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PCC Chats With
Alicia Gandhi
"Selling Online"

Click Here to Download a Zipfile of this Chat

June 23, 2000:

SUNNISAN:sunni> This Special Event is "muted" so Alicia can share her information without pause. We encourage all members to please write down your questions as we go along so you won't forget them. We will open the floor to the audience for questions and answers when Alicia is finished.
GRIBBIN:jake> for all that have not done this before hang in while I quiet the room, keep all from talking and release alicia to talk. it takes a second?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Just want to remind everybody that the resource page is at http://www.beadbrain.com/chat/ and I will be following along on that.
GRIBBIN:jake> ready set here goes ** All group members are in the audience now ** _** Caution, QUIET group **_** This is now an AUDIENCE group **
SUNNISAN:sunni> If the members would like to log the chat for future reference so you don't have to take notes, please feel free to. Type: /log your@email nameIT -- for instance, i'm logging like this: /log sunnisan@hotmail.com Selling Online with Alicia Gandhi If you haven't had an opportunity to visit Alicia's Reference Page, the addie is: http://www.beadbrain.com/chat/ -- she'll be referring to it during her chat. Just pull open another browser window and lay it down next to the chatroom. PLEASE do NOT resize your chat window!! You'll get bumped out of the chatroom. It's another wonderful Delphi glitch.
ALICIA89:Alicia> Is this thing on?
SUNNISAN:sunni> yup!! you're in the lime light!!
GRIBBIN:jake> ok alicia you have the floor
ALICIA89:Alicia> Hi everybody!
SUNNISAN:sunni> welcome alicia, to polymer clay central!!
ALICIA89:Alicia> I first want to thank Sunni and Jake for all their help. And anyone else who helped.
SUNNISAN:sunni> how long have you been doing business online?
ALICIA89:Alicia> I have been selling on line since January of 98.
SUNNISAN:sunni> how did you get started?
ALICIA89:Alicia> I originally have a biology degree, but I was working at a bead store doing their web site. When I left that job because of the st ress, I stayed at home doing more web design. As a hobby I started making beaded jewelry and created a site for my friends to pick out their christmas gifts. Just for the heck of it, I registered it with a search engine. And slowly but surely I started getting sales. I would say that my business now is that of a part time job. But I do get busy around holidays. I don't ever want it to get so huge that I coudln't make everything, but I'm always up for more business these days.
SUNNISAN:sunni> how long have you been selling online now?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Since January of 98.
SUNNISAN:sunni> i see on your site you have a shopping cart. have you always had one?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Oh no! My first site was a simple page with pictures, info and prices. I just had a Mailto link for people to drop me an email if they were interested.
SUNNISAN:sunni> tell us, please, about how you started the design of your pages.
ALICIA89:Alicia> Well, all pages should have some basic features.
SUNNISAN:sunni> ok!
ALICIA89:Alicia> 1. a picture of the item
ALICIA89:Alicia> 2. a description of the item (not too long)
ALICIA89:Alicia> 3. Price and the currency that price is in.
ALICIA89:Alicia> 4. Types of Payment accepted (check, money order...)
ALICIA89:Alicia> 5. Method and price of shipping
ALICIA89:Alicia> 6. Your contact information
ALICIA89:Alicia> And any other immediately relevant information. Some other items could be, production time, care of products or anything else you want.
SUNNISAN:sunni> That sounds pretty straightforward!
ALICIA89:Alicia> You can also have a small introduction about yourself if you'd like.
SUNNISAN:sunni> less than 1/2 page?
ALICIA89:Alicia> A couple of sentences on the main page, if you would like to expand on it, you can make separate page for that. an "about artist" link or something.
ALICIA89:Alicia> Should I expand on the site as a whole?
SUNNISAN:sunni> yes - please do!! and what kinds of pictures i should include.
ALICIA89:Alicia> I'll go into detail on pictures a little later, but you should have a clear, well lit picture of your product. If you have more than one item, have separate pictures.
SUNNISAN:sunni> so make sure i have good lighting when i photograph?
SUNNISAN:sunni> what if i have several colors of the same item?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Yes, good lighting. If you can't get a picture light enough inside, go outside. You can also use a program like Photoshop to lighten the picture. You can also scan small items on a flat bed scanner.
ALICIA89:Alicia> If you have items in different colors, show one color and have a link to a page with the pictures of the other colors. GRIBBIN:jake got a question from Bob lets hold questions and I will release all to talk when alicia is ready to take questions
ALICIA89:Alicia> I'll stop in a bit and take some questions.
