Is Selling on Amazon Handmade as a Handcrafted Artisan Right For You?

Amazon Handmade: Artisans have more options than selling on Etsy

Whenever something new comes out to challenge what is existing, people tend to be skeptical about it. This is exactly what has happened with Handmade at Amazon. For years, Etsy has been the dominant player in the handmade space until October 2015 when Handmade at Amazon launched. Handmade at Amazon has given handmade artisans another place to sell their products.

As a member of the team who launched Handmade at Amazon, Marell Morel, a former consultant with Cascadia Seller Solutions, wanted to make artisans more aware of the positive benefits as well as the challenges of Handmade at Amazon.

She provided the following in response to an article that was explaining to Artisans why they shouldn’t sell on Handmade. Some of the information is inaccurate in the article, and could mislead Artisans into not trying a platform that could be truly beneficial. 

I am excited to present her expert opinion about why Handmade on Amazon could be your best option as a handmade artisan.

Jumpstart: Launch Your Handmade Store

Everything you need to launch your Handmade on Amazon Store, from the application to the Artisan profile, to listing new products, to advertising them for sale, to complying with Amazon policies.

Handmade is an expensive platform upon which to sell on.

If you are just focused on the transaction fee then yes, that is correct.

However, if you think about your whole business and look at all of the things you get nickeled and dimed for on Etsy; listing fee for every product you list (even if you go out of stock and have to re-list you will get charged that amount), payment processing fee, shipping labels/services…etc. it does begin to add up!

Handmade did increase their transaction fee to 15% last August (which is now inline with the majority of categories on Amazon) but they continue to waive the $40 monthly selling fee.

Whether you’re selling handmade jewelry, handmade soap, handmade bath bombs, or handmade ceramics, Amazon Handmade is a great alternative cost-wise to Etsy.

Amazon’s not afraid to strong arm your pricing.

This is completely inaccurate.  Amazon does not dictate what price you have to list your products at – this was the author’s misunderstanding when vendors sell directly to Amazon.

On the Amazon Marketplace, of which Handmade is part of, it is up to you, as the Artisan, to decide what retail you want to offer your product to the customer.  And that’s all I have to say about that!

Amazon is revered as home of the cheap and readily available.

Amazon has become the place for customers to find anything and everything and that is okay.  

I’m sure as a customer you love it just like I do! Yes, Amazon is known for low prices and quick shipping but that doesn’t mean this will erode your brand. There are many brands (both low-end and high-end) that successfully sell on Amazon and have not lost credibility in doing so. It doesn’t seem like Kate Spade, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Salvatore Ferragamo, etc. are concerned about the negative Amazon “stigma”.

The same goes for Artisans who sell on Handmade. By selling here, your products are being offered to 250 million customers worldwide!

You control your price and how quickly your products are sent to customers. If your products are not personalized, you can participate in FBA and have your products be Prime eligible. If you need longer to create your products, you can set a production lead-time to 30 days. Customers who are shopping for handmade items understand that each product is made by hand and it takes time to create your item.

I loved this comment from the author of the article; “In short: Amazon buyers likely aren’t your audience. And you likely wouldn’t want them to be…..The almost predictable delivery of Amazon Prime packages to my doorstep is a sign of how often I patronize the platform.”

Hmmm…so she is saying that Amazon customers are not your buyers but yet she herself is an Amazon customer and prides herself on knowing and telling you where and how you should sell your products? Interesting.

Let’s face it; pretty much everyone is an Amazon customer so by saying that Amazon customers are not your buyers then your buyer base is going to be pretty small.  I wouldn’t hang my hat on that recommendation.

Amazon owns the customer and the transaction

This I somewhat agree with but I wouldn’t say Etsy is letting this one really go either.

It is correct that you cannot link back to your website off of Amazon and they discourage you from including marketing materials that have your website or a link to your Etsy storefront.

First, they are not enforcing this, or at least not right now and second, as long as you have your Handmade storefront URL, you’ll probably be okay.

On your storefront, you are able to link your Pinterest, Facebook and twitter account. I know this “rule” can be frustrating; however, it does make sense that they wouldn’t allow it. It is the right business request.

In the end, these are Amazon’s customers and Amazon will always protect the customer. They may become your customer one day but for now, Amazon has to put the customer first.

I would say, if the customer really likes your product, they will find you and your website.

No history in supporting the handmade community.

I disagree with this comment as well. Handmade has provided quite a few guides to ensure Artisans are set-up for success and can navigate Amazon.

First, there is a dedicated support team who is available to help answer any questions, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are trained specifically about Handmade.

In addition, there is a style guide that you have to download before even creating your Artisan profile. This guide provides a lot of useful information on how to list your product, create your profile and tips for certain categories.

Also, there is a Getting Started Guide that is focused on how to manage your business on Amazon.

Lastly, there are monthly newsletters that are sent that discuss topics that Artisans have raised concerns about or have questions about. The team would read the forums both on Amazon and Etsy to hear what Artisans are most concerned about and then address them in the monthly newsletter.  To me, this seems like some pretty good resources and I am sure they are working on more for the future.

A word of caution.

All in all, her final message is to basically build your own website where you have full control and that third-party platforms (Etsy, Amazon, etc..) are risky and can leave you vulnerable.

Sure, that is true but selling on Etsy and/or Amazon, brings you customers and allows you to be discovered more easily. I think it is great to have your own website but it can be a challenge for it to be found by customers. That is why it is good to start off with a more established platform until you get going.

My final words on this topic are why not try Handmade at Amazon?

It doesn’t cost you anything, except your time to set-up your shop, but you might as well try it out.

You may find you like it better than Etsy or you may not. If anything, it will most likely provide you with incremental income and give you another platform to showcase your beautiful products to customers.

Selling crafts online can be your perfect side hustle

I hope Marell’s experience in helping to build the Amazon Handmade platform has helped you decide if selling your handmade craft goods online is right for you, and how Amazon can help you do it!

Handmade by Amazon is a unique place for handcrafted products and handmade artisan products, both physical products and unique homemade food products.

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Where should I sell my amazing handmade products?” Then I invite you to try out Amazon Handmade and get access to the 14 MILLION customers who shop on Amazon daily.

Jumpstart: Launch Your Handmade Store

Everything you need to launch your Handmade on Amazon Store, from the application to the Artisan profile, to listing new products, to advertising them for sale, to complying with Amazon policies.
I want Cascadia’s help setting up my store!

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About the Author
I got my first job at Amazon because of my German language skills from my Master’s in History. Take that, people who said I’d never get a good job with my liberal arts degree! I soon learned that I’m not good at taking orders and started my MBA coursework at Seattle University.

After more than seven years at Amazon in Fraud/Transaction Risk and Product Compliance & Sustainability, I left to spend more time with my husband and two beautiful children and launch my own business. Unfortunately, I thought I needed more stability and went back to Amazon while my talented and capable husband led the company from December 2016 to June 2017. But Amazon no longer fit me, or I didn't fit it anymore. I decided stability was overrated and I am so grateful to be back doing what I love!

In my not significant free time, I do fiber crafts such as spinning, crocheting, and embroidery, and I have been in a community band since 2009, playing French Horn, Trombone, or Euphonium depending on the band’s needs that season.

2 thoughts on “Is Selling on Amazon Handmade as a Handcrafted Artisan Right For You?”

  1. Right now, PPC only works for handmade. Meaning the customer must first select handmade as the category before your ad will show up.

    • Hi Richard! Thanks for your feedback! Amazon is always experimenting with advertising policies, so hopefully this changes soon. Handmade items do show up in the regular search regardless of selected category, if they rank highly enough.

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