Online Venues for Selling Crafts and Handmade Goods
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|Even before the current economic downturn, many Craftsters were looking for ways to sell their creations. Now more than ever, whether you need the extra income, an excuse to make more projects, or are just feeling entrepreneurial, it’s a good time to investigate options for selling.|
Local and regional craft shows like Renegade, Bumbershoot, Maker Faire, Bazaar Bizarre, and others are one way to sell your goods in person. Some local boutiques, like Magpie in Boston (founded by our own Leah Kramer), also sell handmade goods from local or national artists.
Each store approaches the consignment terms differently. Some will pay crafters up front for their goods, some will offer your items up for consignment. A typical consignment ratio is 40% of the cost of the item going to the store and 60% going to the seller. Make sure you sign a contract with all the details so there are no surprises!
One of the most popular ways to promote and sell your creations is the internet. There are many ways to do this, but here I will focus on a few of the more popular sites for selling handmade goods (and also vintage and supplies).
1. Etsy is probably the largest and most popular of the virtual markets. It opened in 2005 and has over 100,000 sellers. The challenge with a huge site like Etsy is to find ways to stand out in the crowd. On the positive side, however, there is already traffic built in, so you aren’t “lost in cyber-space” in the same way you could be if you ran your own site. Setting up shop on Etsy is easy, you just have to personalize your space, but marketing is still up to the individual seller, although there are lots of tools and forums where you can get help and ideas. Etsy only allows handmade items, craft supplies, and vintage (over 20 years old) items.
2. Silk Fair opened in February 2008. It uses a similar model to Etsy, in fact they have a feature that allows you to upload your Etsy items into a Silk Fair shop. Unlike Etsy, they allow sales of items outside of the craft/supplies/vintage arena.
3. Artfire is a newer site, still in beta, but available now. It also uses this same business model, and includes sections for Handmade/Fine Art, Design/Media, and Supplies/Vintage. Both Etsy and Artfire have a section to request custom made items (on Etsy it’s called Alchemy, and on Artfire it’s called The Forge). Unlike Etsy, they charge a monthly fee ($7 for a limited number of users, will be $20 when those are taken), rather than a per-item listing fee and percentage.
4. Made It Myself is another new site strictly for handmade only. They are also still in beta, however, unlike Artfire, they are completely free for the duration of it. In the future, they will have a traditional pricing structure (similar to Etsy or Silkfair, with a small listing and sales fee), as well as a few new and unique pricing structures that we won’t see until beta is over. They’ll be beginning work on their second, and final, development phase, within the next couple months, and recommend that crafters take advantage of the free service.
5. DaWanda is based in Europe and has a more European focus, but like the rest can be used by anyone. It is more popular with European sellers, as listings are in Euros. At this time there is no listing fee, but a 5% commission is taken on sales. They plan to introduce listing fees at an unspecified future time.
6. Pinkdoodle is another European site, based in London. It allows for listing in multiple currencies. Pinkdoodle is also rather new, and uses it’s own system of credit points for listing fees, plus a 4% commission. 02/24/11 Update: This website no longer exists.
7. Lov.li is based in the US, but also has users worldwide. They do not charge listing fees, but do charge a 3.5% commission. They only allow sales of handmade items.
8. Wink Elf started in 2006 and is also US based. There is no listing fee, and a 2.5% commission. 02/24/11 Update: This website no longer exists.
|Site||Craft focus?||Listing fee||Commission||Vintage/Supplies||International Sales/Home Location|
|Silk Fair||no||Free||3%||y/y, as well as non-crafty goods||Yes/US|
|Artfire||yes||Free||$7/month special, $20/month normal USD||y/y||Yes/US|
|MadeItMyself||yes||free special, .5 and up USD after special||3% (free special for limited time)||n/y||Yes/US|
|PinkDoodle||yes||Uses own credit system||4%||n/y||Yes/UK|