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If you sell handmade, you’re likely aware of Etsy. But a lot of people are wondering where they can sell their handmade items online, aside from Etsy.
Perhaps because Etsy changed their algorithm so traffic and sales aren’t what they used to be, or maybe they feel their category is too saturated. Whatever the reason, this article shares several suggestions for additional ways to sell handmade online.
Before you start selling on any platform, ensure you’re legally allowed to sell your products. Check out:
- LAWS FOR SELLING HANDMADE for a quick and easy overview
30+ PLACES TO SELL HANDMADE ONLINE (BESIDES ETSY)
Here’s a list of over 30 online marketplaces you can use to sell your handmade products.
WHERE TO SELL HANDMADE ONLINE: BASED ON LOCATION
The country listed next to each marketplace is where the majority of their traffic comes from, and in most cases, also where the website is based. Some allow users outside the country to join while others do not.
1. AMAZON HANDMADE (US)
2. ARTFIRE (US)
3. ZIBBET (US)
4. AFTCRA (US)
5. HANDMADE ARTISTS (US)
6. INDIECART (US)
7. ICRAFTGIFTS (CANADA)
8. FOLKSY (UK)
9. MISI (UK)
10. MADEIT (AUSTRALIA)
11. FELT (NEW ZEALAND)
WHERE TO SELL HANDMADE ONLINE: BASED ON YOUR TARGET MARKET
You can also try different online marketplaces based on the type of customer they attract (not just by location).
12. CARGOH – is a curated marketplace so the products featured are a little more selective and may attract a different type of shopper who’s looking for higher-end products and doesn’t want to search through thousands of jewelry listings to find the right pair of earrings.
13. BONANZA – is sort of a mix of Etsy, Ebay and Amazon so it attracts a customer who’s interested in more than just handmade. They share customer insights, unlike Etsy, so it may be easier for you to build your business through repeat customers.
14. UNCOMMON GOODS – is not like Etsy where anyone can sign up and start listing handmade goods but rather a site you can submit your products to, they’ll review them and if they’re a fit, they’ll carry them in their online marketplace. They attract a target market looking for really unique and obviously, “uncommon” products.
15. REBELS MARKET – this is a marketplace to list edgy alternative designs. Think: goth, steampunk, heavy metal, etc. If those are words you’d use to describe your products, consider listing them on this marketplace.
Knowing your target market and choosing the right target market is more important than what you sell or where you sell it.
If you choose a target market that is obsessed with something (e.g. yoga, or the environment, or cats, or cars, etc.) and then create a product and build a business that appeals to that “obsession”, customers will find you.
When we’re obsessed with something, we go out and look for articles to read on the subject, follow hashtags and social media accounts focused on our interest, buy products to feed our obsession, etc.
Your business needs to be built around a target market’s obsession. It’s too hard to sell to people with a “take it or leave it” mentality around the products you sell.
To find the right target market, check out HOW TO FIND A GOLDMINE OF CUSTOMERS.
WHERE TO SELL HANDMADE ONLINE: BASED ON YOUR PRODUCT CATEGORY
There are also a few options for selling a specific type of product.
16. RAVELRY – if you create knitting or crochet patterns, spin or dye yarn for sale, you can list it on this site
These websites (there are many more for artists but these are my top picks) allow artists and/or photographers to upload their work and sell it as prints or apply it to a variety of products (such as mugs, t-shirts, phone cases, etc.)
21. DEVIANT ART
22. 99DESIGNS (if you’re a graphic designer and are interested in creating custom designs for businesses)
SELLING HANDMADE ONLINE: WHOLESALE
Most people think of brick and mortar stores when they think of selling their products wholesale. But there are plenty of online stores that need products to stock their pages with. The following platforms may help you reach those retailers online.