SUNNISAN:sunni> This Special Event is "muted" so Alicia can share her information without pause. We encourage all members to please write down your questions as we go along so you won't forget them. We will open the floor to the audience for questions and answers when Alicia is finished.
ALICIA89:Alicia> Lets get back to site organization. If you have more than two items, I suggest having a main page with your intro, contact info, shipping and payment info, and then a menu of other pages. This menu will lead people to other pages of items. For example, you sell tshirts, hats and shoes. That menu will have three links. A page for each type of item.
ALICIA89:Alicia> Each page should have your contact info, shipping info and type of payment accepted. And keep in mind that you don't want to make your pages too wordy, or have too many flashing or moving pictures. And keep in mind that you want a vast majority of people to understand your site. I always say, "So even an idiot can understand it".
SUNNISAN:sunni> so go with simple
ALICIA89:Alicia> Yes, KISS, Keep it Short and Simple or Keep it Simple and Stupid. I'll take some questions now.
SUNNISAN:sunni> ok!! jake?

GRIBBIN:jake>>
** All group members may talk now **
GRIBBIN:jake> all can talk now Bob first
SUNNISAN:sunni> bob!!
ALICIA89:Alicia> Hi Bob. =)
FIMOBOB:Bob> Hi
FIMOBOB:Bob> Did having a shopping cart increase your sales?
ALICIA89:Alicia> I really think it did. I also think that being able to accept credit cards helped as well. It makes for a more professional appearance, but I wouldn't say a cart is necessary to start out.
MIKI35:miki> Q
ALICIA89:Alicia> Hi Miki. =) Go ahead Miki. =)
MIKI35:miki> thanks Alicia....when starting out accepting credit cards may be a problem....how about money orders only?
SUNNISAN:sunni> or cashiers checks?
ALICIA89:Alicia> I will discuss ways of accepting credit cards with no out of pocket expenses later, but yes, I got mostly money orders. If I did receive a personal check, I simply held the item until it cleared.
MIKI35:miki> ok thanks
ALICIA89:Alicia> You can say that you only accept money orders or cashier's checks. Most people were very willing to send money orders.
MIKI35:miki> and do you include the cost of shipping in the cost of the item?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Yes, the buyer pays shipping. It would be like you buying from a company. You always pay shipping.
MIKI35:miki> thanks
ALICIA89:Alicia> I send my products by Priority Mail, with delivery confirmation. $3.55.
MIKI35:miki> very reasonable
ALICIA89:Alicia> Yes. And very easy. The post office provides boxes for free. Free for priority mail. Sometimes you have to ask.
MIKI35:miki> i wasn't aware of that....thanks
SUNNISAN:sunni> alicia - would you like to go into payment methods now?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Sure.
ALICIA89:Alicia> Unless anybody has any other questions?
SUNNISAN:sunni> jake - we'd like to resume please if no other questions.
GRIBBIN:jake> want me to quiet the room or leave it open? we have a small group.
ALICIA89:Alicia> A small group is fine, everybody here is pretty polite.
SUNNISAN:sunni> alicia - your choice.
ALICIA89:Alicia> If anybody has a questions put a Q, and I'll get to you.
SUNNISAN:sunni> and i'll keep a list of y'all in order, ok?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Thanks Sunni, you're a doll! Ok, on to credit cards. =)
ALICIA89:Alicia> I'm sure many of you have looked into accepting credit cards. It's expensive. But I started accepting credit cards a long time ago. I had no set up fee, no monthly fee. The only fee I paid was a percentage of my sale. Which is great, because I'm not down money if I don't sell.
SUNNISAN:sunni> how did you do that?
ALICIA89:Alicia> There are two ways I recommend doing this. CCNow and PayPal.
SUNNISAN:sunni> i just did some searching around for credit cards and it was a nightmare!! I, too, settled on CCNow and PayPal. why did you?
ALICIA89:Alicia> CCNow is a third party credit card company. They essentially become your online retailer, and they take 9% off the top, and send you the rest (or direct deposit it). When I first signed up with CCNow, it was really the only one around that wasn't an arm and a leg. They also have their own shopping cart. All you have to do is put "buy it" links using the code they provide and when a customer clicks on that, it will take them to ccnow's shopping cart. They even drop the percentage to 8% during the holidays. I think right now they are the best, but PayPal just announced a new feature. They will soon offer a business account that takes only 1.9% off the top.
