Selling Online – Etsy or Artfire?

by Clare Blessinger.
(New York)

Selling Online - Etsy or Artfire? - Discussion on Jewelry Making Journal

I’ve been reading this blog forever and now I am ready to come out of the closet as a jewelry maker and try selling my pieces.

I value your opinion greatly and the ladies that write on this Journal.

So here it is, I want to try selling my pieces online first maybe with Etsy or Artfire .

What is your opinion of these sites and how do I go about doing this?

I don’t have any pictures yet. Maybe you can include some advice there also.

Thanks so much for any info and help you can offer.

Clare Blessinger
No Name, Yet!

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  1. Hi Clare!

    I’m looking forward to hearing from other folks here – and in the meantime here’s some helpful information to get you started:

    You’re right that good jewelry photos are one of the most important elements in selling jewelry online. You’ll find lots of jewelry photography help in this section of Jewelry Making Journal:
    Photographing Jewelry.

    Also, in the comments below this post on JMJ:
    Brand New Etsy Shop – How Do I Get Sales?
    … you’ll find a ton of great tips and insights from jewelry artists who have become successful sellers on Etsy. Most of the principles mentioned in that discussion will apply equally well to selling on Artfire or other online venues.

    I wish you all the best with your new online jewelry venture, and please keep us posted on your progress! 🙂

  2. Hi Clare
    I don’t use either service . . . instead I use Big Cartel. I wanted to stand out and not get lost in the thousands of jewelry makers on Etsy. My site appears to be a stand alone website using Big Cartel. They have a monthly fee and you can choose from a variety of layouts. They also have an easy to navigate mobile app so I can watch my sales on the run. xo, Pam

  3. Sarah Holt says:

    Does anyone have experience with Facebook as a sales site? I’ve been considering this as an option, since I already have a presence there. I’m interested to hear what everyone thinks….thanks!

  4. I can only tell you what i have experienced so far. I have an Etsy shop. I set it up May of 2015. I have had 37 sales so far. I would not consider that good. I have had several repeat sales. I also have a Facebook page. Have never had a sale there. What has worked for me is when i do a craft show, I have people sign up for my email ‘sneak peek’. When i make new items they see them first, and if they want to purchase anything from me, they will be invoiced through Pay Pal which also takes credit cards. I sell quite a bit from my sneak peek email newsletter. Plus i do save on Etsy fees when i do that. Hope that helps. I have never used Artfire for sales.

  5. I have a shop on Etsy. I usually get 1 or 2 sales a month. I set it up originally to use as a way for my craft show customers to contact me and see new pieces after the shows. I post my shows on Etsy Local so they can see where I’m going to be.

  6. Hi Clare,
    I’ve been on Etsy and ArtFire. I left Etsy as there was too much chopping and changing by Etsy of various things and no consultation with the sellers there. I’ve been on ArtFire for years now and would thoroughly recommend it. I can reach a member of the ArtFire team with one email (if I need to) and we are kept up-to-date with things happening on the site through the forums.

    My advice would be for selling anywhere: Very clear, good photographs! With on-line selling a picture really is worth a thousand words as it is the only way people can see what you are presenting. Different angles of the item, don’t clutter the picture with ‘decorations’ and, if possible, how it looks when worn. Take care over the written descriptions too, nothing worse than a typo! Make them cheery and friendly but don’t forget all the necessary information. ArtFire has a short ‘course’ which will guide you into the selling state of mind, if you want to go that route (a good idea if you are new to internet selling). Don’t under charge for your work! You took time and effort making your items, you are entitled to be paid for that. It isn’t necessarily true that people prefer the cheaper items, many prefer them well made, well presented and well packed when sent. Take a moment and sit with a pencil and paper and write down all the things you would like if you were buying, and all the things you definitely would not like if you were buying, and base your store on being the best you can be in customer service, as well as the designer/maker of your items.

    The last piece of advice: ADVERTISE! It doesn’t have to cost anything. When you list something for sale there are tabs to post the items to Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and StumbleUpon – Use Them, Frequently! Get followers on those 4 sites and they will, in turn, start to repost your stuff (repost theirs too – this is a two way street). If you just put your items on any on-line selling venue and you don’t advertise by listing in the big 4 (or 5 if you include instagram), you’ll be sitting there for a long time wondering why nothing is selling. Get your brand/name/items out there. Again, ArtFire forums are really good at critiques and full on help. I’ve always found other AF sellers to be friendly and helpful.

