Jo's Web Wizardry

Jo Atherton

Selling your work online

This month, I’m providing an overview of online marketplaces. These websites allow you to create an account and have your own virtual shop, whilst being part of a creative selling community.

The following marketplace sites will provide you with an overview of some of the different services available. Just with art fairs, shops and galleries, there is a huge variety catering for different markets.

Etsy
  • Website - www.etsy.com
  • Tag line - Your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage and supplies
  • Description - Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. These include handcrafted products, crafty supplies and vintage treasures. Setting up an account is very easy, allowing you to use a predesigned shop format, choose a shop name and upload your logo to make your shop branding completely individual. Products are uploaded in a similar manner to eBay, with gallery images and the opportunity to add detailed descriptions and category listings. It’s a great way of selling online and taking secure payments over the internet without the need for costly ecommerce software on your own website.
  • Cost - Each time you list an item on Etsy, it will cost you $0.20 in a listing fee. This listing is for 4 months. If you sell the item, a 3.5% transaction fee will be charged.
Folksy
  • Website - www.folksy.com
  • Tag line - Buy and sell British handcrafted gifts and supplies
  • Description - Basically, Folksy is a UK version of Brooklyn-based Etsy. The principle is the same, allowing you to create and customise your own virtual shop and sell your work online. Being bigger, Etsy obviously receives much more traffic, but this is to a global market. If you don’t want the worry of sending your work abroad, then maybe Folksy would be a better option.
  • Cost - The listing fee per item is £0.15 for 120 days plus a 6% transaction fee (+VAT).
Not On The High Street
  • Website - www.notonthehighstreet.com
  • Tag line - For a life less ordinary...
  • Description - The team proclaim that they ‘have the technology, support, marketing reach and dynamic community to help your creative small business grow.’ Not On The High Street has been investing in TV advertising and is increasingly being seen in the press and magazines as a source of unique gifts. Similar to the other sites, you create your online shop and can feature in their huge listing of makers. Their extensive marketing campaign is obviously a big attraction when considering the right online marketplace for your work.
  • Cost - £199 joining fee then 25% commission on sales.
 Madebyhandonline
  • Website - www.madebyhandonline.com
  • Tag line - British handmade contemporary craft and gifts
  • Description - Any UK-based maker can join the madebyhandonline community and promote their work as part of the site's National Makers Directory. However, as the site can only list 165 sellers at any one time, makers must apply to join and a small selection panel will make the final decision. Katie,  one of the founders, explains  "We decided to set up an application process so that we can curate the site," she explains. "This helps us not only guarantee the quality but it also ensures we have a good range of products available on the site."
  • Cost - Initially a £50 deposit, then makers can select a package that best suits their needs.
Saatchi Online
  • Website - www.saatchionline.com
  • Tag line - Discover art. Get discovered.
  • Description - The Saatchi name obviously carries a certain provenance. They proclaim that artists will receive 70% of sales and they will also manage the logistics for you. The site also allows you to sell prints as well as originals, so is a great way to get your work out there in a variety of formats.
  • Cost - There is no joining fee, but SaatchiOnline will take 30% on sales.

The largest appeal of selling on these sites is that you are open to a market who already appreciate handmade crafts and original art. Those people browsing these websites have an interest in buying something unique and original, so your work is positioned perfectly in front of your ideal market. How you choose to do that is dependent on your work and what you know about your customers.

There’s a great article over on PapermillDirect which considers the pros and cons of selling on an online marketplace, which I’d like to refer you to after browsing the above websites.

As with anything in the art/creative world, what works for one maker or seller, won’t necessarily work for another. The trick is to experiment, test the water and see whether this is something that might help you share and sell the fruits of your talent.

By JO ATHERTON

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