Welcome to Our Place Handmade on Independence Day!
Like most of us “older” people, I have had a lot of different jobs over the years. I always flew through job interviews that I had no business even being at. I made fake it till you make it a profession. The key was after getting the job I had to prove I could do it. I pretty much sailed through it and it was fine with a couple of failures in there for character I guess. I began my career in the accounting industry and that carried over into many different areas of office work. About a decade of my life, I devoted to learning html code and building websites. Although the creative outlet was great, the competitive market and the willingness of other people to completely price gouge turned me away from it.
From the time i was a little girl my mom had taught me embroidery and I moved on to cross stitch at a pretty young age. Mom had one of those magical tins full of embroidery thread with all the colors of the rainbow. Being a rebellious young person, I didn’t want to be doing patterns of bunnies and teddy bears so I started making my patterns pretty young. So about that time, Etsy came along and I entered a whole new world and I loved it.
What I didn’t love was the fees, the lack of flexibility with the site and the fact that they could shut my shop down at any time at their discretion whatever the reason. Then they added the website option to pay for and cut out getting paid through Paypal so they could get more fees. I am way too much of a control freak for all that noise so I started looking around. I tried many of them from Bonanza to Dawanda, StoreEnvy, You Can Make It, Craftsy (which is now BluPrint and totally different than it was then). None of them were what I was looking for. I didn’t want my own website because I just wanted to focus on the creative side more and not have to make it all work. Finally, I found a marketplace for handmade that I was happy with for less than Etsy and I could just let others worry about that stuff and I could just make and sell my patterns.
Fast forward a little over a year. I loved what I was doing and I was on the Admin team for the marketplace and we were hustling. We were building our businesses and working hard. Until completely out of the blue, the owner told us she had made half her life up built on lies and her reputation was destroyed in the blink of an eye. She deleted the marketplace and all the work that we had put in to build it was gone. She left about 50 female small business owners high and dry with no way to continue selling their handmade items other than returning to Etsy or going out on their own. Most of these small businesses were not in a position to be be running their own websites which is why they were selling on a marketplace to begin with. On top of that, trust was broken for these women.
Not willing to completely give up on our community, I started thinking of how I could help them. I still had my reseller hosting account and a couple of domain names from my website building days. Based on what we were told by the previous marketplace, it seems an impossible task to create a new marketplace but I could set up a website for each shop and add it to my hosting and that way they could get back to what they loved and what they were used to as quickly as possible. With the help of the some of the previous admin team, we got set up, secure and the girls were listing and selling again. I began to do some research for ways to market this new format thinking that other people may be looking for an Etsy alternative also. What we are doing is a new and unique format than what I have seen out there at an affordable price. I have to say, I am more disgusted at the web design industry than ever before. I am all for paying someone what they are worth including for their knowledge and experience but the ridiculous things that I have seen are just mind blowing.
For example, the way we have set it up for people is they have a blog and a shop on their site but it is each persons own website, not a part of a marketplace. So, to get them set up and selling on their own website that they could easily learn themselves they were charged a $25 set up fee and $10 monthly for hosting. Then, we also have a Facebook community set up for website help and sharing products and sales. That’s it. That’s all the charges. You buy the domain name. No listing fees. No cut of each sale. I literally found one that is charging people $500 for a one page cover/landing page that connects to your Etsy. On top of that, they give them a cheap landing page made on a free Wix website builder page. $500 and Etsy can still shut you down anytime with no notice. Then what?? Then you are out $500, that’s what. I don’t know how these people sleep at night. Please, please read what you are actually getting if you use one of these services. Our Place Handmade is here to help the handmade industry with the technical side of this business in any way we can. We will be growing and expanding these services as we go and hope to raise awareness to others that would like to have their own shop. In today’s world, many, many people are considering working from home. You have options better than these ones!!