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Adam Pinson

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I need to set up a storefront for my turned creations, i don't really like Etsy, can't put my finger on why, just don't.... anyone have any ideas?
 

minilathe22

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I also want to sell the odd item I have made, without the hassle of setting up a big site. There are many options when it comes to ecommerce solutions, many are overkill for the occasional bowl for sale, Shopify and other "full"ecommerce solutions often have a monthly fee, which will most likely be more than my total sales!

I am planning to create a simple website from free templates, and then use the paypal buttons:

Smart Payment Buttons Overview - PayPal Developer

They can be attached to any website and make it very easy for people to pay securely with paypal or major credit cards. No monthly fee, only a percentage of the sale price on purchase. There is no "add to basket" though for more than one item.

I have tried selling things on Etsy, and did not get any interest. However it is alot easier to setup, no techincal knowledge needed.
 

Adam Pinson

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I also want to sell the odd item I have made, without the hassle of setting up a big site. There are many options when it comes to ecommerce solutions, many are overkill for the occasional bowl for sale, Shopify and other "full"ecommerce solutions often have a monthly fee, which will most likely be more than my total sales!

I am planning to create a simple website from free templates, and then use the paypal buttons:

Smart Payment Buttons Overview - PayPal Developer

They can be attached to any website and make it very easy for people to pay securely with paypal or major credit cards. No monthly fee, only a percentage of the sale price on purchase. There is no "add to basket" though for more than one item.

I have tried selling things on Etsy, and did not get any interest. However it is alot easier to setup, no techincal knowledge needed.
I've tried a website before but woithout throwing loads of cash at it promotion and reach are impossible, i'm going to keep looking for the ideal internet window.... cheers
 

Paul Hannaby

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Websites don't have to be expensive if you can do it yourself. Promotion is also something you can do yourself if you are prepared to put in the time.
 

Lonsdale73

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Have you considered facebook? I have to say I'm not a huge fan of fb but it does have its uses. For example, you can set up a page to showcase your turnings, encourage existing friends to show their support by liking and sharing said page. Something I shared was seen by over a quarter of a million people within the first day. It has been shared several thousand times since and last I looked it had been viewed by over 400,000 people. You could either offer occasional pieces straight from your page or use facebook's Marketplace to list it and share it on either person fb page or your business/hobby page.

I had my own website for a number of years but after a while the cost and time involved in keeping it fresh and up to date wasn't justified in terms of either the returns from it or even the number of visits to it which was dwarfed by the hits on my facebook page.
 

Ollie78

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I have been thinking about doing a website myself as people often ask me if I have one or are you on instagram/ facebook ? which I am not.
Something about facebook and instagram just unsettles me for some reason.
What has stopped me from doing a website is that I don`t want to do it badly as it is the face of the business as it were. I want it to look good but be simple to operate.
I share your Etsy concern, I think there is two different Etsy markets, a lot of poorly/quickly made bits of scaffold board sold cheap and some very nice work sold at the right price, it is important not to get stuck in the former market. I don`t mean to sound like a snob or whatever, but it is impossible to compete with hobby makers selling the odd thing or stuff made in 3rd world countries and still make a living.

I have been looking at stuff like squarespace and similar where they use a sort of template system you can start with and they do store functions too.
This might help


My other issue is having good photographs of my work but that is a whole topic in itself.

Ollie
 

Adam Pinson

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Have you considered facebook? I have to say I'm not a huge fan of fb but it does have its uses. For example, you can set up a page to showcase your turnings, encourage existing friends to show their support by liking and sharing said page. Something I shared was seen by over a quarter of a million people within the first day. It has been shared several thousand times since and last I looked it had been viewed by over 400,000 people. You could either offer occasional pieces straight from your page or use facebook's Marketplace to list it and share it on either person fb page or your business/hobby page.

I had my own website for a number of years but after a while the cost and time involved in keeping it fresh and up to date wasn't justified in terms of either the returns from it or even the number of visits to it which was dwarfed by the hits on my facebook page.
Hi, I'm no longer on Facebook, done my time there.... I quite like the rabbit hole of Pinterest though 😁
 

Adam Pinson

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I have been thinking about doing a website myself as people often ask me if I have one or are you on instagram/ facebook ? which I am not.
Something about facebook and instagram just unsettles me for some reason.
What has stopped me from doing a website is that I don`t want to do it badly as it is the face of the business as it were. I want it to look good but be simple to operate.
I share your Etsy concern, I think there is two different Etsy markets, a lot of poorly/quickly made bits of scaffold board sold cheap and some very nice work sold at the right price, it is important not to get stuck in the former market. I don`t mean to sound like a snob or whatever, but it is impossible to compete with hobby makers selling the odd thing or stuff made in 3rd world countries and still make a living.

