I am amazed how many new Online Marketplaces and Venues are cropping up for professional crafters and artisans to sell their handmade creations.
I had the privilege to talk with Justin Miller, President and Founder of CraftStack. Justin has turned his love of art into a new expression. Here is what Justin has to say about his new Online Marketplace:
Justin, please share with us where you came up with this idea why you decided to organize and publish the CraftStack marketplace?
The idea for CraftStack began over a period of time. As a child, one of the activities I always loved was pottery wheel and my favorite kind of art form is glass blowing and leather craft! As I grew older and my love of art grew, I wanted a place where artists /craft vendors could list and sell. Most of all, it was very key to me that whatever service we offered was built on one word: Simplicity. It’s no secret to everyone involved in this industry — there are LOTS of places to sell your products! Out of those, only a couple offered a great plan that gave all of their crafters the best possible opportunity.
It was extremely important to me while building CraftStack that we made sure we provided a company site that was easy to sign up, a breeze to navigate, list items, add SEO to each listing, make sales, and keep track of all money. Our craft vendors are artists, they should all be able to concentrate on their creative capabilities while leaving the marketing worries to us!
How long has your site been in operation?
CraftStack has been operating for only 2 months. We took a year to slowly build and created this company and website because we used NO templates — everything that was built is custom designed. There were no pre-designed pages or templates used in anything with CraftStack. Everything “Handmade” from scratch — just like our artist’s who list with CraftStack!
Tell us about your CraftStack marketplace and what you hope it will do for professional crafters and producers?
CraftStack, while it is only the beginning for us, is a full fledged marketplace for Artist’s of all products. While creating CraftStack, one of the highest priorities on our list was to make sure that we created a company and marketplace that is extremely seller/artist friendly. We went after a very artist friendly design because crafters/craftsmen are ARTISTS. We didn’t want our vendors having to struggle with how to balance their time between creating products and listing & selling products. Let’s face it, these artist’s are all very talented at their specialty and it takes them great time to create and produce.
We also took close to 6 months figuring out how to make things less expensive on all of our future vendors. While PayPal has hundreds of millions of users, what we found was important was that while, of course, we would accept PayPal, we found a less expensive way for our vendors to accept payment from customers. We decide to link up with a company called Stripe. They are a payment processor that allows us to offer ALL sellers who sign up with us a FREE merchant account, much cheaper to accept payment with than PayPal. Also, a very strong advantage Stripe offers is NO currency conversion fee’s for customers that are sold to out of country. PayPal will charge as much as 3% extra for a sale if they have to convert currency.
Another HUGE step we’ve taken with CraftStack is marketing and advertisement. We’ve put together a BIG launch campaign that will be going out in the next couple weeks, and we will be continuing the marketing effort from that point forward. We will be doing monthly Press Releases nationwide to ALL news, radio, and publications. We hope that all crafters/artist’s will see CraftStack as a wonderful breath of fresh air for them to set up their shop and promote themselves.
What does CraftStack marketplace offer handcrafters that other online networks do not?
2) We are ALWAYS able to be contacted. By Phone or either by email
3) Cheaper payment % fee’s than any other sites. (Fee’s that Merchant Services charge to process payments)
4) FREE currency conversion for international sales. (PayPal normally charges an EXTRA 3% for international sales)
5) We allow Vendors to list a Private website to their store front so customers can check out their company page as well for more in-depth information (Premium Plan)
6) CraftStack has a marketing and advertising team that does things from Press Releases and schedule interviews with publications and bloggers, all the way to Paid Advertising and Google Ad’s.
7) No Listing Fee’s
8) No Commission fees of sales charged at any time. We don’t feel we should dip our hand into the artists hard earned money each time they make a sale.
9) A full custom product ordering service is coming in our first major update! This will be the other MAIN focus of CraftStack. It goes hand-in-hand with our Marketplace.
10) When listing each product, we give you the ability to add SEO keywords and Meta descriptions to EACH product you list, to help your items be found by search engines and Google Product Search.
How does it your site work and is there a cost to join?
For a new user that has never visited CraftStack.com before, they head to our homepage to register and select a username and password. During sign up, you are automatically taken to Stripe to get your Free Stripe account, which is then automatically linked to your CraftStack account so they can communicate. We worked hard for things to work seamlessly amongst each other so that all artists can concentrate on creating their products.
Until further notice, we are offering EVERYONE WHO JOINS 4 MONTHS FREE. CraftStack has TWO plans that our users can sign up for. We have a Basic Plan that is $6.95 monthly and we have a Premium Plan that is $10.95 monthly. The 2 main difference between Basic and Premium is with the Premium plan, users can post and list their other website address and company website. Users with Premium can also accept PayPal Payments in addition to standard credit card payments that Stripe allows all users to accept.
Do you have anything to add that readers should know about your CraftStack marketplace?
This is only the beginning of what CraftStack has to offer. While we have launched our platform product to get users interested and signed on board with us, what we have in the pipeline will surely blow everyone’s socks off! We do vow to our users that we are always creating the next update with more features each time. We will be adding features and tools that will enhance the selling experience for all of our vendors and we will constantly stay in tune with what it takes for us to make sure we are providing and caring for each customer. We have a particular service that will be introduced just as soon as it is ready that goes absolutely hand in hand with our marketplace and it’s truly innovative and revolutionary.
There are many marketplaces that have proven success can be attained by running a strong and honest company for artists to list and sell on, however what we have taken time to fully realize is that it is going to take constant feature additions, software updates, strong SEO and marketing, and a safe community.
Thanks Justin for your time and we wish you the best with CraftStack!
Make sure to check out CraftStack and sign up while their FREE offer is available!