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I'm curious to know who sells online. Do you use Etsy, Big Cartel, etc.? Share a link!
Great thread! I love to snoop around everyone's shops.
I have an Etsy shop and my own site/shop:
I am working at getting my collection posted, but life (and a FT job) just keeps getting in the way!! :)
*my links won't work!
Forgot to list my shop!
I've only been at it a couple of months.
Thanks for sharing! For all the Minties that do already sell their product online, can you give me some feedback on pros and cons of etsy versus big cartel etc? This may have already been mentioned in the forum somewhere, but I'm just curious.
This is an awesome thread Courtnie. Thanks for initiating it. I am beginning to think about this as an option for my non-winning minted designs and possible new designs once I get my ducks in a row. Love both your shops.
How are your etsy sales??? Not numbers obviously but do wither of you feel the return is worth the added efforts??
Moglea, from what I understand Big Cartel is an awesome option. The sites are so much more customizable. I think in your case this would be a great way to go. Your name is already out there and I'm sure you have a pretty big bank of fans/customers.
I've just gotten started so that is why I went with Etsy. With Big Cartel there has to be a way to drive traffic to your site and because I'm a newbie I probably wouldn't have one customer!
Stacey, so far it's going really well. I just started in late Oct. I would definitely say it's been worth it.
I had a previous shop on Etsy before I changed my business name and it did very well. This one is doing OK, too, but again, my problem is just not being at it constantly. I (still) have a FT design job and like I said, it gets in the way. LOL
I think Etsy and Big Cartel are each good for their own reasons, which is why I have both.
Etsy brings the traffic. Yes, I get the crazies asking for the world for under $1, but for the most part, I've had good customers that many times bring me repeat business. You have to be able to stand your ground and say no to the people that think they're on eBay, but the number of people seeing my work is worth it to me.
The shop on my site is with Big Cartel and so far, I'm pretty happy with it. It's very user-friendly and I've had several sales even with my meager offerings. Big Cartel's sites are search-engine friendly, which means they're not invisible as some other template-based services are. Plus, it's a flat monthly fee as opposed to transaction-based fees, which can add up at the end of the month.
I would love if everyone found my shop independently of Etsy (b/c it is less off my bottom line), but I just don't see myself phasing out completely from there. I just find the traffic to be the biggest perk.
I have been really happy with big cartel. (brightsideprints.com) Meg, here are my thoughts about pros and cons.
Etsy: I hated relisting stuff on etsy and paying extra fees! I also don't love the "convo" thing, it just seems clunkier than regular email. You do get traffic from people on etsy, but you also are essentially in a crowded marketplace of competitors also, so it's a good and bad thing.
Big Cartel: I love the coupon/discount options that big cartel offers and they are always looking to improve. It's the closest thing to a custom-built shopping site I've found. I think you get a tad more professional credibility through a big cartel site than an etsy site too. At big cartel you can also add html pages beyond your regular shopping pages, I haven't utilized that much yet, put plan to in the future.
I came across this blog post a while ago on Big Cartel and found it pretty interesting/helpful. I have wanted to start a little online shop for a while - and had debated the etsy vs. big cartel question too. I'm definitely leaning towards big cartel - seems less political... and I like the low flat fee vs. paying per sale.
I have an Etsy shop:
I've had a few sales, but I haven't really promoted it like I should. I'm working on a blog and some other things that might bring more traffic. I started with Etsy instead of Big Cartel because Etsy brings in a lot of traffic on it's own which is not the case with Big Cartel.
But I agree with Jill, the fees you have to pay for Etsy (in addition to PayPal fees) can be a pain. They can really take a chunk out of your profit. Especially if you sold something pricey like wedding invitations.
I would much rather do Big Cartel, and I'm hoping that by this time next year between my blog and referrals from all the custom work that I've done that I can make the jump to Big Cartel.
But so far my Etsy experience hasn't been bad, and I feel like it has been a good starting point for me.
I have my own site hosted through GoDaddy.com that I built. I'm not a web designer, but I had enough FP experience from my job to manage. If you have the software and some know-how, it's affordable to do your own.
I have my own site (www.dailysipstudios.com) and an Etsy site (dailysipstudios.etsy.com). Here are my thoughts:
1. Etsy, although a little clunky, is the best free marketing tool on the planet, in my opinion. There is tons of traffic on the site every day. My largest orders have come through people who saw my work on Etsy, then found my blog, and then reached out to me for custom orders (which were not transactions on Etsy, so no 3% fees). I had a large holiday order from a celebrity and other large clients over the holidays come to me this way. Also, if you are just starting out, Etsy sales can really help you gain confidence and "test" new waters.
