I have always been proud of people who sell handmade items online as their job. No day job. No shift work. Just selling online, working at their own pace and schedule, and creating things they love. Proud, and envious.
I think a lot of people who make handmade items are torn between wanting to give up their day jobs and jump right into their own handmade businesses, but also being terrified of things not working out and losing the stability of their day job. That’s me right now! I so wish I could just give up the shift work and do my own thing. But it’s very scary, especially for a young person. I know that I have the most ability to bounce back as a young person. We have more time to recover if anything were to go wrong. Still, scary.
In my search to find some way to continue selling my items I have come across a few online shops. Of course there is Etsy. It’s a huge site, almost like a search engine, purely for finding handmade goods or supplies. I do have an Etsy store, but I haven’t had a ton of success yet (I am still hopeful). There is a ton of competition on Etsy, because it’s so easy to set up a store. And of course it is extremely reputable. Etsy is a common household term nowadays. I average about 300 views per month to my store, and maybe 2 or 3 sales. Not bad, but not nearly what I would like to have.
Storenvy is another option. They are a little more “American”, whereas Etsy is very much so world wide. This can be a little tricky for us Canadians, as shipping really hurts sometimes. I played around with Google Analytics a little and found that out of the 60 million visitors per month, about 5 million of those are Canadian to Storenvy. Not bad. 5 million is a lot of people, but that is a very small percentage. I would be catering to mostly American customers, which again, isn’t bad at all. But shipping sucks.
I recently came across a Canadian version of Storenvy called Made Urban. It seems fairly new (as in maybe three or four thousand visitors per month). This sounds bad in comparison to Etsy and Storenvy, but I think I might reach the customers I really want to reach. Shipping Canada wide is a lot easier and more predictable when it comes to calculate shipping costs. Most users are Canada (bonus). The website looks like it was developed in Alberta. They also have a wonderful feature that allows you to search for products by city and location. Etsy and Storenvy allow this search as well, but they make it a little more difficult to find.
I really like Made Urban for a few reasons. One: it’s Canadian. We Canadians need to be supporting our own economy, especially small businesses. The more money that is being spread around to more individuals, the stronger the economy (there’s my economy mini lesson). Two: the search feature is super cool. Need a cake in Langley? Search for Cakes in Langley and it will bring up local listings. Want a scarf from Halifax? Search Halifax and see what they have to offer. Three: it’s small. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. Good because there is minimal competition right now and would be easy to establish your business name. Bad because it’s still relatively unknown. I haven’t spoken to anyone yet who knew what I was talking about when I said “Made Urban”.
So what to do? I have an account for all three sites, but do I need all three? I have heard great things from people who use Storenvy and Made Urban, and very similar experiences to my own from Etsy.
If anyone has any advice or good experiences with one of these sites, I would love to hear them! I am currently adding items that I make to all three of these sites, and I guess only time will tell which one will be the winner.