Etsy Alternatives

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

After my last post about Etsy I have been doing some serious investigation into the whole online selling options available to regular folks. It seems I am not the only person who is reevaluating the Etsy experience. On Indiepublic there is even a thread started for those former Etsy sellers who were either booted off by Etsy admin or closed up shops of their own accord.

With over 112,000 shops on Etsy, you can imagine that competition is fierce. From what I have read, there are essentially 3 ways to go about getting your shop noticed within the Etsy site itself.

1 - Keep listing and relisting items - a LOT. (this can quickly add up to a costly Etsy bill.)

2 - Buy yourself a spot or two in one of the many treasuries showcases.(also can be costly)

3 - Hang out in the online forums all day and add your "2 cents worth" (most of us have more than a fair share of "2 cents" but not enough time to make this method pay off.)

These features of the cult of Etsy detract from making it a viable solution for "Etsy Newbs" like me. Part of what makes Etsy so successful is the fact that the site is designed this way on purpose thereby making its cult like nature work wonders for the initiated masses.

But I digress; this post was intended to be a useful list of alternatives to selling on Etsy, so here it is: (in no particular order)

iCraft
MintD
Canduru
Dawanda
Lov.li
HandmadeCatalog
WholesaleCrafts
Elsewares
Ecrater
Shopify
CutNpaste *Sells for you on consignment basis.
HomegrownMarket
CraftersBuzz
Guild
SuperMarket
PinkDoodle
NotonTheHighStreet
SilkFair
RubyLane
and lets not forget EBay (which I am sure you can Google yourself because personally I just don't go there.)
and then last but certainly not least (and my personal favourite,
BigCartel

*Edited to include:
SmashingDarling (Thanks Kristin!)
BuyItSellIt (Thanks Eddy!)
Creative Cafe
Overstock Auctions
Wagglepop
Tuggle

Note that each of these sites has their own systems set up, with specific Terms of Service and Agreements. These should all be evaluated carefully prior to signing on as with any internet sign-up for service endeavour.

I hope readers find this list helpful. Any comments about said sites to do with service either pro or against are welcome but lets keep it constructive.

I hope to do a more in-depth comparison of many of these in the next week or so. Also note that some of these sites are juried selections.

28 witty words:

SILKFAIR said...

Thank you for listing SILKFAIR (http://www.silkfair.com).

We just pre-released in public a few days ago, and are aware of some of the concerns artisans and craftsters have at alternate marketplaces. We do want to pay special focus on that, and would like to establish a fair marketplace for all.

Some of our up coming feature will allow special interest customization, so that the artisan/craftster are focused and showcased in special manners.

We're also in midst of a design to have various ways so that all sellers will have equal exposure. In addition, full store customization are also in development and QA.

Our main focus right now is to make sure the commerce engines are robust, so that the buying/selling process is as easy as we can make it. Our goal is sales-thru for all sellers and convenience for the community we'll build, and will continuously explore methods to accomplish that.

Some of the current functions that each store support include :

- ability to demonstrate your items with video

- free store / listings

- blog and forum for each store

- very easy to edit listings and to maintain shop. We provide inline editing capability, so that you don't have to go thru page after page to make edits. We want to free up the seller's time from maintenance and spend the time doing more worthile things!

- custom domain can be forwarded so that your shop has a standalone identity. When we roll out store customizations, your custom domain name will show your custom store

- import/export listings (add/update/delete)

- templating of product attributes/prices, taxes and shipping (all importable/exportable)

- 1 step shopping cart checkout supporting purchases from multiple vendors. What that means is - buyers can purchase from multiple vendors at the same time, and the shopping cart checkout completes in 1 stage (1 page). We expect that to reduce shopping cart abandon rate

- fully integrated payment gateway processing supporting all Paypal methods, Google Checkout and Authorize.net

- order processing / payment processing

- linking existing ebay rating

- double-blind feedback - buyer / seller can't see feedback of each other until both parties complete.

We'll shortly put up a sandbox for the curious to kick the tires a bit. In the mean time, please feel free to stop by and take a peek. But do stop by frequently, as our development team is constantly working on improvements, and the guys and gals are sharp and work real hard.

For the early-adopters - it's a risk-free addition to what you have, and we welcome you to start setting up shop and begin an additional presence for yourself.

We would love to hear from you, and hope to see some of you soon!

SILKFAIR

Stacy said...

Thanks for the input. SilkFair is looking very good indeed.

Kristin said...

