Who's Behind NM?

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Nature Manipulated (NM) creates visual, wearable and practical art that reflects upon nature and all of its elements. At NM, we believe that everything is a part of nature, some things are just "nature manipulated."

NM specializes in one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry, handmade greeting cards, nature photography and other unique accessories.

To read more about who's behind NM, please click here.
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ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell Handmade

Friday, February 27, 2009

Is It Too Early to Open an Artfire Shop?

If you participate in the Etsy forums often, you may have noticed a lot of talk about Artfire. Artfire is a relatively new online marketplace for handmade products designed by artisans around the globe. Similar to Etsy, it is designed for artisans to buy and sell their works, while celebrating unique handmade items and designs.

ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell Handmade


I'm a fan of any site that promotes handmade but is it too early to spend $7.00/month for Artfire? After reading many of the posts about Artfire in the Etsy forums, a lot of Etsy members would say "yes!" Artfire is still in the primitive stages of development, both in look and feel, ease of use and most importantly (because we all want to sell our creations), in buyers. According to the reviews I read, Artfire's user base is still rather small and most of the users are sellers. Views can be very low and discouraging and many people have closed their shops.

There's got to be something good about it though. I started a thread in the Etsy forums asking for positive experiences with Artfire. The responses were a bit more encouraging. I would love to have learned more but the thread was closed by Etsy because it violated some posting rule. Oops! The number one positive feedback was about the customer service. Many of the people who posted in the thread felt that it was very easy to approach the Artfire team and work with them to implement changes and resolve problems. According to users, the support staff are very friendly, quick to respond and accommodating. Although some of the responders said they have closed their shop or are thinking about it, most of them said they were happy with the site and/or willing to give it a try for awhile as new features and improvements are constantly being added or made.
Some of the recent improvements include: Customers do not have to sign up to make purchases (a BIG plus) and the launch of Rapid Cart. Rapid Cart is a widget you can install on your blog or social networking site that shows your product. Buyer can purchase directly from the widget without having to register and without being redirected to your Artfire shop. That makes shopping a lot easier!

Another pro is that there are no listing fees, no renewal fees and no sales fees. It is currently $7.00/month flat fee to be a verified user. If you list or relist and/or sell a lot on Etsy, $7.00/month might be nothing to you. There is a Basic User option which costs absolutely nothing but the features are pretty limited and there are some restrictions. If you are interested in signing up, the $7.00/month fee is only available to the first 5,000 accounts. There are currently 1,467 accounts available at this price. The proposed fee after 5000 accounts are opened is $20.00/month. A little steep! To open an Artfire shop now, click here.

Obviously there ae pros and cons to the new site. That goes with every site, new or old. But time will tell. It will be interesting to see what happens with Artfire and whether it effects Etsy sales.

If you decide to become an Artfire user and need help setting up shop, visit Timothy Adam's new site, Handmadeology. On this site, Timothy shows you step by step how to make the most of your Artfire shop.

Well, after weighing some of the pros and cons in this post, I have decided to open an Artfire shop and live the evolution of a new artists' community. Pardon my shops appearance as I begin to put it together - naturemanipulated.artfire.com


If you use Artfire, please share your experiences with us.

16 comments:

BeebaBottoms said...

interesting... another site that is nice, if you sell childrens items, green living type stuff, or yarns and fibers particularly, is hyenacart.com

KleanKrafts said...

ArtFire is great, the service is the best I have ever seen and the one page listing process is fast.

They make new changes every week that help us sell more and really care about us as artists.

They even let you link to your Etsy shop and never shy away from doing what is best for us first.

They are growing faster than any other handmade site and will be as big as Etsy by the end of the year.

Megan McGory said...

I use artfire! I find sales all around have been slow, even on Etsy where until recently, I thought of myself an established seller (139 sales).

I have had 1 sale on Artfire, and that was in December. It paid for my first couple of months subscription, which was nice.

