I would like to share some of my tips and tricks that I have learned about selling Custom Handmade items here on ebay.
Take time on your description. Don't rush this step. You must make sure to have everything spelled out crystal clear for your potential buyers. People selling standard items have it easy compared to us! When selling a book, ebay even gives you the opportunity to input the ISBN # and the picture and description is posted for you. Not so, here in the creative world. You are actually selling a service rather than a product so this description is your contract. Anything you forget is a potential for you to get burned.
What to include: Think of the item from start to finish. Start with what you are going to make. Be exact.
Sizing: What sizes can you make? If you write that you will make it any size, make sure you have the ability to do just that. If someone wants you to make this garment much bigger or smaller than your pattern or experience has you able to do, you may lose a valuable customer. It is best to set a peramater, X size to Z size.
Fabric: What fabric will you use? Are you picking the fabric or is the customer? Again, I think it is best to set parameters. Through my personal site (check my about me page for a link) I got an order one time for a costume that needed a particular pattern of fabric. It was a nightmare trying to track down that specific fabric. I ended up actually LOSING money on the whole deal because I had to special order and overnight the fabric in order to get the project done by Halloween.
Timing: How long will it take to construct? You must be specific here because what the buyer thinks is an appropriate time may be a ridiculous request for your schedule. Give yourself ample time. Remember that the order may come in on that super busy weekend when you've got family in town or your kids get sick. You never know, so be realistic with your timeframe. It is much better to tell your customer a week and then send it out in 2 days than have to email them with your excuses for taking longer than stated and hope that they understand.
Experience: Be honest to the customer about your experience. Tell them how long you have been sewing. How you learned, show off handi-work from your past, anything that made you the sewer that you are today. Again, you are selling a service here so do your best to convince potential customers that you really do know what you are doing. Consider it your online resume. If you have an ebay store, included with your subscription is the ability to create custom pages, why not use these to show off your work?
Pictures: When ebay first started it was rather difficult to obtain digital images for the auctions, now, there is no excuse not to have lots of good, clear images in your postings. If you are selling an item that you don't have one already made in order to photograph it, make sure you have a good clear drawing or diagram in order to show the customer what they will get. It is best to have pictures of the fabrics as well. Ebay charges per photo, but if you use a template or write html code you can post lots and lots of pictures without the extra cost. There are a couple of sites out there that offer free templates and photo hosting. It is worth the time to find them and learn how to use them.
Pricing: Here is a difficult balance. You don't want to put the price too high and lose potential buyers, but you don't want to sell yourself short either. There are 3 things to take into account. One, cost of materials, two, your time, and three, ebay & paypal fees. Obviously you must price your item at least at the cost of the fabric, and fees, but please don't sell yourself short of your time. If an item uses $10.00 worth of fabric, and took 6 hours to construct, pricing it at only $15.00 would be ludicrus. Determining what your time is worth is completly up to you, just don't forget to include it in the cost.
Feedback: I cannot stress enough about how important feedback is here on ebay! You must keep your customer happy! Especially if you are just starting out. That all important number next to your user id is the way that customers see you. You may have been sewing for 30 years and are the best at what you do, but if your feedback score isn't very high, or god forbid you have a negative, you may lose customers to the competition. Make sure to leave feedback for your customers as well. Many people are hesitant to leave feedback until that person leaves it for them. Personally, I wouldn't recommend playing that game.
I would love to see your hand-crafts......email me and let me know how to find it once you have it posted