Ai Mosaic, Pt 5, Buying in the Parts.
In the last installment of this series, we figured out our color palette and created a wishlist for the final set of parts needed for the mosaic project. In this section, I’ll tell you about how I ordered the items on that wishlist, while aiming to keep our costs down.
I placed my orders through BrickLink. Even though I find BrickOwl to be easier to learn and more inviting to new customers, I placed my first BrickLink order back in 2010, almost 3 years before BrickOwl came into being. It’s the source I go to for information on what part prices should be, and their overall availability because those are tools I have been using for a long time.
When looking at your wishlists in BrickLink, there’s a very tempting “Easy Buy” button.
That button comes up with a solution that involves buying from two different sellers, one in the USA and one in Germany. We’re looking at $73.43 (as of this writing) plus two shipping and handling charges – one of them international. But there is a better way – we can use a program called Brickficiency. You can find it here.
After installing Brickficiency 2 and letting it connect to my BrickLink account, I can import the wishlist. Brickficiency looks across BrickLink and allows me to set some parameters for how many stores I want to buy from. I can set it to query only stores on a particular continent, or in my home country. To save on shipping costs and times, I chose USA sellers only.
After letting Brickficiency calculate for roughly two seconds, it provides a list of solutions to my wishlist. With the filter to look only in the USA, there are no one or two store solutions, but there are three solutions using three stores each. They are all similar in price – I’m looking at $58.01 for the parts, plus three shipping and handling charges – all domestic. Comparing with the BrickLink Easy Buy results, this will save me about 15-20%.
In fact, I can probably make this even a little cheaper overall if I’m willing to drive to WalMart and buy the 48×48 baseplate for the mosaic, since relatively few stores have this part and taking it off the list will put more small sellers on my list of solutions. I usually check the stores in the first couple results, because some sellers do not ship regularly, overcharge for shipping, add handling and packaging fees etc. (If that sounds like a turn off, come see us – we only charge our exact shipping cost and ship in one business day!)
When I did this originally, I was surprised to see our store appear as part of a top solution. So when we built this piece for the auction, we took many of the parts from our own store’s inventory, rather than having to pay to have them shipped from another seller. Do we have something you are looking for?