Monday, May 18, 2015

Shopping & Selling on - 3 Reasons why it works for me

As someone who's been selling handmade, hand stamped jewelry for several years (in fact, we just passed 21,000 sales on Etsy!), I am always looking for new sites on which to sell my products.  When I started hand stamping a few years ago, I immediately branched out into 3 other venues (ArtFire, Zibbet, and 1000Markets), and while I had some success on those sites, they either ultimately failed as venues (1000Markets was sold to Bonanza) or turned out to be too much work for not enough profit (ArtFire, Zibbet). As a result, I began to pull all my resources back in and focus just on Etsy and decided that I would be *very* picky about the next routes I took to expand.

And I was.

Anyone who either buys or sells handmade knows that the online marketplace is an ever-changing landscape where new technologies such as smart phones and tablets and photograph apps like Pinterest and Instagram are constantly stretching the notion of what it means to sell handmade online. It can, quite frankly, be exhausting to keep up!

In the last couple of years, I decided to take some new strategic steps to grow my business. My initial goal was to sell on venues that weren't just trying to be Etsy clones. Another was building my own web store and lastly, accepting an invitation to sell on

And it was the right decision!

Hatch has a few features that make it a palatable marketplace for someone like me and my little business. I thought I'd share a few.

1.  First and foremost, it's a juried site that features only handmade products.  Hatch invites sellers in and accepts applications here.  Here's what they're looking for:

"We seek out makers who take pride in their creations and want customers to feel proud owning them. Every item on Hatch is made by people who are creators, designers, artists, and makers first; sellers second. Craftsmanship trumps the bottom line. Process is just as important as the end result. We are looking for young creative businesses who are looking to grow. They may be a one-person operation now, but their aspirations run larger. Hatch can help you get there."

In my couple of years on Hatch, I've never once seen a seller or an item that didn't belong in the handmade marketplace. That's a tall order to fill and yet, they've done it.  Hatch also screens every listing that submitted to make sure it meets their standards, has good photos, etc.

There are approximately 1000 sellers on Hatch and Anastasia Leng, Hatch CEO, puts their philosophy this way:

"One key difference is that Hatch is highly curated. We reject 90% of seller applications that are coming in these days, and we value working with the best makers & designers who take great pride in what they do. Our vision is to become the place to discover the best designers and makers out there, a place with a consistent level of product quality, a place where every maker is proud to be showcased next to the other makers in our community."

2. Hatch offers a structured selling experience that's uncomplicated and values the personal relationships makers form with shoppers.  If you're like me, you've probably given a few sites a try and found out in short order that you have to learn a whole new category structure, listing process, and SEO (search-engine optimization) strategy just to get your products out there.  Hatch is different. The listing process is simple and obvious. I don't have to stress about things like, "How will a customer know where/when to provide their personalization?" or "Did I post my production time in 17 places so hopefully a customer will see it?"

In fact, my favorite part of selling/listing on Hatch is the way they handle variations. For instance, look at this listing of a wrapped bracelet in my shop on Hatch.  See those little red dots? They identify exactly what info the customer needs to provide for me in a way that is easier on me and on my customer!  My business is about the tiny details, and nothing makes me happier than being able to clearly communicate that!

Also, you can list a product in up to 5 categories (!!!) and the tagging process allows you to choose from selected tags for your materials, style, theme, and who the item is best suited for.

I've been very pleased with the customer service at Hatch as well. Anytime I have emailed support with questions, concerns, or suggestions, I am always responded to in no more than 24 hours and a few of my suggestions have even been incorporated into the site.

3. Customers are able to shop personalized items of every sort in an easy, fun, and systematic way:

When you're used to wading through gobs of search results on other sites to find the exact item you need, Hatch's fun way of shopping is very refreshing!  I shop for myself on Hatch, and I like how much calmer it feels, and how I don't have to wade through pages and pages of mis-tagged products to find what I'm looking for. It's a lot less work! A few weeks ago, I bought myself this ring on Hatch:

I was looking for something simple and inspirational to add to the ever growing ring collection I wear (none of which I myself actually made, lol).  Every ring has a certain significance to me, and buying this little, dainty archway was fun and rewarding.  The customization process was simple, logical, and human.

It's important to me to support small businesses when I shop, and I appreciate that Hatch makes that easy, fun, and apparent. When you find yourself overwhelmed either buying or selling on Etsy, take a little time to visit Hatch and see what you think. Already visited? Let me know what you think in the comments! You can visit Risky Beads on Hatch here.

More soon ~ Lori

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