Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Handmade Everywhere!

Buying handmade is all the rage right now with thousands of people flocking to handmade marketplace Etsy every day.  Not only are you supporting the little guy, but you're also getting unique, one-of-a-kind pieces.  But Etsy's not the only place to find handmade items.  Below are the top 5 handmade marketplaces.

Etsy.com - Etsy is the king of handmade.  With upwards of 400,000 sellers on Etsy you can find everything from homemade teas to a wedding dress.  If you're looking for something specific, searching Etsy can be a tedious task; a search for "clock" turned up 10,079 results.  Etsy is also home to barrage of crafters.  Anyone with a sewing machine or glue gun can post on in the marketplace, which can lead to some pretty interesting (and creepy!) items.  Check the Regretsy blog to see what I mean.  While I support anyone looking to share their creativity, it can often be hard to sort through all the hobbyists to find the top quality product you're looking for.  Many Etsy sellers also sell on the marketplaces below.

MakersMarket.com - Makers Market is a new venture from Make.  If DIY is your thing, then Make's for you.  You can search the Make blog, project pages, forums, and magazine for all the projects your heart desires.  If you like the thought of DIY and handmade but don't want the hassle, head to the Makers Market.  Unlike Etsy, the sellers in the Makers Market are handpicked by Make editors.  To become a seller on the site, you must submit an application and be approved.  This means you'll see only the most talented designers.  The layout is much like Etsy's, though my only complaint is that you have to actually click on the product to see the price. Annoying but small in the grand scheme of things.

Artfire.com - I'm personally not a fan of Artfire.  I find it to be an amateur version of the other artisan marketplaces.  To be fair, Artfire is only 2 years old.  Still their interface could use some MAJOR tweaking.  I found a few crafters that sell their products on both Etsy and Artfire, yet the products were 10 times less appealing on Artfire.  Hopefully a website redesign is in their future.  Because there are no fees to sell on Artfire, it seems to attract mostly hobbyists.  While this is my least favorite of all the marketplaces, it's still worth looking at if you strike out at other sites.

1000Markets.com - 1000 Markets is a step above Artfire. Though basic, the website design is decent.  Again, most of the sellers are hobbyists and start-up crafters but there are a lot of neat products.  One thing I'd do is change the layout of the categories.  Right now, only four are featured on the front page...you have to click "see more" to find the category you're looking for.

Supermarket - I've blogged about Supermarket before.  Like MakersMarket, Supermarket is a curated selection of products.  In my book, Supermarket is the best of all the online artisan markets.  There are only a select few designers available and there aren't many bells and whistles on the website, still it's pleasing to the eye and you almost always find what you're looking for.  Expect some products to be a little more expensive than the other sites since you're working with more serious designers/crafters.

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