24. AMAZON BUSINESS (most categories of products)
25. STOCKABL (most categories of products)
ETSY WHOLESALE (most categories of products) Shut down
27. INDIEME (most categories of products)
29. JOOR (fashion)
30. LE NEW BLACK (fashion)
31. MOUTH (food)
32. RANGEME (this business works with major retailers so your product must be ready to sell wholesale in large quantities)
33. WHOLESALE IN A BOX (most categories of products)
HANDMADE MARKETPLACE & WEBSITE MIX
If you’re not quite ready to build a website of your own but want to be a bit more independent and have more control than Etsy allows, these are a couple of good options:
34. INDIEMADE – made for artists but has less of a community than an online marketplace like Etsy has.
35. STORENVY – this one is both a website and an online marketplace in one. It allows you to create your own website but also shows your listings in Storenvy’s marketplace.
HANDMADE SUBSCRIPTION BOX
I like the idea of handmade businesses creating subscription boxes because it allows you to sell multiple items with one sale AND you generate consistent revenue from month to month.
If you’re not familiar with subscription boxes, basically, you would create a package of products that follow a theme; they may be all your products, you may work with other vendors to fill a box, or you may purchase items at wholesale prices to include in your box.
Customers would subscribe to receiving your package each month, which may simply be a refill, or it may be new products for them to try.
For example, let’s say I sell bath and body products. I may create a “Sustainable Shower Subscription Box” with my vegan shampoo, vegan conditioner, vegan shower gel, and vegan shaving cream. When a customer signs up for that subscription box, they’re signing up to receive it each month and will be charged a monthly fee for it; consistent and reliable income without you having to constantly market to that customer or remind them to re-purchase!
Here’s a good guide for getting started: How to Start a Subscription Box Guide
36. CRATEJOY – a website for buying and listing subscription boxes. Consumers can find hundreds of subscription boxes to subscribe to under a variety of categories.
HOW TO SELL CRAFTS ONLINE THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
If you have active social media accounts that have engaged followers, you may want to use those platforms to sell.
It’s not a great option to simply post products and tell people to message you or comment to buy; that’s not a streamlined purchasing process.
Online shoppers want convenience and they expect to be able to purchase items with one or two clicks of the mouse.
If you require them to message you to inquire about purchasing, which is then followed by several other steps to transfer money, you’re likely going to lose several sales. Instead, try a platform like Ecwid:
Ecwid is a platform that allows you to create listings and then sync those listings with a Facebook page, Instagram account, website, marketplace, or even accept payments in-person.
Let’s say you have a Facebook Page set up, which you use to market your products but you don’t have a way to sell those products on Facebook.
- Set up an Ecwid account, (choose the Venture or Business plan)
- Add your products to your account
- Go to Ecwid Control Panel → All sales channels → Sell on Facebook and click “Connect Facebook page”
- Select the Facebook page where you want to add your products and click “Save”
Your products are now available for people to shop and buy, right on your Facebook page (or you can sync with your Instagram account too). You’ll see a tab on the left side of your Facebook page titled “Facebook Shop”
WHERE CAN I SELL HANDMADE ITEMS NEAR ME?
If you want to sell your handmade products online but you don’t want to ship your items (i.e. you’d prefer to meet up with people in your city for an exchange), or you want to target consumers who live closer to you (e.g. in your state/province), consider the following options.
38. BUILD A WEBSITE
Do you need your own website to sell handmade? No; especially not in the beginning. But you should have a website if you’re serious about building a successful business.
As a consumer, I can only gather so much information from a business’s Etsy shop and if I’m going to become a loyal customer (e.g. purchase regularly, visit their site regularly, take a chance on higher-priced goods, etc.), I want to be able to visit a dedicated website to sign up for their newsletter, add to my bookmarks, learn more about the business, etc.
Websites have become easier to build, without expensive developers, through tools like:
However, it takes months, sometimes even years, to begin seeing decent organic traffic, so it’s a good idea to get your website up and running sooner than later; even if you don’t plan to drive traffic to it yet.
Organic traffic is website traffic that comes from visitors who discover your website when searching phrases on search engines like Google, as opposed to traffic that visits your website by clicking on your paid ad or social media post.
