Tuesday, April 8, 2014

CraftIsArt - Branching Out

It’s Shameless Commerce Tuesday and today I’m announcing the opening of my branch online shop at http://www.craftisart.com/pasqueflower.

On a sleepless night near the end of tax season (was it a full moon, I wonder?), I decided to expand my online presence by opening a shop on CraftIsArt.com – an alternative online marketplace for handmade items, fine art, vintage and supplies. 

At first glance it appears to be a smaller, cheap imitation of Etsy that could use a little window dressing.
Then what, you may ask, attracted me to CraftIsArt? 

Simply put, I weighed the pros and cons, and decided to give it a try.


Fewer fees.  Sometimes I feel I'm being nickeled and dimed to death on Etsy, although the per item cost of listing, renewal, and selling fees is still less than the cost of a craft fair booth rental divided by number of items sold.

A premium CraftIsArt membership is $7.99 per month (or $79.99 per year), but there are --

-          No listing fees
-          No sales fees
-          No renewal fees
-          Unlimited 90-day listings
-          Instant payments

Low risk.  Since my Etsy fees run WAY over $7.99 per month, I figured I had nothing (but $7.99 per month) to lose.

And it is another way to be found by search engines.  SEO! 

Less likely to be lost in the crowd.  Etsy's new rule changes, allowing an influx of manufactured items "designed" by an artist or craftsperson to glut the formerly handmade/vintage marketplace, coupled with an amazing rate of annual growth in the number of sellers and products on Etsy, make it harder to stand out in a growing crowd.

I was also able to import my Etsy shop listings as a CVS batch upload.  (This sounds great in theory, but it took over four hours to complete all the uploading, editing and tweaking – and even then I lost Category designations I had manually entered and re-entered.)


Lower traffic. The site does not generate nearly as much traffic as Etsy.

It will be more difficult tracking inventory in the two shops.

I’ve noticed some serious search glitches.  (For example I clicked on “Fiber Art” and landed on paper scrapbook printables – not my definition of fiber art!)

CraftIsArt accepts PayPal, but it only accepts credit card payments through ProPay ($39.95 annual fee) or Authorize.net.  I’m still in the process of setting up the ProPay account – definitely not a seamless process.

I have limited ability to rearrange my shop – and “featured” items are just a random scrolling of listed items.

I still haven’t successfully uploaded a new banner, even though I special ordered a cheap one that was supposed to be the required minimum 728 px. I ended up going to a totally different vendor - Plan B. I hope to get a new banner installed within a day or two.  Setting up an Etsy shop was easier.

Shipping options are not seller-friendly, and they subtly push sellers toward Free Shipping.  (There's a separate Free Shipping box to check - or not - when listing each item.) I ignored that nudge.  Been there.  Done that.  Will only do it again for special seasonal promos.

SO -----

Despite the Cons, I decided there was little financial risk, and a potential for increased online exposure for my products.  

On Etsy, my store is a little urban boutique among other boutiques.  On CraftIsArt, my shop will be a little small town virtual craft fair booth among other virtual craft fair booths.  Etsy and CraftIsArt are different venues with (presumably) different shoppers.

It’s too early to tell whether I’ll get any substantial sales on CraftIsArt.  The jury may be out for a few more months.  

If I don’t get at least 50 sales by the holidays, I may opt to use the CraftIsArt shop as a Bargain Basement --I'd remove slow-moving or aging items from my Etsy shop and list them on CraftIsArt.  That would help keep my Etsy shop fresh, and limit the potential problems of having the same inventory listed on both sites. 

Have you tried other online marketplaces?  If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences.



  1. I wish you the best of luck on your new shop! You have top quality and very cute things, I'm sure you will do well there.

    Another good on-line presence is Meylah. I signed up over a year ago but things have picked up quite recently for me there. They seem to be working really hard with their promotion so I think they are finally seeing more traffic as a whole.

    Best of luck with your new store! Keep us posted on how it's going.

    1. Thank you, Sher! And thanks for the tip on Meylah. I've attended some Meylah webinars, but have not yet opened a shop in their marketplace.

  2. Great idea! The more web avenues you can secure and build some measure of presence on, the better. The web really runs on ubiquity, seeing how instantaneous and visible it is, but there still needs to be an effort to bring one's brand to as many people as we can.


    1. Thanks for stopping by, Michael. I'm all for ubiquity :-).

  3. Great review. I'll definitely be interested to hear how you like this after a few months. I don't like having "all my eggs" in one basket, but I haven't found anything comparable to Etsy yet.

    1. I think Etsy is as good as it gets. I'll keep you posted!

  4. Nice to hear that I have a "neighbor", since I joined CraftisARt this month too! I am using it as my "bargain basement" as you said, since I took the free option to begin with to try it out . . .we will see!

  5. Congrats and best wishes on your new shop. I have a shop on Meylah, but nothing is happening for me there. They're redesigning the shops at the end of the month, but I took the 100 free listings.

    I'm focusing on Etsy and my newish website http://linorstore.com -

    1. Your website is great, Linda. I've heard mixed reviews on Meylah. I took a couple of their webinars, but did not open a shop with them.

  6. interesting.
    Many people know the name "etsy." It seems more online marketplaces are springing up. I'll be interested to hear how this works for you.