By TJ McCue/Small Business Trends
The maker movement started to gain major awareness a few years ago, but it is a “movement” that has been going on for a long time. Most cultures have innovation and creativity in their DNA and making something by hand is part of how you solve a physical problem or need.
It’s been a while since I previously compiled a list of 29 places to sell your handmade creations. As the saying goes, time flies, and I decided it was time to revisit the topic by providing another 20 sites and resources for selling craft and homemade items.
A quick note: There are many general eCommerce platforms to help artists, crafters, and makers, but the goal of this post is to share marketplaces and solutions that focus on this niche. More clearly, I’m not profiling all of the eCommerce leaders like BigCommerce, Shopify, and others. (I’ve done that with 68 eCommerce and shopping carts for small business along with 19 new eCommerce additions. )
Meylah allows indie artisans to create a “social storefront.” More interesting is how they have built it with a community focus. Individual neighborhoods or marketplaces can build an online community with individual merchants in it. For example, the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce built one and it highlights the community first, then you can “walk” into an individual store or offer.
Another example of this community first approach can be found in almost every U.S. State. You can search for “handmade marketplace [michigan]” — obviously insert your state. You’ll get a great list and that’s how I found Handmade Detroit, which offers a Google Map that shows craft stores, resources and more for DIY types. West Virginia has The West Virginia Handmade Marketplace.
Foodies and farmers will want to do the same type of search “farmers markets [insert state].” Nearly every state has something to help you find farmers markets, food festivals and healthy food providers. Using Michigan as an example again: Michigan Farmers Market Association. Frequent contributor to Small Business Trends, Robert Brady, points out there are some specialty providers like the Grass Fed Beef Directory for consumers looking for organic or healthier meats. But you can also list your farm.
Sourcing Handmade is a boutique consulting firm that specializes in helping artisans get their products into retail stores. And the reverse, to help retail shops find great new products that will become strong sellers.
Crafters Town lets you build your own store, but also curates shops into collections and storefronts so that consumers can easily browse.
ToSouk is similar to Crafters Town but adds the vintage and collectables focus alongside handmade items.
The Craft Star is a handmade boutique collection of indie storefronts. They offer a flat $5 per month fee (instead of a listing fee), but has a transaction fee.
Goodsmiths states that it is a marketplace for makers. They have no listing fees, but also charge transaction fees. The site is believable with store owner testimonials. There is a “free forever” version, then premium paid accounts.
The Indie Business Network is a great resource and membership site. It offers a membership directory in addition to lots of education for indie artisans and product creators. I like their Pinterest board and pins which go direct to member sites.
Artulis is focused on helping the UK artisan, craftsperson, and vintage product creator to market their wares. They have a craft forum and offer lots of advice to help their sellers succeed.
Jumping to the foodie front again, if you love indie, artisan-made food, then you have to visit Mouth. They started as “New York Mouth” to highlight locally made foods and then decided that “online local” could include many more local hotspots for good food. Great site and products. To be clear, they pick the products they will accept in their marketplace, so in that way they differ from most of these services. But if you have an established, stellar food product, you will want to consider sending in a sample. But you can also get ideas for how to market your own products by following their lead.
Hat tip to The Kitchn for a blog post that listed out a number of artisanal foodie marketplaces (some of which I included in my last post so I did not repeat them here).
The GLCmall is a collection of craft stores. You can create a basic store for free with no monthly fees or commissions or setup fees (up to 12 items).
If you are a hatmaker or just love hats, then That Way Hat is a site you will enjoy. They offer a free listing in their directory and a premium level listing, too. Flows in a Pinterest-like format.
ShopHandmade is a totally free marketplace based on members and buyers who want to contribute, as in donate, funds to keep the community venture going strong. Interesting model, for sure. Elegant website design, too.
ArtsyCrafters has an admirable mission: “To help our fellow disabled artisans present their work to a broader marketplace. We showcase their abilities and talents while also connecting them with others who share our special challenges.” The site promises to handle many of the day-to-day operational tasks of running a business so the artist/maker can focus on their craft.
BigCartel looks like a huge eCommerce provider, but they have a solid focus on the handmade indie shop owner. They have a light “free” plan that will probably work for most indie artisans. Worth a look.
Ruby Lane has a terrific name that makes you want to stroll through their shops. They have built their niche in vintage products and have a number of handmade makers in their midst, although you will also find vintage products from collectors as well.
FarmMade lets you buy and sell, well, products that come from a farm. Great niche focus and well designed site. It is $5/month and five percent commission on all products sold through the site.
You can create your own shop, what they call a showroom, on ezebee. The site is well-designed and captures the eye. They have several unique offerings, including their own “currency” modeled, it appears, after BitCoin: “We also offer BeeCoins, our internal currency. BeeCoins are easy to use and a great way to sell more easily to international shoppers.” Based in Switzerland, they operate in multiple languages, as you might expect.
Last item: If you are selling at physical markets in your local area, do not forget to look at Square, Stripe or Intuit’s GoPayment card readers that connect to your smartphone or iPad. Some work with the Nexus 10 (I’m a huge fan of Google’s tablet). These tiny card readers allow you to process payments on-the-fly – and in the case of Square — it is pretty affordable with a flat-rate of 2.75 percent per swipe.
If you have been watching the maker movement, now is your time to start an indie business. Handmade products are in high demand. But perhaps not all of them, so do your research. There are many local physical marketplaces starting to shift their focus to handmade goods.
How are you marketing and selling craft and homemade products?
About the author: TJ McCue served as Technology/Product Review Editor for Small Business Trends for many years and now contributes on 3D technologies. He is currently traveling the USA on the 3DRV roadtrip and writes at the Refine Digital blog.