Tech-Savvy Crafters Can Go Global
The image of a crafter or artisan is often serene, even
pastoral. It's easy to imagine a potter spinning his wheel in his
barn-turned-studio and then selling his wares at the little
farmer's market down the road. Or a knitter, knitting quietly
with a dog at her feet and a cup of tea as she gets ready for
this year's Christmas craft fair.
But, in today's global market, such crafters, artisans,
artists and designers need not rely on farmer's markets and craft
fairs alone. The Internet provides such crafters with access to a
global market, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, traditional
methods of selling just can't compare in terms of sales and
An online presence can be a great benefit for any type of
crafter, be it a jewelry maker, a knitter, a glassblower, a
potter or a painter. It gives crafters credibility as a
legitimate business because now their customers can easily access
their information, including contact details (in fact, customers
may consider you less credible if you don't have a website).
Crafters can advertise their domain name on their flyers,
business cards and signs, and potential customers will
automatically go to their website to find out more about them and
their products. Crafters can have a complete, updateable
inventory of their products with photos on their website, making
it easy for a buyer to simply click and order.
A presence on the Internet is essentially like having a store
opens every day, all year long - no waiting between those craft
fairs or local tourist season. And their customer base grows
automatically from a limited local market to a worldwide one.
Considering all these benefits and the knowledge that if
you're not online, your competitor will be - having an online
presence isn't so much a question of "Should I?", but "How do
I?". But the thought of managing a website, especially one that
offers online ordering, can seem daunting for many small
Crafters can hire a website designer to create an online
presence with ecommerce capabilities for them. There are often
high costs associated with the design and management of websites,
of course. There are also concerns about things like security and
payment, which must be handled appropriately in this day and age
of identify theft. Another option is to join an online crafters'
mall. A good crafters' mall will make things easy for crafters,
as it will have created the basic infrastructure already and they
won't have to worry about the logistics of maintaining the
website; they will only have to update their personal information
and fill the orders that start coming in.
Catherine Stabler is owner of the virtual craft mall Gold Leaf
which brings together crafters, artists, artisans and designers
with interested buyers worldwide via the Internet.
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