SUNNISAN:sunni> that sounds incredible! are they hard to establish on your pages?
ALICIA89:Alicia> For those of you not familiar with PayPal, right now it's free to send or receive money, but it's not really automated like ccnow. hard to establish?
SUNNISAN:sunni> incorporate into your pages.
ALICIA89:Alicia> CCnow is very easy, just a bit of HTML code that they generate for you.
SUNNISAN:sunni> and PayPal?
ALICIA89:Alicia> I hope that PayPal will be set up the same way for the business part. PayPal right now is not very automated for stores. You can either send a "request payment" mail to someone, or they have to log into paypal and send you money.
SUNNISAN:sunni> are they both international capable?
ALICIA89:Alicia> CCNow does take international orders. I'm not sure if PayPal does or not. I think it's something they're going to add in the future.
SUNNISAN:sunni> if i recall, paypal has not gone international yet.
ALICIA89:Alicia> Does anyone know if PayPal accepts international payments?
SUNNISAN:sunni> do they both take personal checks, electronic fund transfers and/or credit cards?
ALICIA89:Alicia> I'm going to look up if they accept international payments right now. Paypal will accept electronic checks, credit cards and Electronic funds transfers. I don't see anything about international payments.
SUNNISAN:sunni> not yet. it's in the works!
MIKI35:miki> Q
SUNNISAN:sunni> miki - while we're waiting, please ask your question!
MIKI35:miki> do you think it's necessary to include a phone number on the web page?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Good question Miki!
ALICIA89:Alicia> I have yet to put my number on my page. I honestly don't want people calling me up on my home phone. Most people will just send an email, and I have called people at their number if they have a hard question (I just ask for their number). If you have a second line at home, you can use that, but I wouldn't recommend giving out your number right off the bat.
SUNNISAN:sunni> so - does that go for email, too? beadbrain@beadbrain.com is separate from your personal account?
ALICIA89:Alicia> I do have a personal email, but when I got my domain name I decided to have a beadbrain email, just to keep it all the same. If you're working with a free hosting site and you don't want to give your personal email address, I suggest getting a hotmail or yahoo email address.
SUNNISAN:sunni> alicia - where do you keep your pages and shopping cart?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Physically they're in the middle of the desert somewhere near Safford Arizona.
SUNNISAN:sunni> :D virtually?
ALICIA89:Alicia> My site is hosted at an ISP (Internet Service Provider).
SUNNISAN:sunni> how did you do that?
ALICIA89:Alicia> For starting out I suggest getting a free site (more about that later). But if you want your own domain name, you might have to look into hosting your site somewhere.
ALICIA89:Alicia> You basically pay money each month to have your pages stored on a computer that is connected to the internet 24hrs/day. You can look up ISP's in your phone book, call them and ask them how much it costs to host a site there. THen they sign you up, and you make your pages. You then transfer your pages to their computer using some software.
SUNNISAN:sunni> it's that simple!!?
ALICIA89:Alicia> It can be that simple.
SUNNISAN:sunni> how do you make your pages or transfer them?
ALICIA89:Alicia> There are three ways you can make pages...
ALICIA89:Alicia> 1. Learn HTML code (most difficult)
ALICIA89:Alicia> 2. Use an editor (Easier)
ALICIA89:Alicia> 3. Hire someone to do it for you (or ask a relative) -- (Easiest!)
ALICIA89:Alicia> I suggest for people with budget issues or people just starting out, think about an editor.
SUNNISAN:sunni> i use an HTML editor: FrontPage Express. What do you use?
ALICIA89:Alicia> There are two big editors out there, FrontPage Express -- Free with Internet Explorer, and NEtscape Composer -- Free with Netscape. I've used both and I prefer FrontPage Express, but both editors can do the job. You don't need to know any HTML, and the editors open much like a word processor.
MIKI35:miki> Q
ALICIA89:Alicia> Yes Miki?
MIKI35:miki> do you think that host sites significantly increase sales?
ALICIA89:Alicia> You mean having your own domain name?
MIKI35:miki> yes
ALICIA89:Alicia> I don't think so. Personalized Domain names certainly are easier to remember, but if you have a great product, it should sell regardless.
SUNNISAN:sunni> that's good to know!
MIKI35:miki> :o)
ALICIA89:Alicia> And personalized domain names are getting cheaper. Instead of 70.00 for two years, you can get them for around 40.00 now. Speaking of editors again, if you go with a free hosting site, they often have their own editors.
