View Full Version : Handmade at Amazon

12-07-2015, 05:28 AM
So, I got juried in, and now I am building my sales page. I know a few other AW artists who are trying this out. Would it be okay if we had a thread about what we've done and learned?

12-07-2015, 05:31 AM
Be sure to post a link to the pretties!

12-08-2015, 07:51 AM
I will. Not there yet.

12-08-2015, 06:38 PM
I want to see IWANTTOSEE...

12-08-2015, 06:57 PM
So what is this about being juried in? I feel like you are starting in the middle of a conversation.

12-08-2015, 09:13 PM
If I may speak for Filigree so her hands can continue her craft?

When a sales point has a jury, that means there's a committee which decides what's good enough to sell there and what isn't.

In my city, there are several festivals each summer where lots of stuff is for sale. Plenty of it is schlock that doesn't take any particular creativity or skill, just materials and time. The one juried festival has only pieces by artisans and artists, much higher levels of skill required, and correspondingly higher prices--except for the fried dough, a local staple of outdoor events.

Maryn, who hits the juried show most years

12-10-2015, 05:21 PM
That's about it, Maryn. With Amaz0n's new Handmade section, prospective artists and artisans have to submit a large portfolio first. Within 4 weeks, they're supposed to hear back, 'No', a request for more info or later resubmission, or an invitation to join. Jurors are really picky; I know several decent Etsy artists who assumed they'd get an invite, and were rejected instead.

In the art world as well as in publishing, gatekeepers are there for good reasons. It's why I don't mind jumping through entry hoops for respected art shows. And why I hate going on blog tours with authors I don't know first, from a wide mix of publishers...I never know the skill level of the other authors.

12-10-2015, 06:16 PM
Thanks. I was more asking about the Amazon process since I hadn't known about it. I'll have to look at amazon. I like handmade stuff.
And Filigree that's cool you got it.

12-10-2015, 06:48 PM
I understand Amazon has just opened this endeavor. Kind of moving into the territory once occupied mostly by Etsy.
Or something.

I'd like to know, too, if other AWers are getting their products into this new venue.

12-11-2015, 08:38 AM
A couple of years ago, Etsy screwed themselves by allowing 'manufacturing partnerships' whereby original artisans were allowed to work with overseas factories, as long as the artist did rigorous quality control and supervision. Wink, wink. That led to a predictable glut of low cost, low quality buy/sell goods masquerading as Etsy crafts. A lot of better artists left. Now Amazon is courting those artists, and those who were skeptical of Etsy in the first place.

We'll see what the fallout is from Amazon's attempt.

12-11-2015, 06:43 PM
I didn't know that about etsy. kind of defeats the purpose doesn't it? I hope you do well at amazon. I craft but am not a point where I can sell anything. Well I sold a hat - I made one as a gift and the woman's mother like it and asked me to make her one and offered to pay me. That was nice.

12-11-2015, 07:33 PM
Yeah, that's my experience at Etsy this season, seeking lockets for our daughters for Christmas. I look at one and think, Oh, that's nice. The description says it's hand-crafted by silversmiths. But further searches find identical lockets from several sellers. Hand-crafted where, China? Harrumph.

02-11-2016, 08:35 AM
Well, duh, I should post a link here in the thread where it was supposed to go.

My art (mosaics and beaded tapestry for now) on Handmade at Amazon.


First thoughts: when you first sign up and if you don't upload right away, they badger you almost daily with emails. It took them a month to give up in despair, but I was going slow and getting art back from galleries. They really want to you send them your art so you will be eligible for Amazon Prime sales and customers...but they don't tell you that they probably won't carry enough insurance to safely hold really expensive pieces in their warehouses, or that the Prime warehousing costs can be ridiculous for one-of-a-kind pieces.

As far as the artwork being 'handmade', I blogged recently (http://www.cranehanabooks.com/blog/2016/01/21/handmade-or-buysell/) about 'artisans' selling commercial components with very little actual skill or handwork involved.

Amazon's registering process is harder than uploading later. There are opaque tax structure issues I'm still sorting out. After August 2016, it looks like the per month fee will be around $40. I'll see if I sell enough for the fees to be worth it.

I actually like SaatchiArt's uploading process more, because it is incredibly thorough about shipping instructions, weight, dimensions, etc. I've been hearing horror stories about Amazon's tendency to underestimate shipping costs and making the artist eat the difference, so I've built in healthy overages to my cost.

But while SaatchiArt is free and on-paper eclectic about what can be displayed, in effect the only people actually selling on Saatchi are doing very specific types of contemporary art. I can fall into those styles comfortably, but right now I just don't have the room or storage space to do it.

So Amazon gets my smaller, easier-to-store-and-ship art for now.

I'll upload about 50 or 60 pieces in the next few weeks: mosaics, paintings, beaded tapestries, beaded jewelry, etc. to see what 'sticks', if anything. I'm waiting for another new sales platform to come online soon, so I'll blog about that when I'm ready.

For those of you using ArtFire, you may seriously reconsider. I've heard from several (former) ArtFire artists who say sales schedules got mixed up, resulting in double sales and angry customers. ArtFire also seems to be having some brain drain, but I can't confirm those rumors.

Let the Amazon EvilEmpireExperiment begin!

07-15-2016, 07:04 PM
Filigree how's it going?

07-15-2016, 07:15 PM
I like many stores on Etsy run by real artists or antique/vintage resellers, but I go directly to them. The search results are full of fraudulent and misrepresented materials, and when you report them they do nothing about it. A lot of it is mass imported material from developing nations presented as handmade work in America with a 5000% mark-up.

