The demand for purchasing quality artisanal products has significantly grown over the years resulting in the arrival of numerous handmade online marketplaces such as Etsy, Folksy and Amazon Handmade, etc… which are all competing for the opportunity to showcase your lovely crafty goods. These specialist marketplaces are a fantastic way of growing your customer base by reaching more people online who may not have otherwise of found you. In this guide I’ll give you the skinny on the top 7 craft websites for UK handmade businesses.
Founded in 2005 with its headquarters in New York, ETSY is easily the biggest and best-known handmade online marketplace. Accommodating over 2 million sellers and receiving circa 40 million visits a year.
It’s very easy to setup an online account, known as an ETSY Shop, to sell your artistic crafts as the site does not run any background checks on its sellers; albeit this can cause many people to be reasonably cautious about shopping on the site.
A good way of overcoming this is to create a loyal customer base by always delivering your goods on time, ensure your product descriptions accurately reflect your products, and always respond to customer enquiries in a timely manner. These actions will encourage customers to leave positive reviews, which will dramatically boost your sales, as the majority site visitors use the star ratings and reviews to determine how reputable you are before making a purchase.
The advantage of selling your products on the site is that you will get access to tools that can help you boost your visibility, grow your following, and manage your inventory. You can also create categories within your shop to assist customers with easy navigation.
Once you have made a sale you can choose to receive payment directly into your bank on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Fees & Taxes for selling on ETSY
2. Amazon Handmade
Founded in 2015, many people consider Amazon Handmade to be the second-best handmade marketplace after Etsy.
However, registering as a seller on this platform is not very simple. You will need to complete an online artisan application form; this is to prove that you are a genuine artisan and that all your products are handmade.
You will also need to open a Professional Selling Plan Account, which is a subscription-based service for standard Amazon sellers charged monthly at £25. However, this monthly fee is waived for all handmade sellers, instead you will be charged a 12% Referral Fee + VAT against each item sold.
Although signing up as a seller can take a lot of time and effort, it is ultimately beneficial to your business because buyers trust that the items sold on the site are genuine handmade products.
I personally found the backend of the Amazon platform, known as Seller Central Europe, to be too onerous and cumbersome, as it’s not very intuitive or user friendly. It is from here that you are required to manage your storefront and online orders.
Once you have made a sale, Amazon will not initiate payment until you have shipped goods and provided a tracking number. It can take up to 5 working days for funds to clear into your bank account after Amazon has initiated payment.
Fees & Taxes for selling on Amazon Handmade
Founded in 2008 based in Sheffield, Yorkshire, Folksy is the biggest UK online craft marketplace for British designers, artists, and craftspeople. Hosting roughly 10 thousand sellers and receiving over 2 million site visits a year – with 85% based in the UK. Folksy is more than just an online platform it’s a community.
Folksy strives hard to retain and grow its engaging community through weekly newsletters and social media accounts. This is a fantastic way of getting your crafty products in front of new customers without paying any extra. In addition, Folksy promotes your products via Google advertisements FREE of charge! There’s also a private FaceBook group just for Folksy sellers so that you can jam with like minded entrepreneurs - damn what’s not to like!
To test the waters, you can opt for the Basic Plan which will allow you to list up to 3 products online, costing £0.15 + VAT per item, plus 6% + VAT commission. Once you have learned the ropes and are confident with how things work you can upgrade to the Folksy Plus Account costing £5/month.
If you have an ETSY shop you can use the Folksy import service to copy your entire listings over to the Folksy platform thus saving you invaluable time and effort.
Once you have made a sale, funds will be paid directly into your PayPal account or Stripe account. It is important to note that PayPal charges much higher payment processing fees compared to Stripe. However, your PayPal funds will clear immediately into your bank account, as opposed to Stripe which takes 5 business days to clear.
Fees & Taxes for selling on Folksy
Founded in 2008, as an alternative to eBay and Amazon, Bonanza currently has more than 40,000 sellers and receives over 10 million visits a year. If you currently have an eBay account you can import your products and customer reviews over to Bonanza.
Many sellers have already migrated from eBay to Bonanza because of its attractively low selling fees. Bonanza does not charge listing fees or setup costs, only sales commission of 3.5%. You can enroll on its Advertising Program and pay higher commissions in return for targeted Google Shopping Ad campaigns – this service is optional incurring no fees until an item sells.
Bonanza has truly built its site around promoting individual sellers, to do this it drives traffic to the platform via Bing Shopping, Facebook marketing campaigns and affiliate programs at no additional cost to you! - awesome right?
Bonanza’s marketplace platform includes easy to use customer marketing tools, stats dashboard and dedicated feedback site, to enable Bonanza to build more useful features to propel your business to the next level.
Fees & Taxes for selling on Bonanza
5. Not on The High Street
Founded in 2006, with its headquarters located in Richmond, London. Not on the High Street (NOTHS) specialises in unique designs and high-quality craftsmanship. The site receives around 40 million unique visitors a year, this huge exposure offers great opportunity for even the smallest of businesses with some of its most successful artists earning up to £1 million on the platform
What I love about NOTHS is that they actively market your business through various avenues, including television, radio, press coverage and social media.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to join NOTHS marketplace as they individually handpick all applicants via a strict selection process, this is to ensure that all approved sellers share the same values of quality, creativity and individuality.
When completing the application form make sure you convey your brands ethos and uniqueness in the best possible way. If you successfully qualify as a HOTHS seller you will need to adhere to their lengthy Terms & Conditions
Fees & Taxes for selling on NOTHS
Founded in 2016, based in Glasgow, Scotland, NuMonday is a relatively new UK handmade platform. It does look and feel a little cheap and cheerful compared to the larger artisanal platforms, but it does offer really good value for money.
Creating an account is quick and easy, you just need to decide whether you prefer to subscribe to a monthly, 6-monthly, or yearly subscription plan, which will be charged against your chosen debit card. Also similar to Folksy you can choose to import your ETSY shop using their free import service.
NuMunday is insanely cheap as they do not charge any listing fees, setup fees, commission fees or transaction fees. You only pay a subscription fee.
To get started you are required to setup a Stripe account and connect this to your chosen bank account. You should note that the site does not take a cut of your sales (yippee!). However, you will incur Stripe payment processing fees every time you make a sale, which will be directly deducted at source before any money is deposited into your account.
Fees & Taxes for selling on NuMunday
Founded in 2002 based in USA, Wayfair was originally known as CSN Stores but changed its name to Wayfair in 2011. It is best known for selling furniture and home décor items in the States, however through rapid growth and expansion it has crossed into Europe where it has quickly become a household name.
To clarify, Wayfair is not an online marketplace, it is a drop shipping model, whereby Wayfair promotes your handmade products and accepts customer payments via its platform. However, as the seller you are responsible for packing and shipping all items on behalf of Wayfair. You are not required to pay for shipping as Wayfair will provide prepaid shipping labels – but there is a catch! Although Wayfair sells your items at RRP, you will only be compensated at wholesale price.
You may feel that this is a raw deal but remember Wayfair supports over 11 thousand sellers around the world, and has 16.4 million active customers due to its long track record and unwavering trust among buyers.
It you would like to apply to become a Wayfair Partner you will need to complete their online application form.
Fees & Taxes for selling on Wayfair
Thanks to these specialist handmade marketplaces, growing a small business online today is far more achievable than ever before. If done correctly it can boost sales revenues catapulting your humble business into the big leagues. Remember when choosing a marketplace platform always consider fees & taxes, ease of use, seller support, payment terms and shipping costs. Good Luck!
If you don’t have a handmade business and are looking for ideas of how to get started please read my blog Candle Making as a Side Hustle