Sell Crafts and Art Online
Make Extra Money by Selling Arts and Crafts Online
Whether you've been laid off from your job, or are just looking to bring in some extra cash each month, it is now easier than ever to sell crafts online. A number of new websites have cropped up recently that literally allow local artists and entrepreneurs to expand their marketing reach across the nation, or even world-wide. Work from home just got a lot easier.
If you have something worth selling, its time to think big! A decade ago, soap-makers, jewelers or seamstresses would either have to set up booths at local events, or spend hours trying to find buyers to take a chance on their products to sell at brick-and-mortar stores.
Today, like many other goods and services, the Internet has changed the way business is operated. Buyers who want to find unique, one-of-a-kind gifts or items, and sellers that wish to reach more, otherwise elusive buyers can now meet up with the simple click of a mouse.
Once you know how to use online marketplaces like the ones reviewed here, you may soon be able to bring in extra cash. If you have a talent in art and crafts, its an easy way to make extra money. And, while you probably won't get rich, at least you'll have a lot more fun and reach many more buyers!
List of Online Communities and Marketplaces
- Hyena Cart
Online Marketplace: Madeitmyself.com
Inspired by eBay, madeitmyself.com is an online marketplace where - you guessed it - people who created artistic goods or handmade items can post them for sale. If a willing buyer agrees to your price, the transaction is concluded via PayPal or other online payment options. The seller then ships the item directly to the buyer.
I am telling you.... there are some really fabulous looking items at this site. As of the date of this publication, I found adorable baby hats, a handmade wooden toy truck, a gorgeous turquoise necklace and so much more. The website is easy to navigate, with the different types of goods/services for sale in 28 categories listed on the left-hand side of the page. From accessories to woodworking, take your pick, browse and have fun!
It is free to register at madeitmyself.com. Get to know community members, earn a reputation and follow their straightforward rules of conduct. You do have to be 18 years old to have an account. However, if your children wish to sell their own wares, you could help them do so through your own profile.
As with eBay, you'll pay relatively small listing fee and sales fees to sell your wares. Choose between setting a price, or allowing buyers to negotiate with you. A feedback system, applicable to both buyers and sellers, helps maintain the integrity and safety of online marketplace dealings at madeitmyself.
Starting a Successful Crafts and Art Business
Etsy.com has been around three years longer than madeitmyself.com (founded in 2005, vs. 2008). Similarly, it offers a web platform on which to buy and sell handmade goods. There are a few different features, as well, including the option to find local handmade items through the "shop local" button, and a blog features editor's picks. You can filter your search based on type of goods (again, Accessories to Woodworking, as well as color).
Of course, there are rules of conduct at Etsy.com, as well. You need to sign up - again, for free - and are encouraged to create a profile. Feedback will be given to every seller and buyer for each transaction, and community members can also use the flagging feature, if necessary. You need to be 18 to use Etsy, or with parental supervision.
One of the best features, in my opinion, is "Facebook Connect." As explained in the FAQ section:
You can share select actions you take on Etsy with your friends on Facebook. These actions currently include adding an item to your Etsy Favorites ("hearting" an item) and listing an item on Etsy.
After hearting an item or listing an item, you will see an option to post the item to Facebook. Clicking that link activates a pop-up from Facebook where you can preview and annotate your post before publishing the item to your Facebook Profile and Facebook friends' Home pages.
Etsy also offers public forums, chat rooms, and a "Storque," which is described as a "superblog" that provides information and announcements for buyers and sellers about the site and the handmade lifestyle. Beyond that, take a look at the Alchemy feature which allows buyers to make requests for a specific good, and artisans/sellers to post special bid items.
This is just the tip of the iceberg with respect to Etsy. Take a look around the site. If you're an artist or craftsperson, or someone looking for a really unique item, this may be your place to buy and sell online.
How to Use Etsy
Silkfair.com and Hyena Cart
Silkfair.com is another option for buying and selling handmade items. However, this site also includes vintage, antiques, personalized items and collectibles. So, its not strictly a crafts marketplace. Registration is free, restricted to those over 18, and there is a strong community in which you can participate. I love the custom shops option, which provides you the appearance of your own website! You can follow Silkfair on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
For those with a "green" bent, Hyena Cart is a "collection of earth-friendly shops." As a seller, you end up setting up your own "shop," which is powered by the Hyena Cart shopping code. You don't pay commissions, but you do invest in a small monthly fee ($10 to set up, then $5 a month). Once you sign up, you'll reach nearly 50,000 registered Hyena Cart shoppers. From cloth diapers to paper crafts, home décor and bath/body items, you'll find a wide range of goods for sale at HC. Sellers can either set a price, or put their wares up for auction. You choose!
EBay and Craigslist
Of course, you can always sell your homemade items on eBay and/or Craigslist. These communities have been established for many years, and most people are familiar with their operation and rules of conduct. Both sites are free to use, however, on eBay you'll pay listing fees and other costs are associated with premium features including additional photos, featuring your product, etc.
The value of using one of the other online marketplaces is that they are focused solely or largely on handmade crafts and art. However, until they are better known, you may reach a wider market through using eBay or Craigslist.
If you can afford the time and energy to do so, try experimenting to see where you get the best sales, and which platform is best for you as far as investment (considering listing and sales fees, online support, etc.)
© 2009 Stephanie Hicks
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