Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Etsy Alternatives

After much discussion, and many many requests, we are going to begin diving in to the Etsy alternatives. Some we have collective experience with, others we don't. So if you have something you want to say about a particular online venue for handmade goods that should be included in our articles, shoot me an email: etsyanon.righteous@gmail.com

When considering a site as an alternative to Etsy, the big thing is that is needs to service the (somewhat) niche market of handmade. People need to know that it's there, and it needs to be valued for what it is. eBay works for some goods, but mainly people want a bargain. So that type of site is an option, but not necessarily a beneficial alternative. We'll keep this in mind when addressing venues. (Yes, we know there are supplies and vintage folks out there. We're going to concentrate on the handmade angle, but hey, email me if you have something to say, too!)

As time goes on we'll address the venues more in depth, starting with BigCartel, but it takes time to digest everything and I wanted to throw out this link to an article one of our readers passed along. An Etsy seller wrote a somewhat comprehensive article on the potential venues. It's about a year old we're told, so it doesn't include artfire or shophandmade (who are advertising like crazy! and poke fun at Etsy...so we heart them lol) but we're going to address them too once we have a little experience with or feedback about the sites.

The sites we'll be addressing are BigCartel, Dawanda, eCrater, BluJay, uShops, freecraftfair, Mintd, lov.li, Artfire, shophandmade, and...ummm...I'm blanking. There are more, but leave us a comment or send me a link to remind is of which other ones you know about that we should address for the sake of our crafty brethren.


Beequeen said...

ebay buyers looking for a bargain? Not necessarily true, at least in the miniatures/dolls category. It attracts very monied buyers willing to pay big for handmade pieces. It is the only place, besides my own website, where I sell my miniatures. Because of the auction format, prices often get driven up very high. I've been told that the prices some people fetch are not "real world prices" because you will often get more than selling them at a set price. It is really the only site I recommend for selling miniatures.

It's great that etsy FINALLY caved and put in a DAM category, but I doubt ebay will suffer because of it.

different is good said...

Can't wait to see the reviews. I'm on quite a few of the mentioned sites, but I've only had 1 sale outside of Etsy.

If all those other sites joined together, took the best of each and made a site, Etsy would be so last week.

But, like ebay people to Ebay, I'm resigned to Etsy for right now. It's where I get sales.

beadie said...

Handmadefusion (aka handmadefuzion )

Ericka Bailie-Byrne said...

I like ShopHandmade, but it is frequently slow as molasses. I have to open a new tab & do other things while it loads.

justajewelrydesigner said...


check 'em out!

eggsNOTn1basket said...


KitschenSink said...

Folksy is for the UK and is currently in BETA stage and appear to be addressing pretty much everything that's asked of them in the forums :o)

The Funny One said...

And I urge sellers to try out other sites because they do offer many services that will never be available on Etsy unless Etsy has a complete turnover of employees who still believe they are the main attraction - not ecommerce. Etsy is run like a personal boutique for the favored few, and it will fall far behind with its provincial attitudes.

Other sites may do better for this holiday season, since many of them are already promoting, advertising and offering sellers (and buyers) a lot of perks. Etsy is doing nothing but changing the names of a couple of Showcases that will be up for one week at a time (and exclude about 75% of all stores without the "right" goods that fit Etsy's limited vision).

Etsy does get more page views, and new stores open by the thousands each month, but their complete lack of seller-support services will get them in the end - and soon.

Jen Segrest (verybigjen) said...

I'm redesigning Artfire, no really! That my logo and interface up there! I'm redesigning every thing, and every page. I made their banner ads on EB!

Anyway, they have some BIG things planned, and are moving fast, tons of advertising, and features up the wazoo are all in process. They are young, but in this case it's actually accurate.

In a month the site should be all done, you should wait on reviewing them for a few weeks so you get to see all the stuff they have planned.

lulu said...

Did you include lollishops?

I was browsing artfire and noticed that the clothing section says the items were designed by the artisans but not made by them. I am not sure how that fits into handmade...am I missing something about the site?

Jen Segrest (verybigjen) said...

