Some people’s image of an artisan or crafter is often of a potter spinning his/her wheels in the garden shed turned studio, and then going to the farmers market to sell their wears. Or of a knitter sitting with a cup of tea, quietly knitting as he/she gets ready for the next Craft Fair. But today’s Artisans, Crafters, Artists and Designers do not have to rely on farmer’s markets and craft fairs alone. The Internet provides the Artists of today access to a global market 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Traditional craft fairs will give the artists a small amount of exposure locally, but this cannot compare with the global exposure they will get on the internet.
Whatever your craft, (jewelry, stained glass, pottery, painting, knitting) an online presence will be of great benefit. It will give your craft business credibility as a legitimate business and now your customers can easily buy your handcrafted gifts all year. They will also have access to your contact information, in fact you may be considered less credible if you don’t have a website. You can advertise the address for your online store on your flyers, business cards and signs. You can have a complete, updateable inventory of your unique handcrafted products with pictures and descriptions, making it easy for your potential customers to go to your online store and shop. Your customers no longer have to wait for craft fairs because they can now buy from you year round, and you are no longer limited to a local market because you can now sell your unique handcrafted work to a global market.
The thought of building, promoting and managing an online store can seem daunting for many small crafters and artisans, but you can be sure if you don’t your competitors will. Having a presence online is no longer a question of “should I?” As a small business person the thought of hiring a web designer to build an online store with e-commerce capabilities can be overwhelming, hosting, managing and promoting their online store can be very expensive, and they also have to think about security, merchant accounts etc. There is another option, sign up with a craft mall. A good craft mall will have made it easy for you to create and manage an online store, the basic infrastructure will already be there, all you have to do is upload your product pictures and descriptions and you will be open for business on the internet and ready to start selling to the world.
About the Author Catherine Stabler is the owner of the GLC Arts and Crafts Mall (http://www.glcmall.com) which brings together crafters, artists, artisans and designers with interested buyers worldwide via the Internet.