SUNNISAN:sunni> yes!! and there are some excellent ones out there!
SUNNISAN:sunni> alicia - once you've designed your pages, how do you get yours onto your website?
ALICIA89:Alicia> I use an FTP program. File Transfer Protocol. All that means is that you are using this FTP software to move files from your computer to somewhere on the internet.
SUNNISAN:sunni> is it hard to install and learn?
ALICIA89:Alicia> I use a program called FTP Voyager, but there are many others, like Cute FTP. I didn't have a problem using them, but you can search for "FTP tutorial" on any search engine and you'll find more detailed information. A lot of the free sites have their own way to upload files. Where you click a "browse" button and select the file off of your computer. That is an HTTP upload. Another part of Internet Explorer is "web publishing wizard", that also will transfer files, and is a litlte more user friendly. It is part of Internet Explorer. I'm pretty sure that Netscape has a similar part of Composer.
SUNNISAN:sunni> don't some of the editors have a "publishing" capability?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Some do. Web publishing wizard is the part that would do it for frontpage express, but it's a separate program. You run FP express, make your pages. Then run the publishing wizard to upload them. I believe Composer has it right in the editor, but I'm not 100% since I haven't used the latest version of it.
ALICIA89:Alicia> There are TONS of free hosting sites. I picked four to mention.
ALICIA89:Alicia> 1. Homestead. They do not require you to have a pop up window or banner ad, and you get a little more personalized url (i.e. beadbrain.homestead.com) Homestead has a relatively easy to use editor, page templates, small ad box on upper right of page, games for your pages, and a deal with iescrow for taking credit cards. they also have other features, too many to list. The deal with iescrow for taking credit cards actually is more expensive than CCNOW, and you can use ccnow or paypal with homestead. If you have never done a page before, I suggest trying homestead first. I've suggested it to people and they've had more luck with it. But certainly feel free to try any free hosting sites you want.
ALICIA89:Alicia> 2. Geocities: http://www.geocities.com/ - Easy to use Editor, page templates, small ad box on upper right of page, games for your pages, and more. Geocities address used to be long, but I think after they joined with Yahoo, they got shorter. You can use ccnow and paypal with Geocities.
ALICIA89:Alicia> 3. Angelfire: http://www.geocities.com/ - Never had a page here, I don't know if they have an editor or not, they require a banner ad on the top of your page. CCNow and Paypal will work with Angelfire.
ALICIA89:Alicia> 4. Tripod: http://www.tripod.com/ - I've never had a site here, but Sunni has a site here and she informs me that they have an editor. CCNOw and Paypal will work with this place as well..
SUNNISAN:sunni> yes - they do have an editor and several other options to jazz up your pages!! it's a user friendly site
ALICIA89:Alicia> Tripod is much better than it used to be.
SUNNISAN:sunni> yes it is. i also use spree.com. it's a little more advanced, but offers unlimited space in trade for banners.
ALICIA89:Alicia> There are tons out there. If you have a dialup account, you often get free webspace with that, but sometimes you are not allowed to have a business there. I should talk about space.
SUNNISAN:sunni> please do!!
ALICIA89:Alicia> Unless you're going to have the epic saga of your life, with hundreds and hundreds of pictures and tons of pages of writing, you won't need that much space. For anybody starting out, a free site giving 10Megs will give you plenty of space. The big space eater is pictures. Let me say a few things about images. They should be in .jpg or .gif format.
SUNNISAN:sunni> why is that?
ALICIA89:Alicia> images have tons of informatoin in them. IF they are large or in other formats like .bmp, they will take up a lot of space, and take a long time to download. I'm sure you have all gone to a site where the images take forever to download.
SUNNISAN:sunni> *groan* yes
ALICIA89:Alicia> Keep them as small as possible or use thumbnails. Thumbnails are smaller pictures just for show, you then can offer a larger picture by either clicking on the thumbnail or some other link next to the item description. You can also crop out excess background in pictures. Make sure your pictures are well lit and lighten and crop them in a graphic editing program if necessary.
MIKI35:miki> Q
ALICIA89:Alicia> Go ahead Miki...
MIKI35:miki> I get many comments that my web pages won't load the pics on aol....what causes this?
ALICIA89:Alicia> It can be many things.
ALICIA89:Alicia> Are you using the AOL editor?
MIKI35:miki> no.....I used office 2000
ALICIA89:Alicia> Ah, ok. I'm not a big fan of the AOL editor.