Just keep in minda Artfire is only a couple months old and heavily still in dev, and still in beta. Everyday it gets better so far, it's also very small at this point. They hop on issues at a supersonic speed. It's rather shocking how fast they handle bugs.

They just put up the category descriptions a couple days ago so I imagine they'll change again soon. I'l pass it on to them! (oh yeah, they LOVE feedback! LOVE it!)

geelizzie said...

madeitmyself is in the beta stage and has a lot of error issues, but it's free to list and free to feature your items on the home page right now. not a lot of traffic though
icraft is a really nice trouble free site that is easy to use, but not much traffic yet.
I would love to find a site with the potential to really give etsy a run for their money, but as of yet, that hasn't happened.

sherry said...

First, ask yourself, what do you do for a living? I am a jewelry designer. It's what I love, it's what I do.

Would like to just sell on etsy? Sure. It would free me up to spend more time in the studio, with my family, on my bike. But etsy doesn't work. Part of me is hopeful that change is coming, but I can't wait for that. I can't spend more time in their fora making good business suggestions as an end user of their site that is not privvy to their business plans.

I am tired of twittering, blogging, stumbling and nings and rings and hoops to jump through to get sales. I know my work is different, and with a niche, I hope people will find my etsy shop. But I cannot count on it.

So, I took steps a few months ago to open a store on Big Cartel, http://sherrytruitt.com I have my domain name masked so it looks like a stand alone website. I advertise it on a few non-etsy blogs, a few print ads and point my trunkt portfolio there.

I am slowly and steadily building a world wide client base. I have a site I can customize as I learn more html. I have inventory control,coupon codes and stats. Yes, stats. I know exactly where my customers are coming from and where to target my advertising dollars. BC has excellent customer service that I have used a few times. They just celebrated 3 years of success.

I pay 20.00 a month to keep 100 pieces in my shop. That's 1/3 of my etsy bill.

I'm keeping both shops for now. When you think about where your next online presence will be, it does not have to be in a strictly handmade ( or vintage) environment. That other shops on BC sell different things does not affect me.

I am not sure what the future holds for etsy. But, deciding not to mind etsy's business, and take that time to build my future instead has empowered me.

another etsy seller said...

I'd be interested in reviews of iCraft.ca and MadeItMyself.com, too.

Andy Mathis said...

ecrater is totally free. It can be used as a website shopping cart by linking it off your website or blog.

Items do show up in google searches.

The drawbacks- it's interface isn't as customizable as I would like for it to be. And there is no way to use coupon codes.

So that is why I am in the process of changing to my own site and use ZenCart which is included with my $4/month webhosting with godaddy.

auryndesign said...

Artfire is looking good - I'm setting my shop up there today - can't wait to read these reviews.

Andy Mathis said...

I do have some items on handmade fuzion, and will be adding more. They seem to have great customer service.

Shophandmade also seems to have good customer service. With SH though, since listings are free, I worry that they will lose the "Shop Handmade" message, because of the categories they offer.

I may also go back to listing some things on ebay too.

life-during-wartime said...

Great topic! Would love to find a site with the appeal of the original Etsy, but without all of Etsy's issues.

Just looked at Artfire, and was so disappointed to see that they have categories set up for 'vintage' and 'antiques'. Oh, well...

Mama V said...

I had a TERRIBLE experience on BluJay.

Their Admin knew I was ripped off for $300 and allowed the seller to slander me in the BluJay forum.

Their Admin is non-existant. The seller never even left BluJay and has ripped off at least 4 other people.

Alorinna said...

SmashingDarling.com might be a good review as well.

Impetuous said...

I don't know about Art Fire. It's cool that you are involved VBJ but so much of it looks like an Etsy rip off that it feels weird. I'd like Etsy to have enough of a competitive threat that they feel the urgency outside of the forums and customer complaints. I am not sure that an Etsy knock off is the answer though. Art Fire seems like trading one buggy site for another.

I love how someone is already bitching that AF has vintage. Geezums Crow.

Jen Segrest (verybigjen) said...

Imp - when I say it's new I am not speaking etsyese - it's like only been up 2 months.

