If you read the etsy forums, which I like to do at least once a day, just in case there is some drama or actual advice, you will frequently see sellers advising others to 'not keep all your eggs in one basket'. Meaning, you should find other avenues for selling your craft, don't just rely on etsy as your main venue.
Well, we've retired from the craft show circuit and don't miss it one bit. The packing, driving, setting up, extreme boredom of sitting there all day, too cold or too hot weather, wind that threatens to carry your ez-up into the next state, having to use porta potties all day, then packing everything up and hauling it all back home again. They were fun for a while, but being able to sell from your home while in your pajamas (or even naked, for that matter) beats the heck out of ever doing another craft show.
So, where else to spread those eggs around? And how many baskets should I have them in?
There have been quite a few handmade sites popping up around the internet after the success of etsy, but which ones do you decide to give a try? I tried Lov.li.com last year, sold a few items, but the site just never seemed to go anywhere, and the programming errors never seemed to warrant fixing by the site administrators. When you see a site that has a lot of google ads, you know that the ads are the reason for the site, not the sellers and buyers.
Madeitmyself.com is a California site that has been in the works for a few years but is still in the start-up beta stage. It's free to list so far and if you have a question or problem, the forum administrator answers it as soon as possible. They've been doing some local TV news shows in an effort to get the word out, but the site doesn't have a whole lot of traffic yet. Since it doesn't cost me anything to list, I'm going to give this one at least 6 months to a year to see how it goes.
Same with icraft.com. I signed up this spring, and I get free listings for a year, so a year is what I'll try. The site is very professional and easy to use, and no bugs or errors that I've come across.
Shophandmade.com is another new site. It's a little confusing to use at first and has a weird fee system that is sponsored by some craft magazines. Not a lot of traffic yet, but they are advertising as a direct competitor of etsy, looking for sellers that are tired of being buried by the thousands of items listed on etsy every minute. I'm going to give that one at least 6 months, too.
Handmadefuzion.com is one that was started by an etsy seller as competition for etsy, but I think so far all they have are etsy sellers, no buyers. The appearance of the site is very start up looking with small pictures and the usual listing and selling fees. I have a few things listed there, but your listings show up in odd places, like way back on page 2 or 3 on a newly listed item. I don't see this site as going very far, it's just not that nice looking or special. Part of the draw for sellers is supposed to be the social side of the site with blogs and your page and all that stuff that to me is a waste of time. I didn't bother with that part of the site.
Then there is dawanda.com, a site based in Germany that's really starting to take off in Europe. There are some etsy sellers that are doing pretty well over there. I had started a shop on dawanda last year, but didn't see any action and really didn't have time for it, and ended up closing it. I'm giving it one more try with my geelizzieabroad shop there, and we'll see what happens. The only problem is that you have to list your things in 3 languages, but they don't want you to use an online translator and list in french or german unless you have some knowledge of the language. So, only the english speakers will see my products. It's free to list, though.
And, then there is lollishops.com, another site started by an etsy seller and dedicated to the frou frou girly cute stuff. This site is juried and has a social side to it, but is not open yet, so while I've been accepted, I have yet to see how it's going to work out and the fees are still undecided. I was on the social site but got tired of the constant emails and closed my page on there. I'm just not into the social let's all be friends check out my myspace page and my facebook page kind of stuff.
So, I'm on etsy, madeitmyself, icraft, dawanda, handmadefuzion, and shophandmade. And soon to be on lollishops. I've got baskets of eggs all over the place, and I have to be really careful that they don't all crack and then all I'll have is a big omelette.