How to sell bizarre items on eBay for charity

Howard Lake | 15 November 2012 | Blogs

It’s one thing creating the world’s largest bra, it’s quite another working out what to do with it afterwards. That was exactly the quandary we found ourselves in here at Chillisauce, having draped the bright pink brassiere across ITV tower on the banks of the Thames to raise awareness for Breast Cancer Campaign’s Wear It Pink day.

It gained plenty of attention but we didn’t want it to end there and so came up with the idea of auctioning off the world record breaking undergarment. Of course, selling a bra with a bust size bigger than a blue whale is no mean feat. Nevertheless, we successfully sold it for a whopping £3,601, with the proceeds going to the charity and earning them extensive media coverage in the process. Here are some tips we picked up along the way on how to sell bizarre items on eBay:

Unusual items need unusual promotion

Your average eBay shopper isn’t ordinarily looking for gigantic curios. The advice from the experts at eBay is that bizarre items struggle to sell in an auction. This giant 13ft fibreglass model of funnyman Jimmy Carr’s head, for example, failed to attract a single bid. We ignored their advice and ploughed on anyway – successfully – but remember you’ll have to do things a little differently to make sure as many people as possible hear about it.


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Make the title clear and include the charity name

In a charity sale you want to raise as much money as possible, but also to keep the campaign name in the limelight. Make it clear what the item is in your title, but include the charity name too, this attract bidders who are more inclined to get involved for a good cause.

Set it up as an eBay for Charity item

Don’t end up giving away chunks of the cash in eBay fees, the eBay for Charity system ensures 100 per cent of the final sale price goes to the cause. You will need to make sure the registered charity you are working with adds you as one of their approved sellers.

Keep it light

If you’re selling something to raise a smile then try and make people laugh in the item description too. Maintain a sense of humour when you write your item description, as we did here, but make sure you include the basics – what it is, what it’s for and how you will get it to them.

Beware the bargain hunters

People browse eBay looking for bargains so make sure you set a high reserve price – we started at £500 – as you don’t want the charity’s golden goose going for 24p.

Give it time to sell

Give the auction time to gather speed, gain attention and hopefully go viral. Set it for 10 days to give those intrigued would-be buyers plenty of time to get their bids in.

Keep out the riff-raff

You don’t want bogus bids ruining the auction. We set up pre-approval for bidders to make sure all the bids were genuine.

A picture is worth a thousand words

While the item description is crucial, nothing says it better than a picture of a fluorescent 30m bra hanging from a tower blog. Include top quality pics to really do your bizarre offering justice.

Location, location, location

If your giant celebrity head might attract collectors on the other side of the Atlantic, make sure you open the auction up to the world. Give buyers the option to pay for global postage and the item will show up on eBay sites in other countries too.

Shout about it

If you’re selling something ‘specialist’ then you need to raise attention beyond the confines of eBay itself. Send press releases with good photos to relevant media and make contact with bloggers, asking them to link to the auction in anything they publish. We set up a separate website for the item twith everything the press might need. Keep everyone updated too, for example the sale price will keep the story alive even when the auction has ended. Social media is crucial as well, one-of-a-kind items are perfect for going viral on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.

Michael Chidzey is the Head of Digital Marketing at Chillisauce, which is famous for organising corporate events, parties & launches, experiential campaigns, activity weekends, stag dos and hen nights.