refusing to sell to ebay sellers?

There has been discussion among chart designers about whether to sell to ebay retailers or not. The “no” side claims that being seen on ebay will cheapen their product, while the “yes” side maintains that as long as the reseller has adequate retailer documentation (tax number, etc.) that it shouldn’t matter. I’m on the “yes” side for a number of reasons. As long as a retailer follows my purchasing guidelines, who am I to dictate what they do with my product? (To clarify, I’m only talking about original charts, not illegal copies… that’s a whole ‘nother issue.)

Interestingly enough, there are a few designers who take the time to print on their charts a statement to the effect of “it’s illegal to sell this chart on ebay”. I always wonder what makes them think they can create their own laws… if I printed on my charts, “may not be used as bird cage liner” would that make it illegal to do so? Waste of ink.

Pottery Barn has recently decided to enforce a policy of banning buyers who intend to sell their items on ebay. Obviously PB isn’t in the needlework business, but their policy and the effects it may have their customers is certainly on-topic. Check out this blog post, and read the comments… you’ll get an idea of just how volatile the subject is. It seems as though everyone has an opinion, and each is a strong one.

I agree that ebay has a reputation as “the place to go for cheap stuff”, but would having my charts listed for sale on ebay cheapen MY image? I really don’t think so! I believe that that vast majority of consumers are smart enough to figure out that the brand-holder has little (if anything) to do with the offering of their products on ebay.

Edited: I believe that buying & selling charts on ebay impacts the needlework industry. I am neither advocating nor condemning the sales of needlework charts on ebay, merely wondering aloud about the effects ebay sales have on perceived values and questioning the “rights” of brand-holders to dictate end-user practices.

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6 thoughts on “refusing to sell to ebay sellers?

  1. I have a retail cosmetic store and our company will close our store if we are traced to selling on Ebay. It is to uphold our brand image, to protect the public from used products, and some studio owners actually sell what is termed “lesson material” that they don’t even purchase but use to make a profit. In my store, I also sell Vera Bradley. That company also has a strict policy against the retailers selling on Ebay. The people that sell on Ebay tend to undercut the other retailers. I understand in both of these instances. I guess it would just come down to how you feel personally about the situation.

  2. I think selling on ebay is inevitable. Stitchers tire of stash and sell to be able to indulge in current stashing. I don’t advocate it by any means and I don’t do ebay. However, I do have a story to tell. I had just released A Quaker Floral and someone on my board said, “hey, that new chart is on ebay already”! I was shocked. But would you believe a brand new $8 chart sold on ebay for $25? How sad is that?! I guess it was flattering that someone wanted that chart bad enough to pay such a high dollar for it, but a perfect example of how bad it can be for the industry.

  3. Very interesting point. I don’t think it cheapens the designer’s image or product by any means. I have shopped on Ebay for charts-but usually I’m getting oop charts. As long as they are legitimate charts-or legitimate anything I think people will sell it and people will buy it. Unfortnately, some things are out of our control.

    Hey, you asked me about the heart chart on my blog. It is called my hearts by Ute Senkel-Weinberg, Sticken and Stannen. It is distributed by Caron and uses different walterlilies to complete each heart. Gorgeous in person.

  4. Well I don’t know what to say. I certainly have bought charts on ebay and I’ve also sold charts on ebay. I don’t think it cheapens the industry in any way or fashion. Most of the charts I buy our OOP Prairie Schooler’s, so let me pose a question to you. Why does a publisher or designer “retire” charts. AND if they see a group of people wanting them, why don’t they print them again? I was a young child in the late 70/early 80’s…I didn’t cross stitch nor “stash” at that time, and there’s some charts that PS has that I really want to stitch! I think your post was well thought out and well written, there’s never going to be an answer however.

  5. I think this is an issue of credibility. I suppose no matter how established an eBay seller or online store you are, people still think that you may be selling photocopies. But it’s OK to buy things like clothes, books and toys. It goes to show that the needlework industry has a long way to go in terms of acceptance of new world technology. As for undercutting, it’s not just eBay sellers that undercut brick and mortar retailers. I’m sure you can think of at least one established ONS that holds 20-25% sales on a very frequent basis. JMHO.

  6. I just ordered Glory Fob by Shepherds Bush and read that same warning (may not be resold) on the chart. It is the first time I’ve seen that and wondered how do they enforce it. I have not had ebay sellers order from me but they are getting the charts somewhere, maybe a distributor??? I see my designs in ebay stores all the time. As well as many designers I would have never heard of if it wasn’t for seeing them there. Maybe it’s good advertising??? Nancy

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