Since the introduction of Etsy’s new guidelines and the newly defined “handmade,” some of us in the creative community (me, me, me) have
wasted spent our time exposing Etsy deception. In the meantime, while I have been relentlessly spewing venom and floundering about with where to take my handmade business, others in the handmade community have taken a more positive, proactive (yes, level-headed) approach.
One such group is TAFA (Textile and Fiber Art) whose TAFA List includes over 500 handmade textile and fiber artists from across the globe. TAFA is led by Rachel Biel, the group’s founder. (If you want to be reminded of what handmade is all about, visit the TAFA Market. The work of these artists is amaaaa…Zing!) Over half of the TAFA members have an Etsy shop, many voicing concerns over Etsy’s new direction. While some of these members intend to remain on Etsy, others intend to create a standalone site, and still others are taking a “wait and see” approach.
Rachel, in a proactive move to give the group a cohesive marketing platform, has created a phenomenal online market for TAFA shops through the use of MerchPin. The beauty of MerchPin is it allows the user to create a self-hosted storefront, while the back end work is done through an online marketplace like Etsy* (or others), making it convenient to incorporate multi-store products into one catalog. Rachel has done an excellent job of explaining how this works.
Rachel’s extensive work on behalf of TAFA provides a beautiful example of how the melding of creative minds toward one endeavor can change the handmade market for the better. Many thanks to Rachel for being in the forefront of this movement. Hopefully other groups will follow her lead in creating viable sales and marketing options for the independent handmade business owner.
*This is absolutely NOT an endorsement for Etsy. In case you wondered.