Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why haven't you joined #ArtFire yet?

A few months ago I came across ArtFire on Twitter, and I added them in the interest of having more online art markets to choose from. I wasn't sure if I was going to join the site or not, because I have my hands full trying to keep my own website updated, and my Etsy shop, AND my blogs, AND Facebook, AND MySpace... you get the idea. It seems like a few simple clicks, but all that time really adds up when you're keeping track of a lot of different sites! So, it got to the point where I was groaning at the thought of setting up another shop.

Still, shortly after I followed them I noticed a tweet stating that the CEO of ArtFire was also on Twitter, as ArtFireJohn. This interested me, because as far as I know the CEO of Etsy is not on Twitter, and not very easy to get in touch with. So, I immediately added ArtFireJohn to see what would happen. Well, shortly after I added him I got a DM (direct message) from him welcoming me, and asking me to contact him if there was anything I needed to know about ArtFire. This might have been an auto-DM, but I messaged him back with something goofy anyways (I do that sometimes), and immediately got another DM with an answer that went along with my goofy question! I was very pleased to see that the CEO of ArtFire would take the time to respond to any weirdo that felt like DM-ing him, so I decided to join ArtFire as a seller, and took him up on his offer to answer any questions I might have. I also tested the ArtFire Twitter account by replying to them several times, and whether I was being relevant or goofy, I still got a response every single time!

On my new ArtFire account the first thing I was VERY happy about was the fact that ArtFire Basic is completely free for life! At the time it was only 10 listings and not much use of the artisan tools, but now Basic allows 12 listings, Rapid Cart (of GREAT use to my fellow bloggers!), and Market Hub (something Etsy should learn about)! Rapid Cart is in use on this very blog right now, and it allows my customers to buy directly from here. Another thing I LOVE about ArtFire, and which has come in VERY useful, is the fact that my customers DO NOT have to sign up with ArtFire in order to buy from me! Think of how hard it's been to try and convince your clients to sign up for Etsy in order to buy from you, and then tell me you don't think it's helpful to COMPLETELY eliminate that step! And what about Market Hub? Right there in your ArtFire studio is a menu bar that allows you to put the links to all your social networks, your own site, AND even your ETSY shop! You know what this reminds me of? Have you ever seen It's a Wonderful Life where the Macy's Santa Claus starts recommending other shops for the customers to buy from? Kudos to ArtFire for having such an unselfish attitude as to advertise their main competitor right inside all of their artisans' shops!

Have I not given enough reasons yet to join ArtFire? Well, how about these two....

Not too long ago Ashton Kutcher wrote to his Twitter audience asking about gifts to buy 300 people. I responded quickly asking him to buy handmade, as did a few other people, but he shot down the idea right away as being too difficult. Well with 140 character count, that doesn't leave much space to convey why he was mistaken in his thinking, so I wrote a blog letter to him here, to ask him to reconsider. I quickly went about spreading this to every Twitter artisan I could, to try and make sure it made it's way to @aplusk (Ashton). I also asked ArtFire, ArtFireJohn, and Etsy to RT (re-tweet) it as well, because it was written to highlight all of the Handmade artisan communitys, and to give articulation to why we do what we do. Instantly ArtFire and ArtFireJohn RT'd the tweet, and in doing so got a great deal of their followers to RT it also. Etsy flat out refused, stating that they could not RT something that an artisan directly asked them to RT, because it was against policy. Thanks to ArtFire, though, the word got out, and @aplusk finally read the letter!

And here's the second reason, and perhaps the most important. Last week a friend of mine's father went missing in LA. My friend, Noah, made an appeal to all his friends online to spread the word however they could to try and get as many people as possible to be on the lookout for his dad. I knew that there were a few people following me who had a great deal of followers in LA, so I re-posted his letter to my blog, and tweeted as much as I possibly could to ask people to spread the word. Again, I directly appealed to Etsy, ArtFire, and ArtFireJohn. What I didn't know at the time was that Noah's sister, Erin, is actually an artist on Etsy, and that she had started a thread about her missing dad in Etsy's forum! Well, once again ArtFire helped out and RT'd everything I wrote about it, and ArtFireJohn took it one step further, coming up with a hashtag specific to the case so that we could spread the word more easily, and so that people could keep up to date with what news there was on the status of Noah's dad! From Etsy I heard nothing at all. I then tried one of Etsy's employees on Twitter, and she flat out refused. In the meantime I learned that Etsy had even shut down Erin's thread in the forum for an hour and a half because they "don't allow private information to be posted on our public Forums", but then they apparently thought the better of it because they re-opened the thread later on. I won't get into what happened with Noah's dad here, but I will say that with ArtFireJohn's help we were able to reach thousands of people with the hashtag, and get them out searching for Robert Korda. If you want to know more about it, then you can read the news story here.

So there you have it. I'm not trying to bash Etsy, but I did want to note them in an effort to show how much more interaction and attentiveness you can expect from the ArtFire team. I don't think you can honestly expect them to RT every time you list a new item, but you can expect them to be a lot more human when important things come along. Even if you don't Twitter, you can still chat with their CEO, John, every Thursday on Blockhead Radio! I'm certain that with the amount of effort and attention ArtFire is putting into their studios and artisans, soon ArtFire will be the greatest online handmade marketplace there is, and the best place to find unique gifts! So, what are you waiting for? Why haven't YOU joined ArtFire yet?


  1. Yep, after our phone conversation the other day, you convinced me. My ArtFire shop is now up and running! It has SO MUCH MORE functinality (and diversity) to offer than Etsy. I'm enjoying it already!

  2. Oh yeah, I didn't even MENTION all the cool stuff you can do with your studio! No more bland, all-white shop!

  3. I love Artfire! I started up my shop there just about a month ago, and I can't get over all the features and the unbelievable customer service. (No sales yet, alas, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.) Thanks for the great post!

  4. For me it was just a matter of telling my customers that they could buy from me there without getting an account, that got sales :)

  5. Wow!! Thank you for taking the time to write this post. I really do appriciate your experience!! All the topics you covered were right on...for us artsy folk and I will definitely look into it!! Smiles

  6. Great post! I have had problems with Etsy for the last year and sadly can't get anyone to respond to my requests for assistance. So it looks like I need to move over to Artfire now!

  7. I was on Etsy for 8 months and made the switch to Artfire and don't regret it at all. I LOVE ARTFIRE!

  8. I love ArtFire's seller-friendly features. I have sold two pieces in just the first month (which for my things, is good), but even if I never sold anything from that shop it would be useful to me for the statistics it gives me about where my views come from.

    I signed up long before I actually opened a shop, and started out right away as a Verified Member. They have my support every month, sales or not, for the information I get.
    Sounds strange, I know, but I feel AF treats me like the adult I am.
    (Morgan of morgansilk wearable art)