In a previous post, I provided a list of venues for artists, artistans and artisan crafters. This week I’m profiling another of those sites on my blog.
I asked Chris from MadeItMyself to tell us a bit more about the venue.
What is the site name and where can artisan sellers find you?
Well obviously the site url is www.madeitmyself.com, but we have several different pages set up for groups and as social networks on ning.com and indiepublic.com. Once in a while you can catch our admins on live chat there and clear up any questions you may have.
We also have a flickr group called the madeitmyself photo album, where you can find works from our artisans on the site. Here are the links.
Tell us a little about your site’s history. What are its origins?
Madeitmyself was originally an idea set forth back in 2000, by, who is now, our current CEO. The idea was tinkered and toyed with in many different ways, but was not made an official business entity until 2006 when Oznola, L.L.C., MiM’s parent company, was formed.
Originally, the site was supposed to bridge the gap between other countries where handmade items that are sold for $0.50 there, are sold for $10.00 here. In short, we wanted to make a way to balance the economies in “poor” countries.
After many attempts and trials, our first public launch date was June, 05 2007. As you can see, we have conformed with today’s demand for online venues for the purpose of establishing a foundation for the site. There will be many changes to come in the future, however, that will set us far apart from the others.
Tell us about the site’s staff.
Madeitmyself.com is both operated and owned by only close family and friends. We try to run a fun and friendly environment that different generations can all enjoy. I personally stay active in our forums and external groups as often as I can spare it to take ideas and help our members. If I can’t, at least, check the site that day, I call for help from one of the other staff. I consider that to be a 24 hour job, and while we can’t always keep everyone happy… We do try non-stop.
My email (email@example.com) is made available to our members and future members for any reason. A lot of times people just want to tell me about their day or see how I’m doing, which is cool with me :).
What is your plan for the site? What are your goals?
Our plans and goals for the site are pretty straight forward… Do anything and everything to take the site to the top, while keeping our morals in tact. Many of the sites that started out as handmade only, and claim to be handmade only, are not. They’ve allowed resellers and mass production to run over the little guys’ businesses. I find it unfortunate that is what makes them so successful.
We consider MiM to be the little guy taking on the big guy, just as most of our members are on other websites. We’re still very young and we are privately funded. We don’t have millions of dollars at our disposal to instantly put up a program that will put everyone else to shame, and everyone that reads this will know who I am talking about.
Our promise to our patrons is: Someday MiM will be a successful international venue, as big as any of the others out there, but instead of simply taking our members money, we will give back to the site and the rest of the world.
MiM is meant to help a lot of people. I’m talking about Implementation of members ideas so they may further their business; Constant interactive admins and site support; Occasional free services, just because; International youth scholarship programs; Little league sponsorships; Buying our own user’s products and donating them to those that can use them for holidays and birthdays; Advertising on behalf of our members to boost sales; National MiM craft shows featuring our members; etc. etc.. The list does go on with our plans, but you get the idea for now :).
Who is your target seller audience?
Our target seller audience consists of artisans and hobbyists around the world. This doesn’t include resellers.
Who is your target buyer audience? How will you drive buyers to your venue?
Our target buyer audience is anyone and everyone. Since there is such a wide array of handmade products out there, there is, in turn, an equally wide array of buyers for those products. We just need to match them all up.
Our marketing plans are very extensive, but detailed plans is something I can’t discuss due to them being trade secrets. In fact, I may have already hinted at more than I should have lol.
In the most basic of words, without giving away too many details, we look to get our name out there by any means possible. Have you ever heard of a little site called eBay? Of course you have. We’d like Madeitmyself to be as much of a household name as they are. From there, we can have the luxury of worrying about who we’d like buying
on our site.
Is this an international, domestic US, Far East or European focused site?
As of right now, we are geared towards the domestic US, but we do plan on moving to a full blown international scale when we come out of our beta phase.
What differentiates this venue from other online selling venues? Why should artisan sellers consider utilizing this site as a resource instead of other, older sites or their own sites?
I think the biggest difference is our management team. We give more personal attention to our users and always try to see their side of things. We hold a higher moral standard than any of our competitors and I think that reflects on the site’s environment. People are always friendly in our forums and we always try to maintain a collective
positive attitude. I think most of our members would tell you the same thing.
But aside from that, one of the things we have implemented and will be fine tuning throughout beta, is the ability for our sellers to send electronic coupons to their buyers allowing for their own personal discounts and promotions any time they please.
And rather than featuring one person or none on the home page, we try to fit everyone in on a randomized schedule. Also, users have the option of showing their products on the home page for, typically, a small undetermined fee, but right now, everything is free.
Here’s a youtube link of one of the free services we do, and will continue to offer to our members:
We also have MadeIt(tm) magazine planned out for our members to showcase their products and themselves. You can find a link on our homepage to sign up for a free copy in advance. This won’t come for a while, but it’s definitely a perk to look forward to.
We are very young and we do have a lot of similarities with competitors. It will take some time for us to grow into our own before I can give more site
functionalities and services that do set us apart.
How have your structured your seller pricing?
Throughout our beta, everything is free. No listing, commission, or membership fees to deal with like our competitors…
When we do start charging, you’ll find that our fees are very minimal.
Listing fees per item:
$0.10 = 30 days
$0.15 = 60 days
$0.20 = 120 days
Commission fee is a flat rate of 3%.
We’re also going to be researching a way to implement a flat membership rate to allow unlimited listings and sales with no additional charges for the users that would prefer that option.
What else should we know?
One thing I did want to mention is our special “donation accounts”. Any certified, charitable, non-profit organization is welcome to apply for a donation account, which will allow users to donate money to their favorite organization. This is something that will continue to expand as the site grows and we can recruit more organizations. It is, and will remain, a free service simply to help the greater good.
Stay tuned over the next weeks as I will be profiling more artisan handmade selling venues with interviews from the site owners. You can find this site’s traffic rank according to Alexa here
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