I have been looking at stuff like squarespace and similar where they use a sort of template system you can start with and they do store functions too.
This might help


My other issue is having good photographs of my work but that is a whole topic in itself.

Ollie
Great advice Ollie, thanks, I am on Instagram and was there before Facecrack rudely hijacked it.... I think WIX looks quite nice and clean to work with so I'll investigate....the photo thing yes...! A real pain getting the perfect pik every time... A whole new learning curve !
 

akirk

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paypal can work with free cart software, or indeed commercial options...

of the various cloud offerings, wix is horrendous at a technical level, squarespace is one of the better ones...

when we talk to clients, we do quite a bit of thinking about cost benefits of doing a website etc. (I run a web company), either the cost is your time, or money... the flip side is increased income or increased exposure, or even simply the pleasure of having your work displayed online... if none of those happen, then you have maybe wasted your time / money... and knowing which you want as a result will help you understand the best solution...

etsy / etc. work well as focused marketplaces, providing your audience directly to you and avoiding any need to market etc. but the bigger the get the more they revert to being the same issues as you have a larger crowd against which you have to stand out... ultimately they key to making money will always be in how you build audience...
 

Adam Pinson

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paypal can work with free cart software, or indeed commercial options...

of the various cloud offerings, wix is horrendous at a technical level, squarespace is one of the better ones...

when we talk to clients, we do quite a bit of thinking about cost benefits of doing a website etc. (I run a web company), either the cost is your time, or money... the flip side is increased income or increased exposure, or even simply the pleasure of having your work displayed online... if none of those happen, then you have maybe wasted your time / money... and knowing which you want as a result will help you understand the best solution...

etsy / etc. work well as focused marketplaces, providing your audience directly to you and avoiding any need to market etc. but the bigger the get the more they revert to being the same issues as you have a larger crowd against which you have to stand out... ultimately they key to making money will always be in how you build audience...
Thanks Akirk for the info, i'm boycottoting squarespace at the moment so that's that.... I think it's just the massive sea of competition of Etsy that puts me off a little but I like the high volume of traffic offered by the platform so i'm still on the fence.... my quest goes on...............
 

NewbieRaf

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Although there are cheaper providers but I recommend bluehost and a simple Wordpress website. You can get Wordpress plugins that will allow you to sell stuff but there maybe a small cost for that. I’m not a website designer/dev but happy to help if you want to pm me
 

Nelly111s

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For a cheap solution, Cubecart is free. Templates for the front end of the store. Can use PayPal and other payment gateways. You can get free web space, which although limited, will allow you to install and run Cubecart.
 

Sad Pangolin

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I'm a reader here not a poster, and I am a webdesigner. I'm quite niche and my clients don't want to sell stuff; so I'm giving my perspective --- my business is not connected to this account at all, and if I wanted the cash of you members I'd write a very different post. So I give you a modified version of my standard rant.

So. I often get sites that are written in Weebly or Wix, because it's "simple": You have very few choices in styling/layout (=quick, but super generic looking), they take care of hosting and domain name etc, and what's used/wanted (the digital equivalent of a brochure -- some info, some illustrations, nice styling) is a fraction of what is offered (a database, webshop with all kinds of security for transactions, contact forms, messages, ... ). And once cast in that form you cannot shop around for better/cheaper hosting deals since only they host their proprietary solution; you stick with their tariffs/increases. Not what my clients need, and I'd think you (OP and others weighing in) either.

I agree with @Adam Pinson's idea that maintaining your own site and building out reach is a massive costly hassle. But. I think the sensible approach is: An instagram account for showcasing and engaging with the public, and if needed a separate simple one-page template website for some facts/ business contact/ paypal buttons. The idea is that Instagram is doing all the work for you (for free): It brings people to your digital doorstep (you just must choose wording), and gives all the communications tools. Look at other (non-woodworking) artisans and see how they do it --- but look at those with small followings; large ones have developed a specific public and persona they are playing to (an avuncular rarely-responding positive guy, a passionate responder veering off-topic getting in hot water, an acerbic wit, ... ) and will push away a large fraction of the casual passers-by; imagine what would work for you longer-term (I like black humour, but longer term it's draining)... be yourself, but be a part of yourself. Be prepared for harsh critique and 'jokers' that just ruin everything, it's not personal; mental health is important. Interestingly it's a separate public from Facebook and Youtube and Etsy; what's old hat in one space can be relatively unusual in the other. Plan ahead where limits are (e.g. show identifying parts of your house? family/partner/children?) and don't change those. If you see images with you pet have a better response/engagement, and people ask for them then don't show one "here you go"; but casually/accidentally do it, to keep it on your terms.

