Excellent advice - thanks! I will change my return times and will look in to the impact of changing my shipping options.
Great thread. When you posted your picture of the item you received from China, I immediately tried to red the customs label!! As I continued reading, I see you finally posted links to the item. My mother would probably love this so I will send her a link to your item.
A few suggestions:
1. Don't bother building a light-box. Buy one on eBay. For lights, go to your nearest home-improvement center and buy some floodlights that you put your own bulbs in ($5 each). I use compact fluorescent bulbs. If you use regular bulbs, things can get hot. Use the time you save for research.
2. Increase your return time to the max. eBay likes that and will put your listing higher in searches.
3. How are you shipping? First class? Priority? If using Priority, change the listing. That is considered expedited by eBay and will give you another bump.
My suggestion of taking the picture, don't do it.
Go on Fiverr and have a person draw a rendition. They can make all different sizes, angles etc for $5. You will end up spending precious time and money trying to get the pic to look perfect and it most likely never will.
At least this is what I found for myself. Your results may be different.
Man I love your progress, you are a great motivation keep it up!
Wow - I must have hit the right cord with my latest request from suppliers! I got nine responses from nine inquiries, all within 8 hours. Here's what I did:
Build a list of possible suppliers:
- Go on Alibaba and do a search for a specific item. Set your search terms to include only Gold Suppliers and Onsite Checked.
- Make a list of the suppliers that offer exactly what you're looking for. Some results won't be what you want, so only include companies selling what you want.
Make your RFQ email. Mine went something like this:
I want them to be enthused about being a supplier for a brand instead of just another buyer. Instead of asking them to send me something, I imply they're in the running to be my supplier. In the immortal words of Cheap Trick, "I want You, to want, ME!". I've included industry jargon to indicate I didn't just fall off the chow mein truck, like FOB, TEST order, and UPS account.Dear Sirs
My name is Andy, and I represent Weather Oasis. I am building a brand of personal comfort products for sale on eBay, Amazon, and an ecommerce store. My products are for people to cool down in extreme heat. I am also introducing products to stay warm when it is winter.
I am currently testing polymer crystal phase change cold scarf. Your company has been identified as a possible supplier.
I would like to place a TEST order of:
40 Dark Blue Cold Scarf
40 Light Blue Cold Scarf
40 Dark Green Cold Scarf
40 Light Green Cold Scarf
40 Tan Cold Scarf
40 Black Cold Scarf
I am also looking for other colors or patterns. Please tell me if you have other options available as well.
Please respond with a FOB quotation. I will supply my UPS account information for shipping, so please DO NOT include the price for shipment.
I went back to my search results and clicked on the product offered by each company on my list. This brings up a separate product description page. At the bottom of these pages are a form to send an email. I pasted my RFQ into the email, changed the name to match the name of the company representative, and hit submit.
EVERY SINGLE COMPANY RESPONDED WITH A QUOTE. I woke up this morning to a bunch of emails from these people stepping over themselves giving me prices, monthly capacity, options for different colors and patterns, photos, and delivery schedules.
My task now is to respond to each of these emails to show I'm serious. Keep communication active and narrow down my list until I've got a few outstanding candidates. I will buy from these companies to see if I want to do continuing business with them. I hope to have three suppliers I can trust so I have room to negotiate better terms in the future and have other options when I want to expand or improve my product line.
I set up a rudimentary light tent in the garage last night. I've got a big white posterboard on the workbench, and it curves up and goes up the wall about 10 inches. I hung white pillow cases to the left and right of the posterboard and put up three lights with Daylight bulbs in them. I took a bunch of pictures in RAW format.
There's definitely and art to this. Apparently I'm not an accomplished artist.
Unless there's some obvious thing I'm missing (like how to set white balance), then I think I'm going to farm this out.
I'm not very experienced with photo shoots myself but I have seen my brother do a couple. He tends to use indirect light (aiming a lamp on a white surface reflecting the light towards your target). And I think that gives quite nice results.
Miked_d many companies use renditions. They are so well drawn they look like a photo of the actual product.
You probably have seen numerous renditions and never even knew it was a drawing, thinking it was a photo.
Nothing nefarious about it whatsoever.
Amail...I see on of your competitors has a video on their eBay page, may want to think about that.
And taking product photos is all about lighting.
My girlfriend is a photographer so I guess its something ive never had to deal with though.
Even my wife, who is a professional nature photographer wont bother taking pics of my products it is a PIA lol
BTW as far as getting replies back quickly from suppliers think of it this way.
It is the same as if a potential customer sent you and email asking to buy 20 scarves from you. Of course you would reply right away. Remember they are selling product so they will reply right away to anyone.
As for the photography, I'm really on the back foot since I'm not a photographer, my equipment is - er - unrefined, shall we say, and I don't know the first thing about post processing.
This is a job for the pros. Shouldn't be too expensive.
What a great thread and thank you Amail for sharing this journey with all of us. Vigilante & Biophase, your advice is fantastic, generous and inspiring! Go on Amail!!!!
Placed an order for additional scarves, but thru the manufacturer this time (I think). They are perfectly comfortable filling an odball qty order. Still a smallish order because I anticipate demand will drop for hot weather products, but I still want to see what other options I have.
I'm discussing improvements with them and another supplier. There are actually several people on eBay that sell these, so I'm happy to see there's some market awareness. I've been using them myself for the past week or two, and I've got some ideas to make these better.
With winter approaching (no, really!), it's time to get busy introducing cold weather products to my brand. I've got a great supplier lined up for this. This will be a tougher market to dominate because there are already a couple of entrenched players. I've been reading Amazon reviews to find the chinks in their armor, and I believe I have. I'm doing another two-pronged approach where I buy some of their existing stock (small order), and discussing improvements in what I'd like them to supply me.
If I can make these products better, I'm sure I can sell them for more - the market is crying for some very specific improvements, and it seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
Brand, baby, brand!
I see you posted more auctions. You need to change the title on one ASAP! You are only allowed to have one BIN per product. eBay checks this with its bots, so it is only a matter of time until you get caught.
Don't start getting a bad rep with eBay. They won't close your account for this but a few more honest mistakes and it is possible. Once your account gets closed, you can't open another in your name.
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