Making it Easier to Buy and Sell Indy Decks

For general questions and comments regarding the production and distribution of Indy decks.
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fractalgranny
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Re: Making it Easier to Buy and Sell Indy Decks

Post by fractalgranny » 16 Nov 2017, 09:08

Your Cult of Weimar is a beautiful deck! And seeing that I'm German myself, have lived in Berlin, and have always been fascinated by that epoch, I just bought the deck!

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Joan Marie

Re: Making it Easier to Buy and Sell Indy Decks

Post by Joan Marie » 16 Nov 2017, 10:36

fractalgranny wrote:
16 Nov 2017, 09:08
Your Cult of Weimar is a beautiful deck! And seeing that I'm German myself, have lived in Berlin, and have always been fascinated by that epoch, I just bought the deck!
Oh that was you! Thank you so much. I will send it out first thing in the morning!
(not to get too far off topic, but I went just yesterday to this amazing museum exhibit.)

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Nemia
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Re: Making it Easier to Buy and Sell Indy Decks

Post by Nemia » 16 Nov 2017, 11:27

Wow, that looks great! I'll be in Germany soon and hope I'll have the time to see this exhibition! That must have been a feast for you :-)

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Egg of Blue
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Re: Making it Easier to Buy and Sell Indy Decks

Post by Egg of Blue » 23 Nov 2017, 11:02

<t>Oh boy, just wrote a long post and when I highlighted part of it to cut, it froze and I lost in all *sad face*<br/>
<br/>
I've actually had some other troubles too in that I set up this account, made a few posts when you were doing the brainstorming thread, but for some number of weeks now my account was deleted. I tried to log in and it said no such email, so such name, etc - even though I know it was right as I had the original email from signing up. Since I was so confused as to why my account got deleted, I gave up on posting even when I wanted to. It maybe was because that whole thread had disappeared too for some reason? But decided to set up a new account today - and it said the email was in use, so I tried again and this account is now restored. So strange!<br/>
<br/>
Will try to create a fraction of what I wrote again - this time saving drafts!</t>

Hmm, saved a draft and went back. I hope these weird formatting tags disappear when I post.

So as mentioned, for me the biggest problem with distribution is the high cost of international shipping and customs. Because my decks and books (Tabula Mundi, Rosetta, and their related full size guidebooks) are fairly substantial weight wise, when I first started all I could offer for shipping was flat rate Priority, as they were over the weight limit or weighed so much it wasn't enough of a savings to do otherwise. But things have changed as now First Class now comes with tracking, and if I package things right, I can get them shipped First class and save people some money. So I just started offering that. For a deck and book set, from US to Australia, instead of $33.95 shipping it costs about $22. Still a lot of money, I know, but a good deal less, and now still with tracking.

First class actually, at least since I just started offering it which admittedly is only recently, seems to go through faster as maybe it does not attract customs as much. *Fingers crossed, knock wood*

Customs is the worst, and there is not much I can legally do about it. I get requests to mark things "gift" or with ridiculously low values, but I don't feel I can do it. Since I use a shipping software the brand is right on the label, and customs can see it is a commercial package and just go right to the website to verify values. It would not fool anyone if they were inclined to look into it even a little. I know some sellers do this, or so I'm told by those who request it ("so and so does this, why won't you?" arg) I feel bad because I just have a lower tolerance for risk, and I have a constitution that handles stress poorly so while I would love to mark their package to save them out of potentially being charged a few extra dollars, I'd rather do things right and not have anxiety over it. Since I have a few times been asked to provide proof to customs I think it is only a matter of time before those who do that get the same.

I wish I could sell on Amazon internationally, but for the life of me I cannot figure out how to, as I'd need to pay the customs myself, have a VAT account, and a physical location in the country. Wish I knew how to do that, so people could save on taxes and shipping.

All I can do is keep my prices reasonable, which I really try to do. Rosetta is $39 and Tabula Mundi is $50 (it is bigger cards and has holograms). I don't believe in gouging or that luxury items are only for the rich. These are numbered decks, with hand made touches, in hard boxes lined with silk, not just tuck boxes. They cost a lot less than many other Indy decks I'm seeing out there at $80-90. I try to make artistic quality decks more people can afford even if international shipping is factored in. I hope that helps offset it - and now that I have First Class shipping available, that is more affordable too.
This is of the 4: there is a fifth who is invisible, & therein am I as a babe in an egg.

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Re: Making it Easier to Buy and Sell Indy Decks

Post by Joan Marie » 23 Nov 2017, 12:19

Hi- Sorry about the technical problems. I can promise you, we don't delete accounts, especially not yours! I will look into this and see if I can figure out what happened. That is strange. But in any case I'm glad your back!