ALICIA89:Alicia> If your image is not coming up it is either because you have not uploaded the image, or the link to the image is wrong. Let me explain: When you put an image into a web page, the html code tells where the picture is. <img src="http://www.beadbrain.com/picture.jpg"> sometimes with editors it will put the link with reference to your personal computer <img src="file:C:\\........"> I'm not sure exactly how it will look, but it will be something like that. Which means that unless the person viewing it happens to have a copy of that picture in the same exact place you do, they won't be seeing the picture.
MIKI35:miki> ahhhaaa
SUNNISAN:sunni> i've left out the second quote mark on multiple occasions. get the same result: no picture!!
ALICIA89:Alicia> The best way to avoid this is to create a folder just for your web pages, like "Webs" and before you add the images, make sure they're in the folder first. you can also make a sub folder called "images", but make sure you do the same where your site is hosted too. Any other questions?
SUNNISAN:sunni> so your personal computer should be a mirror of the folders and subfolders on your website?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Yes, if you make sure the images are in the folder before you add them in the editor, it should eliminate most of the confusion. It's not essential to do it that way, it just makes it easier. If you're using an editor at a free site, I would upload the image first.
SUNNISAN:sunni> image upload first, then create page? then upload page?
ALICIA89:Alicia> If you're using an editor at a free site, upload your images first. If you're working on an editor on your own computer you can upload them at the same time. If you're using an editor at a free site, if it's uploaded then you will be able to see the image right away. At least that's how it is for geocities and homestead.
SUNNISAN:sunni> that makes sense. you can check the links that way.
ALICIA89:Alicia> Yes, you'll know if they work. Any other questions about this stuff, or should I go on to the toughest part of selling online
SUNNISAN:sunni> well gang?
MIKI35:miki> i'm ready to move on
FIMOBOB:Bob> Go on, please.
ALICIA89:Alicia> Anybody finding any of this useful?
FIMOBOB:Bob> Yes!
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> YES!!!
ALICIA89:Alicia> That's good to know. =)
MIKI35:miki> yes!!
WYOMINGGAL:KathyG> me too. Yes indeed, Alicia
ALICIA89:Alicia> I just wanted to know if I"m getting carpal tunnel for a good reason!
CRAFTEE1> lol
SUNNISAN:sunni> =8)
WYOMINGGAL:KathyG> ;0)
SUNNISAN:sunni> ok - talk to us of promotions!!
ALICIA89:Alicia> Craftyeel we're in the middle of a discussion about selling on line, I will be taking questions in a moment. To see the resource page for this chat, visit http://www.beadbrain.com/chat/
ALICIA89:Alicia> Ok, yes, indeed, the hardest part of selling online is not making the product or the pages that sell it, it's actually getting buyers to your site! I have a list of some ways to increase visitors to your site.
ALICIA89:Alicia> 1. Search engine submission - Go to each search engine and look for an Add URL or Submit Site link. Then fill out the form. (Yahoo, Lycos, Infoseek, Excite and AltaVista, and there are dozens of smaller ones)
ALICIA89:Alicia> 2. Mass Submission - Why submit to one search engine when you can do a bunch at once? http://www.submitexpress.com/ is just one of many mass-submission sites. Search for "site promotion" or "site submission" in any search engine.
ALICIA89:Alicia> 3. Put your URL in your e-mail signature file - That way every message you send - to anyone - reminds people where you live on the Web.
ALICIA89:Alicia> 4. Put your URL on your resume
ALICIA89:Alicia> 5. Write to your favorite magazine, television station or newspaper - Media will often review new web sites that seem interesting.
ALICIA89:Alicia> 6. Visit other pages of similar interest and sign their guestbook - Put in your URL and they may just visit you.
ALICIA89:Alicia> 7. Join a web ring - Web rings are groups of related sites. You put some links at the bottom of your page to show that you're in the ring and so people can navigate through the ring. Search for "web rings" in any search engine or visit http://www.webring.com/ for more information and a list of rings.
ALICIA89:Alicia> 8. Tell your mother/father/sisters/brothers/kids to tell everyone they know to visit your site - Isn't that what family is for? Don't forget your friends, too!
ALICIA89:Alicia> 9. Banner Exchanges - You put a banner ad on your site and as people visit your site ads are shown. You then get credit for those ads shown and then your banner ad is displayed on other participating pages. I have used http://www.linkexchange.com/. But a search for banner exchange in any search engine will help you find other exchanges out there.