I am curios to see how HaA does, and look forward to seeing any stores by people I know. :)

07-16-2016, 12:45 AM
What alternatives are there besides Amazon and Etsy? again I goodgled it but wondered what people here think.

07-16-2016, 01:07 AM
There are a bunch of places that offer digital shopfronts (shopify, Facebook etc) but no-one is actually there buying anything.

AW Admin
07-16-2016, 01:23 AM
There's https://www.artfire.com/

I've never bought anything there, and I think I remember there were problems regarding vendors being overcharged or something?

07-16-2016, 07:35 AM
Artfire has been losing artisans for a while, because of poor coordination during sales with FB and other platforms, and other issues I still can't confirm.

Handmade at Amazon recently extended their 'free' listings until 2017, possibly because sales haven't materialized. There are a few original artists doing well enough to quit day jobs. A lot more 'fake' artists selling overseas charms and chains, with minor or no actual artist-made components. I know because I work for a company supplying the jewelry-manufacturing trade, and I can spot a SunWest or Nina Designs charm on about 25 different Handmade stores at once.

For myself, I haven't made a single sale off either Saatchi or Amazon. I'm waiting on another online marketplace to open, but I might have to settle for Etsy.

07-16-2016, 08:31 AM
I'm seems it's the way of things every where. I hope things improve for you.

07-16-2016, 05:41 PM
That's starting to be a bee in my bonnet. (Of course I wear a bonnet. Sassy will vouch for me.) I'll be cruising a site selling artisan jewelry and see a pendant I like. I'll favorite the item, and be sad when I see it's sold. Too late.

Except that if I scan enough pages, I often find the same thing from a dozen sellers whose artistry is threading a chain through the pendant's hanger. Even if I like the pendant, I refuse to buy once I know that's how it goes.

Maryn, who wants one-of-a-kind

Alessandra Kelley
07-16-2016, 05:52 PM
I like many stores on Etsy run by real artists or antique/vintage resellers, but I go directly to them. The search results are full of fraudulent and misrepresented materials, and when you report them they do nothing about it.

How do you find them to go to? Is there a list or something somewhere?

If there were some way to find the artists that wasn't drowned by the frauds I would be willing to go buy things there.

07-16-2016, 06:15 PM
Hmm..... I was thinking of reopening my shop on Etsy. It was abandoned due to RL issues.

But if Etsy has now got such a bad reputation I don't think I'll bother.

07-16-2016, 07:07 PM
It's not really a bad rep overall, just that you need to exercise caution at Etsy. I just spend a good bit of money there buying birthday gifts for Kid Two, who is soon to move and specifically said she doesn't want a lot more things she'll have to move. The burden of additional jewelry and small framed prints shouldn't be too onerous. Although I think I'm keeping the smaller print.

Maryn, selfish as usual

07-16-2016, 07:26 PM
Thanks Maryn.

07-17-2016, 12:50 AM
I've bought stuff off Etsy, and been very happy with it, especially the tiny marbles by a glassworker from the States, and a lovely shawl printed with giant wings. (And a felted-animal kit that made up, with the aid of an on-line video, into a delightfully realistic fox - I could have just bought the supplies someplace cheaper, and watched the video, but the artist trusted me, and I wouldn't cheat like that.)
I've also seen the 'several sellers with the same item' thing, and other sellers selling 'supplies', all presumably from the same manufacturer.
It is, I think, one of those 'buyer beware' things.

And I've seen stuff at juried shows that have made me go 'hmm?'. We have, in particular, one very nice big, juried, show here. I was browsing the ceramics and on one table, alongside some hand decorated, hand-built pieces, stuff with very generic decals on pretty basic shapes. No idea whether they were snuck in with the rest of the stuff, or the potter begged for permission to carry some less expensive stuff, or whether there was some exemption in the rules, but it cheapened the look of the booth, and by extension, made me look twice at the other booths.

But, it would never, in a million years, occur to me to look at Amazon for 'one of a kind' or 'artisan-made' stuff. Okay, I only buy books there, but on occasion I've looked at other stuff, and as far as I can see, Amazon is for mass-produced, buy-it-NOW, if-original-is-good,-knock-off-is-cheaper stuff. Sort of an on-line department store, with sources from around the world. The appeal is the range of goods, and the fast delivery, rather than 'unique and original' objects.

AW Admin
07-17-2016, 12:56 AM
I've found some lovely hand-made gifts on Etsy, particularly jewelry. A colleague is a very fine potter, with lovely hand-made wheel-thrown pottery for sale on Etsy.

07-17-2016, 05:21 AM
Etsy has some great original artisans. You just have to be cautious about sources. I've got no problem buying a mass market component, just not at huge markup.

Learn how to use Google image search, it can narrow down manufacturer sources. Rio Grande Jewelry Supply creates a lot of its own jewelry components. SunWest is a American manufacturer of silver charms. NinaDesigns is a California outfit designing charms and components that are then made in Thailand, Bali, India, or China. Many chains and clasps come from Italian or American wholesalers. ImpressArt makes its own steel stamps, as does The BeadSmith. If you're American and stroll through a hobby store...take note of the suppliers names. Some of them have retail options.

I'm wary of Etsy, but I'm willing to hold my nose and reboot my website there. If that's where the sales are...

12-24-2016, 07:29 PM
A year-end update: I've de-listed my items from Amazon Handmade. Why? No sales, no real support, ridiculously tricky uploading requirements, artist gets shafted on shipping unless they're vigilant, too many other artists offering bogus/deceptively listed goods, and Amazon's looming $40 a month selling fee.

It's not worth it, for me. Other artists and artisans might be able to make it work.

Ironically, the same week I canned my Amazon listings, I sold a painting on SaatchiArt. Saatchi has streamlined its upload process, too.