Are customized transformers a good seller?

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by fun15power, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. fun15power

    fun15power Well-Known Member

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    I've decided to take up a hobby of customizing transformers and selling them. Are customized transformers a good seller?
     
  2. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood Prototype Black

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    Yes, they can be. It all depends on a number of factors, though: (1) skill, (2) name recognition, (3) what character you're making, and (4) the current market for it. There are other factors, but these are the most important ones that come to mind. Also, eBay is probably the best way to sell your custom Transformers. And when listing, be sure to do so as an auction with $0.99 as the starting bid. You want potential bidders to think they have a chance of winning. Expensive BIN prices and setting reserves right off the bat are likely to turn lots of people off, which increases the likelihood of your custom not selling.
     
  3. OMEGAPRIME1983

    OMEGAPRIME1983 Well-Known Member

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    It depends on you really. You're name needs to get out there, the quality needs to be there as well. If you keep at it, then you can probably make decent money at it, but it takes time.. a lot of time..
     
  4. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood Prototype Black

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    It's also going to take a lot of tries before you start seeing it as being something potentially lucrative. A lot of people think they can randomly slap some paint on a figure and that it'll automatically go for thousands of dollars a la Jin Saotome or frenzyrumble (a very common misconception), but even they had to start out small.
     
  5. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm OriginalRotorstorm Fanboy

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    It depends on quite a few things, popularity of character, rarity, demand, and quality of work.

    It's not a way to make a living though. You should customise because you enjoy it rather than because it makes you money.

    take the Lugnut in my sig for example, a lot of work went into it and it sold for about £60 in the end, I don't mind as it was originally made for myself but i decided i needed the money more. with the money I got though I was able to make another one for myself and some bits and pieces for other projects.
     
  6. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood Prototype Black

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    There are guys that have quit their day jobs to customize and have managed to be somewhat successful, but that all depends on a myriad of factors. I personally wouldn't recommend it, but the extra money can be really good if you already have a main source of income.

    Also, you're going to get a lot of guff from others if you try to utilize your skills just to make money. I know there are people that believe you should only customize for the love of the craft. While it can be very enjoyable, I see nothing wrong with someone utilizing a skill to make money. If there's a demand for something that people are willing to pay a premium for, why shouldn't you try to take advantage of it if you have the skills and materials at your disposal?
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  7. fun15power

    fun15power Well-Known Member

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    I enjoy customizing. Making a toy look better than it originally did. After it's done I can only just play with it or admire it. I just don't keep the ones I don't want.
     
  8. fun15power

    fun15power Well-Known Member

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    I love customizing. Making a toy look better than it originally did. I just don't keep the ones I don't really want.
     
  9. grimlock1972

    grimlock1972 "No Mas" My Wallet

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    yes and no. it greatly depends on the skill of the customizer, as a bad custom will not sell and a great custom will sell better than a good one.

    name recognition helps certainly but if you produce an awesome custom collectors will take notice especially if you share your work in progress on a fan site.

    Popular characters can be a huge help in making a profit on a custom, but be warned you will have to deal with more competition when going this route.

    In the end like cars most people who build custom Transformers or have them built for them are not likely to do more than break even on what it cost them.

    it also helps to keep an eye on the news as to avoid competing with new hastak and 3rd party figures coming out, For example Giant and Hercules have really killed demand for Devastator customs.
     
  10. Avengers

    Avengers Banned

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    it depends on skill,neatness,prices of meterials,reputation. method of customizing & what toys get used in the custom.
     
  11. RKillian

    RKillian http://www.rktoyandhobby.com

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    Price is a huge factor in getting those customers more interested in a cool toy than a prestige piece by so-and-so. I once hired a guy repaint an extra Alternator Frenzy into Rumble. It turned out really nice and, because he was reasonably priced (I think I paid in the neighborhood of $50 and provided the original toy), I would definitely hire him again if I had the extra money.
     
  12. Cyclonus79

    Cyclonus79 Decepticon General

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    Pretty much what everybodys been saying here. I buy alot of Customs , an i also send alot of my pieces out to get customized by some of my sources. I have ALOT of trust in them. They keep me posted on there progress , an we constantly email throughout the customization of the figure. Sometimes we run into issues with either paints , or materials or even likeness. ( im a very stubborn collector an i change my mind on things constantly ). They all know me , they know my style , an they know in the end they get paid well. You really have to get a feel for the pieces your doing. It becomes more like a piece of art , if your able to make a Masterpiece everytime you finish a figure , then you may very well make some good money for yourself.
     
