Back in 2005, Etsy changed the online market for small-scale artisans, offering a new place on the web to showcase and sell handcrafted goods, with more upmarket and boutique-style options than eBay.
Fast forward to 2010, and while we're happy to report that Etsy is still thriving, a wealth of similar social commerce sites have sprung up around it. If you just love homemade and handcrafted treasures, or if you're a seller looking to get your goods out there, here's a list of 10 great sites (in alphabetical order) that you might want to take some time to check out. Some of the goodies on these sites are tempting, however, so be sure to mind your wallet as you explore! Those 90,000 items are varied and range from art, ceramics, food, health & beauty, jewelery, musical instruments, toys and children's clothing, among others.
Social options include the ability to e-mail items to friends, post to Facebook, to Twitter, and the "Shop with a Friend" beta function, which lets you invite someone from your social network to view the retail page and comment on items in real-time.
Tuscon, Arizona-based ArtFire offers handmade items of all kinds — fine art, design, media, vintage, antiques and supplies — from over 66,000 artisans from across the globe. As far as browsing the goods goes, there are options to look at categories, shop by occasion, by color, and by trends.
What the site lacks in contemporary design it seems to more than make up for in services offered to its artisan community.
Those based outside the States will be happy to note ArtFire supports worldwide shipping and accepts payment via PayPal, Google Checkout and Amazon Payments.
From two dollar postcards to major masterpieces costing thousands, ArtFlock is an online marketplace for artists of all disciplines to both showcase and sell their work. The search functionality is comprehensive, allowing you to find artwork by medium, style, theme or color, after which you can narrow results down further by price or date added. In addition to a storefront, artists get a professional online portfolio with a personalized domain name and the option to create a blog, so there is a strong community aspect to the service as well as commercial aims.
With nearly 1,000,000 products for sale, DaWanda is a European powerhouse in the handmade arena. Offering a mixture of vintage finds and handcrafted objects, DaWanda has an emphasis on discovery with not just standard categories and keyword search options, but shop showcases, comprehensive latest trends lists and special features picked by staff. Most sellers accept PayPal, or there's the option to buy DaWanda vouchers which can be used across the site to purchase goods. Facebook "Like" buttons and options to share to Twitter are features worthy of highlighting, as well as the "Gift Detective" section, which lets you pose a present puzzler for the community to help solve (you'll notice lots of guys on there with "Help, I don't know what to get my girl" queries).


Info for Sellers: It's free to sign-up, and commission currently comes in at 5%, but listing fees are planned for later this year. It would be easy to describe Folksy as the British version of Etsy, but that's not quite accurate, as in addition to e-commerce functionality, the site also offers free how-to guides for making your own crafty goodies. If you're more a buy-it than make-it type, you can browse by category, by materials used, or by practices (such as ceramics, drawing embroidery, etc.). The selling side of things is restricted to UK-only, so it's a great site for Anglophiles, although U.S. Foodzie offers artisan food from across the United States with an emphasis on region, so you can see who is selling and making what near to you. A little like having the most exclusive supermarket right in your web browser, it's wise not to browse the site if you're feeling a little peckish.
Foodzie offers great gift options (by occasion or "food personality" — we enjoyed the "Baconlicious" suggestion), all with mouthwatering pics and info, as well as gift cards that can be redeemed across the site. Info for Sellers: Understandably (and reassuringly for potential customers!) you have to apply to sell food via Foodzie. Canadian site iCraft offers another global marketplace for all things handmade, and boasts items from professional and recreational artisans, designers, artists and craftspeople. Searching the site can be done via the somewhat difficult drop-down boxes, by keyword (which is an improvement), or by browsing "popular searches" from the homepage. From the popular search lists, jewelery, accessories and kids items appear to be high-trafficked areas. Info for Sellers: iCraft charges $25 (Canadian) to get set up, after which you can sell five items a month for free. The category list is comprehensive, and each section is well populated, but the actual listings lose points for only displaying thumbnail size pics that you have to click to enlarge, making browsing a little more laborious than it could be.
The community features here are merely a forum, and many of the artisans signed up don't offer photos or bio info, leaving it lacking a little in that department.
This site works on a "market booth" basis and does not restrict its sellers to handmade only, so some of the content is a little more eBay that Etsy. There are easy-to-find featured categories for "Handmade," "One of a Kind," "Vintage," "Personalized," and "Limited Edition," so you won't be navigating blind for very long. This site offers sellers the option to integrate their eBay feedback count, so if their SilkFair sales traffic has not been high, you can still get an idea of their reliability.


Once you get over the slight pretentiousness and get to viewing the products, you'll see that there are some great designs available.
Of course we could not do a round-up of great sites to buy and sell handmade without including the grand old dame of such sites — Etsy itself! With some really amazing features for discovering new things — such as a "time machine," "pounce" to find new items, geolocator, shop local options and even the facility to see whose birthday it is, despite having been arond for some time, Etsy keeps its store concept fresh. Keyword search works well, international buyers are generally well catered for and the quality of items on sale is high from the 400,000 shops with many, many sellers pros, a fair few of which you can read about in the various featured sellers sections. With 50 craft projects including making marzipan chicks, painting fingerprint bunnies and designing egg-shaped decorations. Todays, before going out for buying anything people give at least a look to the various websites to know the latest models of that thing. There's a weekly podcast, forums, info on guilds, as well as relevant articles and features. Commission comes in at 3.5% for items sold through personal websites and 5% for items sold through ArtFlock. If you're a gourmet, or a socially conscious eater, or are buying for someone who is, then Foodzie is a great fit. Powered by its own proprietary technology, Mashable is the go-to source for tech, digital culture and entertainment content for its dedicated and influential audience around the globe.
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