It requires work to gain organic traffic because you must write blog articles, create listings and have a site that’s attractive to Google in many different ways (e.g. loads quickly, is linked to from other sites, etc.). However, an SEO friendly blog post or product listing is posted to your site once and can continue to attract traffic over time. Unlike traffic from a platform like Facebook or a paid ad where you must continue to post or pay to see traffic to your site.
You can focus website content on keywords you want your website to rank for. For example, if I have a jewelry business and I want to sell my pieces online, but to people who live within my city or province, I can focus on using my city and province’s names in my content (e.g. “Earrings handmade in Alberta”)/
You’re also able to build your brand and collect newsletter subscribers through your website, which is harder to do on Etsy.
So my suggestion is to get a website up as soon as you’re comfortable doing so. You don’t have to worry about loads of traffic coming in and having too many orders to handle as soon as you hit publish. You can perfect it over the first several weeks, while it’s live, without anyone (besides Google) actually seeing it. You may see the odd visit here and there but not much until you start sharing links to your website and Google starts showing it in top search results (which can take months).
39. FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE
People list everything from furniture to houses on Facebook Marketplace. It doesn’t necessarily help a business with their branding (because there’s such a hodge-podge of products and services listed), but it may work for a business starting out that wants to test the local market.
40. KIJIJI – a classified site that attracts all types of sellers selling all types of items. The purpose is to buy and sell locally so depending on what you sell, it may be an option when starting out.
41. CRAIGSLIST – similar to Kijiji
For more places to sell your crafts locally, check out: WHERE TO SELL HANDMADE LOCALLY
WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO SELL HANDMADE ITEMS?
A lot of crafters wonder if Folksy is better than Etsy or if Artfire is better than Etsy.
Which handmade marketplace or online platform is “best” depends on which factor determines “best”.
Some people may rank one handmade marketplace higher than another because it’s cheaper or easier to use.
In my opinion, traffic is the most important factor. The reason people use an online marketplace instead of simply starting their own website is because the marketplace attracts more traffic.
If a marketplace brings traffic to you, it’s up to you to convert that traffic into paying customers and price products to cover the fees the marketplace is charging you. So although cost is important, your business can increase prices to cover the higher costs one marketplace may charge.
Of the more well-known handmade marketplaces, these 5 rank in the following order:
>> Amazon is ranked in the top 20 out of websites in the entire world and within the top 5 in the US. It would be hard for any other online marketplace to compete with that. However, the traffic Amazon receives, which helps them rank so high, isn’t all going to their “handmade” section.
>> Etsy comes in second place for traffic, ranking within the top 150 websites globally and within the top 50 in the US.
>> Artfire comes next but Etsy has a big lead on them, then Zibbet, then Folksy.
WHERE TO SELL CRAFTS ONLINE FOR FREE
This is a question I see come up a lot. When it comes to selling your products online for free, your options are limited.
Classified sites are typically free to post and sell because transactions happen off the platform. Examples of classified sites are:
- Facebook Marketplace
These wouldn’t be my top choices for handmade businesses selling online because they tend to be platforms people use to sell their unwanted items and where buyers go to find a good deal. Those are two things we don’t want to be associated with your handmade products: “unwanted” and “good deal”.
That being said, if your craft business is in the startup phase and you’re short on cash, you can test these types of platforms out. Just be sure to keep your listings on-brand. Meaning, if you want people to see your handmade products as valuable items, post professional-looking photos, have well-written descriptions, respond to messages in a timely manner, etc.
Technically, you can use a business social media account to “list” your products and encourage people to direct message you to purchase an item. This method can be hard to track sales and isn’t the most streamlined experience for the customer. If you plan to accept payments online, you’ll need a PayPal account (or another payment account) to accept online payments. These services charge you a fee for each transaction.
There are many handmade marketplaces that are free to sign up and create an account, but there’s typically some type of fee associated with selling through their platform, such as a listing fee (e.g. $0.20/listing) or a transaction fee (e.g. 3.5% of each transaction).