  13. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    This is about the best, concise answer for this inquiry. :thumb 

    Agreed. Also . . . .

    . . . .don't let the "pro" customs show fool you, as I see far too many problems where artists don't communicate well and leave people hanging and all way behind on their work when they take on commissions. eBay is the best way to go, and even then it can be a gamble since the custom hasn't been created for someone's demand specifically.

    I'd say it's a decent way to make some extra bucks, but as far as anyone quitting their day job? No. :lol 

    I think the main thing there is for the artist to be a fan of these characters and this brand first. Many people can read through an artist and their work that simply operates just to make money, as much of the essence of the subject matter is often lost. A good artist will know these characters and brand backwards and forwards as well as being a very skilled craftsman/businessman to be successful.
     
  14. Zildjian

    Zildjian Well-Known Member

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    Not sure how to interpret this SQ7. Kind of feels like a shot at people that sell customs, as well as a gross generalization of all customizers that consider themselves "pro".

    Now, my take. As most people have said you are going to have 10x more flops when starting out then good sales. The key is to refine your skills and define a niche in the community. You need to offer something special to stand out.
     
  15. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood Prototype Black

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    Piggy-backing off of Z's notion of niches...

    Back between 2008 and 2010, a custom Devastator auction on eBay (if done well) would generate a few thousand dollars in bids. Because of TFC and MakeToys, the demand for a custom Devastator has dwindled. If you try posting a custom Devastator, it'll either sit or it'll perform horribly.

    However, if you tackle a combiner project that none of the 3rd Party groups are offering, you're more likely to generate some serious interest.
     
  16. frenzyrumble

    frenzyrumble Banned

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    While at times it's lots o' fun, many other times it's not.

    It's possible, yes. I've been doing it as my sole source of income for the past 5 years, while supporting a family too...but it's VERY difficult and VERY stressful. There have been many times it's been quite lucrative, but other times it is not. A key factor is persistence and patience. Without these, you'll jump ship quickly.

    To run any business successfully, it take a lot more than just being good at your craft.
     
  17. frenzyrumble

    frenzyrumble Banned

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    I disagree here. There's usually many good reasons to why "pro" customizers are doing customs regularly. I am sure there are communication issues many times, but that's often understandable given the nature of the craft.

    ebay on the other hand is tough. There's countless shady things going on there, and ultimately, if doing a custom to appeal to someone's specific wants/needs for their collection / favorites, it's always better to have something custom built aka commission.
     
  18. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    My comment refers to those who are trying to sell their customs for money and don't make good on what they agree upon. Mainly my post is referring to those who want to consider themselves as "pro" yet they're not professional enough to keep a good line of communication going and fulfill what is agreed upon. "Gross generalization"? Hardly that even. If you note the portion I quoted plus my post, I'd think that's evident to see. Z, I don't recall seeing or knowing of any problems with the way you operate, so I don't think there is anything I've said that should offend you. Also, I'd like to think that the community here can clearly see that if someone is able to successfully sell their work, I'm one to encourage that.

    Commissions can work well if the artist communicates progress well and does what's agreed upon. As far as communication issues, I'm not seeing a whole lot of scenarios that would prevent an artist from being able to communicate with clients. An artist can always send out a mass notice to clients to inform them of communication issues. Communication is paramount, even more so than one's "skills".

    eBay certainly can be tough (and so can commission work), as I already noted. Shilling is a common practice, as well as other shady things that may go on. Also, the artist in this case is a "fine artist" versus a "graphic artist", since the former looks popular trends and such versus creating things on demand.

    Regardless, making something like this one's "full-time career" is still not something I could recommend, especially from everything I've observed.

    If anything, what I believe I'd recommend an artist doing is to either try to become their own toymaker (and even then, it may end up being a second job of sorts. See ref. Fansproject and co.), or taking the route to work for an established manufacturer.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  19. deliciouspeter

    deliciouspeter Back in Black TFW2005 Supporter

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    It's like asking if making music will sell. The right combination of practice, talent and hard work will help, but not guarantee success.

    My advice is just do it, and worry about the money later. Don't compare yourself to any other customizer (artist) out there. Follow your own path. Hone your skills, practice a lot, and if there is demand for your work, customers will find you.
     

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