    Good luck! Have fun! And make money! 🙂

  7. I have been on both Etsy (many years ago) and am still on ArtFire. Never cared much for Etsy and liked ArtFire until they started making all sorts of surprising changes without letting us know. I still have an ArtFire shop but my main site is on Indiemade. You pay a monthly fee – that’s it. There are 4 tiers that you can choose from depending on how many items you are planning to list. The only other money that is from the payment processor when there is a sale. Love it that there are several themes to choose from that you can personalize to your heart’s content to make your shop really look professional. Customer service is fast and fabulous. I have been on Indiemade for about 1.5 years and have good sales. I highly recomment Indiemade. Here’s my shop in case you want to take a look:

  8. I started out on Artfire and Etsy, with the very same designs/photos/descriptions/prices on both. I found the Artfire shop difficult to setup listings, very slow loading because of a klunky web design. The experience on Etsy was much easier. Artfire charges a monthly fee, whether I sell anything or not. Etsy only charges per item listed. Everyone I meet has heard about Etsy, zero folks I meet have heard of Artfire. My pieces are found on Google through Etsy, I have rarely seen them on Google as a result of Artfire. I believe Etsy does a much better job of marketing for Seller’s than Artfire.

    Long story short, in 8 years I have sold more than 900% more items on Etsy, than on Artfire. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it! : )

    Hope this helps!

  9. Sara Holt,
    This is in response to your comment about selling from your Facebook Page. I tried this for about a year with not much result. It is through You actually make a site and in your settings you can tell it to “sell on Facebook” and the images post directly to your page. I found the monthly fee too much as I was selling more from FB direct messaging to me than I was from people clicking on the images for sale to buy from my Shopify site. Pretty interesting, so I canceled.

    I have used Square as a credit card payment method for years and they have a free website tool within their system. It’s super easy to create, no monthly fee, but they take a small percentage of the sale just as they ordinarily would do anyway when processing a credit card. You can create your own url, or tie the shop to your existing url.

    It’s worth your investigation for sure!

  10. I have been on Artfire and on Etsy. I spent four years on Artfire, following every piece of advice I could from their forum. Results? ZERO sales. After 1 year on Etsy, I learned that most of the info I received from Artfire folks was just plain wrong for SEO purposes. Results? Over 50 sales on Etsy! I’ve also found that you get out of it what you put into it. You need to stay on top of SEO changes, trends, and your own shop. Add things as often as possible. Take great photos. Change tags if they aren’t working. Advertise on Social Media. Etsy brings in great traffic, much more than Artfire ever thought of. But you need to work at bringing in your own traffic also. Etsy Forums are full of good info!

  11. Catherine says:

    Clare, you are not alone. I started making jewelry a couple of months ago. I live in a small town and I’m self conscious, plus I don’t know many people here. I started by going to places I knew people…loan company, smoke shop, hair stylist, etc…I figured out what each person liked after they bought something, then tried to make more of the things I knew they liked. I realize now I need to branch out, but afraid of selling on internet. I wish you luck, and never give up!

  12. I can share my experience from the other side of the transaction. I never had a shop on Etsy or Artfire, but I buy lots of beads & supplies and other things on Etsy. It’s so easy to find what I’m looking for there, and so easy to browse and checkout. But whenever I went to Artfire to find things- forget it! Too hard to find anything, and the whole thing is set up confusingly for shoppers. Now I just completely avoid Artfire. I feel bad for the vendors there because its too hard to shop there. Just my experience, and I don’t want to bash anyone, and maybe others have been able to do better than I have with shopping on Artfire.

  13. Rae Ann: Is the site we land on when we click your name your square website? I really like it. I am on etsy and sales are sporadic. I mainly use it to refer people to from shows. But, mostly I sell my handmade beads. Have not had any jewelry sales in quite some time on my etsy site.

  14. I have been on Etsy since I started selling on line. I have 73 sales on there. It has been a good experience, overall. There are great forums to help newbies and others with questions and information. There are also I have felt a sense of community on Etsy. It is fairly easy to set up a shop on Etsy. I have learned a lot about SEO, picture taking and procedures, which are all important. I have a friend who was on Artfire for two years and never sold one item. For what I want to accomplish, I need to branch out, though. I’m signed up to sell on Amazon Handmade. I’ve been so busy with getting my Etsy store started, I haven’t had time to do both. I plan to sell wholesale, also. I am on Etsy Wholesale. For what I sell, which is jewelry, I need to have about 200 items on line to sell more regularly. It is a lot of work, but quite enjoyable.

  15. I have sold on both sites as well as Big Cartel, Zibbet, Ebay and others. Etsy is your best choice hands down. Yes there is a lot of competition. I have been on that site since 2008, with two years of vacation/inactivity in between. I have made nearly 600 sales. You will need to use social media (Twitter, Instagram or Facebook) for promotions to attract buyers. My best advice is to set your policies from the beginning as to returns etc. Don’t list your items too low. Do not give items to “bloggers” or charities that ask for donations. (if you give to charities, make sure it is one you choose).

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