2. Having your own site gives you some more credibility and allows you to compete outside of Etsy, where a lot of sellers are competing for the lowest price. You can set your own prices without all of the noise. I would recommend someone to set up a Big Cartel or similar site before paying a professional developer to build a big e-commerce site so that you can figure out what works and what does not. My current website is built off of Shopify, and after three months of use, I realized that it did not offer enough customization for my business. Now that I know what I want, I am having a professional help me build my new e-commerce site. It is expensive, but in the long run, it will pay off and I won't have to dish out monthly transaction or website costs (excl. hosting, etc.).
Just my two cents. I know that there are many Minties in different stages of their business so I hope it helped someone!
@Kimberly - that's an interesting idea... so would you recommend using esty as a referral source for a main shop (separate site)? That seems like a good way to harness the traffic that etsy gets - and build some fans.
I have a big cartel shop and I agree with everything everyone has already stated. Here's my problem...driving traffic to your site takes more work with Big Cartel. With Etsy, people search for items, and they have that new (or not, I just noticed it) circle thing.
With that said, for all of you who have your own website, how do you drive traffic there? This is something I am having a huge problem with!! Granted, I have a full time job being a single mom to two babies, so I could devote more time. I have facebook ,where I try to put posts on a fairly regular basis, I offer discounts, I try to price fairly without dumbing down how much time goes into designing something. I'd L.O.V.E to pick everyones brain on this topic.
@TheOHello - how did you get the slideshow on your homepage? I taught myself what you see at my site. Nothing special. I REALLY wanted to do a slideshow but I don't know how.
My site is PeaceableDesigns.com but just an FYI, I'm in the middle of adding new product and I customized my BigCartel site by basically Googling my way through the coding. I'd love to make it more professional looking at some point.
@Peaceable - My main site is done in Wordpress with a theme that I customized. I'm not quite ready to deal with a shopping cart on my main site, hence the re-direct to Big Cartel for my actual shop. It's just one less hassle right now.
@Kimberly - Both of your shops look great!
I have an online store for my tshirts, which I will be taking down this week to revamp. It's almost 5 and so in need of a makeover. I do "okay" with that but Etsy definitely gets more traffic. I also get a lot of inquiries via my blog. I have definitely heard good things about Big Cartel as well. My hubby is a web developer and we'll be building the new storefront with some new FREE software he came across.
@ Hello Hailey - I offer mostly "samples" in my Etsy shop (i.e. wedding invitations, personalized letterpress announcements/holiday cards). So, after a customer purchases a sample or inquires about a design, I work with them offline or redirect them to the customizations posted on my other website (which is a major WIP right now).
@ Peaceable Designs - To get traffic to my online site, I recently ran several Google Adwords campaigns (just over the holidays). There are a few places that will give you free credits to get you started, which is what I did. However, there are plenty of free ways to market your site. Things that have worked best for me are: blogging (as often as possible), posting on Etsy, and networking online and through personal contacts. And, if you are a stationery designer, start sending those thank you cards, etc.! I can't think of a better way to market yourself than by sending out your own work (w/your logo on the back, of course)!
@ theOHello - thank you for your nice comments! Like most designers, I am never really satisfied with the work I do for myself. The photos on your site look fab, btw!
@kimberly - you'd never know your main site is a WIP - it looks realllly great - very professional and inviting. Thanks for sharing your business savvy - definitely a great resource for those of us looking to setup shop :)
I like my little Etsy shop because, well, to be honest, I'm kind of lazy.
I opened the shop in May, and I can't say I've had any of the negative experiences with the bottom-feeders that some people have mentioned.
I sell PDFs (I know, I know... that's been a hotly debated topic on this forum), and I've had some great luck with a couple of graduation announcements that have sold pretty well in the graduation off-season. I'm hoping all the "favorites" I've had on those will translate into sales come April-May.
Thanks so much for posting this thread! I have been wanting to open an online shop soon, so it's great to hear the pros and cons of etsy and Big Cartel from Minties who have experience with these sites.
@ Kimberly - that's a fabulous idea to use your etsy store to bring customers into your other shop!
Great thread! Thank you Kimberly for all of your great tips. I started a small shop here: http://www.nocciola.bigcartel.com/ and recently posted just a few things on Etsy. I had a few sales over the holidays but am realizing that the marketing part of it needs equal attention! Oh well, baby steps :)
Have any of you used www.goodsie.com ? I first read about it in Entrepreneur and it seems like a very user-friendly online store option. Just curious if anyone has tried it out. Thanks for all of your helpful insights; very cool to read as I'm working on a new site for myself (I'm my own worst customer!).
