Etsy, Artfire, Own Website, Oh My!


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I don't have the numbers to prove it, but I'm pretty sure that when people start selling their crafts online, Etsy is one of the first stops.  Then, they usually get tired of the fees (especially if they're super successful) and then move to Artfire, sell straight from their blogs, or get their own website where they can sell from there (i.e. Big Cartel).

As I've been mentioning in this business serious, a lot of what I've done is trial and error.  And a whole lot of learning along the way.

There's something about my mind that is very mathematical.  I know we don't function in a linear society, but I often find myself needing to sketch out a linear plan to function.  And if that isn't enough, (attention all education and psychology majors), I've discovered that I am a gestalt learner.  To sum it up, the gestalt theory suggests the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  So how does that apply to me?  I need to see the entire picture and know where I'm going so that when I learn of new components, I have a place (in my mind) for them to go.  Like connecting a puzzle when you know what the picture will make.  This isn't always practical and I can function when I don't know the end result, but let me elaborate on how it helps me in the business sense.

When I first started selling items, I was known as "Kreative Designer" and basically I just had fun making stuff.  Everything.  No real direction, just glad to have some items that people thought were cool to purchase.  Then I watched how shops that gained more success didn't sell everything, but tailored their shops to specific things like baby items, graphic design sets, hats.

Then I hit this plateau because I didn't feel like I "belonged".  Like, although I can make baby hats and such, I don't even have kids and it would bore me to death to constantly make items for random kids.  But now I've discovered how to make the best of both worlds:

My design concept:
  1. Use Etsy for custom online orders and as a place to sell things that don't sell at craft shows.  Plus most of those items are other people's patterns that are free to use or my variation of their patterns.  
  2. Have my own website {in progress} with a shop where I can control every aspect.  That's the place where I can put my own ideas and concepts there and allow customers to buy fine prints and even have client pages to host portrait sessions.  Plus with having my own website, I can always have a place to call my own which means I can print business cards with one web address and from there, customers can reach any of my other sites.  And the best thing is that I can eliminate a lot of fees!
Ok, that's it for now.  But please bear in mind that when I use the word, "business", I'm not talking about my only source of income.  I just want to have an opportunity to sell some of the things I make and support my own crafts with the business.  If by chance it turns in to more than that, then that's fine too.

Happy Crafting,


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5 comments:

  1. I really think that should have been a picture of you shrieking. But you seem so calm, I can't imagine you doing it! I sell vintage, so for me Etsy works fine except for large items and the shipping. With all kinds of different sized objects, finding the right box, etc., can be a challenge because I try to keep the shipping costs as low as possible for the buyer.

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  2. Hi Libby, I think it take all crafters a long time to figure out their busines (myself included). Enjoy planning out your website! It is a great learning experience and who knows where it will take you. My business started off as a hobby, then it started making me extra money and now I am close to being self employed (my dream that I will make happen)! ~Val

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  3. hope it all works out for you...with ease :)

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  4. I think Etsy is useful for getting known to overseas customers, especially if you're not in the US or Europe, like me. But yes, I have been getting rather tired of the fees. Since I'm getting a fair number of orders outside of Etsy (directly via email), I have considered closing the Etsy shop. At present I think it's still open out of some sense of sentimentality haha..

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  5. “Then I watched how shops that gained more success didn't sell everything…” – This is one of the disadvantages of online shops. Also, some of the consumers would want to see a seller’s own website to see his credibility. Posers tend to post items online with no intentions of actually sending the items to the buyer after he has been paid. But a website of your own gives you the advantage to get all the attention to your products or services. Besides, you can use PayPal on your own website.

    Darryl Tay

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