The idea that selling online will somehow taint you is in my opinion
ridiculous. Course, I only sell very low priced items online, and
Daniel only sells very high priced items offline. So take our
opinions for what they’re worth
Though ‘trust’ is definitely an issue when you’re selling online.
Walking into a brick-and-morter store and purchasing an expensive
piece of jewelry feels safer… those brick-and-morter walls, the
displays of jewelry under glass give a sense of permanency and
trustworthiness to the enterprise.
You somehow have to create that sense of trust when you’re selling
online. Some things to consider:
Have clear business policies wrt returns, breakages, repairs, etc.
Make sure there are no customers out there that have anything bad
to say about you. Some places like Etsy allow customers to leave
feedback – you really need that feedback to be good. Pple do read
it. Crazy dishonest customers do exist, and the occasional bad
feedback isn’t an issue. But it needs to be “occasional”.
Consider creating a name for yourself online… do you write, do
interviews, won rewardse Stuff like that frequently ends up online.
If your selling venue has a “profile” section, consider linking to
Pay attention to where you set up shop. I consider selling venues
like Etsy, Ebay, Artfire, etc to be like brick-and-morter malls or
shopping districts. The kind of jewelry you’ll succesfully be able
to sell from your brick-and-morter store really depends on the local
traffic and the other shops around you. I think online venues work
the same way.
Consider a wide range of price points. Pple tend to start buying
cheaper things from you, until you have a sales history and until
they feel more comfortable about you.
I found the more you’ve sold, the more comfortable pple are buying
Trust also works two ways… there are dishonest buyers as well.
What happens if the customer says they didn’t receive ite Shipping
fedex is way too expensive for cheaper items… nobody will pay the
shipping. So lossage needs to be factored into your prices.
I sell very low end items… $20-$120, with an average sale price of
about $35. So you’ll have to judge how applicable my
opinions/experience would be to your situation.
As far as selling venues… Etsy’s success has encouraged them to
multiply like rabbits! For what it’s worth, here are my opinions on
a few selling venues that I’ve researched:
www.etsy.com: I like it. A very wide range of items for sale there.
Everything from scrabble-tile pendants (generally composed of bits
of paper glued to scrabble tiles), to very nice hand-made
gold+gemstone jewelry. Average sale is quoted as $15, but from what
I can see, there’s a lot of jewelry sold in the $20-$100 range.
www.1000markets.com: Not officially launched yet. Somewhat juried. A
different concept than Etsy. In my opinion, a place to keep an eye
on… it may do well for higher end ends.
www.rubylane.com: I believe antiques and vintage get most the
attention here. Jewelry sold seems to be higher end. I don’t know
how well handmade stuff does. Lots of old antique and vintage sold
here. Expensive to sell.
www.artfire.com: Very new. They bill themselves as the “new etsy”.
In my opinion, a place sellers love and buyers hate.
www.dawanda.com: European – they have french, english and german
sites. From what I’ve read, the german one is the only one that’s
doing well at the moment – it’s the oldest one. I expect english
dawanda gets too much competition from Etsy. Personally I’m
interested in it because it does cater to a different market than
Etsy – ie the french/german markets in europe. And I can get by in
French and German, so I figure I should try it out.
www.icraft.ca: Canadian site. Nice looking, but very low traffic.
Like I said, there are zillions more than this. Personally I’m
looking at trying out Etsy, Dawanda and iCraft. When 1000markets
allows international sellers, I’ll consider them as well.
I have no plans currently on sellling in person at craft fairs or in
brick-and-morter stores. I currently find online selling very very