on fire

I set up an ArtFire account, you can see the large banner on my side bar. The link on that banner goes to my shop, where I've got everything 10% off for the month to celebrate my shop opening.

ArtFire is still in beta, I'm an early adopter though not too early. I was a fairly early adopter of Etsy too, that was still in beta when I started there as well.  Like the other there are a few quirks that will get ironed out as time goes on, but so far I like it.

I don't plan on giving up my etsy shop, I've got 200+ sales there and usually do well with it. The fees on etsy are still by far cheaper than they are on eBay and I like the no auction format. It's steady. It's safe.

ArtFire is as of yet untested waters I've made 4 sales there so far. Which isnt' bad for a week or so of being there, but when I started on etsy I had an inital boom of sales then things tapered off.

What I like about ArtFire is their democratic RANDOM ordering of items on the front page you can see the most recent items, the oldest items or random items. Which is really cool. But it can be chaotic and less attractive than perhaps possible. The search function WORKS, and works well. Also the items show up in google. ROCK ON!

It's takes me less than 5 minutes to list an item on ArtFire, multi loading pics goes fast on my cable internet. The one trouble I've run into is that I have to write all new descriptions of my product. they use Google base so that the items show up in Google and some weird words are blocked from the descriptions. I had to read the forums to learn more about it, but really I need to learn to work with it. The ability to show up in google's search listing is something I've relied on my blog and facebook for in the past. So to have my work show up automatically, can in theory, really drive views and sales.

The shops can be greatly customized to really personalize it. I've seen some really great looking shops.

I'm debating a paid account. If I buy one soon I'll be locked in at their introductory rate of $12. Which would be great. But to equal the percentage of fees that I get with etsy I'd have to sell a minimum of $200 in product a month. (A rough estimate gave me a fee % of 6% for etsy- factoring in listing fee and 3.5% final value fee.) For my lower priced items thats 20 to 25 sales a month. Lately my sales have been much lower.

Another great thing is that you can use google cart for check out too. Which really can open the shop up for a whole new set of shoppers. Also because you can ad HTML you can ad widgits, which means you can put your etsy site on artfire. That seems very much in the spirit of DIY but rather counter intuitive for a business. But then crafty handmade stuff has never made sense from a standard business model…

I'm not totally head over heals in love yet, but so far I'm liking what I see and love the ease of use and searchability of the site.