Guest blog by Nancy Shafee
If you want to sell your craft, it is almost obligatory to have an online presence. I’ve recently been caught up in a discussion on the Professional Crafters Guild FB page about selling on the internet – basically, having your own website vs. using a selling site and if a selling site, which one?
If you don’t yet have your own website but are considering it, check out other crafters’ websites and note at the bottom who hosts them. Then take a look at the host website to see how easy it is to navigate. I was put onto Weebly which has an extremely good helpline (useful!) but there are lots of others.
If you do set up your own website, though, do bear in mind no-one will know it is there unless you promote it – at events you attend, perhaps on social media – both of which are subjects which need to be covered in their own right.
This is a one-off coiled fabric basket in vintage Liberty print, so ideally I would only list it on my own website.
The other option is to consider one of the growing number of selling sites. Many, though not all, are free to join, charging instead a percentage of the sale price. Most are pretty reasonable, though some now exceed 25%. Still – cheaper than selling through a shop or gallery, though. Some are better known than others, yet, it was only while talking to some other feltmakers recently that I realised not everyone is aware of any of them at all! Doesn’t that make you wonder – if those of us who are ‘crafters’ don’t all know about them, what percentage of non-crafty souls are aware they are there?
Taking Libertys with Others – decoupaged teapot made on commission so could be listed on more than one website.
I would suggest you spend time looking for things on these sites yourself. You will find out how to list for best effect, how big the site is, plus what people include in their t&cs. Are the items listed of a similar standard to your own? Is the site ‘top heavy’ in the same medium as you? Look at the ‘join us’ bit and see what you are expected to include in your listings. Email them, too, if you have questions. Whether or not you finally list with them, it is worth ‘registering’ so you find out how often they email buyers which will give you an idea of how pro-active they are.
Don’t consider this an ‘easy option’. You have to keep your listings up to date and keep your page fresh by listing regularly. You also need to work out how to make all your potential customers aware which site you are selling through and how to find you, just as you do with your own website. If you decide to use more than one, you should also keep a track of what you have listed where and unless it is repeatable, it helps not to list the same item on more than one site unless you are very very organised!
Making Scents – felt seedpod room scent – repeatable and customisable, so could be listed specifically in your own colours or ‘to order’ and on any number of different sites.
Whatever route you take (or have already taken) it would be really good if you would share your experiences, recommendations or warnings with Magenta Sky, so we can all learn from each other. Find us on our Facebook Page here or Tweet us @MagentaSky1
Hope this has given you all some food for thought!
Those of you who enjoyed my last word-search game might like to look at: amber, berries and clouds on Google Images – my favourite way of ‘procrastinating on the internet’!
Nancy Shafee is a member of the International Feltmakers Association, Surrey Guild of Craftsmen and Professional Crafters Guild. She runs regular workshops both for wetfelting and for coiled fabric basket making and examples of her work can be seen at: