Thursday, September 13, 2007

the perils of sewing for supervillians

Well, I sold another Harley costume on ebay this week. I was smarter about it this time. I set a reserve and put a Buy It Now price slightly higher than the reserve. And somebody did the Buy It Now. Kind of strange how perceived worth can work in one's favor.

Of course people are still cheapskates. I had a couple of bidders ask whether--if the Reserve was not met--I would offer Second Chance deals to non-winning bidders. I assume that means they were hoping to underbid my reserve and still get a deal for less money. I guess some sellers do this, but since I'm selling something that's not made yet, essentially bartering away my time, I have no incentive to do this. I know everybody wants to get a good deal, especially on something as frivolous as a costume, but if you really want something that bad, cough up the dough.

Similarly, Ebay has a policy against shilling--getting an accomplice to drive up the bid for you. I guess this makes sense, but the bottom line is, either you can afford it at that price or not. And if you can't, maybe you weren't meant to have it. So shilling may be somewhat unethical, but no more than haggling for handmade work when the price is right there in front of you. And if some buyers are deliberately bidding lowball in hopes you'll give it up, and your friend is shilling the bids, but somebody keeps topping the shill, who's really in the wrong? Especially when the Buy It Now option is already there, and one committed fan goes right ahead and scoops it up? Who's the clever one there?

There are indeed those who are willing to pay. I've had at least three emails asking for custom costumes, but I'll probably only have time to do two more before Halloween. One woman wanted hers done in black and silver, so she can wear it to Oakland Raiders games. That sounds like fun to me. I hope she emails me back.

Aside from that, I'd also like to do a Harley Quinn gothic Lolita dress; kind of a little-girl party dress with crinolines underneath and puffy sleeves, only made in red and black. Look cute with fishnets and wrist gloves. I wonder how that would sell. Doubt I'll have time to try it this year.

Anyway, I've sold two costumes and a pattern in the last two weeks, and made about $400. I figure it takes me about 12-15 hours to complete a costume, so I'm still not making a living wage, but in terms of work-hours, my sewing is still more profitable than my writing. And a helluva lot easier to find buyers for.


Anonymous said...

Good to see that you are knocking down the coins, but I figure you have the straight of it about not quitting your day job.

Holly said...

Ha! It would be great if I could expect this kind of business year-round. My husband is threatening to chain me to my workbench until Halloween is over. The sad part is, I'm too busy at work to take time off and be really productive.