The Etsy Effect: 10 Places to Buy Handmade Online

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(Image via Handmade Success)

When it comes to online handmade marketplaces, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t immediately think of Etsy. It has established itself as the owner of this sector, like how all tissues are Kleenex or all soda is Coke. With beautifully curated gift guides, a well-trafficked blog, and a seemingly brilliant brain that knows just what you’ll love, Etsy rules this category, and it’s not looking like anyone is going to unseat the craft king anytime soon.

Surprisingly (at least to this Yahoo DIY writer), there are tons of other websites that do a similar thing as Etsy, all with a slight twist or hook to make it a tad bit different. Traci Gingold of Traci Gingold Designs, an Etsy jewelry designer, says that she considered Artfire (see more about this site below) when she opened her store in 2012, but ultimately went with Etsy because she preferred the clean design of the site. “I felt like the Etsy platform seemed more established, and there were more benefits to being part of that community,” says Gingold. “But sometimes I feel like I need a degree in Etsy SEO and analytics. As a busy mom and photographer, I don’t dedicate as much time to it as I need to really figure out the best times to post and the optimal number of items for sale to land in customers’ searches. But I feel like I’m in a safe spot for my business, and I know Etsy will back me up if anything goes wrong with a transaction.”

If you want to explore the world beyond Etsy, here are 10 sites (yes ten!) to suck your time away.

Brika

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A beautiful site that focuses on modern design, makers have to apply to sell their wares here. Founded by two uber-smart business minded women, Brika offers a sense of community (each seller comes with a beautiful bio and photo portrait) and feels tightly curated. You’re not going to find vintage goods or craft supplies here, but you’ll find a whole lot of gorgeous that you’ll want to own.

Splatter Clutch by Anna Joyce, $88 

The Grommet

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Not all handmade, The Grommet prides itself on selling the undiscovered products of the world. From one-handed bottle openers to handmade infinity scarves, you can find the good, the odd, and the surprisingly charming here. Like Brika, you can learn read an informative profile on the creator of each product on the site.

Canning Jar Holdster by Marsh Gooding, $33.95 (Because we all love to drink hot beverages out of mason jars!)

Big Cartel

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Big Cartel provides designers, bands, crafters, and other artists with a customizable store to sell their stuff online. Simple as that. As a seller, if you want to own and customize the look of your website, sell your wares, and not deal with the coding of setting up your own online store, Big Cartel is for you. It is not one central site where you can shop your handmade brains out, but it’s a great way to launch a stand-alone online biz.

Bedside console without legs by Pelle, $1,480.00 

Artfire

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“ArtFire.com is a marketplace, craft and maker community where people from around the world come together to buy, sell and interact,” they say in their About Us page. Sounds like Etsy? Well, that’s because it’s very similar. A few differences to Etsy are as follows: you don’t have to open an account to buy (sometimes a road block for shoppers), the “make an offer” button which allows buyers to suggest a lower price, and the seller keeps 100% of sales and pays nothing to list an item.

Kids sewing pattern (pdf) by Hello Dear Kids, $7.50

Darby Smart

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Etsy regulars know that Etsy not only sells handmade items, but it also sells the materials in which to make your own. Felt, hand-dyed yarn, beads…you name it. But they are truly raw and you buy them piece by piece for your projects. Darby Smart has changed the way crafters can craft. Leading designers and bloggers launch simple DIY projects based on the latest trends, and Darby Smart turns these projects into kits. So instead of buying that hammered metal bracelet, you buy the kit of tools to make your own. And for free, you get the “oh yeah, I made this” bragging rights.

Metal stamped bracelet kit by Brittni Mehlhoff, $29

Dawanda

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Founded in Germany, Dawanda is the Etsy of Europe. It has a similar interface, mix of vintage, supplies, and handmade, and fan base. For anyone wanting to a more dominant international selection, this might be the place to visit.

Ball vase by AnneR Design, 12.50 Euros

Aftcra

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Aftcra took a unique stance by selling only handmade products that are made in America. It’s a smaller selection than most of these sites, and feels a little more like a church-basement craft sale, but there are some gems in the mix.

Toy Wooden Tic-Tac-Toe Game by McCoy Toys, $16

Storenvy

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More brand-driven than handmade, Storenvy seeks to help emerging brands sell their wares. You won’t find Aunt Rosa’s knitted tea cozies here. This is where you browse if you live in Brooklyn but can’t make it to the Flea. (Cute detail: when you “heart” an item, you click the “envy” button.)

Pajarito Wristlet/Clutch by Ilano, $115 

Zibbet

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Based on Etsy (yet again), Zibbet is a bit smaller with a more limited selection. The interface of the site is really fluid and their homepage is quite lovely, but the handmade selection itself feels a bit lacking. To be truly transparent, it was hard for me to find a good enough image to post for this article.

Lace Ring Wedding Decor (6) by The Papery Nook, $59

I Craft Gifts

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The title says it all…handcrafted gifts. While all sites are perfectly positioned for gift shopping, I Craft Gifts decided to just put it right there in the title. They offer some useful tools like holiday coupons and easy aggregate sale creation for sellers. 

Bubbles Ring by Likhomanova Jewellery Design, $82.82

(Please note: all items featured here are handmade or of limited quantity. Yahoo DIY realizes that after posting this article, items might sell and therefore become unavailable. Good luck and happy shopping!)

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