Sunday, March 3, 2013

Places to Sell Crafts and Other Items Online...

After losing my job over a year ago, and the prospect of gainful employment being rather dim, I set off on a journey to create and build my own brand/line of accessories for the handmade indie market. I had experience on the wholesale end, having designed for the accessories market in New York for many years, and a sprinkle or two of crafts fairs, flea markets and selling to small boutiques. All of this was done pre-internet, when you actually had to meet the people that you were selling to. At any rate my journey has yielded an extensive database of knowledge regarding online selling which continues daily.

There is a plethora of sites on the web for selling your crafts, products, merchandise, vintage items or destash. Some of these sites are moderated, some not so much and others have no restrictions. Seemingly, the sites that claim to be dedicated to handmade and craftspeople are becoming filled with cheap imports, knock-offs and wholesalers. Finding the right site, for the right price can be difficult and over whelming. I have compiled a list of sites for selling, for promoting, and blogging if you are a Artisan/Crafts person looking to get into selling your wares. Some of these sites I have tried, some I have researched, and some I am looking into for future endeavors. These are only 20 that I have come across, this list will be updated as I gain new information.

Sites that are Primarily Craft Driven or Not:

1. Etsy  - to date I find Etsy to be the best site for individual artisans, with the most traffic and opportunities to grow your line. The feeling of community and the tools that the site provides are perfect for networking, information and resources. The fees are reasonable, twenty cents per listing and 3.5% when an item sells. The mechanics are easy and the site can be integrated with Facebook, blogs, and websites.

2. Artfire  - I tried this site for six months. I liked the mechanics of it, I could upload my items from my Etsy shop and the tools they offered were very similar to Etsy.  They charge a monthly rate of $12.95 for unlimited listings.

3. Supermarket – a curated site that you submit your work to and wait for a response. I have not tried this site, from what I understand you pay a 10% commission on sold work and there are no additional set-up fees

4. Big Cartel – I love the templates on this site, easy to use, but it does not allow you to upload from other sites, you have to do your listings individually. On this site you have to create your own traffic, the site provides you with a listing on their directory. You can list 5 items for free, after that it is based on the amount of items that you list. They offer packages for start at $9.99 per month for 25 items and go up. Personally, I did not have much success with this site, but I maintain it because I love the look of it.

5. Goodsmiths (aka Craftly) -  This  site is similar to Etsy, Artfire, just simpler. They offer importers from other online stores so that set-up is easy. Like most  import options, there is still some fine tuning to your listings, like shipping  costs, etc. The set-up is free, you pay 2.5% commission on your sales.  They appear to be primarily handmade.

6. Handmade Artists -  Similar  to other sites, offering only handmade merchandise from the artisans. This site charges $5.00 per month for a basic plan and they have a strong sense of community among the artists.

7. Folksy -  Is based in the U.K. and boasts over 15,000 sellers. It  offers  a wide selection of handmade only items from British artisans.

8. Made it Myself – Definitely a site for handcrafted items. Does offer an Etsy importer, appears to be tailored to the weekend do it yourself crafters, not as polished as some of the other sites, but offers listing for free, with a 3% commission on sold items.

9. Lilyshop – Listings are free, with 5% charged at checkout. This site offers customizable shop, blog, selling analytics and reaches around the world.

10. Not Massed Produced – This site is based in the U.K and serves the European markets. You set up your shop and they handle everything else, all you do is ship the item.

11. Zibbet – They offer a free plan for up to 50 items, and then a paid plan for added perks. This site has an Etsy importer, is quick and simple to set up.

12. Dawanda – This site is for handmade artisans, it is free to list and they charge a 5% fee when you sell your item.

13. SilkfairOffers  a free selling plan as well as tiers of monthly fee plans. All plans, including the free one charge a transaction fee when you sell an item. They have extras like a blog and forum.

14. Meylah -  This site is free to set-up and use, they charge a 2.75% transaction fee when your items sell. Has extras like social networking and a blog to your online store.

15. Luulla – I signed up for this site which is relatively new to online commerce. They are in Beta so that many of their applications are still being modified. The pricing is very reasonable, you either pay a flat fee for 100 listings for 4 months, or you pay as you list your items. To date I have not had much success with the site, but for the price of $10.00 for 100 listings, you can’t go wrong, it does get you more exposure.

16. Shopenvy -  Another start-up site, they offer an easy Etsy importer so that you can have your shop up and running in no time. It is a marketplace mix of handmade, import, wholesale and just cheap stuff, but there are some beautiful shops from higher end artisans. I have been on it for about a month and am waiting to see what develops. The staff is excellent and will answer questions, limited customization, but they are working on it.

17. eCrater – Completely free online marketplace that has Ebay importers in place. You can set-up an online shop in minutes.

18. Craft is Art – This site has been around for a couple of years, they offer an Etsy importer, a pay as you go plan and a monthly plan.  They have a decent support system and questions are answered quickly. Great place to get more exposure for your line and build your online presence.

19. Shop Handmade – this site is free to list and sell because they get their funding from sponsors. It trends towards being “green” and promotes this. The site offers limited selling tools, and does not have links for social networking. It is a global site and does have very good search capabilities.

20. Bonanza – This site sells everything, I find it to be a bit confusing. Handcrafts are definitely not the main focus. Very similar to  Ebay, but with a “homier” feeling. Listing is free, you pay 3.5% when your item sells. They have an import tool to help get you started.

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