Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Business of Crafting: Etsy vs. The Craft Fair

I've been taking this course on creative marketing organized by Laura Bray, and I'm currently reading Craft Inc. by Meg Mateo so I guess I've been giving the business side of crafting a lot of thought recently.

I'm married to an entrepreneur, I've had my own business before and I have a marketing/branding background- so although I don't have any immediate plans to sell crafts I naturally gravitate toward this line of thinking. All the lessons and reading have got me wondering how the traditional craft show stacks up to Etsy. Has Etsy taken numbers away from the fairs (not to mention the brick and mortar stores)? Do they have different target markets? Maybe they have a symbiotic relationship?

Oddly I can't find any information on this topic. Etsy is really great about giving user and sale stats so it's easy to see they are growing every month. What I can't find out about Etsy is- who's their market? You'd ask any craft fair you're thinking about spending time and money to display at, who is likely to walk through the door- if I were opening an Etsy shop I'd want to know who is likely to browse. Without that information I might be spending a lot of time listing items that aren't for the typical Etsy buyer.

And I haven't been able to pin down any information on traditional craft shows!

So who's buying on Etsy and what's the state of the craft show industry?

I'd be great to know if anyone has pulled together this information. Or maybe you've have a personal experience with one or both you'd want to share? Leave me a comment or send me an email I'd love to hear about your experiences and thoughts on the matter!

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