Taking the plunge?

This is not the usual light fare you are accustomed to here on my blog, so brace yourselves. In light of recent events, including the changes that eBay is making to their fee structure and feedback system and a recent video on youtube promoting an eBay boycott during the week of Feb. 18-25, I have forced myself to sit back and reevaluate my business goals.

I have been selling on eBay for over 7 years, but only in the past 2 years have I solely concentrated on selling my children's boutique clothing there. I have had the best, absolute best time doing so and have forged friendships that I intend to keep for a long, long time... not to mention the most wonderful customers anyone could ever ask for.

However, in light of the above-mentioned events, I have been wondering if there is a better way to achieve my goals. If I left eBay and decided to sell my MODKID brand items elsewhere (on my website, on etsy, on another auction site), would my customers follow me or would I be making a huge mistake? I know some of you out there have done it already and I would love to hear your success stories or even of any challenges you have encountered along the way.

Also, I know I briefly mentioned this before, but I will be attending Quilt Market in Portland on May 15th to present a line of fabric designs I have been working on tirelessly for the past few months. At this time last week I was feeling an immense amount of trepidation, but right now I am feeling the opposite... I am filled with excitement and anticipation because I know this is the direction I want to take my business. And I feel extremely lucky to have the support of old and new friends I've met along the way. Some of you may be wondering what's going to become of MODKID if I get a fabric contract at Market. Well, I am hoping to be able to grow my business and offer MODKID designs made exclusively with my own fabrics. I haven't worked out all the details yet, but I know that I want nothing more than to make a living out of creating beautiful clothes for little girls and 'fabric design' was just a natural progression for me... something I feel I can be really great at because of my graphics background.

So, I end this post now with a little "call-to-action" (hee hee... using my old marketing terminology here). I would love to hear honest opinions from buyers and sellers alike regarding the eBay issue and the points I have made above.

Buyers: If your favorite boutique designer(s) left eBay and went to sell their designs elsewhere, would you stay loyal to the designer or would you stay on eBay and find new favorites?

And, sellers: Do you plan on selling on eBay for as long as possible or do you have plans to move your business elsewhere? What are your thoughts regarding the recent changes to fee structure & feedback? Will you be participating in the eBay boycott to take place on Feb. 18 - 25th?

Just because I know these are sensitive issues, I will allow anonymous comments, but please let's keep this discussion civil and friendly. I would love to hear what all you readers out there have to say about this... please help me make a decision regarding the future landing place of MODKID. :)


  1. Anonymous11:54 PM

    Yes, if my favorite buyers left eBay to sell elsewhere, I would follow them in a NY minute. It's not the seller's venue that I'm loyal to, it's the seller themselves.

    I no longer sell on eBay for several reasons: the fees are too high, the profit margin too low, the market too unpredictable.

    Etsy is my personal preference, as the majority of buyers are seeking handcrafted items. They are savvy about the design process. They understand not only the time, materials, effort, and love that goes into each design, but the skills behind them. I also feel Etsy is much more on top of the handmade movement, which is a significant factor in how people are shopping.

    As a seller, I enjoy the sense of community on Etsy, as well as the low insertion fees, the easy listing, and easy feedback.

    As a buyer, I love the no waiting: I see it, I want it, I buy it. I can find what I'm looking for quickly and easily and the variety if designs are wonderful!

    I will follow MODKID wherever you decide to take it.

  2. Anonymous,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and for your well thought-out comment. I totally agree with you about Etsy, although I have never sold there myself. Hmmm... maybe I should try it. I have purchased a couple of things there in the past and my shopping experience was just as you described... easy, quick and painless.

    I wish you continued success in your future endeavors. And thank you so much for your loyalty to MODKID... it means so much to me. :)

  3. Anonymous12:37 AM

    I will keep a presence on ebay as long as there is a market of new customers there; however, I would like to find other venues to sell my clothes. I don't like feeling dependent on ebay, as their policies/fees/customer base could change drastically over time. The policy change where sellers can no longer leave negative feedback makes me the most nervous. I've been on ebay for several years and believe in the good of most people, and 99% of my transactions have been pleasant. Unfortunately in the last few months I had my first two run-ins with unethical buyers, and that was NOT FUN. I can only imagine how the few bad apples out there will be able to manipulate sellers with the new feedback policy. That's enough to make me want to run for the door!

