Choosing An Online Marketplace for Your Handmade Business

Online marketplaces for handmade goods have been around for a long time, but their popularity has grown hugely in recent years. Last year’s coronavirus pandemic saw more business owners investing in online, and more customers looking to buy from artists and makers.

But with so many options when it comes to handmade marketplaces it’s hard to know where to start. Not every platform will be best suited to your businesses, and it’s important to find the right fit for your brand.

So we’ve done the research and come up with the ‘need to knows’ to help you narrow down your search.

In no particular order…

pedddle.comPedddle (don’t forget the extra d!) is an online community connecting creative stallholders with markets organisers. The platform is not a marketplace; traders usually have an existing e-commerce platform elsewhere. Pedddle’s job is to drive buyers to your store and connect you with other traders and events. Pedddle have just launched a sister site which will be dedicated to online markets, following the huge growth in this sector during 2020.

Curated? Yes

Cost: £6 p/m standard, £10 p/m premium

Good For: Makers with an established business looking to expand/grow

Drawbacks: Need an existing sales platform

Makers Market From Home is an Instagram based pop up that launched in 2020 as an alternative to in-person craft markets. Event days use a mix of IG stories, IGTV and live chats to drive customers towards makers profiles. Exhibitors are expected to set up a market stall in your own home as you would at a live market, and then the type and volume of activity you engage with on the day is up to you.

Curated? Yes

Cost: Previously relied on donations but they are introducing a participation fee in 2021. 

Good for: Raising your instagram profile, attracting new followers

Drawbacks: Instagram only

girl sitting at laptop on bed

Image Credit: @sincerelymedia

British Craft House is a selective site showcasing handmade items from UK makers. Packages range from £10 – £75 per month. There is also a 7.2% commission on sales. It is not the cheapest option but it may appeal to those who are looking for a smaller marketplace but with the same functionality as the big name sites.

Curated? Yes

Cost: from £10 per month + commission

Good for: Makers looking for a less crowded e-commerce platform

Drawbacks: Not the cheapest option

Amazon Handmade 

Amazon jumped on the handmade bandwagon in 2015 and are slowly building their platform of artisan businesses. The platform looks similar to that of the regular Amazon site, but store owners have the ability to personalise their site and have a custom url to help people find it. The usual monthly fee for professional sellers is waived for handmade stores. There is also the option to sign up for fulfilled by amazon (at extra cost), allowing you to outsource the handling and shipping of stock.

Curated? Yes

Cost : per item referral fee of 12.5% (goes up to 15% in Dec 2021)

Good for: Reaching Amazon’s vast global consumer base

Drawbacks: Corporate structure may conflict with what makes small business appealing for some people.

The mothership site for indie makers. US based Etsy is the go-to for a majority of shoppers looking to buy handmade. The traffic is great, it’s getting noticed that’s the hard bit. The site hosts thousands of small shops, and includes vintage as well as handmade items. It has a low cost entry level package as well as a pro package which offers more brand personalisation and promotion opportunities. There are also local Etsy teams offering additional opportunities for their regional community of sellers.

Curated? No

Cost: from 15p per listing with 4% commission +20p

Good for: global site attracting huge footfall.

Drawbacks: Crowded marketplace. Possibly not right for high end products.

person typing on laptop, birds eye view

Image Credit: @sincerelymedia

A marketplace for British craft, Folksy’s claims of over 150,000 site visitors a month and a mailing list of 50,000 engaged customers are impressive. Although the platform is non-selective there are rules about what you can/can’t sell with the main ethos being on original, handmade craft items. There is an entry level package although this is pretty limited. The next step up is £5 per month with 6% on sales.

Curated? No

Cost: from 15p per listing with 6% commission

Good for: Those looking for an affordable e-commerce platform with UK craft focus

Drawbacks: Crowded marketplace. Possibly not right for high end products.

Billed as the UK alternative to Etsy, Numonday is an online marketplace similar to that of Folksy & British Craft House. There is a choice of packages with no limit on the number of listings. NuMonday is a non-selective platform with an ethos is to drive support towards UK based craft businesses.

Curated? No

Cost: from £7 monthly, no commission

Good for: Makers looking for an e-commerce platform with fixed rate fees.

Drawbacks: Whilst no commission is appealing it may mean the platform has less incentive to work hard for you.

Both an online marketplace and maker directory. The Directory is non-selective and costs a one off fee of £25 for a premium listing. The online marketplace has a selection process which at the time of writing is closed to new applications. Made by Hand Online has good links within the industry and sponsors a number of national craft events.

Curated? Directory – No. Marketplace – Yes

Cost: £25 one-off fee for directory listing. 

Good For: Raising your profile

Drawbacks: You can’t sell beauty products, food, candles, paintings or photography.

Handmade In Britain offers a highly curated platform focusing on contemporary craft. Their permanent online marketplace operates on a commission only basis with no monthly fee, although there is a 12 month minimum sign up. In 2020 Handmade in Britain launched their Interactive Virtual Craft Fair, an online trading event with a packed programme of live demos and workshops from exhibitors. This year the virtual event will run alongside in-person events. A trend we expect will stick around.

Curated? Yes

Cost: Online marketplace = commission only. Events from £199 + 20% commission.

Good For: Established artisan makers looking for a curated online marketplace

Drawbacks: The event fee may be too high for some

The focus here is on contemporary craft. Digital Craft Festival offers makers a short term directory listing (live for one month after the festival weekend) which provides the opportunity to connect with their well established customer database. Listings are linked to your existing online sales platform. In 2021 they are also launching Find a Maker – a permanent online directory and business support.

Curated? Yes

Cost: from £80+VAT at 5% to take part in Digital Craft Festival.  Find a maker membership from £90 per year

Good For: Established craftspeople looking to reach new customers.

Drawbacks: You need an existing online sales platform

Crafty Fox’s customer led online directory ‘Shopping With Soul’ has a clear visual aesthetic, curated to maintain quality, price point and an on-trend vibe. They know their audience and choose brands that they know will appeal. Members get a profile page in the directory which links to your own website and social media.

Curated? Yes

Cost: £6 per month + joining fee

Good For: Established makers with a string visual brand or style.

Drawbacks: Their target audience may not be yours.

Rebecca Strickson - Holly & Co Campaign Shop Independent 2020

Image credit: Rebecca Strickson, Holly & Co Campaign Shop Independent

The UK’s powerhouse when it comes to online marketplaces, Not On The High Street is a curated platform which balances its ethos to champion small creative businesses with its ambition to compete in the commercial retail sector (Which arguably, it does.) Small brands have grown and flourished under this umbrella, but the competition to be accepted is tough.

Curated? Yes

Cost: £199+VAT one off registration fee + 25% commission on sales

Good for: Makers with a strong brand who want to grow their business.

Drawbacks: Even as a curated platform it is still very crowded.

Local Online Platforms

As well as the big players listed above, the growing trend towards supporting local businesses has led to a rise in more focused online platforms which champion regional artists and makers. It’s well worth finding out if there’s a local alternative in your area. By engaging with your local artisan community you’re better placed to transform virtual connections and events to in-person ones when the opportunity arises.

Artful Collective is a curated directory and events organisation which champions the work of artists and makers from Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset and Berkshire. Find out more about how to become a member here.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments…

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