Everything is in the process of being redesigned as I type (okay after I get done typing I go back to it). The forums aren't even up yet, most of the features are in the works, that's why I told EB to wait a month before going there, that's when they are breaking out all over with ads and such. They Are going to be doing insane amounts of advertising coming up.

Be skeptical, but don't judge it yet, it's not even all done. When it is I think people will be impressed big time. I think it really could be the competitor Etsy hasn't had yet.

Yeah I'm that impressed so far. If everything I am working on or hear about is happening it's going to blow them away.

woolies said...

Sigh. I don't know what I want to do. I'm sort of selling on Etsy. Do I just hang out and wait? I opened shops on mnay of these other sites, and have had very very few sales. A couple on icraft, none anywhere else, including handmade fuzion. I'm going to be on lollishops when it opens. I really wanted Etsy to work.

The Righteous One said...

Yep, VBJ, we're holding off on Artfire until they're fully operational.

We have plenty of other places to hit along the way. The first one is going up tomorrow (BigCartel).

Thanks for all of the information everyone, keep it coming.

Impetuous said...

As you said Jen, hope breaks your heart. I'll believe it when I see it.

Simone said...

I don't really see Big Cartel as being a true alternative to Etsy as it isn't really a venue - it enables people to set up their own shops, using their own domain if they wish, etc.. This is much like Shopify. But I guess that's a technicality!

However, I do think sellers should seriously consider taking that path. I find I have an awful lot more freedom and control over my business with an independent shop. You need to do a lot of marketing for yourself, but then you need to do that on Etsy anyway.

Having said that, I still think it's important at this point to sell through some of the venues too - definitely more than one. It's a good way to reach a broader audience, I find.

Also, if you're a buyer who is disillusioned with Etsy, think about how you can support sellers outside of Etsy. I know Etsy is a good place to go and look for things because of the sheer volume of listings, but check if the seller has another outlet somewhere - hunt for a blog or a website with alternative links. And do support a seller's independent shop if they have one.

I've been doing this when I can. There isn't always an alternative for sellers I want to buy from, but I often wish there was and I'll use it if there is one that has what I want in it.

kibbles said...

Totally agree with Beequeen. I'm one that also loves eBay, especially for my miniatures. Etsy *finally* got a category up and running, but allowed it to become trashed already with inappropriate items that don't fit the category. Primitives sell well on eBay too. I don't use the auction style. I use fixed price listing on both my seller ids and do quite well there.

Loula said...

MyEhive is live. Alpha, Beta whatever. Live and ready to rock. UK & Ireland only.

How are we different? What are our unique selling points:

1. We are UK & Ireland exclusive.
2. We offer free shop creation and no commission.
3. We offer geolocation facilities to help you find local suppliers in your area.

This will help build back our local economies and help build a durable future in the UK & Ireland.

Insufferable growth strategies encourage massive debt. We want our members to build up strong local networks of shops and suppliers. Bringing back wealth to their areas. Avoiding the supermarkets and using our networking facilities.

MyEhive will be a venue , like the UK's & Ireland's biggest indie shopping center, and we can't wait to see this happen.

lolli-fuzz said...

lollishops opens novemebr 15th in beta and for everyone else on the 28th. I wouldn't do a review of lollishops until it opens--it might really suck.

Rascallion said...

I have a massive-mega list of alternatives to Etsy on my blog. A few reviews too if you poke around my site. Still have about a half dozen to add to the list too (like Artfire and Madeitmyself among others)

Come check it and let me know what you think ;)


Or you can Google "Etsy Alternatives", I think I am the top spot right now. Cheers!

try this said...

try buyitsellit.com - its just a shopping cart system but its free and super easy to use. a great way to set up our own shops.

Alternative lover said...

I'd love to know your impression of Lollishops.

Anonymous said...

Thank you guys for such a wonderful blog. Lots of great information here. I am a very positive and upbeat person and have done well on Etsy I would say, but not enough to "QMDJ" As, actually I don't have my day job, this is all I have, my craft and it is imperative that I find more outlets to keep a roof over my head and then some. Yes, I do get featured on the front pages and was always in gift guides. Overall, Etsy has been good to me. But I do need to know about other venues and the info you are giving is priceless... Thanks so much EB