Other platforms may not charge listing or transaction fees but may charge a monthly membership fee. If they’re not charging you a transaction fee, you may be responsible for connecting your PayPal or Stripe account with your shop and those services will charge transaction fees directly to you.
If you set up a website for your craft business, you’ll have more costs to consider such as:
- Purchasing a domain name and paying for it each year
- Web hosting
- Website builder (some are free, depending on the features your site needs)
- Website design and development (even if you’re taking these tasks on yourself, you must still pay yourself for your time)
On top of that, you must connect your shop with a payment account (e.g. PayPal, Stripe, etc.) so your shoppers can complete transactions online. These services charge a transaction fee for each payment you receive.
You have a few options for listing and selling your handmade products for free but if you want to collect payments online, there will always be a fee.
HOW DO I SELL HANDMADE ONLINE?
There are many moving parts to successfully selling handmade online. This is a quick overview, with links to articles with more information.
GET SET UP PROPERLY
There’s nothing worse than jumping into your business, being several months down the road, and then discovering your business is infringing on another business’s intellectual property. I’ve been there, and it wasn’t fun to fix.
Know the laws your small business must follow (no business is too small to have laws to follow). For more info, check out:
KNOW WHO YOU’RE TARGETING
Most businesses make the mistake of starting with a product (after friends & family tell them how great it is) and then going out and looking for people to buy it.
That’s the wrong approach.
Think about it this way…
Wouldn’t it be easier to pick out a gift when you know it’s for your mom, or sister, or best friend, rather than when you’re told to choose a gift for a woman? The latter leaves so many options open.
Think of your business and its products as a gift to your customers. To create the perfect gift, you must know exactly who you’re making it for; you can’t go off a vague description such as women in their 30’s.
To find a profitable target market for your business, check out:
FIND YOUR UNIQUE ANGLE
There are already thousands of jewelry, soap, art, etc. businesses out there, so you need to find a way to make your business, brand, and products stand out.
That starts with knowing who you’re targeting because your business can’t possibly stand out to everyone.
Then you can alter aspects of your business to be different from your competitors and to be a perfect fit for your target market by offering something they can’t find anywhere else.
That becomes your unique selling position (USP). Check out:
Based on who you’re targeting, plan products accordingly.
It’s important to have options, but don’t go overboard by trying to fulfill all your shopper’s needs.
Your customers don’t walk into a jewelry store in the mall and expect to be able to buy a scarf and a piece of art. Yet so many Etsy shops carry a mixed bag of products (check out: HOW TO KNOW IF YOU’RE OFFERING TOO MANY PRODUCTS)
If I’m targeting brides shopping for jewelry, I would stay in my wheelhouse and only offer jewelry. I would want to:
- Stick with a signature style (more on that here: HOW TO FIND A SIGNATURE STYLE FOR YOUR HANDMADE PRODUCTS)
- Create collections that work together (more on that here: HOW TO CREATE A HOLIDAY COLLECTION FOR YOUR HANDMADE BUSINESS, as well as: HOW TO USE PRODUCT COLLECTIONS TO BOOST SALES)
- Add products that help me up-sell, cross-sell/add-on, and down-sell:
WORK THOSE KEYWORDS
The key to attracting shoppers online is strategically using keywords.
When you know who you’re targeting, and you’ve gotten specific, you’re able to find specific words they’re searching for, or ones that will catch their attention in a social media post.
For example, if I make jewelry and decide I’m targeting women in their 30’s, that makes it extremely hard to know which keywords women in their 30’s are searching.
But if instead, I target brides, I know they’ll be searching for jewelry using phrases such as:
- Bridal jewelry sets
- Bridesmaid jewelry
- Maid of honor jewelry, or maid of honor gift
These are keywords I would then use in my online content to attract shoppers who are more likely to buy my products.
For more details on this technique, check out:
INCREASE PERCEIVED VALUE
It’s not just about the products you sell. Everything that surrounds your products will either have shoppers placing a higher value on your products, or a lower one.
