Having an online shop outside of Etsy will give you another sales and promotional outlet, and follows the age-old adage: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I also predict it will prove necessary to sustain your handmade business in the near future.
[Crochet Basket From Yay for Crochet]
The handmade venue that Etsy once was, is no more. Yet Etsy continues to rely on handmade artisans to add attraction to their site, luring unsuspecting buyers, while at the same time hiding us away on a back shelf. They are allowing, and encouraging, resellers to snag customers looking for us!
What does that do to the “handmade” brand? It waters it down and turns it into just another advertising moniker – think “all natural” or “green” – terms so loosely thrown about as to have lost all meaning for the consumer. When a buyer purchases a product from the premier handmade site and receives mass-produced junk from a sweatshop-infested country, buyers will begin to equate that with the “handmade” brand. And eventually, if not already, they will equate that with Etsy.
I have a vision (or as MLK would say, I have a dream): As members of the handmade community begin to create their our own ecommerce sites, they are linked via a central hub (or directory). Think the “yellow pages” or “Angie’s List” for the handmade brand. The central hub promotes not only handmade artists, but the “handmade” brand, and can be trusted to direct consumers to artisan shops offering quality handmade products. The central hub offers its “seal of approval” to these shops, as it gains a trust-worthy reputation. As you can see, this follows the original vision of the team, yet removes Etsy from the equation.
So, in line with my vision, I am working on the directory, or hub, now (if I haven’t already told you:) One reason I am calling on members to start thinking about their own sites is because interested members of this team will be given the opportunity to sponsor the hub but will need their own site to do so. (More on that later.)
I am currently working on my personal shop site using Wix.com. It is very much a work-in-progress at this stage, but will give you an idea on what is available for use in setting up your own site:
Some of you already have a site up and running, and I will share a very impressive one from one of our members, Rustic Craft Designs:
Here is an informative article about free ecommerce sites.
Just throwing this out there for thought and consideration, and opening up for discussion!