If you happen to be creative, artistic, and infinitely inspired, you have likely heard your friends say “You should sell these!” And while you may smile and nod, you may have no idea where to begin.
Selling your work online isn't nearly as difficult as you imagine. And with the holiday season upon us, buyers are even more anxious to find homemade gifts and unique art items. If you have a knack for creating handmade items, now may be the time to take your hard work to the Internet where buyers everywhere are waiting to give you their business!
Not crafty? No worries! Support an independent artist and shop for truly unique gifts by exploring one of the virtual marketplaces below.
- Etsy. Sellers list handmade and vintage items, plus craft supplies. Run your Etsy store alone or cooperatively. Opening an Etsy store is free; no registration fee, or monthly "rent." However, for each individual item listed, you pay $0.20 every four months. Once an item is sold, pay a 3.5% transaction fee (excluding shipping). Etsy supplies feedback ratings, customer service policies, conflict resolution support, a blog, and a very active and supportive forum. If you have leftover supplies you are no longer using, this is a great place to get some cash for them.
- ArtFire. Members sell fine arts, handmade, vintage, and supplies with no listing or transaction fees. Get extra marketing tools and customization options by paying $20 per month (optional). ArtFire sellers can interact with each other for support and advice.
- Walkabout Crafts. This non-profit site based in the UK aims to connect crafts people and customers from around the world. Sellers choose from seven membership levels, each with a one-time fee, benefits and features. Products sold on this site are primarily crafts, but the site also promotes cooks, publishers, writers, gardeners, and artisans. Sellers come from all over the world, and you can even search the site by country.
- Kinfolk Crafts. Merchants submit products for a one-time fee, and Kinfolk Crafts provides a link. They also offer affiliate marketing opportunities and some free advertising services. Merchandise must be country-style (this is the site’s focus) and handmade by the seller. Visit Kinfolk to see other requirements. Kinfolk Crafts carries international sites and donates at least 10% of profits to charities such as Nothing But Nets (mosquito netting for fighting malaria).
- Artspan. This online gallery features work from contemporary artists, jewelers and artisans. Sellers can choose from three levels of service, each with a reasonable monthly fee. An active community forum allows members to get advice and marketing tips.
- Art You Can. This site (launched in 2012) features “Art You Can” display (vases), hang (prints), and use (lotions, music and more). While registration is free, there is a 6% transaction fee each time an item is sold. This site appears to regulate very little of what is posted, leaving the market wide open for a variety of handmade items.
- Zazzle. If your knack is more in visual design, Zazzle is for you. Upload designs, slogans, and illustrations, then apply to your choice of over 350 products for a truly customized piece: T-shirts, mugs, key chains, etc. Members set their royalty level, and the company prices items accordingly (taking into account production costs). Zazzle recommends the average royalty of 20% to keep prices in line with retail stores. In addition, earn money through referrals and affiliate marketing. Merchants can customize their Zazzle stores and use marketing resources, forums, and blogs.
- ProStores. As part of eBay, Pro Stores operates in a similar fashion. Business owners choose between three subscription levels, depending on the services needed, along with web design packages and services. ProStores also helps each client design an online store. Enjoy the use of SEO tools, credit card and PayPal processing, shipping and tax calculators, along with postage and shipping labels. ProStores connects each user to eBay and comparison shopping engines like Shopzilla.
- Bigcommerce. Unlike the previous companies, Bigcommerce offers an e-commerce platform to set up an online store. The software offers a long list of features, including creative control, an eBay control panel, photo uploads and more. Users pay a monthly fee (there are five tiers with varying levels of service), but no transaction costs.