Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Curated Websites for Handmade Goods

by Jill J. Burns of Early Bird Designs

I joined Etsy in 2007. It was a great starting place to begin selling online. Until Esty hit the scene adding e-commerce to a website took quite a bit of html knowledge and really required the services of a professional. The Etsy team did a good job marketing the brand. Folks came to know this as a place to find unique handmade items.

Lately, however, Esty has become rather crowded. Besides, artisans there are suppliers and small manufacturers. The quality of what you find can be very uneven and searching for that special something is really difficult. Among my fellow artists, there are many grumblings.

What I predict will be a natural progression in the independent maker movement is the growth of curated websites for handmade goods. Sites look for artists that fit their aesthetic and cultivate an audience. There are two that I have recently started working with: and

The Shoppe at Scoutmob’s tag line is “inspired goods by independent makers. The mark up is 100% , like a brick and mortar gallery, but they write the copy about you and your work and they market to a million+ audience. An artist applies much like they would to a juried show or exhibition. For me, it’s been a really good experience. The team is great and sales have been brisk. I also think it has driven some traffic to my Etsy shop. works in a unique way. Their tagline is: “Connecting the dots for Makers and Tastemakers”. Makers apply and if accepted fill their “studio” with their product. Makers aren’t necessarily independent, but could include small designers, too. Tastemakers (also a juried process) set up boutiques and fill them with the makers goods they feel represent their point of view. Tastemakers do their own marketing for their boutiques. I started with just a few items, and sales have not been as robust as Scoutmob, but many tastemakers are interested, so we shall see what happens.

I will keep my Etsy shop. But hopefully it will be one of many online places to find my work. If others have found alternative places to sell online I would love to hear about it.

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