Friday, October 15, 2010

Debating an Artfire Store... Hmmm.

Before I went on vacation, there was a decent amount of buzz about the deal Artfire was offering for a pro membership.  If you haven't seen it, Artfire is pretty much a direct competitor to Etsy.  However, it's pretty new so it doesn't have the traffic and recognition that Etsy does. 

etsy vs. artfire artfire front page screenshot

The biggest benefit of Artfire?  It uses a monthly subscription fee, not fees to list or renew items, and no percentage of sales fees.  The deal that was running in September was $5.99 a month for a Pro membership (it's now $9.95/month).  Etsy's search function displays the most recently listed or renewed items first in the results, so sellers really have to constantly renew to get to the top of the searches (20 cents per renewal adds up fast).

It looks like Artfire also does a much better job of getting its shop listings at the top of Google Shopping results.  Considering my recent obsession with SEO, this totally appeals to me.  More views means more sales, which means happy me.  And I hear their seller support is amazing - they have people that actually answer phone calls, for heavens sake!

etsy vs. artfire Etsy front page screenshot

However, I LOVE the look of Etsy and I'm certainly not closing my shop there anytime soon.  I think it's clean and polished, while Artfire kinda seems like a cheap imitator.  Also, people have heard of Etsy, which counts for a lot.  At the Rocky Ripple Festival I had tons of people ask me if I have an Etsy shop.  The fees stink, no doubt about it, but with my pricing structure I can absorb some fees (and Etsy has to make money somehow).  It's just REALLY tempting to try out a cheaper option.

My sticking point is the time I'd have to devote to maintaining two shops.  Luckily Artfire has an importing tool that allows sellers to import all of their Etsy listings.  Evidently you do have to change up your titles and listings a little bit because Google Search will ignore duplicate listings, making both listings disappear from Google search results.

Brother PC-420 PRW Limited Edition Project Runway Sewing Machine
I'm leaning toward trying it out through the holidays.  My marketing budget is super tight, so the $30 I'm going to have to shell out really chips in to some of the things I've been planning on buying (like a pop-up tent for shows and and a stronger sewing machine- look, isn't this one pretty?).

Here are some good forum posts if you want some more opinions.

Generally, I think Artfire shops are getting the traffic, but not necessarily the sales.  Etsy is getting less traffic per shop, but more sales.  I think Artfire is at a turning point now - it could potentially grow quickly due to all the sellers who want to minimize fees, but if there aren't enough buyers, it's just going to fizzle.

Any opinions?  I go back and forth on this by the hour!  Artfire does have a free membership, but it doesn't include the Etsy importer - should I just retype all those listings to try Artfire for free?  Am I devoting too much brain power to this when I should be baking cookies or something?


  1. Came across your blog via oneprettything and your tray tutorial--loved it! I am in the process of starting a blog and an etsy store, so it's been helpful reading yours! Now I'm also questioning an artfire store. It does sound appealing, and it might be worth it to sign up and adjust listings for free, even just for a few popular items. Could you even copy and paste your etsy listings into a word document, adjust some of the key stuff for SEO, and then paste into artfire? I'm very new and not sure how it works, but there is a suggestion that might save you time. Then if it goes well on artfire and you see enough sales to make it worth it, you can upgrade. Just my two cents. :)

  2. Thanks for reading! That's a great idea about editing in word document... I'll definitely try it out. And I think you're right about using the free account to post a few things.

    Let me know when you get the blog and store up and running, I'd love to see them!

  3. Let me know how Artfire works for you if you decide to try it. I just love the way you take us step by step through starting a new business- it's very smart becuase we keep coming back here for resources, though you have your sh#* together way more than we do:)

    Also, LOVE the tray that you did; it's really nice. And I lied (but not intentionally!) about having the Creative Inc. book. We actually picked up the "Craft Inc. Business Planner" which I'm still crazy about- Hannah and I have been going through it and acutally trying to USE the workbook format:) I still want that other book though- it looks great.

    K. I'll stop talking (writing) now:) Happy Autumn!

  4. Emily, I love it when you comment because you always include an ego boost. :) I think you guys are doing great - it's got to be twice as hard to get everything up and running when you're working with someone else!

    I did sign up for the free Artfire account, but I haven't added anything yet. I'll for sure let you know how it goes.

    All right, I'm convinced, I want that business planner. I used to LOVE workbooks so I think I'll just bite the bullet and buy it.

  5. Thanks for reading! That's a great idea about editing in word document... I'll definitely try it out. And I think you're right about using the free account to post a few things.

    Let me know when you get the blog and store up and running, I'd love to see them!


Thanks for commenting - I love to hear from you!

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