Monday, March 23, 2015

Artfire does a Regretsy, and movin' on up!

An advertisement on one of my ornament listings for a factory-made ornament
(note: this is something that was done by Artfire, not by me!)

(note on 4/27/15: Artfire added an ad-free option a week ago from all of the complaints from sellers about the ads. I took Artfire up on the offer to keep ads out of my shop, and I now feel okay about sending buyers there ... for now. I am still setting up my own e-commerce website, but at least I don't feel rushed, and can do it at my leisure. The rest of what I wrote, below, is the original post)

As many of you know (especially my loyal brick and mortar customers), I have been selling on Artfire for awhile now. The site was looking better than it ever has, it had gotten mobile friendly, and then, wham! Ads!

No, I did not want my listings for my handmade and fine art to be blasted with ads looking like an ad farm

And no, I will never put ads with handmade, fine art listings. And believe me, I could make this blog cluttered with ads too, and make good money doing so, but I have never taken that route because I don't believe it is respectful to my customers and it goes against everything small businesses and artists stand for. 

I liken the ads on my listings to this scenerio:

I shop for food primarily from local farms. I actually drive to a lot of farms. I love the drive to the farm where I buy my eggs for three dollars a carton, for instance. They are lovely eggs by the way, all different colors, by all kinds of different breeds of chickens, and some of them even duck eggs, and so much fresher and better tasting than stale grocery store eggs. This farm is a place I love to go to because of the lovely scenery, where I can meet and pet the chickens who produce my eggs, where I chit-chat with the owners and where I can walk around admiring the wildflowers, horses and cows. Sometimes I see herds of deer mingled in with the cows, or off in the distance. You can see at least a hundred miles into the distance on sunny days. Imagine one day I pulled up and there was a big billboard for "cheap eggs, only a dollar, at your local Walmart" stuck to the chicken shack, and many other billboards and signs blocking the scenery, making it confusing about whether I was buying their farm eggs or ones from a factory farm. Ick!

Well, that's how I feel about the ads on my listings.   

I had been planning to move to my own site in the autumn because I needed to offer wholesale and I couldn't do that on Artfire. I had to use it as a kind of e-mail service and explain everything, rather than have it spelled out in a listing (and imagine how much more confusing it is with these ads for wholesale buyers!). Anyway this has precipitated a need for a fast move, hopefully by next month. I spend my evenings copying listings when I am not trying to keep supplies of greeting cards and other art products stocked for brick and mortar shops in my area. So, I will let you know soon where I have moved to. Here are some other ads they plastered to my handmade ornament listing:


As for other movin' on up plans:

I am also busy creating listings for Fine Art America because most of my customers contact me for print sizes I don't have listed, to get a custom size/order. Having a shop on Fine Art America will make it so much easier for ALL of my customers to order a myriad of sizes on different mediums, even huge 40 inch canvas prints. There is so much I can't do in my own home-based printing business; I have had to farm a lot out. This will give everyone a chance to own any size they want, and on any medium from archival canvas prints, to archival fine art paper, to posters for a kid's room, and greeting cards, and other products. This is a shop I was focusing on launching until Artfire distracted me, and now it's almost like a race to see which site gets done first, my e-commerce store or the Fine Art America store. The stores will probably be done in close proximity to each other!

As for Etsy, I am not invested in running any kind of major store there for my handmade or fine art. If you want to know why, this article explains my views. In movin' on up, I am by-passing venues. Etsy is being relegated to tiny experiments for different kinds of themes. Right now I have focused on a handful of owl listings.

Other things I am working on:
I have some Easter listings to show you soon.
I am doing illustrations for a book (someone else is the author). That's all I can share now.
I will be offering a lot more Victorian designs on the new website, but still keeping most products focused on story-book art, Celtic designs and Renaissance inspired art. 

Just because I have been silent does not mean I haven't been working extremely hard!