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Hi everyone,
I'm starting a business with handmade products from Nicaragua. I was born there and I think that they make really beautiful clay and wood items. I was on vacation there recently with my husband and saw how desperate the situation is for people that make these wonderful products, so I made the commitment with one family to buy the products from them and see if I could sell them here. I tried the flea markets for a month but that didn't go well, I opened an ebay store and I haven't had any luck either, any suggestions where I should go from here ? I live in New Jersey and I have a full time job.

Thanks,
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Is your ebay store still open? If you have a link to it, it might help if we could see what you're selling. You can post the link here, if it's available.

Carol
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Hi,
This is the link to my ebay store

http://ebaystores.com/gandgcraftimports

If someone has any suggestions or advice please let me know,

Thanks,


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After looking at your items, I can probably help you out with your ebay sales. I have sold hundreds of items on Ebay and have a good track record with sales.

1. You have a rating of zero. Not good. Buy some stuff with your account and pay promptly. Get that glowing feedback and some numbers up there. If you are a good buyer, odds are that you are a good seller also. I would try for 20 feedback. You don't have to buy expensive things, go for a movie poster, a dress, a book, it really doesn't matter. just remember that people can see what you bought for a few months, so don't go with anything that would make you look "odd".

2. Your description and title of your items are dry. Handcrafted Apple Bowl with Lid can turn into Authentic Nicaraguan Handcrafted Wooden Apple Bowl. Then jazz up the description with desciptive words about the item, the location it is from, and the people who made it, especially the people who made it. "Handcrafted in the small Nicaraugan village by XXXX by the wife of a goat herder" sounds much better than just "made in Nicaragua" Give the item some history, some character in your description and you will see a difference. This auction is a good example of tempting you to buy <a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2375233722"> Moroccan Box </a>

3. You take Paypal which is great. That will help intice peple to buy. Lots of people will not purchase unless they can pay by Paypal.

4. You need to put an exact charge for shipping in insurance. Be sure and include your cost of boxes and bubble wrap or whatever you use. People want a set cost for shipping so there are no nasty surprises. Box it up and have it weighted at the post office for shipping prices. Or weigh it yourself, and then type in the weight at the usps website. They way I always did it was calculate shipping to California for Missouri then add a couple of dollars for my shipping materials. Since I am Missouri, it gave me a good idea of the most expensive it would be to ship in the US. Just say "shipping for this item is $12 via Priority Mail" That is all you need to put. It will also help you avoid potential problems later if the buyer thinks the shipping is too high.

5. Learn some basic HTML to jazz up your listing. It doesn't take much, a little colored text in a different font (arial or veranda is the best for web based reading), ability to place your photos where you want them instead of relying on Ebay's photo placement. Perhaps you can add a graphic that depicts Nicaraguan culture. Make your listing stand out and look like a magazine ad instead of a classified listing. It is surprisingly easy. Just figure out what you want and set up a template in Textpad and preview it on your computer. Then just change the description and the pictures for each auction. When you are listing your auction, just view the source code of your template and copy and paste all of it into the box in the form for your auction.

I hope this helps you out. You have some beautiful items, that I can easy see being shown on the HGTV decorating shows.... you know what I mean "And we found this authenitc Nicaraguan hand carved fruit tray for only $20 as opposed the item in our inspiration room which cost $3000". Man I love that "Sensible Chic" show. :) Any way I hope I haven't come off as too harsh. Good luck!

Ozzlander

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Ozzlander made great points, basically everything I would have suggested. I waffle on putting in a blanket shipping cost. Since your caculator showed me to be $4.95, I'd be reluctant to pay $10 for a light piece just coming down the coast. However, I always put exact shipping in my auctions, though most everything I've sold is very light.

However also check out this board: http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?mid=20212510&bid=116175 Skim through it for a lot of great information.

Best of luck.

Rav
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I third Ozzlander's suggestions, some of which I was about to make. Definitely post on the Ebay board. They are SOOOOO helpful with people's items. (Or they were, i read it this summer, but dropped it this fall. hope they are still helpful!)

I would definitely write up why you are selling these. Don't be really sappy, but noting that they come directly to you from this family will tug a few heart strings or grab the person who's looking for something authentic.

Do these come from a known area or town/city? Include it in the description. Sometimes people are looking for something from where they have been, grew up, or are visiting. (Or have adopted a child from!)

Do you know what wood they are made from? Have you used one in your house? How sturdy is it? How well does it hold up under heavy use? What do you use it for ("perfect for a fruit bowl" or whatever gives people ideas on how they can use it in their own home).

Good luck! They are beautiful bowls.

Selphiras
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A couple other things:
What catagory are you listing the items in? The actual catagory can make a big difference. You might want to consider putting it in a "household collectables" catagory instead.

As far as the HTML, try downloading Ebay's Turbo Lister. It's very easy, it does most of the work for you, and you do not have to learn HTML if you do not want to. Also, if you have more than one of an item and you want to list it as individual items rather than as a dutch auction, it allows you to relist an item very easily and quickly.

I agree wholeheartedly with Ozzlander that you need to get some feedback under your belt, but you may not need to buy stuff if you get this stuff listed better.
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I third Ozzlander's suggestions, some of which I was about to make. Definitely post on the Ebay board. They are SOOOOO helpful with people's items. (Or they were, i read it this summer, but dropped it this fall. hope they are still helpful!)

Nah. We've become a bunch of obnoxious old coots since then.
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This is a recent post from someone a little further down the road than you (including ebay info):

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=20195720
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Elisabeth30,

The only thing I can possibly add to the advice the rest have given you is to include a couple pictures of the insides of the bowls, so that people can see how well they're finished inside.

You have wonderful things for sale.

And, as a further thought, if you aren't happy with the prices you get on ebay, you might scout around in your general vicinity for a good quality craft gallery, and ask them if they accept goods on consignment.

If you decide to go with this, look for stores in vacation or tourist areas. And write them up as the rest of the board has suggested.

Nancy
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