Thursday, August 20, 2015

eBay: A Brief Guide for Cosplayers

The truth about cosplay is that eventually you are going to have to buy things for it. I know. The worst part of anything is having to hand over them hard-earned dollars. The good news: there are a lot of ways to make the spending hurt a little less. The place that I most often find myself coming back to is eBay. From experience, I know it can be intimidating at first, so here is a brief guide to help make that first step easier.

What do I buy? 

Remember last week when I talked about buy vs. make cosplays? I buy a lot of my items for my “buy” cosplays on eBay. I also look at eBay first for things I just simply can’t make myself, or things I’m going to modify. Here is just a brief list of things I have bought on eBay:
  • Wigs 
  • Gloves 
  • Tights 
  • Shoes 
  • Jewelry 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Shorts 
Buy vs. Auction 

The first thing you need to decide is if you want to do “Buy it now” or try to win a bidding war on an “Auction” item. I often bid on auction items when I know I have time to wait for an item, and if I don’t win I will have more time to look. Always know what the MOST money you are willing to pay for something before you do this, so you know your spending limit.

For buy it now items I spend a decent amount of time researching all my options before deciding what I want. These are pretty self-explanatory because you pick what you want and purchase it. I also look for items that say “Or Best Offer” because you can usually haggle the price down a few more dollars.

Item Location 

If you have time to wait a few weeks to get what you need buying from vendors in Asia is always your best bet for getting your item for less. When I don’t have time to wait I usually look for items on the same continent or within the US because they will usually arrive within days rather than weeks.

Vendor Rating

Check that vendor rating before you buy! If a vendor has a lot of bad reviews there is a reason. This may sound like I’m repeating myself, but if a vendor has bad reviews it is probably because they are not good. How else can I make you understand? Don’t buy from vendors with bad reviews! Also, vendors with more reviews are good because that means they have a bigger presence on the site. If they have a good rating and lots of reviews even better.

A few final tips:
  • GET THE APP! It makes things so much easier. Especially for the last 15 minutes of auctions! 
  • I always look for free shipping first
  • Don’t be afraid to send a question to a vendor. If they want your money they are willing to answer your questions. If they won’t answer find someone else
  • Buy from vendors that abide by eBay’s money back guarantee policy, and return items that aren’t what you paid for.
  • Be open-minded.
  • Always leave good feedback when you get an item you’re happy with. 
  • Have fun! I have started several cosplays simply because I have found wigs I want to wear. 
Thanks for having me this month, and don’t forget to check out my own website and blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest as Sadie by Design.

The vendor I used as an example is one of my favorite on ebay, Wig Fashion.