OK, I'll admit it. I'm a cheater. Etsy has been good to me for about a year now, and actually pretty awesome for the past couple of months in terms of traffic and my sales, but I have strayed. I saw a mention of a new handcrafted market site called 1000Markets, so I went to check it out earlier this month.
OMG, it is a *gorgeous* site. And I am a sucker for great web design. It also has a more "grownup" vibe than Etsy. Based on the items Etsy chooses for the front page and articles, I think Etsy's target market (or maybe the folks who run the site) is the 20something hipster crowd. And there's nothing wrong with that.
But when I saw 1000Markets, I fell in love. It's just so *pretty*. It reminds me of going to Pike Place Market on a Saturday and seeing the different arts, crafts and food vendors. Browsing around the site, it just felt right to me.
So I applied for a shop there. Yes, you read that correctly. They have to *approve* your request to open shop, and everything must be handcrafted. I got approved in about a day, and that same day was featured on their Community page as having a cool shop. Yippee! That was a nice surprise. I even sold a pet tag to a fellow merchant on the site.
It's a startup, in what they're calling "Sneak Preview" mode. But it's open for business. One of the best parts about it, besides the stunning design, is that the staff is very hands on and willing to answer questions. They're very encouraging to the new merchants, and I feel like our suggestions are welcomed.
They have a philosophy, which one of the founders outlines on his blog. It's really well written and inspires a great deal of confidence.
One of the neat things about it is that the payment system is through Amazon. Tons of people have an Amazon account, so that makes it easier, and I have knowledge about Amazon and third party merchants from my previous job, so that's kind of neat too. Plus you all know how I love Amazon Fresh.
The other thing I like is the community/social networking aspect. There's a blog built into the site, each shop has a "Wall" to leave comments like on Facebook or MySpace, and the whole concept is about smaller Markets within the site, where likeminded merchants get together to sell their gorgeous handmade work. It just gets me all warm and fuzzy inside.
OK, I could go on and on about the things I like, but one of the things that's truly amazing (ok, two), are that the site doesn't charge any listing fees, only a fee when an item is sold. And as one of the staff put it, that makes their goals align with ours, and they are motivated to help find ways to help their merchants make sales. What a novel concept!!
And the other freakin' awesome thing is that on the home pages, and Market pages, the listings and shops displayed are randomized, so everytime you go there, you see something different. And you and I could both navigate to the site and see completely different items. So I've been surprised and startled to navigate to the site and see my face on the front page as a 'Featured Shop'. Crazy, but awesome.
So I'm giving it a try. I'm not abandoning my Etsy shop, just branching out. It's wise to have eggs in many baskets, right?
So if you get a chance, and want to find some unique gifts for the holidays, check it out - the picture above links to my shop, and you can browse the site from there as well. Enjoy, and do tell me what you think of it!