That's quite a list, a lot of which I'd never heard of. Here's one to add to it though: http://www.smashingdarling.com/

I'll have to check out some of those other sites...

Ivy @ PaperElixir said...

Wow, thanks! This is very helpful for a online-selling virgin like me :) If you don't mind I'd like to put a link to your post on my blog.

Ivy@Paperelixir said...

Oh, and check out our blog when you get a chance! (www.thesenakams.typepad.com)

eddy said...

Thanks! This will take some time to go through so I'd better bookmark it! Here's one I've been checking out, haven't signed up yet but it looks to be promising.

http://www.buyitsellit.com/

Found you at Indiepublic

Candi said...

Thanks for this amazing list! I've been driving myself crazy trying to spread the word about my shop and only now after reading your cult of etsy entry am I realizing I get very little hits if I don't PLASTER several sites with ads for my shop.
I'm going to seriously look into these other shops. Thanks again!

Candi O.

Abe said...

Thanks for the list--I'll be checking some of those sites out.

Just a side note:

"Buy yourself a spot or two in one of the many treasuries. (also can be costly)"

Treasuries are free on Etsy.

woolies said...

great list. thanks! (I'm on a few of these!)

Jill said...

Hi

Thanks for including Creative Cafe Salesrooms (http://creativecafesalesrooms.com) in your list.

We have free listings for you. We currently have no site charges on sales either.

The site itself is run on an efficient off the shelf package by Rainworx. We are a small charitable group run by volunteers in Brighton UK which supports people with disabilities and we found the best software we could within our budget.

We also have a linked members
Creative Cafe (http://creativecafe.org.uk )site which is run on the Ning platform like Indiepublic. Everyone is welcome to join us. We have been open 6 months now and have built up a friendly community.

Come and have a look for yourselves and we will be glad to welcome you.

Bye for Now
Jill
Volunteer Organiser
Creative Cafe

BendingPeak said...

Thanks for your list, I found it from the ETSY forums. Love you site.

Anonymous said...

Would you consider adding http://www.wwcrafters.com to your list? Easy to list then set your listings to automatically relist (so they hit the front page) for more exposure and less work. You can also list "similar" so it is much easier to put listings together. If you open a store there are NO LISTING FEES(other than if you wish to make it bold, front page featured) and a reduced end of auction fee! Also want to mention that there is a great shipping feature where you can separate your ship to locations and add different fees so you don't lose money on the cost of shipping :) There's much more so check it out! Fee Schedule here: http://wwcrafters.com/mallforum/index.php?topic=10.0

Erin, maker of chimes said...

Here's 2 more new ones to add to your list...

http://www.handmadefuzion.com
http://www.shophandmade.com

The first is juried, but has a quick turn around time on acceptance. Both are fairly new sites, I have opened shops on both but it's too early to have an opinion about them yet.

heather said...

The homegrownmarket.com site is gone apparently. Saw some post on Ebay and Flickr asking 'what happened to it?' but no answers!

Gone gone gone.

Thanks for posting this list!!

I trawled through the links- good to see there are options... but... a miasma of quality/style. My two cents: an online crafty sales venue might be better off going niche for different tastes/styles.

soapdeli said...

http://byhand.me lets you promote your products free through our Spotlights free. Create a Spotlight with your products from etsy, artfire, dawanda, 1000markets, silkfair, madeitmyself, and zibbet and post them to your blog or social network. All Spotlight items also show up randomly in Window Shopping - a fun feature that lets you browse handmade products on ByHand and on any blog or website that posts Window Shopping to it! Fully functional with clickable links straight to your products! You can also list your shop free in the Artisan Directory. ByHand is non-profit and high traffic with an awesome growth rate! Check it out!

Anonymous said...

Which are the coolest sites, though? I want to find good and stylish design and quality products and it seems to be sooo difficult. Any recommendations?

greengeekgirl said...

Just like any sort of site, if you don't put the time into it, you won't get any hits--whether you use Etsy or any other site.

Etsy is good for crafters because it's affordable, unlike E-bay; there ARE a lot of people who shop Etsy and who are comfortable shopping Etsy because they have heard of it; and, let's face it--no matter how many competitors you have, you have a much larger chance of getting hits if more people use the site. Maybe someone won't happen on you by accident, but if they use the handy search function, they may just happen upon your page. I've bought several things via Etsy from people I didn't know just using that handy lil search tool. And not because it popped up first, but because it was the item that I wanted.

