Thursday, 31 March 2005

the wonderful world of ebay



I've just spent a horribly frustrating day uploading my new lot of handbags to my ebay shop. I must have some sort of secret complex about it because even after all this time i can never remember the web address and always have to look it up if I need to write it somewhere.

The bags this time are marine-themed. I love making them, but taking the photos, writing descriptions, and wrestling with the crap ebay interface, I do not love.

Ebay is sometimes a painful environment to operate through, especially as I live entirely off the proceeds and it really buggers things up for my finances when somebody gets over-excited and claims a bag, but then they don't pay for it. But I when I'm not actually trying to get some part of it to work properly, I find the whole thing really fascinating, particularly the users, who seem to me to be a whole different demographic that you don't see anywhere else on the internet. That movie The Castle was crap in many ways, but my impression of the typical Australian ebay user is surprisingly close to the people in the Kerrigan family. Lower middle class / working class; not well off or well educated; home oriented; and -- I really like this -- they have their own organic and unselfconscious aesthetics.

Some people in my academic circle have looked at me funny when I've explained to them that I make a living selling my handwork on ebay. I don't tell many people because it's sometimes too hard to explain, and you never really know how much they are going to take in. It may be just what I sell influencing this impression, but I also think ebay (in Australia, at least) is regarded largely a somewhat abject feminine web space. It is so much bound up with the domestic, the homely, with the kids, with budgeting and making ends meet, and with piecework type occupations. Not very macho, not very high-powered. Another reason why I feel comfortable there.

3 comments:

ferrous said...

i just came across your ebay shop & wanted to say how lovely i think your bags are. i particularly like 'capetown'. really gorgeous. i think you're underselling yourself. pity your main forum is ebay where people often expect things to be heap, no matter what the value.

anyway, they're lovely & i just wanted to encourage you & tell you that your bags rock. :-)

btw, i linked to you on my site. :-)

Zoe said...

I have been trawling your archives, coming from Mallrat, and I realise I have one of your little bags, given to me by a friend who let me choose from one of about six.

It is very beautiful and I'm glad you're making a living making them. I've put up a link too.

lynette said...

You know, it might have been just the stage of Ebay's development in Australia when you were on it that's given you that perspective. I live in the UK and bought several of your bags after a friend told me about them. Over here, Ebay is mainstream now and in the US, well, it's pretty much the default department store from what my friends living there tell me. There was a stat in the newspaper the other day that 1 in 5 shopping hours in the UK was online, and Ebay are one of the biggest drivers of that. I'd guess it's nothing like that yet in Australia, but give it time.... It's only been in the past few months on Ebay in Australia that I've noticed some decent (ie: top quality but therefore also higher priced) stuff be listed in Ebay in Australia in the categories I follow. I think if you tried selling on Ebay in another year or two the designer fashion side might have caught up too. I also often wondered why you didn't list your bags on the Ebay.com site, in US$. Much much much bigger market and your bags are cheap to post and airmail is only a week these days. (Even though in theory your Australian listings would have shown up there, it would only have been among the minority of sellers who selected to search worldwide, which would be probably 5% if you're lucky. Default setting is of course to search only in your home country.)