  4. AMEN, anonymous!

    Oh, and I wanted to mention that if anyone out there has a comment from the opposing side, please by all means speak up! I promise I won't bite your head off! It's all friendly and luvy-duvy around here. I just want to gather as much info as I can so I can make an educated decision. :)

  5. I'm also a former eBayer. I left because so many on there were copying my work and stealing pictures, etc. It just became so much work for me. After eBay AND paypal fees, I felt like I was working for them. I've advertised on Craigslist and done okay with lower end items. But, it was 100% profit! Not even shipping! I think the quality of your work will make you marketable where EVER you go! Go for it! Go work for yourself. Your photography and designs are beautiful!!!

    eBay has a HUGE customer base, but a LOT of customers are starting to look elsewhere, too.

    Good luck whatever you decide.

  6. I used to sell on ebay years ago and had a huge store. Last year I believe it was, maybe the one before - Ebay increased their fees at that time rather significantly and I closed my store and auctions. I sell quilting patterns, notions and fabric. So, my items generally ran in the range of being listed at below $10.00. I was not happy with the increases then and felt I was giving to much to ebay and paypal.

    Recently - about 2 months ago, I re-opened my store. The reason being was for more exposure, plus I made a huge investment in more fabric lines. At this point in my life with children getting to an age where they are more self sufficient etc., I have decided to expand in all areas. Anyhow, I honestly (and this sounds terrible) did not pay any attention to the fee structures. One because I knew if I did I would be shocked, but I was thinking of this as advertising and marketing. Every order that goes out of here is full of my catalog fliers and advertisements that will hopefully push the buyers to my webpage. Well let me say this - my ebay sales have been great, no complaints there, but I'm back to the point of cringing everytime I list something and see how much it costs and then when I go to pay my monthly ebay invoice - I about croak again!

    Now this morning when I read your post about Ebay fee changes, I decided to go have a look see and hopefully have an open mind about it. I am shocked - those fee increases are significant! They lowered the insertion fee a few measly cents but boy that final value fee has jumped. Now tell me how those of us that sell items that have average values or selling prices that are less than $10.00 can survive this! Go figure for a yard of fabric selling at $8.50 a yard, I have to pay $.15 to insert the auction 8.75% of the final value ($.75) then if paypal is used a chunk goes there, plus a few other shipping variables that will decrease the bottom line. Talking about my store - 12% final value fee - Egads - that $1.02 per yard of fabric that ebay gets!

    I don't know, but you have me thinking again. I did it once and I'm not afraid to close my store because I'm in business to make money and better my future - not Ebay's future.

    I've been checking out Etsy for a while now too and it looks fun and interesting and I just may test things out there.

    Ebay is good to sell on, but I honestly believe there are other ways to sell our items and promote ourselves. It'll just take a little effort. Money too - but if you think about it - the fees you pay to ebay could be going to paid advertising in one of several quilting publications or industry magazines on the market. The exposure in these magazines is excellent!

    Thanks for posting about the Ebay fees.

  7. As a buyer I am loyal to the designer, not Ebay. I pretty much buy from 2-3 designers on Ebay and have forged wonderful friendships with them. One of the designers has moved to Etsy as well and she has had great success there and loves it.
    Patty- I would buy ModKid wherever I could find it. I truly love your designs and your quality is bar-none. So my thoughts are, Go For It! You are so talented that you will be successful where ever you land. Just be sure & let me know where you go!
    Much love to you my friend.

  8. Ladies, thank you so much for your great responses. It's so wonderful to see some new faces around here.

    Cary... I appreciate your words of encouragement and your compliments on my work!

    Tara... I already clicked onto your blog and will be checking out your website soon. Lord knows I can always use more sewing supplies and if I can buy them off a fellow WAHM off-eBay, well, even better! :)

    I am all about supporting other fellow indies like myself, so if any of you have links to off-eBay stores that you'd like to post here, by all means feel FREE. I would LOVE to check them out! :)

    Dana... oh my goodness, how sweet of you! It melts my heart. Thank you soooo much! :)

  9. I am loyal to MODKID and a few other designers...not eBay. I also buy off of Etsy and I love browsing there better than eBay. I only go to eBay, usually from a link here or another blog. eBay and Paypal both seem to be getting too big. I love the gymbofriends.com forum and hearing what a lot of them are going through on eBay with non-paying bidders, shill bidders and scammers truly makes me NOT want to buy from anyone I don't already know. It really irks me that eBay and Paypal tend to side in favor of the scammer in these disputes too. I have never sold on eBay so I don't know anything about the seller side of it but the fees I've been hearing about and the new policy changes would make me cringe if I were a seller. I personally would love to see you pop up on Etsy!

