Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Indie Artists Join Together!

As a columnist on I've been thinking a lot about the various guilds and teams on both Etsy and Artfire.
Here's a reprint of one of my columns

Etsy and Artfire are two of the many online marketplaces to buy and sell things handmade. One way they set themselves apart from other venues is by encouraging sellers to join together within guilds or teams to better compete in the increasingly competitive online marketplace. Etsy has a few hundred street teams and Artfire, a newer venue, already has several dozen teams or guilds.

Teams and guilds have proven themselves to be valuable marketing tools, both for their team members and the venue where they come together. Teams assist sellers in increasing their individual visibility as well as the team's. They allow artisans to pool their marketing and advertising resources, skills and customer bases. Instead of competing against each other, artisans join together and nurture each other. One's success becomes the team's success and it can be a wonderful environment to thrive in. Veteran artists can mentor and teach newer members about the craft they share an interest in and newer artisans can frequently give motivation and a fresh view to those who have been at their craft for years.

There are a number of ways to help spread the team concept, such as holding monthly challenges for members to step up and meet a certain criteria for designing a piece. Some teams have held contests to design a team business card or to design a logo and some hold cooperative sales for their customers on a regular basis. Most teams use "tags" which are special search terms to enable customer's to find items more easily and blogs for their members to post what's new in their individual studios and also team happenings. Teams and guilds offer as much in return as you are willing to put into them.

With so many reasons to join a team or guild and so many to choose from, sometimes the hardest part is choosing the one that most closely reflects what you're looking for!

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