I recently started updating the online marketplace section of the Art and Crafts Business guide to include new (and new to me) online craft markets. In the final analysis, if you've gone through the trouble of taking a stellar image of your product and writing descriptive copy, it just makes good business sense to market it in as many affordable venues as possible.
It's a good way to get your arts and crafts name out there. Plus, if you regularly contribute to a blog, it gives you a place to link back to sell your products.
I recently discovered another online craft marketplace recently started by artists from The Handmade Artists Forum - the Handmade Artists' Shop. It appears to have been started quite recently. The shops at this online marketplace are called HAF shops. I took a look through the Handmade Artists' Shop website and here's what I found out.
Selling Your Arts and Crafts Through the Handmade Artists' Shop
Handmade Artists' Shop (HAF Shop) has item policies very similar to Etsy - all items must be handcrafted. This includes both finished goods and supplies. However, you cannot sell unaltered vintage or resale items.
So, if you happen to purchase a bunch of sweaters in a manufacturers' clearance sale, you could only sell them in the Handmade Artists' Shop if you hand-processed them further. For example, you alter or incorporate the sweater into another design.
If you meet these criteria, your next setup is to sign up for a membership with the Handmade Artists' Shop. Membership allows you the privilege of setting up your own arts and crafts shop on the website. The website doesn't give any information about monitoring of this policy, although I would image some sort of system is set in place. The FAQ does state that vendors not following the handcrafted policies are subject to having their shop closed.
Paying Handmade Artists' Shop for Your Arts and Crafts Membership
Check out the website's top menu bar. Second from the left, select Register. This takes you to the sign-up page. You'll select a user name, pass word, and decide on type of membership. At present, there are two types: monthly for $5 and yearly for $50. Payment is made to Handmade Artists' Shop through PayPal.
And that's it - no listing fees and no additional fees tacked on when you make a sale. You can list as many products as you like for the flat membership fee.
Setting Up Your HAF Shop
If you are familiar with the procedure to set up shop on Etsy or ArtFire, you'll be right at home here. There are the same basic steps to follow such as setting up shop sections, adding products, selecting payment and shipping methods and informing customers you are on vacation.
Profiling Your Arts and Crafts Business on Handmade Artists' Shop
It's recommended to have a banner for your HAF shop. This is very important for gaining the confidence of your buyers. Not having a cool banner or logo is the equivalent of having a dusty or ill-conceive display window in a brick-mortar shop. The buyers won't look beyond the superficial to see the awesome products your handcraft.
In addition, of course, you need to tell a story about yourself, describe how you make your products and the materials you use to engage your buyers.
Giving the Bottom Line on Handmade Artists' Shop
The membership fee is more than reasonable. The trade-off is that the look and feel of the website is a bit less professional than Etsy. Browsing through the website, some of the image photography is subpar and it's clear that some vendors just aren't adept at selling themselves. This is most likely an experience issue as with the low membership fee, the website will be attracting a lot of newbies.
No vendors that I visited had feedback - which is typical considering how new the website is. I was impressed by the fact that some items which had been posted less than 24 hours prior had views in the hundreds.
Bottom line - give it a whirl as one of your ways to market your arts and crafts online - but don't make it your single marketing source. (nothing against HAF shops - you shouldn't depend just on Etsy or ArtFire either.
For More Information About Opening a HAF Shop
Check out the Handmade Artists' Shop's FAQ section for more information on the nuts and bolts of setting up your own HAF shop. You will need to set up login information first to gain access to some of the information.