Using any online site, you have to self-market, self-market, self-market. Under no circumstances will clients fall into your lap. And it doesn't really matter if the URL is Etsy or some other, because most of the legwork has to be done by you, and it probably won't even be through the site that you're using. Being in a showcase might bring you a few hits, but it won't bring you a solid clientele. Neither will those few extra hits from being "first listed." Etsy, like all the other sites listed, is a means to an end. It gets YOUR stuff up for sale on the internet, but it isn't going to work for you.

Oh, except, of course, that Etsy actually does real marketing. I saw a television commercial about Etsy the other day. Probably why those showcases are so costly--that is where the money goes. Marketing and advertising, which is good for you if you use their site.

I understand that it's the indie gut reaction to dislike something that is large and successful, but large and successful can help you become successful, as well. There may be 112000 sites on Etsy, but nobody makes exactly what you make (and if they do, you should probably find a new gig). Additionally, people have actually heard of Etsy and will be more likely to find your site if you're on it than if you're not.

Gregory Patrick said...

I am not only impressed with the information on your site, but on the design itself. Thank you (someone on menwhoknit.com forwarded your link to me), for all the valuable information.
Gregory Patrick
(gregorypatrick.blogspot.com)

Kay Brown said...

I've looked on SilkFair, and found it's difficult to navigate. I tried looking for sewing patterns, and had to actually type in "sewing patterns" in their search bar because they don't have a category on the sidebar. Hundreds of sewing related items come up, and sewing patterns are just mixed in with the mess. Much like Etsy, SilkFair is not easy to navigate and their FAQ page is non-existent.

Anonymous said...

Try Articents.com - There are no listing fees, no commissions and no monthly charges. It's brand new, but constantly evolving

Monica said...

I am currently looking to leave Etsy for many reasons I won't go into since you've requested that we keep this constructive. ;0)

Unlike when I joined Etsy, I'm not going to make any assumptions, so I've been researching quite a few sites and have decided to give Handmade Artists Shops a try. They've been very responsive to my emails requesting information, too, which seems to be SOP there given what I've read of their user forums.

I will report back after I've had some time and experience under my belt.

Anonymous said...

greengeekgirl: I don't know if you sell or have ever tried to sell at Etsy, because you don't mention that. I will tell you what I experienced yesterday because I do sell there. I entered in just the broad one word category I sell under handmade in the search engine. It said there were over 3 million results. However it only returned 250 pages of 40 items each. Don't have to get out the calculator to know that doesn't add up. I clicked on page 250, and sure enough that was the end of the line. I scrolled thru the first 100 pages and what I found, besides the usual mistags that cause miscategorization, was that those pages contained multiple listings for some shops and most of the returns were the bigger sellers. The support there is for the big sellers, and the resellers are permitted to flourish. If you think people aren't selling a lot of the same things, you really haven't been looking, either. Think "Put a bird on it." LOL No, the site really doesn't support every handmade artist who would love not to be lost in that sea. And most of us also work full-time jobs and have other responsibilities to tend to in our lives. We work it the best we can, many of us believing we had the support that it's evident that we do not as evidenced by that one simple search.

Ana S said...

There's another very new Etsy Alternative that specifically targets Men. They allow new designers, boutiques, artisans etc showcase and sell their products in the marketplace but it is governed by them, you would have to apply and they review the applications before allowing you to sell. Everything's free and they take a commission on the sale. Visit mensmarket.com

Rascallion said...

MensMarket looks very similar to Etsy actually. I notice they don't list anywhere exactly what their "small commission" amounts to. I'm curious.

Anonymous said...

None of these websites have the traffic Etsy has. Sadly, if you were to change to one of these, you would have to put 10 times more work to driving any customers than you would on Etsy.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to put forward a few sites I didn't see on your list that are of a similar variety as Etsy.
First Zibbet.com is another handmade/supplies/vintage site that is up and building momentum. They are also in the process of a large re build that look to be very promising to both buyers and sellers.

Shopdelighted.com is another handmade site and also has the etsy importer so that if you have an etsy site, you can easily import your listings to the new site without having to completely start over.

Thecraftstar.com is one more very similar to etsy. I don't personally have much experience with this one, it is another newer site, but also looks like it is gaining in popularity.

I hope you find this helpful. :)

Marlo said...

What about us Vintage Sellers? Forget Ruby Lane, I can't afford them, and I've already left eBay for the same reasons I'm getting ready to leave Etsy for. If anyone has some suggestions of good venues for Vintage, please post them! Thanx!

Anonymous said...

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