I've been playing around with ArtFire this weekend. I listed two items (whoopee) and plan to list more. I plan to keep you posted on how it's working. Many of my friends are on Etsy and like it, some don't. I have not tried Etsy, not sure if I will yet.
ArtFire has the benefit of having a free basic set up without too many bells and whistles so I can dip my toe into the water without laying out any cash. I like the no-contract, month-to-month bit if I do decide to upgrade. Set up was extremely easy, although I still haven't found where to add my Twitter, Facebook and blog links... they don't have a problem with linking to your website, blogs, etc. per their documentation.
Another thing I liked about it, although I can't imagine ever getting to reap the rewards, is a program where you get 12 friends to sign up and you get your upgraded account for free. The catch is that they have to sign up immediately for the paying account (only around $12 a month, flat fee, no percentages of sales, etc. from what I saw when I glanced through details). If they convert later, like I will if it seems beneficial, then it doesn't count toward the 12... Almost everyone I know would probably start out with the free Basic account, then upgrade. However, I'm going to pop the link on here, on my sidebar and on my website, see what happens.
Either way, if I sell something fairly fast then I'll upgrade. If I don't, I'll probably wander over to Etsy. I'm not sure my work is a fit at either of the two, will just have to see. Maybe as I get a bigger following people will check to see if I'm there.
Mentioning Etsy reminded me of something else about ArtFire --- you can import all your listings from Etsy into ArtFire. To my way of thinking, why wouldn't someone on Etsy want to be on ArtFire also?
I can't give you traffic estimates, didn't check. I do know that I popped my first bowl out there and had three looks by the time I got around to checking the next morning. Haven't looked to see if I've had more.
So, on to the grand ArtFire experiment...
My preference is to stay strictly in galleries, not sure if by having my work on-line that I'm diluting my strength or improving it or if it's a wash.
I'm also considering hiring someone to represent me to new galleries. I know it's probably better to do the work myself as I'm passionate about it and can answer detailed questions, so will see. I guess if I paid someone they'd be passionate about selling it, too! In this economy any time I put the word "hire" or "job" in a statement someone inevitably wants to know if I'll consider them.
I'm appreciative that my work continues to sell, despite the economy! I am very appreciative of those who love my art, those who keep coming back to buy more for their homes, offices, and friends. It's such a wonderful craft.
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