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Etsy... Amazon... not so fast. How to truly support a handmade business.

Etsy... Amazon... not so fast. How to truly support a handmade business.

When someone finds out that I make and sell ornaments, a question I frequently get asked is, "Are you on Etsy?" After a small sigh, I smile and cheerfully exclaim, "Yes, yes I am!" ... followed quickly by a "... but consider shopping our online shop at www.forgedflare.com. We have more designs to offer and a much more personalized shopping experience!" And it's true — I love connecting with my customers and giving them a true brand experience from start to finish.

Unique opportunities... and challenges.

During my years as a professional shopper marketing expert, I learned the importance of visibility and broadening your sales channels. And by sales channels, I simply mean websites such as Etsy and Amazon. A handmade business like Forged Flare can tap into shoppers that intrinsically shop on these sites and be discovered by customers that never knew they needed a Mother’s Angels® ornament (hey, we're pretty sure everyone needs Mother’s Angels®, right?). The benefits of diversifying your small business can be huge! Yes, we are on Amazon and Etsy — and both have been great for us, but both have also presented unique challenges.

Easy access to their customers also comes at a high price. Websites such as Etsy and Amazon often incentivize "pay to play" — where sellers feel pressured to purchase advertising in order for their products to even be seen. On top of this, these shopping giants charge pretty hefty fees on every individual sale. These fees — in the form of listing fees, selling fees, credit card fees, transaction fees, fulfillment fees, etc. — all add up. Add paid advertising to the top of everything, and a small business doesn't receive much profit.

So, what can you do to help?

I LOVE supporting other small businesses, artists and makers and one thing I've gotten into the habit of doing is to do a little research before I make a purchase online. I will see if a particular artist or maker has their own website that I can purchase directly from in order to help them retain more of the profit. I encourage you to do this as well! It's pretty easy and often just involves a quick online search.

How to find an artist's website on Etsy.

When viewing the details of a product listing, look for the shop name on the product listing. On both desktop and mobile, it'll be a small link near the title and price area of the product. Tap on that.

On a desktop computer, once you tap on the shop name, scroll allllllllllll the way down to the bottom of the shop page (be sure to gawk at all the amazingly beautiful products on the journey down) to an area below the reviews where it lists social media accounts and a website. If they have a website, it will be listed here. Tapping that will bring you directly to their business website. Please note that some artists may not prefer to have you shop their own website, and discretion is up to you based on the user experience once you arrive at their website. You'll be able to tell pretty quickly if it's a site that you want to purchase from directly or stick to either Etsy or Amazon.

Side note — On the Etsy app, after arriving at the shop page, the website link can be found under the About tab at the top of the page, followed by tapping "Related links". 

How to find an artist's website on Amazon.

Spoiler alert — Amazon is pretty strict when it comes to their sellers. They do not allow a small business to list their business website, so having to do your own research is pretty much strictly done via an online search. Luckily they do give you a few breadcrumbs of information to get you started.

At the top of most listings, there will be a little text area that says "Visit the [Seller] Store". That will give you an idea of the name of the business that is selling a product. Bear in mind this will only show for stores that have their own brand / registered trademark. So, not all small businesses will have this. 

If a product listing is missing this link, scroll down further on the product listing and there should be an area with additional details that state who the item is sold by (it may be an individual's name or a shop name).

Taking either bit of information, now do an online search for the business. Sometimes if I don't get results in an online search, I'll search Facebook or Instagram. Often artists and makers will appear there and I can easily find their website from their profile.

If you're more comfortable purchasing on a site such as Amazon or Etsy, that's totally fine. In fact, many of our own customers discovered us that way.

At the end of the day, we value your support for small businesses, artists, and makers. While you can find us on platforms like Etsy and Amazon, we invite you to shop right here for a more personalized shopping experience. By purchasing directly from our site, you help us retain more of the profit, allowing us to continue creating beautiful Mother’s Angels® ornaments. Your support means the world to us, and we appreciate your consideration in choosing to shop with us. Thank you for being part of our journey and for embracing the artistry of Forged Flare®!

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About Jen Street

Jen Street is the Founder & Creative Director of Forged Flare®, a business that specializes in creating unique ornaments that are reminiscent of stained glass. Handcrafted in Texas and perfect for gifting, her Mother’s Angels® ornaments make people feel seen, appreciated, and loved. Sign up for the newsletter and save on your first handmade ornament today.

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