The internet has become an integral part our lives. We can connect with family, friends, and business partners when thousands of miles separate us. Glass beadmakers are no exception. We have looked to cyberspace to promote ourselves and our beads and jewelry. Now, social media are helping us market our wares.
Several Facebook groups are advancing the marketplace and are allowing beadmakers to sell. Some of the largest ones are Facebook Lampwork Bead Market, Lampwork Beads for Sale, and Handmade Lampwork Beads for Sale. Newer groups are promoting trunk shows. A site I just stumbled upon is the Glass Melters World Market. Each seller gets 47 hours on the site to list as many items as they want! And they are the only ones selling during that time. There are many other sites across Facebook, which include destashing findings, beads, seconds, etc. Just take a look around Facebook to see what you’d like to sell or buy.
Most of the groups are closed, but it’s easy to join. All you need to do is ask to be added. When approved, you can start listing or buying beads. All the ones listed above are no-cost groups. It doesn’t cost anything to list or sell an item. That’s what makes it attractive to both sellers and buyers. The sellers determine their payment options and most use Paypal.
Different groups have different rules, such as the length of the auction or BIN listing, the number of items you can list, and what exactly can be listed, such as beads, supplies, marbles, etc. Be sure to understand the rules before listing or buying. Most artists I’ve talked with believe it’s fantastic that there are no costs involved in selling. They say Ebay and Etsy fees are getting expensive and taking a big chunk out of their profits.
Other artists believe it benefits the buyer because they can go to one site and see everything that for sale. Customers seem to like the simplicity and getting to know each artist. It’s also easy to communicate with the seller or the buyer.
Etsy is still the number one site for handmade items. A few years ago, however, it opened its doors to things that were not handmade, which hit the artisans hard. Etsy officials also changed its fee structure, advertising costs, and categories. Now, it seems, it’s difficult to find handmade lampwork beads, unless you specifically search for it.
Etsy offers a fee to post items for a two-month period, then a selling fee. If you want to show up at the top of searches, you can also pay for advertising. The advertising is cheaper than Amazon’s, but will still chip away at your profits. Officials last year changed the way they charge for advertising, so if you cancel your advertising, you may still be charged for it if you get a sale. See Etsy’s advertising specs here.
Amazon launched its Handmade area a few years ago. It has specific requirements and an application before you can list items. According to Amazon, your items must be entirely made by hand; products must be made by you, an employee, or a member of your collective. Currently, Amazon has the following categories (these may change in the future):
- Home products, which include: Art, Baby Bedding, Bath, Bedding, Furniture, Home Décor, Kitchen & Dining, Lighting, Patio, Lawn & Garden, Storage & Organization
- Apparel and Shoes
- Beauty & Personal Care
- Pet Supplies
- Party Supplies,
- Baby items
- Sporting Goods
- Toys & Games
You can continue selling your items on other platforms and you can elect to have Amazon ship the items or your can ship them to the customer.
The benefit of selling on Amazon is it has millions of customers who go online specifically to purchase items. But the downside is the cost. I’ve sold beads on Amazon, but with advertising, listing fees, and closing fees, it cost me nearly 50%! That’s a huge hit on my profits.
To be considered to sell on Amazon, you must apply. But the application is quick and Amazon gets back to you quickly, as well.
As you can see, I’ve tried several platforms, including all of the ones listed above. They all have their benefits. I found that, at least for me, Facebook has been the least expensive and easiest. I didn’t sell everything, but there were no fees associated with listing. Etsy comes in second because it does have the customers and I love the fact that I can list an item for two months and it will automatically renew. So, for me, costs are lower.
On Amazon, I sold hundreds of items, but it cost me so much that I decided to pull out of that marketplace. I loved selling, but it was definitely not a way to get to know my customers. It was impersonal and I didn’t like that.
One platform I haven’t tried yet is Pinterest. It recently opened its platform to sellers. Once I get some time, I will see if it’s beneficial and write a post about that.
Tell me, what platforms have your tried and like? I’d love to hear about them.