Artfire - it's free. It's a great way to start selling your stuff online at $0.00 out of pocket. If you're intimidated by the entire process, you probably won't sell anything quickly on artfire. I tried artfire for 6 months and sold maybe 6 rovings. Not very exciting. But it's free, so you can't beat that. And it's a great way to practice listing items. If you purchase a paid plan, you can automatically add all your items from ETSY into your Artfire shop and have two shops open and therefore twice the traffic (potentially). But don't forget to delete items from Artfire as they sell in ETSY or else you'll have a lot of customer service woes to deal with.
ETSY - it's popular. There are 10,000 skeins of handspun yarn there, and over 4,000 dyed wool tops. It's probably got the most traffic, especially if you're opening up shop for the first time. It also has a very loyal customer base. There are many people I know who "only shop on ETSY". But once your shop starts getting busy, you'll get to pay a lot of fees. Once your shop is that busy you may want to think about a more cost-effective option. If you're brand new to opening shop, I recommend ETSY.
Pros of using Etsy:
- The amount of support you receive with their guides/newsletters
- Great for learning how to sell your work
- No limit to how many products you can sell
- The “other” form of payment which make gift certificates/giveaways very easy
- Feedback to show a reputable seller
- Little to no HTML knowledge necessary
- Lack of customization for shops & miniature header
- Fees associated with each listing
- Little personality is shown through each shop
- A less professional feel for me, especially as I expand to selling outside of the Internet
- Can feel more competitive than necessary
- Relatively easy to upload new layout designs/change colors for the shop
- One time monthly fee – no transaction or listing fees
- Easy for customers to use
- Option to add various sizes/colors/variations in the same listing
- Free option if only selling a few items
- Can only pay through PayPal – no other options yet
- Less sense of community
- A bit harder to find products within searching from the Big Cartel directory
A couple other shop options are:
http://www.storenvy.com/ - it's completely FREE with unlimited items.
http://goodsie.com/ - for $40 per month you get unlimited items in your shop.
Those look like alternatives to Big Cartel. If you need to move beyond ETSY, do the research and see which one of these shops works best for you. When I made the big switch, Big Cartel was the first option I saw that I liked so I ran with it.
What I Do:
I have an ETSY shop (just for my videos) and a Big Cartel Shop. I really like the "ETSY Mini" that you can see to the right of my blog. But I really love the way my Big Cartel shop looks compared to all the hundreds of thousands of ETSY shops. It's just pretty. So I'm happy using both and doing all my own marketing and saving $150 in fees every month. If I ever fill up my Big Cartel shop, then my overflow will go into ETSY.
Tips for Growing your Online Shop:
1. Update your shop with new product once a week to stay fresh on Google search results.
2. Keep your shop FULL so that there is plenty of product for your customers to look at. The fuller your shop is, the more likely you are to sell something.
3. Make some Coupons! I offer 10% off my shop all the time with the coupon code LuvNeauveau.
4. When you update your shop - make sure to post it on your Facebook business page, and the Facebook "Fiber Artists Marketplace" and in your Ravelry group!
5. Make sure your items are priced fair in the current market. We'll talk about pricing in a future post.
6. Make sure your photos are clear, bright, and sharp. I'll cover product photography in a future post.