Just wanted to say that I think that BigCartel and Goodsie have easy to use service, but that I think the price tag is still too much. I think a $20/month subscription is no better than paid listings on Etsy.
If you want to have a store front, why not use Woo Themes for Word Press? You can buy one of their storefront themes for $20 for a one time flat fee, and you can either add it to your existing website or use it as a blog/store front.
I know I have written about my Etsy shop here, and that I have been happy with it. (I actually just got an order this morning) but for a few weeks I have been thinking a lot about Big Cartel.
I am part of a group of small creative business owners that meet in my community to support each other and share information on growing a business. The organizers of our group invited the founders of Big Cartel to our monthly meeting last week. (Big Cartel is based in Salt Lake City, one hour north of where I live). I am thinking about making the switch because I love to support local businesses and I was just blown away with this team and what they had to share. They are incredibly genuine people, all of them artists and creative individuals themselves, that want to make it easier for other creative people to sell their products. They're not out to make a fortune with this idea or to become some huge conglomerate. They want to keep their business relatively small and local, and hopefully their prices small too.
I'm considering keeping my Etsy shop (because of the traffic) and also opening a basic account with Big Cartel. For me the 9.99 package is worth it.
Just to clarify-- I don't mean Etsy or Big Cartel are evil empires at ALL . I meant what I said about them being the same type of expense in the context of do you do Etsy and Big Cartel both. If you list 100 times in Etsy, that's about $20 & Big Cartel is $20/month.
Web development is in my skill set, so that's why I feel like the subscription option is a little pricey compared to just adding a one time $20 Woo Theme to an existing website to get the same storefront functionality.
Big Cartel is probably bigger than they think. I know in one web developing forum I'm in, they get mentioned by people in the UK and other countries as their hands-down fave for a quick solution.
I was thinking of starting a shop. Love looking at everyone's beautiful work outside of minted too!
Question to shop owners! What kind of paper / printers do you guys use for you work. I am afraid I am such an online designer I have very little knowledge in the area.
I use Store Envy. It's free and if you're web savvy (or know someone who is, ::wink wink::) you can make it look exactly how you want it to. I love that I can control the prices and get to keep the profit!
I can definitely help you out! I can work around you if you have a certain budget you need to stay in. Let's chat about specifics over e-mail, my contact info is firstname.lastname@example.org - just shoot me a note there and I'll get back to you about pricing and details.
Thank you, JOY! I am totally excited to use my developer skills to save some money!
Have fun Beja!! I absolutely love playing around with the code and having a store that looks exactly how I want it :)
This is such a great thread and I've been quietly following it to get everyone's opinion. I really feel like I need to add something to it now :-)
I've been struggling with my own website for a while now, design-wise and which platform to use for a store. I see that a lot of designers here have a big cartel store and I also registered for my free 5 product store to check it out. I'm honestly not really crazy about the big cartel look. I'm sure you can customize it much more if you know how to apply the right code, but I only know basic CSS and prefer easy templates. I had never heard of goodsie.com before Sarah mentioned it and I have to say that it looks much more professional than big cartel and it's really easy to use. At $15.00 a month with unlimited products I think goodsie is definitely the better deal compared to big cartel's $20.00 100 product option.
I didn't go with any of these though and today I decided to upgrade my web hosting plan to include a larger store with unlimited products. I have to say that I'm pretty happy with my hosting company and I would totally recommend it. I use webs.com and they have really easy templates and social media integration + a ton of useful apps. You can even download a free Etsy app for your site and integrate your Etsy store! The regular store app is very easy to use as well. You can get a free site on webs to test it out and if you like it you can upgrade. I would recommend waiting for the next sales event to come around before purchasing any upgrades (they have a sale every 2 weeks it seems). But even without any discount, the pro package at $17.00 a month (based on a 2 year plan) gets you a lot more than the $15 a month goodsie or $20.00 a month big cartel deal, including a free domain name
Simone, your site looks so pretty! Nice work.
This is a great thread! Love hearing about everyone's experiences with what platforms they use. So thought I would share mine so far:
I just opened my Etsy shop a couple weeks ago. I decided to start selling on Etsy first to get my feet wet and because of the amount of traffic it brings while I build an ecommerce side to my website. So far it has definitely helped with bringing in traffic and I've had a lot of inquiries...just waiting for that first order!
Here are my sites:
I love your shop. I'm kind of in the same boat too. I have an Etsy shop until I feel like I can get enough traffic on my own to have my own website. Just a little off topic, Raleigh is my hometown. And I miss it so very much!
Thanks Ashley! I just got my first sale today for 2 samples! woop woop!
Your designs are adorable, btw! And I love Raleigh! Moved here from NJ a couple years ago and definitely plan to stay awhile.
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