Think about it this way…
If you found a basic white t-shirt at The Dollar Store, you would put a low value on that shirt and expect its price to be under $10.
But if you were to place that same white t-shirt in a high-end retail store (e.g. Louis Vuitton), everything that now surrounds that shirt, raises the value you put on it. The store’s finishes, fixtures, lighting, staff, the brand, etc. will lead you to believe the shirt will have a price tag well over $100.
Pay attention to each element of your online shop:
There is much more to successfully selling online, but those are the basics that every business should have in place.
HOW TO SELL CRAFTS ONLINE LEGALLY
Although there isn’t a gatekeeping online, checking to ensure you have all the right business licenses and permits and aren’t infringing on another business’s intellectual property, you are still responsible for dotting all your legal “i’s” and crossing all your legal “t’s”.
Selling online can be a little more complicated when it comes to following laws because you not only have to follow local laws (based on where you operate your business) but you may also have a different set of laws to follow based on where you’re shipping your products to. LAWS FOR SELLING HANDMADE will help you gain a better understanding.
THE PROS & CONS OF SELLING HANDMADE ONLINE
Selling online makes it relatively quick and easy for a business to get set up, start reaching consumers, and begin making sales. However, a lot of people underestimate how much work is required to sell online.
You, of course, must set your business up legally, just like any other business. Check out: LAWS FOR SELLING HANDMADE. You not only have to follow laws for the city your business is in but also the laws of the countries you’re shipping your products to.
Shipping must be considered when selling online. Are your items easy to ship? How much will it cost to ship items within your city/province or state/country? Sometimes shipping fees can make a shopper reconsider if they really need an item. If the price to ship your products is higher than customers are willing to pay, you may need to work some of those fees into your product prices so shipping fees appear smaller.
You also must build a strong brand that attracts your target market. Consumers have endless options online and there’s more competition, so your business must quickly and clearly communicate what it does differently or better than its competitors. Your brand will help you get that message across.
As you’ve probably heard, they do not come just because you build it. Getting shoppers to any online shop takes consistent work. Years ago, you could set up a shop on Etsy and easily get traffic to it and sales from it. Now, it’s much more competitive online. Because it is so easy to set up a shop, more businesses are doing it and you must work harder to get a piece of traffic and sales.
No matter which platform you use to sell online, you must work on SEO (search engine optimization) and use multiple marketing channels to get your products in front of people and drive them directly to your shop.
As we’ve learned from Etsy (check out WHAT’S GOING ON WITH ETSY?), a platform can change their rules and functionality at any time, which can tank your sales. The same can happen with search engines such as Google. They’re constantly updating their rules for SEO best practices and an update can also tank traffic to your website overnight. And, we’re also aware of how social media channels such as Facebook, can make changes that limit how many of your followers you can reach with a post.
The safest way to protect yourself from these changes is to have an email list.
As long as you’re not doing anything to get your emails marked as spam, every one of your messages is guaranteed to land in your subscribers’ inboxes. Get your newsletter started today (here’s how) and focus on growing it so you have some padding when an algorithm change happens.
It’s harder for product features to be communicated online. When people shop in person they’re able to pick an item up / try it on / feel it / touch it / see the quality / etc. You must put effort into your product photos and descriptions to ensure the important qualities come through to online shoppers and they have all the information they need to make a purchasing decision.
You can get an online shop set up within a day. It will take time to grow traffic to your shop but if you have an advertising budget, you can expedite that process.
You can reach people across the world when you sell online.
Although there are costs to getting set up online, you can be strategic and keep those costs relatively low.
WHICH CRAFTS TO SELL ONLINE
The options are endless when it comes to products you can sell online. Here’s a list of 100+ CRAFTS TO MAKE & SELL FROM HOME (but these aren’t just any crafts…these are ideas that appeal to niches and are more likely to get consumers to pull their wallets out and buy from you.)
