Folks, we wanted to make you aware of changes to B&B's Marketplace fora, effective 12/1. These changes predominantly involve three areas of the site: the Shaving Mall - Buy/Sell/Trade, the Vendor Items For Sale forum (formerly the Vendor Corner), and a new forum, Hobbyist/Vendor Classifieds.
The Shaving Mall - Buy/Sell/Trade forum (b/s/t) is for the use of active B&B members to sell and acquire goods. Back in the days of B&B's founding, this forum was started as a means for like minded community members to exchange items with each other, thus making it easier for everyone to try new items, at prices befitting exchanges between friendly acquaintances. Camaraderie, not profit-taking, is the spirit of our b/s/t forum. As the site has grown, several individuals have turned their expertise at restoration, etc. into a side business. We encourage this. We think it's great for our members, who get access to more products offered by innovative and enterprising individuals. We think it's great for the burgeoning small-businesspersons. We think it's just dandy for B&B.
But, we don't think it belongs in our b/s/t.
So we created Vendor subscriptions, highlighting the great offerings made by good folks who share our passion for quality shavegoods and other fine items. We want these folks to be active members here, sharing their own joys and triumphs alongside their wares. We want them to succeed. Since success means profit from our membership, though, we think it only fair that these folks contribute a bit to site upkeep via a paid subscription for access to vendor fora. The first such forum was known as the "Vendor Corner." Based on feedback from these valued vendors, we've renamed that forum "Vendor Items for Sale". Vendors use this forum to advertise new offerings, special sales, and now, via a new sub-forum, contests for our members. Only subscribed vendors can start threads in the Vendor Items for Sale forum, but everyone is free to comment in those threads. One of the wonderful things about the good folks who provide the goods B&B members crave is that the vast majority of them have day jobs -- their B&B-related business is a gig on the side, and certainly a labor of love.
For a while now, though, some of our members have been caught in limbo: they would like to try their hands at restoring a few razors here and there or turning a few brushes, making great soap or aftershave, etc., but don't feel right about walking into it at full steam, vendor subscription and all. We want to encourage those folks to pursue that entrepreneurial spirit, as it's good for all of us. Because of this, we've created the "Hobbyist" member category for folks who are not yet vendors with regular stock and steady sales volume, but not selling within the mission of our b/s/t, either. To help these folks out, access to the hobbyist category comes at a very modest cost, and includes posting privileges not in the b/s/t, but instead in the new Hobbyist/Vendor Classifieds forum. Here, hobbyists are free to post items for sale once weekly, with all commentary and transactions taking place via PM. Vendors with non-stock items for sale get posting privileges in this forum, too. Think of it as a b/s/t for pros -- the prices may be a bit higher, but the variety will be impressive.
While moderators reserve the right to remove b/s/t posting privileges in cases where a member's actions seem overly commercial in nature, we trust our members to make their own decisions about whether they wish to pursue a hobbyist or vendor subscription. Hobbyist subscriptions are available via the "Contribute" link at the very top of the page. Vendor subscriptions require a brief application -- PM a friendly moderator for details, or if you'd like some guidance on which category would be best in your situation. Importantly, the hobbyist and vendor categories apply to a scant few of our members as described above. We don't want folks to feel bashful about using our b/s/t, nor about providing services and goods to one another. We're not actively seeking to remove folks from the b/s/t, but we will act to remove commercialization outside of the vendor and hobbyist fora if it becomes apparent . If you're afraid you may be crossing a line, ask a mod. We're here to help.
You'll want to get in the habit of checking out all three of these fora. Between them, there are amazing deals to be had, wonderful folks to meet, and an unparalleled assortment of new and used items to enjoy. We hope you'll like these changes. They've been a long time in the making, and are only possible thanks to the good ideas of all our members, hobbyists, and vendors. Thanks for being part of our great and growing community.