ArtFire is a pretty popular marketplace for crafty types — very similar to Etsy. If you make and sell any type of craft, such as jewelry, clothing or other hand-sewn items, fine art, or even paper crafts, ArtFire may be a good place list your stuff for sale. And ArtFire is not just for crafts. You can also sell vintage items as well as crafting/indie supplies on ArtFire.
Etsy does appear to be more popular than ArtFire, but it seems pretty clear to me that ArtFire gets it’s fair share of traffic, and they claim to put a lot of effort into promotion. If you are already using Etsy and would like to “branch out” and get your stuff in front of more people, ArtFire might be a good choice.
How Selling Works
This page on the ArtFire website explains in detail how selling works. But basically you set up your own custom store and list your merchandise. There is a fee for your store — it’s $12.95 per month if you have a basic account. But unlike Etsy and other sites, they don’t charge any fees at all when you sell something. The $12.95 per month for your store is all you pay to keep it active. Also, you get unlimited listings for that price and if you aren’t satisfied with how things are going, they will happily refund you your first month’s payment. That’s good because you could try it out knowing that if it wasn’t going too well, you could get your initial investment back. There is also a Pro Seller account that you can get for $20 a month. It gives you a lot more features, but the basic account would probably do just fine if you only want to try out ArtFire.
Customizing Your ArtFire Store
Your ArtFire store will come with it’s own web address, making it really easy for you to share your store link with anyone you choose or anywhere on the web. I can’t really get in there to see exactly what you can do to customize your store since I don’t have one myself, but from the looks of the stores I’m browsing, they all look really nice. Everything is so easy to find and your seller rating is right there in the upper corner in a neat little box with your store profile pic, location, sharing buttons, and number of items sold. I know Etsy has all of that too, but I honestly prefer the ArtFire store setup as a buyer. Everything is more organized and easier to find.
ArtFire also has a huge community you can participate in. There are forums, a blog, and also something called “Guilds” for sellers. You can join an existing Guild or start your own if you want to be part of a group of people on ArtFire. Guilds are based around all kinds of different things — people in certain geographic areas, people who sell certain types of items, or people who just have similar interests. If you are a social person and enjoy being part of a group, this might be a great way to meet up with like-minded people and maybe learn from them and share your own knowlege. You do have to be an ArtFire seller in order to join or create a Guild.
I’ve been doing some browsing online about ArtFire, trying to get some feedback from people who actually use it and some old information indicates that at one point they used to have an option for a free store! Too bad they don’t have that now. But if you’re using a site like Etsy and sell so much that the .20 cent fee per listing is starting to add up on you, you might find the flat fee worth the money. If you don’t sell that much, I don’t know that it would be. But the $12.95 is thankfully risk-free since they’ll refund it if you discover that it’s not working out.
Anyway, here are some good feedback sources:
- Probably the best source of current feedback I’ve found so far is here at eCommerce Bytes. ArtFire earned 9th place in their annual Seller’s Choice Awards, and there is a ton of info there with not only info about ArtFire, but also user feedback.
- A post on Divine Caroline compares Etsy & ArtFire. Note that this review may be kind of old because it states that ArtFire is still in beta, and I’m not seeing that on the ArtFire page as of now. ArtFire was started in 2008, so I would guess this was written maybe a year or two after that.
- An insightful thread posted on Etsy where people are talking about ArtFire vs. Etsy. Most seem to be in favor of Etsy, although many agree that Etsy has extremely slow customer service whereas if you have a problem at ArtFire, they get back in touch with you quickly. There are also people posting who have used both and claim they still sell more on Etsy.
- Another post on Etsy about ArtFire. It seems like in my search for good, current information I’m finding more about ArtFire on the Etsy forums than anywhere else. There are more people here saying that ArtFire doesn’t get enough traffic and they don’t get too many sales because of that, but keep in mind this particular thread is dated 2011. It’s safe to say ArtFire’s traffic has probably increased since then.
Want to Get Started?
You can go here to read more about setting up a seller account on ArtFire. Please comment below if you have ever used ArtFire and what your experience there was.
Interested in more places to sell your crafts and handmade items online? Check out my list of sites you can use.