After more than eight years, I’ve decided to close up my shop on Etsy. Lately I’ve just had more negative things to say about the service than positive, and I figured it was time to put my money where my mouth was and move on. (I’ll probably write something more about while I left later, but Abby Glassenberg — who loves Etsy, for the record —has a comprehensive list of the common Etsy complaints here.)
To find a new home for my handmade shop, I spent the last few days creating this chart comparing ecommerce options for makers & designers. It includes the major craft marketplaces as well as standalone ecommerce platforms that let you set up a standalone shop fairly simply, without needing your own website or host. I also calculated the fees each of the various platforms charge for four separate sales scenarios. I found it very interesting to dig into the numbers and check out my options, and there are definite trends that come up when you compare the fees for small volume sales to high-volume sales.
Dec. 22 update: I’ve added a column noting whether the service has made any statement or offered advice about VATMOSS and the 2015 European value added tax rule changes.
February 2015 update: You likely arrived here from my piece on Wired.com: How Etsy Alienated Its Crafters and Lost Its Soul. Welcome! I hope you find the information useful.
October 2015 update: Amazon just launched its Handmade vertical, so I’ve added that to the list.
Still trying to wrap up your Christmas shopping? I’m nearly done, but I know it can be hard to buy for the makers, designers and crafters in your life. After all, what could you give them that they couldn’t just make themselves? My guide has 7 places to get gifts sure to please any crafty person (including me).
I just discovered this shop this week, and it’s a regular valhalla for makers. Can’t decide whether your crafty friends would prefer powerless illuminating tubing or a giant hunk of aluminum foam? Get ’em an Inventables gift certificate for any amount you want, and let them choose for themselves.
Moo prints cards and stickers on demand from your own images — you can make all 100 of your business cards look the same, or you can go for Printfinity and put a different picture on every single one of them. Crazy, right? Give a friend a gift card (available in denominations of $10, $20, $30, $50, $70 and $100), and print away!
Temporary tattoos have never looked so good. Big-name designers lend their visions to these just-add-water wonders. Tattly’s got a few curated $25 gift boxes that look real sweet. You can also give a gift card in any amount you like, or give a Tattly subscription and keep your friends in temporary tattoos for six months.
American Science & Surplus
This is a well-kept crafty secret, like a Big Lots for nerds. (And I love that along with every product photo they also have a hand-drawn version of the item.) American Science & Surplus is all amazing deals on things you didn’t know you ever wanted: glass test tubes, fallout shelter signs, donut magnets and “robot partz.” SciPlus doesn’t do gift cards, but you’ve got about a week left to place orders to arrive before Christmas.
If you’re sweating a gift for a shutterbug friend, stop right here. Photojojo sells amazing smartphone accessories and camera accoutrements, like recycled film roll magnets and Holga iPhone lenses. Gift cards come in denominations of $10, $25, $50, $100 or $200, and if you pick an amount of $25 or over, you can get it mailed with a free tiny camera keychain.
I actually had to unsubscribe myself from Fab’s email newsletters because there were just too many things I wanted to buy! It’s just ludicrous how many well-designed things can live in one online shop. Fab just started offering gift cards — you can get them in denominations of $25 and up.
Oh, I love these Futura-heavy notebooks so much — I have two in my bag at this very moment. Grab a bunch of the original kraft-covered Field Notes, or select one of the limited edition color packs. You can also get a subscription for $97 that’ll keep you in notebooks all year. And by “you” I mean whoever you’re getting a gift for. (You.)
The biggest handmade marketplace just started offering gift cards this year, in denominations of $25, $50, $100 or $250. They can be used in any U.S. Etsy shop that accepts direct checkout payments, and you can have the gift cards emailed or print them out at home. I’d be happy to get an Etsy gift card, but as a seller, I’m also really excited for everybody else to get Etsy gift cards so I have a strong sales month in January! :)
Edited to add: I just received a subscription to Whimseybox, which is a great addition to this list! It’s like Birchbox for crafters, or Pinterest in your mailbox. Every month you’ll get a reusable box with a DIY project, instructions and an art print. You can send a friend (or yourself) a gift subscription for 3 months ($45), 6 months ($90) or a year ($165).
I am so stoked to be involved with the CraftCamp at SXSW Interactive next week! I was going to be there for my job anyway, but then I found out that Willo was organizing a craft-centric event, and I just had to be part of it. The schedule is still being finalized, but here’s an overview of the things that’ll be going on:
- Etsy shop tuneups
- Sessions on how to design and print fabric, be more productive, price your work and get more publicity
- Advice on getting capital for your business and dealing with taxes
- A panel discussion on what discount sites mean for the handmade community
- And happy hours with free beer each day!
We’ll be getting crafty on Sunday, March 11, and Monday, March 12 in the Presentation Tent of Palm Park. You can add it to your Facebook calendar here. I hope if you’re already coming to SXSW you’ll stop by and check out CraftCamp! (FYI: If you haven’t already registered, badges are still available, but hotels in Austin are totally sold out.)