Where to sell handmade: Site profile for Coriandr

In a previous post, I provided a list of venues for artists, artisans and artisan crafters.

This week I’m profiling another of those sites. I asked Mathew, from Coriandr, to tell us a bit more about the venue.

What is the site name and where can artisan sellers find you?
The site is called Coriandr. You can find us in a few places:
Also, I’ve recently become a twitterer so feel free to say hi! http://twitter.com/matw

Tell us a little about your site’s history. What are its origins?
What seems like a long, long time ago, I was trying to find a place to sell a range of vinyl toys I had started designing. I couldn’t find anywhere to sell them except eBay, and the idea of trying to sell something creative and handmade amongst all those second-hand electrical goods left me completely cold!
Originally, Coriandr was going to be a marketplace solely for vinyl toys, but the more time I spent developing it the more sense it made to open it up to anything handmade. It took roughly a year to build the site and get everything ready, and has been entirely self-funded to date. It’s probably the biggest thing I’ve done, so I’m incredibly excited and a little terrified all at once!

Tell us about the site’s staff.
At the moment Coriandr is just me (Mathew). I used to be a character artist for computer games so I love illustration, vinyl toys, paper art and sculpture; anything that has some character to it and a sense of fun. I’d love to say I spend most of my time drawing or coming up with paper monsters (http://www.coriandr.com/free_stuff) for Coriandr, but I actually spend most of my time programming these days. Not that I don’t enjoy that side of things too, but I have to admit that I’m more than a little sad my HB pencil is starting to get dusty!

What is your plan for the site? What are your goals?
From the start the plan has been to give crafters an easy-to-use, accessible way to sell their handmade creations to rest of the world, and build a great community in the process. I love creating and admiring other people creativity, so I can’t imagine that plan ever changing.

As for goals; the handmade movement has been enjoying a rebirth over the last few years, which is fantastic, but I think that handmade marketplaces such as Coriandr are still further from the forefront of most shopper’s minds than they deserve to be. I talk to so many people who haven’t heard of any of the handmade marketplaces, but can’t stop raving about how great buying handmade is once they see them! That’s why Coriandr’s main goal this year is to convert everyone to buying handmade and most importantly, convert people who aren’t already connected to the crafting scene.

Also, towards the middle of this year we will be launching a more community-focused craft project which will be entirely separate from Coriandr. It’s main focus will be sharing information and ideas, and basically inspiring each other, but there are some significant (and fun) additions that should make it a really great site to use!

Who is your target seller audience?
Anyone who likes what we’re doing, can make something beautiful, owns a camera, and can access the internet! There is definitely a female bias in the crafting world, but I didn’t want to build a “seller profile” then aim Coriandr at that profile in the traditional marketing sense. I think the most important thing to do is to build a good service and a develop a strong relationship with a community; the sellers you end up with as a result are your target audience!

Who is your target buyer audience?How will you drive buyers to your venue?
Everyone! It sounds a little cheesy I know, but I really think that everyone can find something in a site like Coriandr. I’m a big believer in inbound marketing; attracting buyers (and sellers) by blogging, getting involved in the larger crafting community, and utilising the ever-popular social media sites (Digg, Technorati, etc). Doing things this way means that momentum builds more slowly compared to traditional advertising / marketing methods, but it builds a stronger community and most importantly is much more productive in the long-run.

Is this an international, domestic US, Far East or European focused site?
Coriandr is an international site, but English language only. There are plans to open things up across different languages, but that’s more of a long term aim due to the tremendous customer support issues that would create.

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?
For buyers we’ve got an secure, quick checkout process, and what is probably the most flexible item search of any handmade marketplace. Most marketplaces only let you browse categories or search for keywords within a chosen category. With Coriandr you can search price bands, shipping destinations, seller locations, keywords and payment methods at the same time, all whilst moving back and forth across categories. For sellers we’ve got drag-n-drop shop management features, Paypal bill payment and a one page listing process. One seller (http://alibalijewellery.coriandr.com) managed to list 32 items in one sitting!Because buying handmade is all about a personal touch and the connection between the buyer and the creator, I would always encourage sellers to run their own site (such as a blog) in tandem with a service like Coriandr. Even those sellers who have their own ecommerce site can use Coriandr because we have a bigger presence than an individual shop, and every time we promote ourselves, we are promoting our sellers (or should that be the other way around!)

How have your structured your seller pricing?
We’ve kept Coriandr away from complicated fee structures found on other marketplaces. It simply costs 20p for each quantity of one listed, and a 2.5% commission when a sale is made.

Thanks Mathew!

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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  1. I am intrigued as well! I think the more good quality venues to buy handmade, the better. The regular person off the street still is not aware of the handmade movement online, and how cool the products really are. It ain’t toilette paper covers at a craft fair anymore! Thank you for letting us know about this new site, so more people can find out about handmade goods!

  2. I already know about Coriandr- I was one of the first to join- but if I didn’t I would be happy to be informed because it’s a great site, the selling is really simple, it’s bright and fresh and it promotes handmade things- and people who sell handmade things appreciate the work that goes into other people’s handmade things and buy handmade as well.
    With the money climate the way it is, I think that more people would be wanting to buy handmade- support other people’s craft endeavours and get better quality items for themselves and or gifts.
    And one of the other good things about it is that it is new and there are not thousands and thousands of sellers (yet) so you can’t get lost in the crowd.

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