As I write this, in another window I am setting up shop at a new online marketing venue called 1000 Markets. 1000 Markets is another artisan shopping community, similar to Etsy, but because one needs to be juried in and approved before setting up shop, I'm really hoping that most, if not all, of the really inexpensive, underpriced, undervalued handmade work doesn't show up at 1000 Markets as it has proliferated on Etsy.
Here's a link for an interesting article Etsy ran yesterday in it's Storque (online newsletter), about the phenomenal sales growth happening there. Nobody I know, including myself, who has higher-priced work at Etsy has sold anything in quite a while, if at all. Somebody's making a lot of money at Etsy, with $8.4 million in sales in October alone. I'd sure like to be getting my share of the sales activity! A friend told me yesterday that Etsy recently said about itself that there were "better deals at Etsy than you can find at Wal-Mart." OMG! I will very likely not relist my finished work there after the listings expire over the next few months. Instead, I've begun listing all that work at 1000 Markets. I'll use Etsy for fiber sales only, eventually.
What are REAL artists to do? Which brings me to something else I've been thinking about this week -- whether or not it pays anymore to have a standalone website. I've had mine for over a year, and just this week I had the first contact via my website contact form. It's true that I've had a lot of hits in this past year -- a nearly unbelievable 58,000 since last December! But nobody's ever contacted me before via the site, whereas I am in constant contact with folks around the world via my blog. Also on my blog are links to my other online venues, as well as Flickr galleries. So I'm not sure why I have the website any longer. As a matter of fact, the way my website is set up, all the photos you see there as well as detailed info about each piece for sale are actually housed in Flickr galleries. So this seems like it might be the height of redundancy.
I've had changes in mind for my website, but it's pretty costly to maintain and I've begun to feel that updating it with new galleries to herald my shift away from wearable handwovens to surface designed handwoven art cloth would be duplication of effort, since this blog is my regular mouthpiece for all aspects of my life and work as an artist.
We artists are always told that it's definitely a good thing to have a website, to refer art galleries, museums and patrons to. But why can't this blog work just as well for that purpose, with expanded links to places online to see my work? Without the cost of a standalone website?
I'd really be interested in hearing what other artists think about this. So please weigh in on this and let me hear from you. Thanks!