ALICIA89:Alicia> 10. Talk about it! When people ask you what you do, say "I sell _____ online" Many times they'll ask for your URL. (Have some business cards too!)
CRAFTEE1> what about coming up with the price for your work?
SUNNISAN:sunni> we haven't gotten to that, craftee.
CRAFTEE1> sorry
ALICIA89:Alicia> Now you know what you can do, lets see what you shouldn't do...AVOID: Posting your site in newsgroups, spamming newsgroups, chat rooms or spam email with your URL. It is not only rude, but you can get your account shut down as well.
ALICIA89:Alicia> Any questions on promotion? I pasted that right from the resource page, word for word, so all of you writing, don't worry about it, just print the resource page
WYOMINGGAL:KathyG> Q
ALICIA89:Alicia> Kathy?
WYOMINGGAL:KathyG> You said no newsgroups, but what about on the message board?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Good question. I have my url and the name of my company in my Delphi Signature. I don't spam the message boards, but everytime I post, my url is there for the world to see. If you have just created a site and want opinions, most of the people at PCC are happy to view new sites.
WYOMINGGAL:KathyG> OK I see the difference
SUNNISAN:sunni> do you post in the buy/sell/trade section if they have one when you add new inventory?
ALICIA89:Alicia> I've seen many "My new site is up, opinions?" type posts. I don't, but now that you mentioned it, I just may! Any other promotion questions?
ALICIA89:Alicia> There is of course always paid advertising, but that can be expensive.
SUNNISAN:sunni> alicia - do you sell wholesale or retail?
ALICIA89:Alicia> I sell mostly retail, but I recently started selling wholesale.
ALICIA89:Alicia> I recently started looking for wholesale places to list my products in on the internet.
SUNNISAN:sunni> don't you take a cut in price to sell wholesale?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Yeah, usually your retail price is higher, maybe we should discuss pricing now.
SUNNISAN:sunni> here ya go craftee
CRAFTEE1> how do you come up with the price for your work?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Craftee you talked about pricing..
CRAFTEE1> yes
ALICIA89:Alicia> I don't have a special formula, though some people do... I bascially want to make back my supplies cost and I want to pay myself a little for making the item. Then I consider how much I'd like to make, and how much I think it would sell for. What do items similar to yours sell for?
SUNNISAN:sunni> some people factor in their time, too. if i did that, no one could afford my items. i work slow. do you factor in your time?
ALICIA89:Alicia> There are some books out there about pricing that go more into detail. Yes, I do, but I'm like you, if I always got upwards of 10/hr my things would cost a ton. I try to pick a fair price and compare it to similar items in real stores. Now wholesale, you think you might take a cut in price, But if you're doing a large order you often can get supplies at bulk prices and save some money that way.
CRAFTEE1> what would say a pin cost basic
ALICIA89:Alicia> That depends, how much are the materials and how long did you work on it?
CRAFTEE1> ok
ALICIA89:Alicia> I've made things that cost .50 in supplies, and only took a few minutes, but I'm certainly not going to sell them for .75 When I could get 3 or 4 dollars.
CRAFTEE1> i see
ALICIA89:Alicia> Any questions on pricing, or does anybody have a special formula they'd like to share?
SUNNISAN:sunni> so a good rule of thumb is to get out and look at other people's creations?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Yes, compare what you make and what the going rate for items close to yours are, unless you have something really unique, then you might be able to get away with more.
WYOMINGGAL:KathyG> I start the simplest pins at $20 but if they have a window, etc, I just about double it in price
ALICIA89:Alicia> Kathy mind if I ask you a question?
WYOMINGGAL:KathyG> Sure
ALICIA89:Alicia> Your pins? Do you use plated pin backs or fine metal ones? (I've always wondered what other people use...)
WYOMINGGAL:KathyG> fine metal ones
ALICIA89:Alicia> Ok, good. =) Thanks.
SUNNISAN:sunni> what's the difference?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Gold and silver plated instead of sterling or 14k gold.
SUNNISAN:sunni> ah!! tarnishing!! thx.
ALICIA89:Alicia> I was just curious.
SUNNISAN:sunni> ok - so if you buy bulk - you can afford wholesale?
ALICIA89:Alicia> if you sell wholesale you save money by buying your supplies in bulk and sometimes you can make a bigger profit that way
SUNNISAN:sunni> so wholesale is selling large numbers of items to someone?
