Tips for selling on Tindie - My year and why I decided to stop
How I got started
In late 2016 I bought one of Spencer Owen’s popular RC2014 Z80 computer kits. Spencer himself sells his kits on Tindie. After assmbling the computer, I had an idea for a board of my own, a YM sound card. I made my own sound card, and after getting it working on breadboard I got some PCBs made. The cheapest PCBs are available from China, but minimum quantity is usually 5 or 10. I therefore ended up with a large number of additional PCBs! At first I decided to sell these to other members of the RC2014 forums, but eventually tracking the address details and taking payments became a bit of a chore. At this point I moved over to Tindie.
Good points about my year selling on Tindie
- Learnt about video production, kdenlive, YouTube etc
- Learnt about PCB design - before I started on this I had no idea even what a via was!
Tips for those planning on selling on Tindie
Is Tindie the best place to sell your product?
I’ve heard of Tindie described as etsy for DIY electronics and I think this sums it up pretty well. If your product is electronics based, and supplied in kit form, it will probably fit in well. Don’t expect to find any community or get any organic discovery simply from listing your product however. There is pretty much no community (check the forums, they’re dead) and I didn’t get any organic discovery from people finding products on the platform.
Determine what your postage rates should be for most users.
In the UK Royal Mail divides the world up into a limited number of areas so it’s possible to price for the entire world without too much effort. If you don’t have everywhere covered there is the possibility you will lose sales as users have to request a price.
Have great documentation.
From required parts list to assembly instructions, ensure that users can help themselves. Doing this up front will greatly reduce the amount of effort you have to expend on supporting those who buy your products.
Some countries postal systems are extremely slow.
Canada for me is the stand out here - despite being not much further in terms of distance, shipping to Canada takes far longer for deliveries to arrive than the USA. Far longer than the royal mail estimates would suggest! On one occasion I shipped a replacement product when it would have been better to advise the person to wait on longer.
Publicise as best you can
Publicise your product as best you can on social media, blogs, YouTube etc to drum up sales. As previously mentioned it is very unlikely people will find your product simply by stumbling across it.
Packaging materials can be bought very cheaply on bulk
Jiffy bags, antistatic bags and other supplies can be bought very cheaply in bulk online.
Take note of how large your package is
Significant cost savings can be made by ensuring that your parcel is under the large letter size (in the UK), or at least no larger than it needs to be.
Why I ultimately decided to stop selling on Tindie
I’d never really intended to get into the retro computer parts business, and was selling the items for only a very small profit. Ultimately, the amount of time I was spending packing items, standing in queues at the post office and the responding to support queries didn’t justify the small amount of money I was making. This was OK to start with but eventually started to grate. When not doing my day job, I want to be spending my time on fun new projects, but was stuffing envelopes and answering queries. Once my stocks exhausted I called it a day and marked the products as retired, and breathed a sigh of relief!