Other things to think about when it comes to the products you sell online are:
- USP (unique selling position) – There’s enough handmade soap, jewelry, home decor, etc. on the market, how are your products different or better? (Check out: 3 MISTAKES HANDMADE BUSINESSES MAKE WITH THEIR USP)
- Shipping – items that are easy and cheap to ship are better suited for selling online
- Shopping habits – consider what type of products consumers typically head online to buy. Most people don’t go online to buy lip balm; they grab that when they’re standing in line at the grocery store. If they’re trying to find a lip balm or lipstick that’s a specific, hard to find color, or uses ingredients that aren’t typically used in lip balms, then they might search for it online and buy from an online shop.
For more ideas on what to sell online, check out:
SHOULD YOU SELL HANDMADE ON MULTIPLE MARKETPLACES?
I don’t recommend joining as many online marketplaces as you can and listing your products.
It can raise your expenses each month, complicate stock management, and make it difficult to keep up with business tasks (check out THE SUCCESS PLANNER for a better idea of what those business tasks should be)
The ins and outs of a marketplace must be mastered to be a top seller on any platform, which takes time and effort.
Knowing how to create a listing, how often to post, which tags to use, which types of listings garner more attention and traffic, etc. requires a learning curve for each platform. Consider if you have time to master each for multiple platforms before setting up a shop on another marketplace.
The better approach, if you’re going to use more than one online marketplace, is to research the target market each hits, and spread your efforts between ones that reach a different customer.
For example, Etsy is used worldwide but over 50% of users are in the US. Amazon Handmade, Artfire, and Zibbet also have the majority of their users in the US.
So although you may reach a few different customers on Artfire than you would through Etsy, the people who shop on Artfire are probably aware of Etsy and likely to only shop both platforms when they can’t find what they’re looking for on one.
Instead, you may want to create a shop on an online marketplace that reaches shoppers in a different country or people who are looking for a specific item, such as art.
Make sure you have time to dedicate to each marketplace and can manage stock so you don’t sell one item on two sites.
Assess the ROI (return on investment) both money-wise (e.g. are you selling enough to cover your listing/membership fees each month) and time-wise (e.g. are you making enough sales each month to get paid for the hours you put into the platform?).
Learn more about ROI and other numbers that are essential for a handmade business owner to know in THE SUCCESS PLANNER.
HOW TO STAY ON ETSY & IMPROVE SALES
If you’re currently selling on Etsy and are considering leaving out of frustration, keep in mind that Etsy is the top-ranked site out of almost every website listed on this page.
Currently, it’s in the top 100 websites in the US (that’s out of ALL websites, not just online marketplaces) and top 200 globally. Websites such as Artfire, Zibbet, and Folksy don’t even come close to the top 100, 200 or even 1000.
This article shares ideas to diversify your online sales but I would encourage you not to abandon Etsy out of spite or frustration; weigh your options first and make a decision based on what’s best for your business.
Etsy makes changes based on their business and what’s going to create a better shopping experience and encourage more sales.
So when Etsy changes their algorithm and it results in fewer sales for you, you have every right to feel annoyed, but get over it quickly and head back to the drawing board to figure out how you can get your listings back into searches.
Check out this article for some ideas to improve your Etsy shop based on their latest algorithm changes.
Be sure to take your time to research each online sales channel before you dive in. Understand the costs, the platform’s audience, steps to list, etc. so you’re well aware of the money and time investment and are certain you’ll reach the right people to make sales.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THE ARTICLE
- LAWS FOR SELLING HANDMADE
- WHERE TO SELL HANDMADE LOCALLY
- WHAT’S GOING ON WITH ETSY?
- TOP PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FOR HANDMADE CRAFTS
- PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS THAT SELL: TEMPLATE, SAMPLE & EXAMPLES
- CRAFT TRENDS FOR 2020
- CRAFT TRENDS TO DITCH IN 2020
- 3 MISTAKES HANDMADE BUSINESSES MAKE WITH THEIR USP
- IS ETSY WORTH IT?
- THE SUCCESS PLANNER
Have you tried any of the online marketplaces mentioned in this article? Share your opinions on them in the comments!