Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pondering the bay

Oy! I've been working hard on the new site! My left arm is still numb leading into my ring and pinky fingers. And as I sit here adding and adding glass beads and lampwork jewelry and sterling silver findings to the new site - 87 products as of today - and then I look at my Artfire and I have over 80 products there and another half dozen on 1000 markets and I think, "WOW! That's ALOT of product!!!" And I look at my photography table and see MORE beads and on my desk, even more waiting for their photos to be uploaded. Wow!

I've never been much of a sales person and I don't make beads that I think other people will like. I make stuff I like...which is probably why I have so much of it! I know bead makers that make and list their beads and poof! They are gone! If only I were so lucky!

So, I started pondering ebay...Wouldn't some money be better than no money??

And as luck would have it, I found myself looking around ebay this week. As broke as I am, I can't resist helping out another artist. Harold Williams Cooney, the AMAZING beadmaker, is having a last minute push to raise funds to get to the Bead & Button Show. B&B has to be one the most incredible experiences I've ever had as a bead maker! (I took classes!)

I bid on a set of his string through lilies. This set:
When I bid on this incredible set, they were 3 days from ending and a measly 27 bucks. I bid $42, hoping to up the ante, help out a fellow artist and knew in my heart that I simply could not afford such artistry at this time in my financial life. I was certain they would sell for at least another hundred dollars over my bid. But, as things go on the bay... I won them for $41! And while I am ecstatic...I'm also very, very sad. If an artist of this stature ends up selling beads for pennies on the dollar, what chance do I stand at all?

I don't mean to single out one artist... this is just my experience this week. Lampwork bead artists have migrated away from ebay en masse with the influx of beads from China. One of my personal favorites, known for selling HUGE sets - 70 - 80 beads and regularly receiving 10-17 PER bead is barely getting 5 now.

I will say that one mistake I see true artists making is listing in the Handmade Lampwork / US category. This is a real no-no. I found it so visually disturbing to see Mr. Cooney's gorgeous work laid out on the same page as crap from China! Entire strands of beads selling for 2.50!!! It's far better to sell in the SRA (self -representing artist) category where the riff raff doesn't come in!

Ebay DOES NOT CARE that imported beads are sold in this category! Truth be told, as long as you pay them and don't advertise any other website, ebay will let you sell anything in any category!

I really despise these "studios" selling beads as if they are handmade and artisan quality. Remember you get what you pay for in lampwork!

And right now, you can get some beautiful stuff for a song if you check out Mr. Cooney's auctions!

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