ALICIA89:Alicia> It depends on how big your order is. Recently I made 1000 polymer clay pendants for a store here in scottsdale.
SUNNISAN:sunni> !!!! that's a lot.
ALICIA89:Alicia> My supplies were less than 50.00. So it was mostly labor, but when I divided the time by what net profit I made, I actually made 20/hr.
MIKI35:miki> have you ever found yourself in the position of not being able to keep up with demand?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Well I've never done 1000 of anything before, and I don't think I want to do it again. The biggest order prior to that was 5 of the same thing
ALICIA89:Alicia> But wholesale can mean you sell 5 or 10 or something to a store.
SUNNISAN:sunni> where do you find wholesale opportunities
ALICIA89:Alicia> Wholesale may not be for everybody, but if you have an item or two that you think you could reproduce relatively easy, you might want to consider it. I've been looking at a wholesale products site online called Buylink.
SUNNISAN:sunni> what makes it attractive?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Well it's FREE, and I like free things.
SUNNISAN:sunni> !!!!
ALICIA89:Alicia> You register, put in some info and pictures about your items, and then people with stores register (Free for them too) and browse through the items. If you look at the site and see the prices, they're not all that low, and I've sold things to stores at my retail prices and they've doubled them.
SUNNISAN:sunni> that's pretty simple. have you tried it yet?
ALICIA89:Alicia> I'm not registered, but I just helped a friend register and it was pretty simple. I'm hoping to get myself set up next week. Last time I checked, they had about 7000 buyers registered. They will take credit card payments for you (for a percentage), but you are not required to use that feature. Also, if a person is interested in buying your item, they have to submit a credit sheet.
SUNNISAN:sunni> now that's nice!
SUNNISAN:sunni> do you need to submit a credit sheet or something
ALICIA89:Alicia> No you don't. Just the regular contact info.
SUNNISAN:sunni> can you use ccnow? or paypal?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Yeah, once you are in contact, you can do payment however you want.
ALICIA89:Alicia> There is another site that was around before Buylink.
SUNNISAN:sunni> cool. what was the other site?
ALICIA89:Alicia> wholesale.com is another list, but it costs around 100/month
SUNNISAN:sunni> that's a bit spendy? it is elite?
ALICIA89:Alicia> you can't even browse the products without registering, but I hear that it's a little more known. I know of people who do business only through that site. But I think Buylink has good potential too. and 100/mo is a bit pricy when you're not guaranteed a sale
SUNNISAN:sunni> it certainly is for beginners like me!!
ALICIA89:Alicia> Another way to get wholesale business is to go to local gift or specialty shops... It's best to visit the store first and see if your products will fit in. Then find out who the buyer is and how to contact them, call later and make an appointment. When you go for your appointment bring samples, business cards and any other literature about your product. Sometimes stores will want you to sell on consignment, I've never done this and I've heard about some bad experiences. I have also heard about people doing well on consignment, so ultimately, it's your call.
SUNNISAN:sunni> do you always send these potential sales points to your website? or is that left to your business card?
ALICIA89:Alicia> I try to send everybody I can to my website. I will say something like "You can view some of my products on my website, www.beadbrain.com..." and it is on my business card. It depends, if they are interested, you can usually tell and then you can get a word in. If they have that "flight or fight" look, I just leave the card. it's always best to assume you won't be pushing your product the moment you walk in. Approach the person behind the counter with the attitude that you are finding out who's in charge of buying and you're going to call them to make an appointment.
SUNNISAN:sunni> alicia - it looks like you've covered all your material. would you like to just field questions now?
ALICIA89:Alicia> yeah, I'm pretty much done. There is more information about editors and HTML code on the resource page that I didn't go into. I'm ready for questions about whatever you want to ask.
SUNNISAN:sunni> ladies and gentlemen - the floor is open!!
WYOMINGGAL:KathyG> When you do a craft show, have some of your business cards out on the table; local shop folks may pick it up and call you later.
ALICIA89:Alicia> Yes, Kathy, that is True! I don't do shows, at least not yet. But make sure you have a flyer and/or business card on your table, and put one in each bag with the sale.
CRAFTEE1> what about feemarkets??
ALICIA89:Alicia> My friend who makes windchimes sometimes sells a dozen, out of her car if the people are really interested.
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> you have covered so much! thank you alicia!
ALICIA89:Alicia> You're welcome!
FIMOBOB:Bob> Do CCnow and Paypal bill the buyer at the time of their purchase or is there a way to do at the time of shipping?