  10. I totally forgot to mention that I think it will be awesome to have MODKID originals with your own fabric designs! I love your style and can only imagine the fabric you would create. :) Hopefully, eBay will be eating some humble pie soon and take better care of their sellers.

  11. Awww... Amber! You made me blush! Thanks so much for your words of encouragement on my current work and future endeavors. Oh, believe me I am giddy with excitement at the prospect of creating new clothing designs with my own fabric. Every time I make a new graphic or pattern I dream of little dresses, skirts and pants made out of it! LOL!

    No harm in dreaming, right?!? ;)

  12. as a buyer, i would absolutely follow my favorite designers wherever they went.

    i too have switched to etsy for probably 80% of my purchases. i like the format, the feel and the all handmade so much better. it also seems much more personal. (if that makes any sense)

    i am so excited for you to go to quilt market. you are so talented and such a great person. hearing your excitment and passion about MODKID clothing from MODKID fabric is so fun. i have no doubt that you can do it. best of luck to you.

    "the dream wouldn't have been put inside of you if you weren't able to acheive it."
    ~jim stovall

  13. Wow Patty...how exciting for you. It is a depressing slap in the face however from the new Ebay CEO...I am ashamed to admit that I had not been aware of the actual changes. I had read that fees are decreasing and with my hectic schedule did not investigate further. It is truly insulting however, upon the realization that it is quite the opposite of "decreasing." I love the Ebay community...I've encountered so many good people and it has been truly fun for me to list my designs there. Worth the fees? Hmmmm. I have the world as my customers. If I paid rent locally to house my boutique, my fees would obviously be significantly higher and my customer base lower. However, the amount of money that is not actually profit after hours upon hours of my handcrafted labor, does often create feelings of frustration when I see how much Ebay is getting. To know that fees are increasing, and the way it was presented does lead me to question seeking other selling venues in the future. Great topic BTW. Good luck with your adventure!! -cammie

  14. Being fairly new I haven't been that upset about it, maybe I should read over it again.

    I've sold on both Ebay & Etsy and have had a much better turn out on Ebay so far.

    I think people will follow you where ever you go.

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  16. my comment doubled. sorry about that!

  17. Thank you, Love, Cammi and Luxy for your insightful comments and words of support. This is such a tough decision and one that I am sure won't come overnight. I think even if I decide to open and online store(housed on my current website which is now just informational) or open an Etsy store, I will still keep my eBay account open and would love to still "launch" with my boutique friends every once in a while. I get such pleasure from preparing for a launch and seeing how everyone interprets a theme. It makes what I do so fun and exciting. :)

  18. I went thru and reread it then watched the youtube presentations and all I can say is WOW.

    Sounds like after the change we'll be paying alot more. I guess I'll just have to wait & see.

  19. I actually don't buy stuff on Ebay much at all... and I have no real reason for this, but I think I'd be MORE likely to buy from your own site. I'm not like afraid of Ebay, but I do know a lot of people that would feel more comfortable shopping on a retailer's site. Seriously - no real explanation for why... but I know it's the case sometimes!

  20. Anonymous4:54 PM

    Patty...honestly, I think you'll do fine whichever road you chose.

    I do think ebay's custom boutique haydays are long over. There was a time when sellers could make good money, but that isn't the case anymore. Between the fees, shill bidders, negative feedback, scammers, long waits for custom boutique, I much prefer to purchase stuff from a seller's website.

    Although I still hang around ebay, I rarely list. I have a presence on etsy, but don't promote it. Actually I decided to go the wholesale route and will be showing my new boys' line this Summer.

    As far as your fabric line, I think you'll do exceptionally well. You have a great eye for color and a vibrant personality.

    Go after that first, then see if you want to take it to over areas such as the clothing.

    Good luck!

    With friendship,

  21. This blog is related to Selling on Ebay that I used to sell on ebay but now I am not because the fees are too high, the profit margin too low, the market too unpredictable. I recommend it is better to join this online business.


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