According to Ilana DeBare, it’s all about “branding” and “positioning” and relationships with current distribution channels.
Q:I am a sculptor and sell my pieces of garden statuary through several Internet sites and retail stores. Now someone has offered to sell my sculptures on eBay. Should I charge the same wholesale price to the stores, the online sites and this eBay vendor?
– Oakland Artist
A:It’s standard practice to charge the same wholesale prices to all kinds of retailers, according to Gwendolyn Wright, a small-business finance expert with the Wright Consultants in San Francisco.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re Internet or brick-and-mortar stores. It’s typically the same wholesale price,” Wright said.
Make sure that the wholesale price covers your costs and labor, and that your sculptures are priced competitively with similar items by other artists.
But think twice before venturing into this eBay arrangement. Your current retailers may not be happy about seeing your sculptures on sale there, presumably for less than they are charging. They may even want to stop carrying your items.
Listing your sculptures on eBay could also inadvertently tarnish them with an image of being cheap “bargain” items.
“Some people think that being on eBay dilutes the value of their brand,” Wright said. “Think about how you want to position yourself. You can’t sell to everyone. Are you a Neiman-Marcus product or a Target product? Branding is critical.”