Web sales are not right for all artists and all art. Two-dimensional art remains best sold face-to-face in galleries and studios supported by a web presence. But for artists who create unique hand-made items that can be effectively sold on the web—crafts persons in particular—no site is more practical and valuable than Etsy. Etsy, says this man of patience, has proven its value over time to many artists whom I have interviewed.
Etsy (www.etsy.com) is a sales site and a community. If you do not know the site and think it may be of interest, visit it (without joining) and take a look around. When you go to the homepage, click on “Community” at the top of the page to gain access to these categories: “Overview,” “Updates,” “Forums” etcetera. By clicking on each of these categories, you can give yourself a tour of the community’s assets.
At the bottom of the “Community” page, if you scroll down, you will find a listing of “Virtual Lab” and “Team” events. This is valuable for “newbies”—people new to the community. If you join Etsy and become a newby, you can identify other members who live close by and contact them to see if you can find someone willing to have a coffee with you to explain how things work if need be.
One thing I like about Etsy is its commitment to the education of its members. It encourages you to become part of a team because, as in life, the team approach works better than the independent approach. Etsy provides a lot of support services to teams, including grants to support innovative member teams. Just click on “Teams” on the Community page to learn more. The “Workshops” page is another great resource page for newbies. It has an extensive archive of topics that may answer questions that come to mind about using Etsy to sell your work.
If you are an artist who works in two-dimensional media, a visit to the site may ignite some dormant creative desire within you. Visiting Etsy can be inspirational in terms of stimuli for your creative voice. It may motivate you to undertake a creative project different from your usual work that is marketable on Etsy. Using Etsy can create an easy new source of revenue for the artist that does not require any marketing expense.The caveats: Etsy is somewhat US-centric. Buyers can use the “Shop Local” feature to make it more effective, and there has been some criticism about people selling work that they have not made. Also, the operators of Etsy have been criticized for being slow to crack down on problematic sellers. For more information and a history of Etsy, visit the Etsy listing on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org).
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
I was surprised to get an email from someone asking why there was no mention of Etsy on my blog. (Answer: This is my second blog. I am old. I had mentioned Etsy on my last blog.) Considering that Etsy is a site I admire, as much for its communities as for its marketing value, here is the post from my old blog: