Negotiating the Swamp, Part Deux: Selling a Wrap

insioIt’s finally happened. You have to offload a baby carrier. This happens for a few reasons:

  1. You need more money.
  2. You need another carrier.
  3. You need more money to buy another carrier.

It’s okay. Churning happens to the best of us. So do things like, you know, the need to pay your mortgage or electric bill or shamanistic Buddhist doula. But the swamp is a scary, scary place. What if you miss a pulled thread and then the postman smokes all over the wrap and it gets there pulled and smokey and the buyer poops all over your feedback?

It’s not that bad. I promise. Take a few more shots than you would if you were buying, some more if you really love the carrier, and start listing.

Because selling is a little more involved than buying, I’ve broken selling into several posts. First: the preliminaries.

Check your carrier.

Do not skip this step, or you’ll end up refunding a buyer because your husband used a wrap without telling you, and he let the toddler eat a Red Dye 40 Special Popsicle in a back carry. (Sorry, lady who wanted that BBSB of mine.)

  1. Check for stains, spots, suck marks, or discoloration. If you find any, wash according to instructions and check again. Tide-stick or oxyclean if you must, but if you do, don’t label it fragrance-free. If you can’t get it out, take lots of pics and remember to disclose. Small marks or spots, especially if not visible on the carrier, don’t matter so much. Large stains or suck marks will seriously affect your resale value.
  2. Make sure there are no pulled or broken threads, fraying, loose seams, etc. Check everywhere. You can list with these flaws, just make sure you disclose. I usually say they’re there and that I’ll fix before mailing (in the case of wraps).
  3. Measure it with a soft tape in hand (STIH). Make sure it’s the length or size you think it is.
  4. Check for thread shifting, wrinkled hems, loose tags, fraying seams, weaving flaws, slubs, nubs, and curses. Disclose them in minute detail, especially if listing on the Swamp.
  5. Wash it, dry it, and iron it. It’s only polite. De-fur if you have pets.
Do your damn research.

Figure out the market value for your carrier. No, it’s probably not what you paid. You sweated on it, and so did your baby. Assume you’re losing about 10-20% in value, plus shipping.

Yes, you’re eating the shipping. If everyone added shipping to a wrap every time they sold it, there’d be tussah silk ninos out there going for a thousand bucks. So suck it up. Ten bucks shipping is the price you pay to play.

There’s several places to research carrier prices. Start on forums. Search the FSOT threads and see if the same carrier has sold lately. Check the ISO (in search of) forum – you might not have to list at all! It’s against policy on TBW to ask about pricing, by the way. Save that for …

Facebook. That means combing through various swaps. Too lazy? Me too. Just ask your local babywearing group, a brand-specific group, or a general forum like Babywearing Love and Support. Someone will tell you about what the ballpark price should be. Make sure you include any flaws into your equation.

Drop at least five bucks off that, because you don’t want your carrier to sit and sit and sit and sit. Otherwise you have to keep bumping the thread, and it’s a pain in the ass. Seriously. The people who list for purchase price + shipping are the ones bitching that the swap’s slow.

Include shipping and paypal fees in the listed price, unless you’re from Europe. Usually mamas offer to cover the first $10 in international shipping. Usually it’s written as “ppd” – “postage paid”.

Yes, you need good pictures

You need really, really good pictures. These pictures will theoretically only a) catch the eye, and b) prove you own the wrap. However, assume the buyer is a Chinese national unable to access Google for fear of the secret police.

  1. Use a good photo in natural light that shows the wrap more than the baby. Try a pfau pose, or something from behind.
  2. Find a flat pic that shows both sides of the carrier in good lighting.
  3. Do not use bathroom selfies, florescent lighting, flash, or stash shots (unless you’re having a stash sale – and even then you need individual pics).
  4. Include pics of all relevant issues, flaws, or invisible demons. Because you’re going to get asked for them, so take pics now, while you’re good and drunk.
  5. If there’s something special about the carrier – it’s a black tag Didy, or it’s fringed, or an older Ergo, or whatever – take pics of that too. You can never have too many pics on hand.
Make Your Listing

Make it short and sweet. Maker, weave/design/style, material, length/size. Describe the carrier’s condition, typically:

  • BNIB (brand new in box): you didn’t wear or wash. Probably didn’t unfold.
  • BNIB, used once or twice, or washed and not worn. If you touched the wrap, qualify it.
  • EUC (excellent used condition): you used it, but there are no stains, shifting, broken threads, or other issues. An indio or a pull-prone wrap may have a picked thread or two. This is normal.
  • GUC (good used condition): anything less than listed above to super abused but usable.
  • Not for use as a carrier, scrap only, etc.: use under penalty of death or dismemberment.

