Sunday, February 10, 2013

Why *You* Should Choose The CraftStar

Why *You* Should Choose The CraftStar

By: John Tozzi (former Etsy seller)

For those of you who sell online (or want to), there are already an abundance of sites out there for handmade artists to join and set up their shops.  We are going to show you why, of all the sites that are out there, you should choose The CraftStar to help launch your business (or, in some cases, to relocate your business).

1. It’s a growing site.  Not only is The CraftStar a growing site, it is currently the fastest growing handmade site on the internet.  Wouldn’t it be great to get in on the ground floor of a rapidly growing company?

2. It doesn’t pretend to be social, it IS social, and then some!  Etsy used to have chat rooms, but removed them in July 2011.  Artfire only has chat rooms in their team areas.  Zibbet has a chatroom, but it’s rarely used.  Even when the Zibbet chat room is being used, it cannot do what The CraftStar’s chat room can do.  In The CraftStar chat room, you can actually post photos of items from your shop, and it links instantly to your item.  Etsy used to have that feature, and many people made sales from the chat room.  It was a great way to promote.  In fact, the return of the chat room is one of the most asked for features on Etsy.  The CraftStar has it, and it’s a fun and wonderful place to hang out, ask questions, and share items for sale.

3. Live educational “hangouts” - The CraftStar has a LiveStream account.  Through LiveStream, The CraftStar does live educational programming.  In the past, these programs have included product photography critiques from a professional photographer, tips on how to title and tag your work for better SEO results, how to tell real stones from fake stones (a huge issue for stones like turquoise).  These programs are designed to help you better run your business.  Etsy used to have a “Virtual Lab” but discontinued it.  Other sites never even tried it.  These live programs not only provide a wealth of information, they help sellers get to know each other in a relaxed, friendly environment.

4. Live, real-time selling - This is one of those features that ***really*** sets The CraftStar apart from other sites.  The Livestream aspect, which, as we just discussed, is used for educational programs, is also used for live selling events.  That turns The CraftStar into an internet version of a shopping channel.  Think about it.  YOU, yes YOU, could be presenting your products live to potential customers.  These events are ***very*** popular, and many of them make sales from it.  It is a most unique feature, and one that none of the other sites have anything close to.

5. The programmers have built in some of the SEO - for those of you who do not know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.  That is a fancy way of saying “the thing that helps you get placed higher in Google searches”.  Much of the SEO work is up to the individual (which we also teach in hangouts), but the programmers have helped build some into the programming as well.  The CraftStar listings for some sellers are turning up on page 1 of Google searches.  Who wouldn’t want in on that??

6. Accessibility to staff - on some other sites, you try to contact Admin and it can take forever to hear back.  In the case of one site, Admin once stated that you could receive a response in anywhere from “5 minutes to 5 years”.  Do you consider that acceptable customer service?  On The CraftStar, you not only get prompt responses, you also have regular access to multiple administrative staff through email or, even better, in the chatroom or the Livestream events.  Admin are always around.

7. Celebrity Gift Bags - some people are not into this concept, but some are.  There are multiple companies out there that do celebrity gift bags.  However, in many of those cases you have to a) pay a fee just to be included and b) include 100 items.  That is a costly endeavor for a small business.  Not only that, how do you know that the people who will be getting the bags are even in your target market?  Or worse, how do you know they will keep the bag, rather than give it to a staff member?  You don’t!  With The CraftStar celebrity gift baskets, there is no fee to take part.  Not only that, but these are done one at a time.  You only need to submit one piece, not 100.  In each case, you know exactly who the person is in advance.  These gift bag recipients receive the gift bag in their own homes.  It is a private affair.  Bethan of The CraftStar sits down with the celebrity and goes through the items one by one, helping to promote the artists along the way.  It is a much better set up than any of the big name companies can offer.

8. Celebrity endorsements - as a result of some recent gift bags, The CraftStar has gained some celebrity endorsements.  One of the first gift bags done through The CraftStar was to Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Adrienne Maloof.  Adrienne became so impressed with the quality of work she was given that she now helps promote The CraftStar regularly (and we at The CraftStar thank you and love you for that, Adrienne!).  And there are more coming (we just can’t mention them quite yet.)

9. Custom work opportunities - are you the type who does custom orders for people? Some sites make it very difficult for you to connect with the right artisan to handle your special request. They keep that area way in the back of the site, or make you sift through numerous teams to find what you need.  Coming soon, The CraftStar will have a custom order area front and center.  It will make it easy for anyone needing a custom job to find the right artisan.  More importantly, it will make it easier for artisans to get the sales from the custom work.  Win/win people!!!!

10. Like to trade? - Some sellers still believe in that time honored tradition of trading one skill for another.  This goes back to pioneer days, when someone might trade some eggs from their farm for some wheat from your farm.  Everyone shares their skills, and everyone gets something in return.  Well, for those of you who would like an item, but can’t afford it, and are willing to trade, we have just the place for you.  The Trading Post is coming to The CraftStar.  Need a knit cap for your sister’s birthday, but don’t have the money?  Well, that knit cap seller might need a pair of earrings for Mother’s Day.  So, rather than go through two separate financial transactions (that just send the money from one to the other and back again), you can arrange to trade goods, your hat for her earrings. It’s a great way to get something you need, and help  promote your own shop at the same time!

11. Facebook presence - Do you like Facebook?  Check out the Facebook pages for all the other handmade sites, then checkout The CraftStar’s Facebook page.  Notice that the activity on The CraftStar’s Facebook page far far outweighs the activity on any of the other sites’ pages.  The CraftStar community is a social, vibrant, energetic community.  That is part of why it is the fastest growing handmade site on the internet.

So, after reading all this, the only question left to ask yourself is “What are you waiting for?”

See YOU at The CraftStar!!!!

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