The Business of Jewelry: Choosing an Online Marketplace for Selling Your Handmade Beaded Jewelry

It's important to find the right online marketplace for your jewelry business.

If you're ready to expand your jewelry business and start selling your handmade beaded jewelry online, you're in luck: there are more options for selling your jewelry online now than there were just a few years ago.

When I first ventured into the world of online sales, there were only a few options for selling handmade jewelry online. Now it seems that everywhere you turn, there is a new marketplace popping up where you can list handmade items (including jewelry) for sale. Doing a little research before you choose an online marketplace for selling jewelry can make all the difference in having a successful jewelry business.

If you don't want to go through the hassle and expense of setting up your own website for selling your handmade beaded jewelry, you can find lots of options for setting up an online presence for your jewelry business. Before you jump in with both feet, however, look at these five key questions for choosing an online marketplace:

1. What kinds of fees are charged? Remember that these online markets are in business, too, and most of them charge fees for listing items. Listing fees are charged when you put a new item into your online shop for a certain period of time. A renewal fee is charged when you relist an item after the initial listing has expired. Some online markets also charge a fee in the form of a percentage of each sale you make. There are some online markets, however, that only charge a monthly flat fee for unlimited listings and don't take a percentage of each sale.  

2.What do I get for my fees? Some online marketplaces like eBay allow a limited number of pictures for your initial fee, and then charge additional fees for additional pictures. You should also find out what their search function is like, and how items are found by buyers when they are browsing listings. If you're going to pay premium prices for your listings, you want to make sure that your items aren't immediately pushed to the end of the line when customers are searching!

3. Do they accept my preferred methods of payment? If you like to use one particular payment service for your online payments, you may be limited as to where you can list your handmade beaded jewelry for sale. Make sure you carefully research your payment options before you sign up and stock your shop, or you may find yourself looking for a new online marketplace.

4. Do they allow items other than handmade? Remember, if you are in the market to sell your handmade beaded jewelry, you don't want your jewelry business to have to compete with a business that is importing inexpensive and poorly made jewelry from overseas. Check the terms of use for any online marketplace and find out how well they enforce their own rules.

5. How easy is it to contact them in case I have a problem? For several years, there was one major online marketplace that had no way to contact a customer service representative by phone. That left hundreds of sellers with no way to get assistance when they needed it most. Take a close look at the customer service page of each online marketplace that you consider. If there are no phone numbers, you might want to think twice before using that marketplace as an online presence for your jewelry business.

The bottom line when choosing any online marketplace for your handmade jewelry business is that you have to be happy with your bottom line. Don't sign up for any long-term commitments until you are satisfied with your experience selling in an online marketplace.

Don't feel overwhelmed at the many facets of creating and running a successful online jewelry business! You can find expert advice from successful jewelry artists in each issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine. The Net Profits column in each issue covers topics like blogging about your jewelry, how to use social media like Facebook and Twitter and how to use publicity to increase sales. Subscribe to Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine and see how you can expand your jewelry business in 2012!

Do you sell your finished beaded jewelry? Do you use an online marketplace or your own website? What advice would you offer to someone who is thinking about developing an online presence for their jewelry business? Leave a comment on the blog and share your thoughts, advice and experience with us!

Bead Happy,


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