Pinterest will find you --- or: others will show off your work, I still don't get their mechanics/mindset but they do --- don't bother with that.

If selling, have a careful look at conditions (e.g., a "client" with stolen bank card and fictional or non-personal address: How likely? How am I financially liable? Can I afford to lose the piece? What are the guarantees?). Bypass the whole selling website by agreeing on a price and putting it on eBay for that fixed price; or check via Parcelmonkey (where prices vary each day, sometimes wildly, as they are re-selling spare capacity at actual delivery services), to get "standard" delivery (-insurance).

Don't duplicate your efforts in having showcases on both sites, like a blog enthousiastically started then neglected after a few weeks/months then left as a zombie for years. You want something timeless... Any site someone can sign in to is constantly probed for breaking in and using as spam relay: So don't let them, get a 'static' website, no database and CMS to keep updating. So look for maybe a Bootstrap-based 'one page template': Ones I've made in 2015 still look fresh. Put put some background (photos of (you in) your shop, some story of your 'journey', your cat/dog in the house purely coincidentally next to a piece). Because what you're selling is not so much the bowl but the ideas and craftmanship behind the bowl, and imagining it in their own domestic setting makes the difference. Take a nice photo, make a 5-colour palette based on that (free websites enough, upload photo & move points around) or get a randomly-generated one (there's comments what you need: your base ID colour, a light & dark accent, a light & dark background).

For your insta-portfolio, plan ahead a somewhat steady rate: If you make 10 items per year, plan posting one every 5-6weeks and before starting prepare a set 5-8 ahead (so no interruption if you're sick/ helping kid move out/ projects screwed up/ overwork at day job/ ... ). To funnel clients to your (side)business, it's enough to have geographical indications to find local clients for large pieces (or are you posting workbenches?), for others it doesn't matter much where you are.

No problem re-visiting the same items later once you're better at photographing or have found your niche (e.g., how-to's on technical, or why's on designing, or vaguely-related ruminations, or puns).

And product photography is a real skill, ideally you have such a mate you can pay in little boxes for Xmas prezzies, who can do it and show how they do it (difficult/skilled to do first time but easy to replicate as you're in the same space using same materials; camera less important than the lights etc, it's not for a wall-sized poster but for a website). Second best is reading a few tutorials/ youtube how-tos/ ... : It's a skill, but it's not magic, it's really doable.

So: Get on instagram, don't overthink it, prepare a set/series ahead, don't get carried away. People sold stuff before websites, if they really want that bowl you'll find a way. I'm in a different country from my relatives, I've re-posted or otherwise helped on its way various items where dealers or websites would limit cross-border sales (mainly marine hardware). "Oh you work near Kendal, my mate passes there monthly; can you meet up Friday 10days from now? Sure!" and it's cash-in-hand over a pint.

Well, then there's lockdown of course.
 

thetyreman

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I can recommend zen internet, they do some good deals for small businesses, it was as cheap as £4.99 per month last time I checked, you have pay separately for the domain name though but support is really good, if you want a wordpress style site I'd recommend going for them.
 

Ollie78

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Sad Pangolin. Thanks, that is all very useful information.
I will probably have to go on instagram in the end. When people see me working, or stuff I made they always say oh "do you have instagram" or you should have an instagram.
I was under the impression that instagram was a sort of thing where you have to constantly put new things on there all the time, I have never been on it. I need more of a portfolio type thing where people can see what I have made. I will have to have a look.
Any site someone can sign in to is constantly probed for breaking in and using as spam relay: So don't let them, get a 'static' website, no database and CMS to keep updating. So look for maybe a Bootstrap-based 'one page template': Ones I've made in 2015 still look fresh.
This static website idea sounds like a good way, for me at least.

As for the photography problem, it is not that I can`t take good photos, my brother has helped me with lights etc. But that historically I have not really thought about doing so. Most of my best work has just quick phone photos or none at all, as I was not thinking ahead at the time, from now on I will do better pics.

Thanks

Ollie
 
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