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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Online Sites for Handmade Items

When I first started making soaps and actually considered the idea of selling them, I wasn't really sure where to go with the idea. Should I just sell them locally, or was there a way to sell online?
You see, I worked full time and this soaping thing was definitely a sideline, a dream, a desire, a hope for an outlet for my creativity and actually get some reimbursement for it.
Because of time constraints of working full time, which included weekends, I chose to start selling my wares online and began searching for the spot in which to do that. Asked friends and co-workers and they all said, "You should try E Bay. I buy there all the time." Sure, OK. Why not?
I had never even looked at E Bay before. It sounded way to intimidating! But that was where I looked first.
Hmmm, seemed easy enough. Let's post a couple of things and see what happens! So I did.
Nothing happened. I mean NOTHING! My listing ran out. I relisted it and NOTHING happened...nothing at all. I tried one more time and when that failed too. I sat back and scratched my head, thinking, "Is there something wrong with my product that no one even wants to look or bid or buy? Is my price out of range? WHAT'S WRONG?" As far as I could tell, the prices were very reasonable, was a good product, but the pictures were a bit dull. I looked at other E Bay sites that had soap and they didn't seem to be offering anything better or more exciting than me, so I started searching for another alternative.
Quite by accident, I ran into a site called etsy.com that I checked out. WOW! The stuff here is ALL handmade. Cool! I opened a shop and put some of my same things on etsy that were neglected on E Bay. It was a slow process, but I eventually began to sell my soaps. I found some tricks and secrets to get my name out there a bit better and have done relatively well for the most part. Not great, but I can't complain either. Etsy has grown and grown since I've been there with soap shops coming out of the woodwork. Some shops seem to get a lot of glory and others seem to hang out in the background despite all the hard work. I began to search for sites that I could show off some of my soaps without scratching daily to get to the top of the pile on etsy.
In my search, I found some really cool places and some not so great. I don't claim to be an advocate for every site, only to say that there are some great alternatives to selling handmade items. Most are not near as popular as E Bay or Etsy, but I feel they have some great potential in this age where more and more folks are looking to supplement income or escape from this mad working world...yes, it is pure insanity, don't you think?
Although I don't have personal experience with all of these sites, here is a list of what I currently know of:

www.eCrater.com Although I have visited the site, I really don't know much about them. Some artists have told me that they don't get much there.

DaWanda.com I also have little experience with this site. This site seems to cater more to the European crowd, which is great. Seems a bit similar to etsy.com

silkfair.com Here is one that I am more familiar with. Has some really cool ideas there for showing off product, like videos etc. They have a forum for other sellers and members to talk. It seems a bit slow sometimes though. I have had some difficulty navigating aspects of this site. But the site generally has a good, clean look about it. It is NOT just handmade items though, so there is all kinds of things here.

madeitmyself.com OK, this site is pretty explanatory. All handmade items. Fairly easy navigation, also has a forum, an area for folks to favorite their sellers etc.

shophandmade.com Here is another one that is pretty explanatory and there is folks who support some seller expenses and you get the option to support the environment with your sales as well. Nice, clean, easy to navigate, no queing up to get your items on the top of the pile.

lov.li.com Here is a site that I am still working hard to navigate also, but has some really great groups there.


I know there are a few more out there that I haven't really investigated yet, but those are a start for those of you who want an alternative to selling on E Bay. I am not anti-E Bay, just didn't really have a good experience there. So many more sites have more options for the handmade artist.

Happy hunting and finding what you need out there.

1 comments:

The Bead Doodler said...

Thank you for all those sites. I sell my jewelry on Etsy, but haven't opened a category for my soaps there yet. I may look into some of the others.
Keep on soapin'!