Dean O'Brien's Blog

Getting photography work through ebay…and an old Lambretta

with 2 comments

Its no secret that I buy and sell loads of items on ebay.  In fact many people are giving up their full time jobs to trade on ebay full time.  That has never been my ambition but I can see the benefits.  Obviously the key thing to selling on ebay is having a unique product or a usp (unique selling point).

There was a massive trend in scooters a few years ago when the likes of Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene and Blur started getting spotted riding or using them to promote albums etc..All of a sudden Lambretta scooter prices started to rocket.  A genuine Italian fully restored Lambretta TV200 could fetch £10,000.  In fact, I was the first person to sell one at that price through ebay.  Not everybody could afford a scooter at that price but obviously still wanted merchandise to be associated with that scene.  I decided to produce some enamel badges and keyrings using the Lambretta Innocenti logo.  This was rare and unique.  The badges were only costing me 40p each and they were being sold using the ‘Buy it now’ system on ebay for £6.50.  Hardly a champagne lifestyle, but it was the pure convenience that made this interesting.  The profits were great as the items only needed a first class stamp to be posted so packaging was simple.  The real beauty of this however was that I was making money whilst I was sleeping.  Some mornings I would wake up having sold 50.  I was being paid instantly through Paypal so there was no problems with waiting for cheques to clear etc..

Fast forward four years and I no longer sell the badges through ebay or the key rings.  The design was copied, I was undercut on the price and decided to move on to other things.  I did learn a valuable lesson though.  Keep it simple.  Thats why it was a success.  Paypal is revolutionary for the average person on the street.  Years ago you would have needed a proper business with a credit card machine to take payment.  Thats is no longer the case.  This is open season for anyone to make money who has ambition with an idea.

So how am I making money through ebay using photography?  It fell into my lap.  I was selling a Lambretta scooter on ebay a month ago.  A guy gets in touch with me from Holland asking if I could email him the hi-res images as he wanted to restore a similar scooter.  I replied and explained that I was actually a photographer and that if he was prepared to pay me £20 through Paypal  I would mail him a cd with 60 images on.  He was over the moon and paid instantly.  After receiving the cd he has since been in touch and has requested another cd at the same price but of a different scooter.  Okay, its hardly worth quitting my degree for but its a start to earning money through my images.  Below is one of the images which were on the cd which I supplied to the customer.  They probably wont seem that appealing, but to somebody restoring a scooter, its all in the detail.


Written by Dean O'Brien

May 15, 2010 at 10:29 am

2 Responses

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  1. Only fools and horses I think.:)

    Nice one Dean

    Rick Medlock

    May 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm

  2. Haha, Nice one Delboy
    Joined E-bay way back April 1st 2000, bought such random things from a Coin-op Pool table to printer cables.
    I’m constantly surprised by what people buy.
    Could also possibly be a way of selling limited edition prints.

    The devil is always in the detail!


    Harpreet Khara

    May 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm

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