Oh my, do I love Ebay or what ! It’s not only the promise of snaring a bargain , it’s the possibilities of viewing a whole matter of interesting,beautiful, strange and rare objects from around the world at the touch of the button. It’s like a glimpse into the past and the future , the forgotten and cherished . From boats and diamonds to Dior dress patterns and 100 year old German banknotes ,Ebay has something for everyone.
I’ve developed plenty of temporary obsessions on my journey through this cyberspace auction house : depression glass , 50’s & 60’s bijoux crystal jewelry , vintage wiggle dresses ,crystal glassware , taxidermy insects , vintage fur ,100 year old animal lithography , retro danish fabrics ,vintage table mirrors, numbered silk screens ,mid century lighting and semiprecious gold rings – just to name a few. When people tell me -” Ebay? But I have no idea how to do that! ” – I am torn between being kinda selfishly glad (ha,ha, more for me! ) and being sad that they are not experiencing the wonders of this incredible idea. Since I’m all about good karma I’m going to share some tips with you here.
1. JOIN UP
Sounds straight forward right? Most people , however groan at this as if it is an impossible feat, yet if you have an email address you can join in under 5 minutes.( www.ebay.com )
If you are familiar with Paypal and you’ve already mastered this you are through the boring stuff and free to start browsing. If not you must join Paypal first. Most sellers only accept Paypal and there is no way around it. I can just see my mum narrowing her eyes into : “this is some sort of a scam to get my money” kinda way, but no. Paypal is extremely useful for lots of other transactions, completely safe and actually a great benefit as it offers insurance in the (rare) case your order goes missing in the mail. If you have a bank account you can have Paypal. Just go to www.paypal.com
– So you love Isabel Marant? Try going to the French version of Ebay for the largest selection. Versace more your thing? Try the Italian Ebay. However you might need to speak the language to benefit. I mostly go to the American version as they have the widest scope of things.
-Beware of fakes. If the price sounds too good to be true, then it is. Obviously a pair of Louboutin heels is not going to miraculously cost $100 unless they are well used and a Gucci bag won’t be 40$. Ebay is not completely authentic , it is a market place like any other and it’s up to you, the buyer, to be discriminate.
-Ebay can be incredible for finding stuff after it has sold out everywhere. Sure the seller might mark it up a little but if you really want it that desperately you will be overjoyed. It is also great for getting pieces from things like Marni x H&M without wallowing in terrible cues or worse, not even having that store in your country !
-Know your stuff, ask questions.A good seller will answer them in detail.
-Only buy from verified sellers with high feedback scores.
-For maximum security on high cost items only buy from platinum powersellers that offer money back guarantees
So you love vintage clothes/shoes/accessories/jewellery? You have come to the right place . Ebay is like a super warehouse of all your favourite things , without the bad moth ball smell.
– Look for the condition of the outfit. Most sellers will have a gradient scale from A+ for Excellent to just Good or Used. Look at the detail pictures, ask questions. The seller doesn’t want a bad feedback if you are unhappy with the purchase.
– Be specific. What would you like to find? An orange polyester 70s turtleneck or a silk green 50s dress ? Or was that a vintage 9 carat gold amethyst ring? The more specific you are the more you narrow the search to what you really want.
– On the other hand randomly searching “pink plastic flamingo”, “green tiger” or some other outlandish term can truly be enlightening , educational and immensely fun.
– Do not be fooled by terms like “Vintage Inspired”, “Vintage Style” etc. This is not true vintage, just a poor reproduction of the good stuff.
-If you are buying vintage jewellery make sure you know your brands. If you don’t , do Google them. If there are no brands and you are buying antique jewellery do make sure that the seller has high scores and a lot of feedback. Read the feedback ! Also look for keywords like “solid gold”, “all natural gemstones”, “estate”, “art deco” etc. There are amazing antique pieces to be uncovered.
So you are worried that gorgeous dress you have your eye on just won’t fit? Or those shoes will turn out to be a size too big? These are genuine concerns, and despite everything , sometimes things go wrong. But following the below rules you will minimise your chances of things going awry by 99%!
– When buying clothes take every measurement you can. You need to take into account not only your bust/waist/hip measurements but also shoulder, lenght (arms, legs, complete lenght) depending on the item. A good seller will provide you with all these and more if you ask.
– When buying shoes , it pays to know which size you are in which designer brand. For example , Gucci runs true to size whereas Givenchy runs small. I err on the size of caution and get an insole measurement from the seller. Measure your sole, compare -shop! Easy.
– Unless the item of clothing is made out of all over sequin, feather or some other exotic fabric , it pays to take it to a tailor afterward to get a perfect fit. I have bought numerous dresses that were a little big and kinda meh when first tried on, but take it to a good tailor and that unexciting purchase can turn into full on va va voom that hugs your every curve. This is why it pays to look for beautiful fabrics in your buys.
– You think all this is too much trouble and way too expensive? Think again. You can find a gorgeous one of a kind dress that no one in town will have for $40 onward , then tailor it for around $40 – $60. It still ends up being an affordable dress with a bonus of fitting you just right! And you will never have that awkward moment again where you turn up to a party wearing the same thing as another girl..
I am a shameless sniper ! An Ebay sniper is someone who waits until the last minute to bid their highest price thus taking all the other bidders by shock and snaring a bargain without driving that price up. Snipers wait patiently for days, sometimes weeks not letting any of the other parties know they are interested in the item. By not bidding incrementally like others you are but a fly on a wall no one notices – until the last minute that is when you swipe that gorgeous thing right under their noses! As a Sniper all you need to do is keep an eye on your favourite items on your Watch list and bide your time. However this approach has it’s downfalls . Your special dress might finish auction at 3 am. What will you do? Drink endless cups of coffee and stare bleary eyed at the computer till then? Set your alarm for some ungodly hour? No ! I have done this and it’s not fun. There are companies that will snipe for you. Some of them will even do it for free! Put in your highest price and they will drop it in the mix like hotcakes , seconds before the auction ends. Shock and awe.
Bidnip.com (5 free snipes)
auctionsentry.com(free 10 day trial)
Bidnapper.com (14 day free trial)
Voilá! There you go. That’s my tips on successful shopping on Ebay. I will post this with a heavy heart – is Ebay big enough for all of us?