That is some hefty postage you're paying. Is it cheaper to send books if you write "Book" on the package? I realise there is also a deck in there but the real weight of the package is the book. I thought the post office gave a break on that.

You never quite know what all goes into the price people set for their work.

Your decks sound beautiful.

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CharlotteK
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Re: Making it Easier to Buy and Sell Indy Decks

Post by CharlotteK » 23 Nov 2017, 14:56

Egg of Blue wrote:
23 Nov 2017, 11:02
These are numbered decks, with hand made touches, in hard boxes lined with silk, not just tuck boxes. They cost a lot less than many other Indy decks I'm seeing out there at $80-90. I try to make artistic quality decks more people can afford even if international shipping is factored in. I hope that helps offset it - and now that I have First Class shipping available, that is more affordable too.
The Tabuli Mundi is fantastic and for the price you charge it is exceptional value! The shipping and customs to UK were incredibly high but that's very much out of your control and very much the norm with imported decks. I realised this would be an expense but I still bought the deck and book - both were worth every penny. I hope you do make something decent from selling your decks because you must have put in a huge amount of energy and time into creating them.

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2dogs
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Re: Making it Easier to Buy and Sell Indy Decks

Post by 2dogs » 24 Nov 2017, 01:39

Welcome back :wave: . You might get a few formatting tags left if you use View/Edit Draft rather than Load Draft which runs the normal editor :icon_idea: .
If the Lord Almighty had consulted me before embarking on creation thus, I should have recommended something simpler. Alfonso X (the Wise)

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Re: Making it Easier to Buy and Sell Indy Decks

Post by Joan Marie » 24 Nov 2017, 08:43

Egg of Blue wrote:
23 Nov 2017, 11:02
I wish I could sell on Amazon internationally, but for the life of me I cannot figure out how to, as I'd need to pay the customs myself, have a VAT account, and a physical location in the country. Wish I knew how to do that, so people could save on taxes and shipping.
This thread has gotten a bit bogged down by the old shipping bugaboo. A huge issue, for sure.

But Egg of Blue brings up another interesting topic here, What about using Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, etc. as a distribution channel?

What are your experiences with that? What's working for you? What isn't?

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Egg of Blue
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Re: Making it Easier to Buy and Sell Indy Decks

Post by Egg of Blue » 24 Nov 2017, 09:15

Joan Marie wrote:
23 Nov 2017, 12:19
Hi- Sorry about the technical problems. I can promise you, we don't delete accounts, especially not yours! I will look into this and see if I can figure out what happened. That is strange. But in any case I'm glad your back!

That is some hefty postage you're paying. Is it cheaper to send books if you write "Book" on the package? I realise there is also a deck in there but the real weight of the package is the book. I thought the post office gave a break on that.

You never quite know what all goes into the price people set for their work.

Your decks sound beautiful.
Hi Joan Marie, no need to go looking as all is well now and I am just glad to be back. I like this forum and your new newsletter looks great!

To answer your question, writing "books" does not help with shipping internationally, at least with USPS as there is no more international media mail, only media mail in US. At least last time I looked into it. And media mail takes a long long time even in US, and only for books not decks. Also while it is true that certain countries may not charge customs on books, others do, and I have tried honestly marking forms saying "book with cards" or "book deck set" or even marking them as separate items "book" and "cards" and they still get the fee so I don't get it!

My guidebooks are 240-250 pages each, and while the Rosetta deck in its box weighs the same as a book, the larger Tabula Mundi deck weighs more than a book. In the box with the LWB and the extra 14 optional cards that deck weighs almost a pound, before any packing materials. Cards are more Thoth sized and on good stock so they just have weight. Surprisingly they are not thick though, normal thickness not like a brick.

I want to thank Charlotte for your comment, and 2dogs (that name cracks me up) for the tip on draft saving and editing!

I hope there is some discussion from those with experience on sites like Amazon Ebay and Etsy. I am planning on trying Etsy, have wanted to for years as I make lots of creative things. While I think set up for all those is probably straight forward, they don't solve the international shipping/tax issue like setting up Amazon in other countries would. I suspect that may be out of reach for very small creators like me though. I hope to find out I am wrong about that!
Am looking forward to hear from others about what works, and what they wish they had known in hindsight, etc.
This is of the 4: there is a fifth who is invisible, & therein am I as a babe in an egg.

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Nemia
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Re: Making it Easier to Buy and Sell Indy Decks

Post by Nemia » 24 Nov 2017, 09:36

Well, all I sold on Etsy was jewelry for some years and it made the whole process quite easy. I have bought a number of decks there, too, and I like Etsy both as seller and as buyer.

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