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Ebay or Ecommerce?

CappyCappy subscriber Posts: 1
edited February 2007 in Selecting a Business
Hello everyone, I`ve been browsing SuN for several months and the time for action is drawing near.  I`ve deliberated over what business idea to persue for awhile and recently I`ve come across an idea that I think has legs. 
My wife has a friend who has a natural talent for making greeting cards and stationary that are extremely creative and unique.  She doesn`t aspire to start her own business but is willing to create the product ideas if we manufacture and sell them. 
My challenge is that when I search for greeting cards on ebay, the cards I seem to find are quite simple in nature and are often sold for much less than what you would pay at a local hallmark store.  The cards I`m looking at making are highly creative and unique.  They will appeal to someone who doesn`t want to give a standard hallmark card.  Some of my preliminary analysis indicates that I can sell the cards for the same cost of a hallmark card and still make money.
If I go with ebay as a sales channel, I fear being lost amonst the masses and therefore won`t make the most of my opportunities.  If I go with a straight ecommerce site, I have to spend a lot on marketing to generate traffic to the site. 
So what do you think?  Have you had success selling unique products on ebay when all the competitors were seemingly commoditized? 


  • rajinenterprisesrajinenterprises subscriber Posts: 3
    Do both and link them. Use the Ebay as part of your marketing scheme.
  • stonesledgestonesledge subscriber Posts: 608 Silver Level Member
    i think you would benefit from looking at www.girlswithgoals.com</A> is a new marketplace opening soon (I have to admit, i am the founder)......without being biased i think you would fit right in , or your friend since she is the "girl" would do well here as well. Since your product is unique and quality packaged merchandise, also try to sell in your local boutiques, craft fairs etc...get the word out!
  • stonesledgestonesledge subscriber Posts: 608 Silver Level Member
    Hi Kathy,
    Glad you went to Etsy. It is a really neat place. They just added new features and folks can ask for custom items. They are really growing and a neat group of 4 guys in NY. I send alot of folks there when they want to sell handmade unique items. You should do well there! I like buying things there too.
  • keyconkeycon subscriber Posts: 34
    My wife has a friend who has a natural talent for making greeting cards and stationary that are extremely creative and unique.  She doesn`t aspire to start her own business but is willing to create the product ideas if we manufacture and sell them.
    Cappy - I`m no eBay expert and I find the whole eBay experience "not fun." I know many have done well there but I highly recommend carving out a niche for your line of cards. But make no mistake, it will not be easy nor quick - but then again, what in life is?
    Based on previous replies and some of the suggestions - like Erin`s (Stonesledge) about sites that feature "handmade" items, I feel some believe you are going to make all of these cards by hand. I do appreciate the sharing of these sites - good info. But I did not get the impression you will make these cards from hand. I read ... originals made by hand, products will be duplicated in some high-speed production method. Maybe you can clarify in a followup post.
    I`ve been studying and following the greeting card market for about 35 years. Why? I`m a calligrapher. I have done contract work for others and was the primary calligrapher for years for a company that mass-produced Scherenschnitte. I have some greeting card ideas that have sat in the "Idea Book" for many, many years and haven`t "flipped the switch" for various and sundry reasons. It is a tough market and I believe the only way to make a mark is to carve out a speciality niche ... I don`t believe you can do that on eBay as well as you can on your own eCommerce site with the right targeted marketing.
    Take a look at http://www.the-petset.com/</A> . Owned and operated by a SuN member by the name of Kim Banks. She is so busy now she hardly has time to post any more. Her niche product is very high-end stationary items directed at pet owners. She would be a good one to contact to discuss the trails and tribulations of a "niche" greeting card company.
    You - or anyone - can break into this HUGE market with a concise, focused, and passionate plan; if you can successfully develop and convey your USP - Unique Selling Proposition.
    To me, I read you describe a "unique" greeting card product although I have not seen it yet. If it is a "me, too" Hallmark card, that`s a challenge to market ... anywhere - eBay or your own site.
    Look, I love greeting cards and know the power they have in business and personal lives. I am a SOC promoter. I use and promote that system for the residual benefits I see it bring my clients - not because it is a gallery of creative materpieces - but it gets the job done for a buck a card. My own card company, once I find the time to launch it, will be related to calligraphy and the messages - a whole different market.
    Do your homework. Research this market thoroughly. Write your plan. Do some market tests. Like I always say, "Go BIG, or Go Home!"
    I wish you much success and post often any time you have questions or issues you wish to discuss.
    R@keycon2007-2-3 23:45:26
  • CappyCappy subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks everyone for the tremendous feedback.  It will all be very useful should this idea make it through to fruition.  I particularly like the idea Erin offered about the homemade site.  That appears to be a good alternative to ebay without having to go the entire ecommerce route from scratch. 
    Initially we would have to start out homemade and ultimately it could remain that way for some time depending upon the amount of growth we see.  Having not fully flushed out all aspects of this yet, I`m struggling to see how this could evolve beyone homemade while retaining the uniqueness of the product, but if the volume was there we would simply have to evaluate that. 
    I`ll keep everyone updated as this idea begins to solidify. 
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