I have now been running my private website, Pipestud’s Consignment Shop, for eleven years. I first started this site because back in 2006 I was running 30 auctions on my eBay site of the no longer produced Murray’s era Dunhill blends of all kinds, many dating back to the 1960’s and early 1970’s when the Dunhill tobaccos were still being made in England. One morning I turned on my computer to find out that eBay had ended all of those auctions and sent me a message saying that I was violating their policy of selling current production pipe tobacco. They did not differentiate between the old London and Murray’s era tins from the new Orlik production, which had been on the market for about a year at the time I ran those auctions. I made a quick call to eBay to explain the difference but they would hear none of it. I’d never run my own website before but said to heck with eBay, I’m going to sell aged and rare pipe tobacco on my own website where I set the rules. So, three weeks and as many bottles of Excedrin later, I succeeded in figuring out how to start my own private site.
I well remember how nervous I was the day I opened the cyber doors and started out with a measly 12 tins of tobacco, but they were all good ones. I had been sent a large group of 50g tins of 1980’s Balkan Sobranie 759 and was trying to figure out how best to sell them. I decided to list all twelve at the same time and they were sold within an hour! Well, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed but I knew immediately that I was onto something. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Over the years I have received many questions from buyers and potential buyers of rare and vintage tobacco on my website. I love getting questions and answering them because the questions tell me that there is interest. And answering questions to the best of my ability will often spur a purchase. Even today, I get many of the same questions over and over as my customer base has expanded. So, I thought it might be fun to start a page featuring some of the more common questions here on my website in the hopes that some of the information may be helpful to you. And, feel free to ask questions that you don’t see the answer to and it may also be something to include. And away we go –
Q – Pipestud, I am quite frustrated. I am on your mailing list and get your email notifications when you update your site. But when I try to buy tobacco it seems everything I want is sold within minutes. I just don’t understand how that can happen because I send you my orders almost as fast as I get your emails. Please explain?
A – First, thank you for your interest and attempts to give me your business. Your question is actually a very common one. Please understand that I have over a thousand customers currently on my mailing list. When I send out my email website update notifications I often get 50 emails and even more within the first hour after sending out the update notifications. It is not uncommon for me to get a dozen or more email orders within the first few minutes after the update. I always take the orders as they are received to be fair to everyone. As an example, I might send out an update notification at 9:00 AM and receive 12 orders by 9:05 AM. Receiving an order and then marking the purchases as sold on my website will take a few minutes. So, even if your request is sent just a couple of minutes after you get the update notification from me, you might be 6th or 7th in line and some of those requests may have already been purchased.
Q – Pipestud, where the heck do you get all those great old tobaccos?
A – This is a worldwide website and I have consignors from all over the globe. As of today, I have consigned tobacco from people in 16 different countries! The stuff I get in here is amazing. But, the bottom line is that I am only as good as the consignors. So, they are the ones to thank. I am a blessed man. It is like Christmas almost every day of the week around here. I get boxes in here almost daily filled with unbelievable old stuff. I just do the marketing and selling.
Q – Pipestud, I am looking for aged tins of any Dunhill Murray’s era tobacco. To save you time you can just email me privately with what you have and the prices and I will probably purchase whatever you offer to me.
A – I sure do appreciate your offer and get similar offers regularly. But, I have been in business for over 11-years and have literally hundreds of valued long-time customers. It would not be fair to them for me to sell what I have privately to you. To be fair, I just list them on my site, send out the email website notification, and then let the chips fall where they may, so to speak.
Q – Pipestud, I love the old Pease no longer produced Renaissance. Whenever you get a tin of that blend in just shoot me an email and I will purchase it immediately.
A – I sure do appreciate your offer, but with so many people on my mailing list and having run this site for 11-years, I get requests like yours almost daily. I’d have a fried brain if I tried to remember who all wanted what. That would get me in a lot of trouble. The fair thing to do is list the tobacco I get in, send out the email update and sell as the orders come in.
Q – Pipestud, I often go to your website and see new tobacco listed but have not gotten a website notification from you. What gives? Am I still on your mailing list?
A – Yes, you are still on my mailing list. I get so much wonderful old tobacco in here to sell from consignors that I would wear everyone out if I sent out a notification every time I put new product on the site. I do that only when I have major updates where I will list a great deal of tins at once. On the home page of my website I always give the date of the latest listing of new product. I suggest you check that out as often as you feel like it. I list new product almost every day some weeks and only once a week at other times. Remember, I have an eBay site that I also work on every day and I never know when I’ll have time to sprinkle in a few tins on my private website. Just keep watching the site and thank you for your interest!
Q – Pipestud, I do not understand. I look at your website and send you three or four orders when you update your site, but when I get my invoice I find out that you didn’t get all my orders. Why is that?
A – First, I discourage multiple requests on the same day. In fact, that is explained on the “How to Place an Order” info on the home page of my website. My email in-box gets flooded enough with single, complete orders. When I get five or six people sending me multiple emails with orders, I normally just go past those to get to the single emails with complete orders and then come back later when the dust has settled to take the time to try to figure out the multiple email orders. By then, some of the tins you wanted may have been taken. So, sending me multiple emails actually hurts your chances rather than helps them.
Q – Pipestud, I once emailed you and asked you to hold some tobacco for me on your site until my next paycheck came in and you told me that since you sell on consignment only, you do not hold tobacco for customers. But I saw a red “On Hold” sign on one of your tobacco tin offerings just the other day. Are you now holding tobacco for later purchase?
A – No, I still don’t hold tobacco for later purchase. The only time you will ever see one of those red “On Hold” signs on one of my listings is when I need clarification from the buyer regarding a certain element of his/her purchase. I will put that sign up for awhile as I wait for the clarification.
I hope that by giving you the opportunity to see what other people ask and what my responses are, it will answer some of your own questions and give you a better understanding of how this website operates. I am only as good as my consignors and customers, so, keep those questions coming and I will sure answer them to the best of my ability.