Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tips for Selling on the Babywearing Swaps

I used to buy and sell a lot of items, mostly clothing and accessories, in various online and offline venues; and was successful enough at it that I attained eBay Powerseller status, back in the day. :) 

The basic tips for writing a good ad and selling things effectively are pretty much the same no matter what or where you are selling: Provide lots of information, be honest, and include clear, excellent photos and all relevant details about the item. Be responsive to questions and provide good customer service, make sure your descriptions are accurate, and protect yourself by doing things like shipping only to the confirmed PayPal address and keeping screenshots and good records of all ads and interactions.

When listing on the babywearing swaps:

First, read the rules! If a feedback link is required, set one up and have the link ready before posting. If there is a limit on how many pictures you can post, whether you have to list a price, etc.  make sure you understand and meet those requirements.

When selling, don't put in one dark picture and virtually no info. and expect it to actually sell. "I have this wrap, I don't know what it's called, and I think it might be a size 6 but I'm not really sure" isn't going to generate much interest.

Try to include as much of the following information as possible:
Post at least 3 or 4 really good pictures (one in the OP and three in the comments allowed in the first 15 minutes after posting without counting toward your two bump a day limit, if you're selling on certain babywearing swap Facebook pages). Try to include a flat photo of the wrap, an action shot, a close-up of the weave/pattern and a pic of the most significant flaw if any (with a note that you can PM pics of any others, or will add them to your listing later). Bring in extra lamps if you need better lighting, or take pictures in daylight. Pay attention to what's in the background of your photos . . . clutter in the background can detract from the photo and may turn people off from your listing.

Details about the item: Try to include the brand and pattern name, color and name of colorway, fiber content (i.e. 100% cotton,  a  70/30 cotton/hemp blend,  etc. ) and any other relevant information. If you know or can find out the weight in g/m2, that is information that will be very helpful to potential buyers.

Size, measurements: 

Include the size in whatever system the wrap or carrier manufacturer uses, standard number sizes if applicable, AND meters. Always measure the wrap and give actual measurements in case it was sold to you as the wrong size, shrunk when washed, or whatever. It doesn't hurt to add the size in inches too, just to cover all your bases. 

The width of a wrap is measured straight across the grain from one rail to the other, not along the tapers.  

Measure length with soft tape in hand along the rail, like this video shows. Since most wraps with tapers are shaped like a parallelogram /======/ with both rails slanting the same direction, the length should be the same on both rails. If your wrap has atypical tapers, be sure to note this and give the measurements of both rails.

I've seen more than one wrap listed as a size 3 from a manufacturer that doesn't make size 3 wraps, because people didn't measure and double-check what a size XS in that brand was the equivalent of in meters. And then it sat unsold because people know XYZ company doesn't make size 3 wraps and the ad doesn't disclose whether it was chopped from a longer wrap or not.

Laundering/storage details and condition. Is the item unwashed and unworn, in excellent used condition,  or what? Buyers will be interested in knowing if you are a smoke- free home, if you have pets that might get dander or hair in the environment (this really only impacts people with severe allergies),  what type of laundry detergent  has been used on the wrap,  whether wool shows any signs of felting, and any flaws or signs of wear on the wrap.

Obviously, disclose any significant issues/flaws. Better to overdisclose minor or non-issues and give buyers confidence in your honesty than to not disclose something you think is a minor issue but the buyer things is significant.

 Weaver's knots,  pulls, stains and broken threads, slight thread shifting, etc. are all things that should be disclosed although they are usually minor issues (or in the case of nubs/slubs/weaver's knots,  usually non -issues but still a good idea to disclose). Actual holes in the fabric, significant thread shifting or signs of wear, fabric that has been bleached or a wool wrap that has started to felt are safety issues that can make a wrap unsafe to use. Depending on the issue it may be necessary to sell the wrap or carrier for scrap if it's not safe to use for carrying a baby any more. You don't want an injury to someone else's baby on your conscience. Also check to make sure it's not a recalled or unsafe type of carrier,  such as a bag sling or a ring sling made with the wrong type of fabric or rings to be safe for babywearing. (Here's a quick guide to safe and unsafe materials for babywearing.)

 If the item has been altered in any way,  be sure to disclose what was done and who did it. This includes dyeing and chopping. If it's dyed, state the type of dye used and/or the company that dyed it. If it's chopped,  be  sure to include information about whether it was done with blunt or tapered ends,  if/how it was hemmed,  and whether tags and middle markers have been moved. If it's a wrap conversion carrier or ring sling,  state who converted it if you know the converter. If you did it yourself or it was done by someone not well known in the babywearing community,  be  sure to include information relevant to the safety and quality of the work,  such as the brand of hardware such as sling rings or buckles used,  type of  fabric,  type of thread, and method of stitching (for example,  a ring sling sewn with three rows of stitching with Guttermann all-purpose thread at the shoulder;  or whether shoulder straps are sewn with X-boxes,  bar-tacked, or what).

Don't try to be cutesy and say something like, "I don't allow my dog to smoke in the wrap" unless you want people to think that you smoke in the house and let your dog sleep on the wrap. :)

Price. MMARO (make me a reasonable offer) without a starting price makes many buyers want to run the other direction. Even if you're wanting trades only, many forums require that you post the approximate trade value of the item. 

It's a good idea to check around and see what other similar items are selling for in the current market. Start by googling the name of your item and checking the swaps to see if any others are for sale or have sold recently. If the same item is currently available at clearance prices from several retailers,  you're unlikely to be able to sell it on the swaps for full retail price even if that's what you paid for it. Nobody is going to pay $35 plus shipping for your used Infantino mei tai when they can go to their neighborhood big-box store and pick one up for $16 and have it instantly, unless it's customized a special way or something. If it's an item that is in high demand, takes some breaking in,  or ships from outside the country some people may be willing to pay a few dollars more to get it faster without having to worry about customs and international transaction fees,  or to have the breaking-in work already done for them.

Make sure you include common search keywords for the item in your listing, including all possible terms for the item and the brand name fully spelled out as well as the nickname or acronym (like Didy for Didymos) if there is one, but try to weave them subtly into your listing so it doesn't look like just a list of keywords.

Also be sure to post in the correct album or forum. Not only does this help the sale groups run more smoothly;  it also makes it easier for people to find your item if they're looking for something specific.

Post as much info as you can in the original post -- brand, colorway, fabric content, actual measurements of length and width, weight in g/m2 if you know it, any flaws, laundering methods and whether you're a smoke/pet free
home, etc.
Including lots of info in the OP cuts way down on the amount of questions, and makes your listing more appealing to buyers by making it easy to find the information you want.

Then if you don't like having to constantly worry about your listing,  you can just let it sit until it sells, knowing it's where people who are looking for it can find it. Just make sure to respond promptly to any questions/inquiries. When/if you bump, try to do it by adding another pic or some bit of relevant information about the item. Again, be aware of the forum's rules about frequency and type of bumping, and abide by them. 

If it sits there for several days or weeks unsold, take a look at whether your price is reasonable for the item in the current market, look to see whether there's anything that might turn off buyers in your photographs or listing, and consider lowering the price. So far, using this method I've rarely had a wrap I've listed on the main swap pages go more than a day or so before selling.

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