I guess I'm just waiting for the customers now...I don't really want to load my shop down with *everything* I had/have on Etsy (supplies/vintage) but my sales on Etsy are just about dead and I've only been renewing once items expire. Still, when nothing is selling, that money adds up pretty fast.

I'm excited to be in on the ground floor of Artfire. I joined as soon as they started advertising on EB (smart move!) in late October/early November. I have hopes for artfire. I have no hope for Etsy.

Anonymous said...

I was weighing the pros and cons and decided to join now. I opened it Thursday night, while it is 7 dollars and I think it will be as big as etsy and I didnt want to miss out. my etsy sales can pay the fee until I make sales.

LazyTcrochet said...

Great post. I was glad to read about others' experiences and opinions about the site. I was concerned that I jumped the gun and I still have yet to sell anything there. I love the way my shop looks and how easy it is to list items there. Now that they've launched the shopping cart for my blog...I think the monthly fee will be worth it.

Sandy said...

I've been wondering the same things!
Thanks for the great bloginfo :D

I'm also on madeitmyself, but no action over there either.

storybeader said...

NM - I think a lot of Etsy users have opened Artfire shops. Glad you've joined. There is a Blogfire group, bloggers on Artfire. You'll see a lot of familiar names. They have a carnival, and so far as I can see, no rules for how many posts (please correct me Blogfirers).

Anyway, I think it's a good move. I particularly like that you don't have to be a member to buy. And, oh, Etsy admin probably doesn't like sellers talking about their competition - I bet that's why they "canned" your thread!

Audrey said...

I've wondered about artfire myself. Have a friend who has just started on it. Not sure if I want to spend $7/month if I'm not selling.

Head Bitch in Charge said...

Very informative post. I'm always hesitant to jump on the bandwagon with new sites (so many just fizzle out) so it's nice to hear some constructive feedback.

I will continue to keep an eye on it until I'm ready to spend the monthly fee.

TheresaJ said...

Thanks for sharing your sleuthing results. I will definitely check it out. I've been thinking of opening up a second Etsy shop for my non-jewelry creations, but perhaps I'll try ArtFire instead and then see how the two compare.

Really, a great post!

Lauren said...

I think it's great as well and it doesn't hurt to try it out. If you don't list many things on Etsy, then it's probably not worth the verified membership (but you can still list and sell for free-- 10 item limit).

I know Etsy has a lot of traffic and I do like Etsy too, but I have had to drive a lot of the traffic to my store.

Artfire is growing and the administration works for you. They don't necessarily want you to ditch Etsy; rather they want to give you other options. Artfire may work out better for you than Etsy or vise versa. And there's nothing wrong with keeping two shops open and running.

Try out several different venues and see what works out for you. And even though one site may have a lot of traffic, that doesn't guarantee you sales. No matter where you are, you have to still promote your store and drive your own sales.

Best of luck to everyone.

elsiee said...

I'm waiting for more feedback on aftfire myself! just discovered your blog on the ETSY forum thread! come visit "me" when you have a chance:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=16817529

memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...

Thanks for the review...I will be interested to see how you do :)
Keep us updated! And Good Luck :)

Patrice @ The Soap Seduction said...

I love ArtFire. I've been selling there since December, and while sales have been slow, I am very optimistic about its potential. I love that every new listing automatically makes the FP regardless!

uniquecommodities said...

interesting.thanks for sharing the info

Abby Horowitz said...

I opened an Artfire shop and have been disappointed in the low buyer traffic. I haven't added my entire Etsy shop because I don't know if it will be worth the effort. They do automatically upload to google base which is definitely a plus. I recently set up a Silkfair shop which was so easy. You can upload your entire Etsy shop with one click. What a time saver! The only fee involved is a 3% final sale fee. The only problem - once again - buyer traffic... I also thought I'd try a shop on shophandmade.com. This is totally free - you choose a sponsor for each page and they place a small add on it. I put a sampling of my work on this site. But--once again low traffic.

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