As the cost of supplies goes up it seems that the sale prices are going down. Is this my imagination or does it just take longer to sell them at reasonable prices?
I have to say, that this has been a very slow season for selling at a higher price. I think the market has been overly saturated with lower priced reborns, and out of country knock offs. I have noticed that most of the sales at higher prices are just released LE dolls. This is the worst trend I have seen in the last 3 years.
Yes Jean! All the dolls I sold were at discounted prices. I only have Libby left… Because I didn’t put her on sale!!! And she isn’t even overpriced. There are just so many low priced reborns now!
I have had to sell at lower prices also, just to get rid of my inventory for Christmas. I am seriously considering not ordering anymore kits, and finishing up what I have in stock and quitting.
Do custom orders - instant sales, genuine serious buyers, and always get your price
Maybe this doll trend is running it’s course, they all do. I used to make porcelain dolls and they were wildly popular for about 10 years or so and then-----bang----gone! Oh there are still people out there that collect them but the big “hoorah” is over. Reborns for been in for a while, maybe they are gonna go away now??
They are a bit of a ‘fad’ for general buyers…Collectors will always be in the market for them and you will always have newbies but yes, like beanie babies…they are a fad and will fade…I have watched it drop back steadily for the past 3 years so it has had a long run…that is why I do custom orders…I have built a client base of mostly collectors - many have over 15+ of my dolls. They recommend me to others and it grows from there. The positive thing about custom orders and the type of market you try to cultivate is if you get the right clients and you are willing to ‘cater’ to them to a certain point…you will be rebornig long after many other artist disappear…
I think people are looking for a good quality reborn at an affordable price. I’ve noticed that the price to get a good quality reborn has skyrocketed. I am not able to buy a reborn for over $200 just because I can’t afford it and have other things the money needs to go towards, you know?
I’m not having any issues with sales. I start my prices off around the amount I paid for my supplies (I do this for fun and don’t expect a profit from it, a profit is just extra awesomeness) .
I haven’t made many in the last few years but yes, the market is saturated. And some of us are in this for fun and willing to part with our babies for a lower price. Which makes it hard for the person who is trying to make a profit and needs to sell higher. It does allow people who couldn’t afford one otherwise to get a baby though.
As for establishing a word of mouth customer base, that is something I haven’t been able to do. I live in an extremely low income county and I also don’t get around much. I can’t see how it would be very easy to do. How do you get started? You would have to make contact somewhere with customers but I don’t know where.
NO-O-O-O Diane! No, no, no!
I might start offering custom ‘human dolls’
I might start doing customs and portrait babies. As much as I love this art, I do need the money I earn.
I am sure there is even more limited market for customs. I just cannot believe how many new kits are being produced now. Especially BB, they are churning them out so fast hat nobody could possibly reborn them all. In a way it is good, as there is a large variety of dolls to choose from. There was a time when every second reborn on eBay was Lucca. But on the other hand too big choice creates a fatigue in buyers. Research shows that if you offer more than about 7 varieties of the one product people end up less likely buying because they cannot decide which one to get.
A few asked how to market yourself…(Very Long Read!)
I know there are a lot of people who avoid Ebay like it is poison BUT, I suffered through using it as a marketing tool for about 4 years…I am not exaggerating when I say that I faithfully listed at least one doll a week for 3 of those years…(many times, when I would get an instant sale, I would go to work and do a second one and list it…and there were times when I did 3 a week)…
By the start of 2013 I was doing more customs and because I only listed 2 or sometimes 3 a month on Ebay they would sell in the first 2- 6 hours of listing them because ladies who were regular watcher were snatching them up as quickly as they went on the market…this caused others who were wanting the dolls but having to wait for pay day to email me asking if I would do a custom one with payment arrangements…of course I said yes and it just spiralled out from there…for the last 2+ years I have done nothing but custom orders Many of the ladies in my client base came from my sales on Ebay…
The things that you have to consider are -
Do you make them to sell or are they for your pleasure? if to sell, are you happy to work 20 -30 hours on a doll and only get your money back for all your work? If this is the case, then there is really nothing to worry about as far as your sales…You can make dolls and sell them for cost forever and you and your customers should be very happy… I know our dolls do make people happy but not necessarily all of them because they have an ‘emotional need’ -
Technically you need exposure on a large scale -
- Ebay will do that for you,
- You need something like a Pinterest account, the more people who see your dolls and re- pin them the more exposure you get and eventually your dolls will start showing up in image searches on Google (Just make sure to put your website or email information on each photo so that when it is re-pinned, people can see who did the doll and have a contact point.)
- You need to produce a doll regularly and no matter what is happening with the sales, keep them going up…if one doesn’t sale after a couple of weeks, take it down, wait a while and relist or redress as the opposite gender and relist - I have sold many babies just by changing them from boy to girl or visa versa.
- You have to be realistic about your work…
- Be realistic about your expectation
- Price your dolls where you are happy with what you are making
- Be willing to start out with smaller profit and build -
- Don’t price yourself too low to start with though because people will get upset if you increase dramatically - eg. price your baby at $295 if you can make a decent profit then when you go up to $325 and then $350 etc over time people will not freak out like they would if you sale at $195 now and then jump to $350 etc…
- Try to be patient and not continually mark down your prices…people will wait for the mark down to come and then will get tiffed if you don’t mark them down and not buy at all because they get all narky about it because you have 'Trained" them to watch for your discounts…You may get a sale but you ruin your chance of achieving even a moderate profit.
The doll market has dropped back, no doubt about it…prices for supplies have gone up thus we are having to ask more for our dolls. If you are in it for some profit is - with the increase cost of supplies, the market becoming more particular are you able to achieve a product that will sell for the price you need to make in order to recoup your cost and make a bit of profit…If not, then I would just keep my expectations at a Hobby level and make them to support your habit…you will be much happier.
We all have our own reasons for making these dolls though I think to say that we are all content to just make people happy (unless you are a very rich person with lots of down time on your hand) is probably a bit of a stretch because most everyone complains if they are not seeing sales or are not making what they think they should have made…so really deep inside, if we are honest, If you are selling your dolls, it does come down to a money factor no matter how great or small…
You have provided some excellent tips. Thank you.
Starr, you are so smart about business!
Thanks for the tips! I am definitely on the hobby scale. Making one every now and then to sell or selling one that wasn’t the way I envisioned it. I just sold one tonight on ebay after relisting it due to a non-paying customer. And noticed ebay didn’t put a strike against her. I sell just to make some for practice or to raise a little money to feed my hobby or allow me to give some away. I don’t want to spend 20-30 hours a week if something else comes up. Of course I might change my mind if my back continues to get better.
Did you open and close the non paying bidder case? The strikes are not visible (unless it changed) ,but they stop people from bidding if sellers set their preferences not to let people with 2 or more strikes to bid.