Friday, October 1, 2010

The Virtual Storefront

After talking for the last two days about the home office it seems appropriate to talk about what makes a home business viable for the creative ones of us plus it coinicides with the day Artfire kicks into high gear.

It would be very hard, if not impossible, for so many of us to have our little businesses if it wasn't for the internet and sites like Ebay, Etsy and Artfire.
They give us a place to sell our wares and let us reach around the world.
It amazes me that my patterns can go to all corners of the world in the space of a week, I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around it.

Ebay has been around for quite a while now and while it's a great tool the prices have risen considerably.   Etsy is still relatively new and seems to me to have been created for artists and creative types and my only gripe is that sellers of mass produced supplies which tend to sell the most and bring in Etsy the most money appear to win disputes over the artists. But Etsy does seem to attract more of the serious handmade businesses...and let me explain what I mean there....
Sites like Etsy allow the hobby artist to sell their work too, which is great, however, hobby artists tend to under price their work because it is their hobby and they don't have to pay the bills with what they make.  This devalues the work of everyone who is struggling to make ends meet with their home business.
Artfire's launch today of the new flat lifetime rate of $5.95 a month (for those who opted in) is encouraging and hopefully will make them more known and increase the traffic on the site.  The price can't be beat, I pay three to four times as much at Etsy but after looking at the prices of the beadwork there, it's discouraging.  Obviously a lot of hobbyists sell their wares on Artfire, probably because of their free program.

So what is a designer/entrepreneur to do?
I figure I'll maintain both stores for six months and see which one does the best then review it. It is my experience that unless you work your store along with Facebook, sales and growth will be slow.
What will you do?


  1. Like I said to Peter, using online stores like Etsy and Artfire you get easy set-up, promo tools, low cost etc. You also get to usher buyers into a mall featuring 3000 competitors.
    HOWever, if you are asked if you have an online shop, you have to be able to say "yes." A business with NO online presence, these days, is pretty much dead in the water.
    As I've joined at the same time, I'll be interested to see what you think as that six months unfolds.

  2. Well, you and I know, it's not just having an online store it's working it. Let's hope our plans hit paydirt :)


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