ALICIA89:Alicia> CCNow does not bill the buyer. It takes 9% of the sale when the money is put into your account.
ALICIA89:Alicia> PayPal is free at the moment. It doesn't cost the buyer or the seller. This is the Personal account. They are adding a business account which will take 1.9% out of the money paid to you. Follow the links to paypal and ccnow off the resource page and read the full details on their sites.
FIMOBOB:Bob> OK, thanks.
SUNNISAN:sunni> so you factor the shipping cost into the price?
ALICIA89:Alicia> Yes, the shipping is part of the total sale, and the 9% affects that too. The benefits of using ccnow is that it's more automated. but the new PayPal business account may be more automated too, We'll just have to wait and see.
SUNNISAN:sunni> CCNow handles all the admin, offers customer service 800 number, provides the shopping cart, too.
ALICIA89:Alicia> Yes, I'm hoping that PayPal will be like that too! Also, CCNow, the money is refundable, on Paypal it says it isn't refundable. (but it can be if you give a refund)
SUNNISAN:sunni> that would be a sweet deal.
FIMOBOB:Bob> Thank you so much for all the wonderful information you've given us tonight, Alicia!
ALICIA89:Alicia> You're welcome!
ALICIA89:Alicia> Oh, I just thought of something! If you are completely stumped on how to begin making your pages, look around other pages, what features do you like, what don't you like... And most of all, don't sell yourself short! Take pride in everything you do!
WYOMINGGAL:KathyG> Thank you very much, Alicia. I've been afraid to try setting up a web page but I think you have helped me to try it.
ALICIA89:Alicia> I say go for it, I learned how to make pages by my self, I have no formal training in it.
SUNNISAN:sunni> that's the hardest part, alicia. is jacking the price up!!!
ALICIA89:Alicia> Yes, I read somewhere that if something doesn't sell, to raise the prices.
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> yes, thanks again alicia. I have a new site up at homestead. you have given us valuable info.
ALICIA89:Alicia> I've seen your site Kellie!
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> welll???
ALICIA89:Alicia> It's great! But that was a given.
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> thank you again!
ALICIA89:Alicia> I'm reading a book called "The Artist's Way" and in the first lesson I learned something very important.
SUNNISAN:sunni> what's that?
ALICIA89:Alicia> That people compare their first attempts at something with works by masters! You first have to be a sucky or mediocre whatever, before you can be great!
SUNNISAN:sunni> well - sure. isn't that where you want to end up?
WYOMINGGAL:KathyG> I think what bothers me most about some sites is the background. If it is too busy, it's hard to see the art work.
ALICIA89:Alicia> I prefer simple solid color backgrounds.
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> thats what I did. simple
ALICIA89:Alicia> Grey, white, light pastels.
SUNNISAN:sunni> i don't like solid, but i do like muted or discreet. almost subliminal backgrounds.
ALICIA89:Alicia> watermark type backgrounds.
SUNNISAN:sunni> yes!
ALICIA89:Alicia> If any of you think of a question later, you can email me at beadbrain@beadbrain.com.
FIMOBOB:Bob> Thanks, again, Alicia! I need to go. Good night, everyone.
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> nite bob!
ALICIA89:Alicia> Goodnight Bob, thanks for coming.
WYOMINGGAL:KathyG> Now Alicia has tunnel carpel syndrome from all the typing
SUNNISAN:sunni> g'nite bob!
ALICIA89:Alicia> I copied and pasted a lot to save my wrists.
ALICIA89:Alicia> If any of you would like to visit my site, it's at www.beadbrain.com. Feel free to share your url's as well.
SUNNISAN:sunni> i recommend everyone check out her site!!!
WYOMINGGAL:KathyG> Thank you Alicia. I plan to do that
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> I love your site alicia
ALICIA89:Alicia> Keep in mind that my site was redone by my husband, who is a programmer. but my first sites were pretty interesting.
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> mine helped a bunch too
ALICIA89:Alicia> If any of you are having any difficulty while working on your site, email me and I might be able to help.
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> chat with you all later! I even remembered to send my log! I am sharing with some members that couldn't make it!
ALICIA89:Alicia> Was any of the info I shared new?
KELLIEAK:kellieAK> it was for me
WYOMINGGAL:KathyG> Yes
ALICIA89:Alicia> ok, that's good to know.
CRAFTEE1> yes
SUNNISAN:sunni> oh wow. alicia - it was great!!
/EXIT
(Logging turned off)

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