Add your qualifiers. Buyers want to know about smoking, pets, fragrance and detergent. Don’t forget this, because otherwise people will presume you smoke, and that’s the kiss of death to any sale.

Link to any relevant reviews online, and include a sentence or two about the carrier’s qualities (cushy, thin, thick, etc.). Don’t get wordy. It should read something like this:

FSOT: Didymos Mineral indio, size 5 (4.3m STiH). GUC.  Pretty wrap, thick, toddler-worthy and cushy. $130 ppd in the US, first $10 of int’l shipping. Non-smoking, German Shepherd friendly home.

Oh, Feedback.

You need this. Otherwise people think you’re Jeffrey Dahmer. So get some.

The gold standard for BWing feedback is, and always will be, feedback from the iTrader system on TBW. If your number’s above 50 on there, you’ve been around the block. No, I won’t reveal mine. But it’s firmly in wrap slut status.*

If you don’t have that – and even if you do – you need to get some FayBo feedback. There’s The Babywearing Swap Feedback; Babywearing on a Budget Feedback; and High End Babywearing Feedback. You might only need the relevant one. Or you might need them all because you’re listing in multiple places. Either way, you gotta have something.

  1. Join the designated feedback group.
  2. Make an album with your name on it. Use a picture. You’ll agonize over this for too long, but don’t worry – no one cares about it but you. Link to anything relevant that shows you’re an actual real human (eBay, TBW, some cloth diaper swap, whatevs).
  3. The link to this album is your “feedback” or “feedback link.” You have to post it when you list, either in the original listing or in the first comment. No actual feedback, just a link? List it anyway. Otherwise you’ll be deleted sans merci.
  4. Do this right. Read the rules for how to add feedback on each page, then read them again slowly. Do not f&*( this up. Admins have too much to do to hold your damn hand – someone is selling the same handwoven six times, and someone else is posting pics of a wrap they don’t own in the first place. Go with God, Swap Admins.
  5. Screenshot your feedback every single time you get new feedback. Then when it gets Zucked up and erased again, you won’t be back to default newbie.
Where to List?

Locally. It’s easiest. You save shipping. You likely know the person you’re selling it to. I will always knock 15-25 bucks off a listed price for a local mama. Truth.

My next choice is The forums. They have the best FSOT boards, the best feedback, and the best community on the internet. Sweet admins will help you out. Your listing won’t get immediately buried under an avalanche of others; you can add unlimited pics. And seriously? Carriers sell best on TBW.

You can also list on brand-specific or price-specific pages. Buyers there tend to know what they want. You’re targeting your audience, and that’s always helpful. Some brands will sell quickly on their pages – the Didymos page moves fast – and others will sit. Carriers in the budget range sell more quickly on the Budget Swap than the regular Swap; High End carriers can go either way. Put extra pics in the comments to the original post.

Finally, there’s the site of last resort: the Swa(m)p. It’s not the admins. It’s not the format. It’s the sheer freaking size. The percentage of crazy on the Swamp is probably the same as the percentage of crazy on the rest of the internet. But the Swamp’s so damn big, the crazy’s Texas-sized. That doesn’t mean your carrier won’t sell, or you’re bound to get scammed. It just means it’ll take longer to sell, and you may have to deal with more weird questions than you wanted.

And since the Swamp is so huge, there are very, very strict rules about formatting, bumping your listing, where to post, and number of pics allowed. If you violate these, they will delete your listing. This leads to people posting something like: “U KEEP DELETEING MY POSTS AND I DONT KNOW Y ADMIN PLEASE PM MEEE.” Which just makes the poster look illiterate, because:


Then read them again to make sure.

  • Did I just stash shame myself? Or is “wrap slut” an empowering term? You can argue this out on Facebook if you want. Points to the first person who uses the word “patriarchy”, and bonus points to the first person to misspell “oppression”. First one to work Hitler into it wins #allthethings.

Stay tuned for the next part in “Selling a Carrier” – dealing with buyers, shipping, and disputes.

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