to work... I swear, I didn't leave that sewing machine until my project was completed hours later. The very best part was trying on my 'masterpiece' on my daughter! She was 2 years old at this time.... 4 years later & hundreds of sets later, my favorite part of the whole designing/creating process is trying what I've spent hours creating on my sometime willing & sometimes not so willing daughter. I started selling my own creations on Ebay after practicing for several months. It became my passion. At this point I was still working p/t as a nurse. A year & a half later I quit my job & did Ebay full time. I love doing this for so many reasons! I truly do enjoy the whole process. The choosing of the fabrics, the sketching of the design & then creating what I've been thinking up. Then the whole modeling & photo part of it... such fun! I've also really come to enjoy the graphics & listing or the final stage. It's so satisfying seeing the whole thing come together in the end. I've met so many wonderful people in the boutique community. Boutique sellers & my group mates... friends I will have for life. It's pretty amazing how close I am to these ladies I've never met in real life, people I know who would do anything for me or my children. My buyers... always encouraging... that keeps me going! Receiving kind emails from them, telling me how much their little ones enjoyed wearing the outfits they received. Getting to know many of these sweet Mom's on a personal level has been such a blessing to me. Many share so much in common. When I receive photos of their precious children in a set I made if makes all my hard work so worth it. Thank you so much for making what I do so rewarding. I never thought in a million years this is what I would end up doing. I truly feel this is what I was meant to do. I am looking forward to taking Little*Moonkey to the next level very soon.
Here are the questions that were discussed in the group this week. If you have a question for a team of experienced buyers, feel free to use the link on the right!
What do you expect the turn around time should be for a custom?
All our buyers said 4 weeks is the Max they like to wait. We think that the sellers who get sets out in the 2-3 week time frame are the ones we will repeatably shop with, and we appreciate their timeliness. We also think that 6 weeks is too long to wait for a custom, unless their has been a family emergency, or other situation. We really are understanding people, and would like an email explaining what has happened if a custom is going to be late. But, if you email telling us our set will be late, and are listing other custom sets on eBay during this time-frame, we are not going to be happy! If you are late by more then 2 weeks, for example, your auction states 4 weeks and you don't ship until 6 weeks, we would like some sort of refund to be offered, a gift certificate, something that will tell us you appreciate our business and would like for us to try you again. This would be in the case that you got too busy, not in the case of a family emergency.
Do pants make the outfit and need to be offered with a dress set for you to bid on a set?
We said no, they don't have to be offered. A few of us live in a hotter climate, where pants, even in Winter, aren't always necessary. Plus, a few of our Princesses are at that stage where they only want to wear dresses. In the Fall/Winter months, it is nice to offer pants with a set, but many dresses we can find leggings to match, or jeans can be worn under them, so you don't have to offer them.
Is it too late to list a Halloween theme set?
No, we don't believe it is. A few of our buyers haven't bought their Halloween sets, so there are still buyers out there!
Where were you born and raised?I grew up in a little country called New Zealand, prior to coming to the US, I lived in Sydney, Australia.
Where do you live now?I live in Buckeye, Arizona
How many children do you have? Names and ages?Between my DH and myself we have 4. We have Devin (boy) who is 3 1/2, Malia (girl) who is 2 1/2 (who is my model). I am also a step mom to Sherelle (girl) who is 19, and Jamar (boy) who is 10
What are your hobbies (besides designing and sewing)?I enjoy painting abstract art - although with two toddlers, and sewing orders - one day I'll get to actually do it again ! When I am not sewing, I enjoy going to the park or just enjoying the outdoors with my family
Do You Have An Etsy Store?I do have an Etsy store - but I don't actively list new designs there as much as I should. Lately however, my group (BijouCo) has been trying to get more listed. I love going on the site - there are some great artists over there. My store's name is missyluluboutique.
How did you come up with your ID, is there a story behind it?We would often called my 2 1/2 year old, Malia - 'missy' and would sing that song 'loo loo skip to my loo' When I was creating my Ebay ID, I wanted something that reminded me of her (after all she was the reason I 'discovered' the boutique world) and came up with missy*lulu - (I didn't want the word 'loo' because that's the bathroom in New Zealand ;) ) Then on Etsy, I wanted to use something similar - so my ID became missyluluboutique.
Are you a member of a design group? How long have you been a member of that group?I am a member of Bijou&Co. We all sell on both Ebay and Etsy. Search term BijouCo. It is such great group of supportive, creative and just overall wonderful ladies ! I have been a member for about 1 1/2 years
How long have you been selling your designs on eBay?I have been selling my designs on Ebay for about 2 1/2 years
What got you started?Ebay is where I discovered the whole 'custom boutique' world. I was pregnant at the time, just browsing anything 'girl' related. I remembered being amazed that people appreciated handcrafted clothing and thought it would be a perfect way to harness my creativity while staying at home with my toddlers.
Have you noticed a change in your designs from when you first started?Most definately ! When I first started, my designs were pretty basic - kind of embarassing really ;) As I learned different design aspects, I started to incorporate them into my work. Now my designs include applique and a bit of whimsy.
What is your inspiration for your designs?I am inspired by so much. There is no one thing that inspires me. I can draw inspiration from the weirdest things too - like I'll see a tree and like the way it is formed - then think that'd make a great pattern on a dress. Or I'll see fabric and design a set around it.
Is there any other designers you admire? Wow - there are so many Ebay designers. I am always amazed at what some create. Designers that come to mind like Bowznstuff (fabulous work) Janea04 (awesome Euro designer), Cocoloka*Boutique (each of her sets are like works of art). I could list many more because there are such great talent out there.
What is your favorite design you have created?I think it was a set that used bright Euro floral fabrics - I called it 'Joy' because it reminded me of Malia and she brings me joy. It included a tiered dress that alternated with fushia and turquoise floral fabrics. It had ruching on the bodice and a peasant top and capri jeans
Who is your favorite fabric designer?I'd have to say either Hilco or Stenzo - I adore them both. They have the most fun patterns and colors.
What is your favorite custom auction on eBay right now?This set from francoise*studio - from her Fall in Stockholm collection. I love the rich fall colors and old world-looking appliques
If you could max out your credit card at one store, what store would that be?Any art gallery in New Zealand ;) I maybe biased but New Zealand has some great local artists. I would love to buy loads of paintings for my house !
I see most of your designs are either Euro patterns, fabric, or have a Euro theme. Has this always been your passion, or is it a new direction you are going? I adore European patterns and my designs just evolved into more of a 'Euro' look. A 'Euro' look lends itself to use bright bold colors and a touch of whimsy - that's basically my design asthetic
Do you have a favorite pattern you tend to use?What about a favorite brand of patterns? Hands down my favorite brand of pattern is Farbenmix - those ladies are so talented ! My favorite pattern would be the 'Cara' dress - it's so versatile !
What can we expect from you in the future?Lots of applique - it's very addictive :) Unexpected mixings of fabrics, colors
Helen is offering Free Shipping for the month of September, if you mention you read her interview on the Boutique Buyers Blog!