In certain circles I mingle in, having an Etsy boutique (or two or three) is as common as having a Facebook or LinkedIn page. And in many ways, the Etsy community shares a more common thread amongst its users than many of its competitors. Why? Because the Etsy culture is one of buyers and sellers who share an affinity for arts and crafts. When you deal directly with artists and artisans, you are sure to experience something more intimate than your average impersonal purchase of wares on the internet or at least that’s what one expects while perusing the pages of Etsy filled with eye-fetching images of handmade goods, from one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories, to cutting edge home décor and objects d’art, to home-baked goods, to delicate handmade papers, to fine art photography—each lovingly presented by its creator.
And while eBay, for many years, appeared to be the most perfect union of buyers and sellers in an online marketplace, since the advent of Etsy, more and more creative online venues are cropping up everyday, which not only amuse the masses, but more importantly, provide a source of revenue for artists and crafts-persons who might otherwise have no such audience or benefactors.
Threadless.com, for example, is an online t-shirt design company which hosts an ongoing open-call for tee shirt design submissions, which, if selected by the Threadless community, will be produced and sold by Threadless, and the t-shirt designer receives $2,500 in cash and gift certificates for their design.
99designs.com is another popular marketplace that’s sweeping the internet by connecting small businesses seeking quick and cutting edge design work with thousands of graphic designers worldwide who compete for the prize money of a given project by presenting their design ideas for the small business’ review and ultimate selection. According to their website, as of today there are 90, 573 designers on 99designs.com, 6,615,291 designs have been submitted, and $16,569,515 has been awarded in prize money.
With the unstable nature of economies worldwide, one can only expect that these excellent online marketplaces will continue to provide easy and efficient places of commerce, while also keeping its users connected in their respective communities around the globe.
Dear reader, what are some additional creative online marketplaces?
Photo by freshflapjax’s photostream