I came across this artist Facebook group question asking: “What is preventing [artists] from opening their own .com storefront. If so many of you are upset about Etsy, TicTail, or whatever site’s business decisions why are you limiting yourself to using sites like that?”
I chimed in with my own experience. I really liked my response and felt like it belonged here on my website, so here it is. ^_^
I honestly love having my own .com website. ♥️
The flexibility of it all… (I have WordPress now. I used to have Wix a few years ago but it wasn’t flexible enough for me. I’ve had my own Storenvy and Etsy and have made some sales there but most of them came from people who met me at conventions.)
I love creating my own pages and posts and allowing people to get to know me and my creative self in the color and design I decide for my website as well as the writings and artwork I choose to share. A .com website for me is like a creative project all in itself. And I love everything about that.
Yes, you do have to put in the time and energy to learn website hosting, management, protection, legalities, etc. However, after going through the learning and initial stages of setting things up, I find that having my own website has been personally and creatively fulfilling.
And I haven’t set up shop yet.
For me, it’s not about the money. That’s secondary. It’s about the flexibility to play, create, grow, and further express who I am and allow future visitors and potential clients to enjoy the changes with me. I prioritize personal relationships over sales, and I feel Etsy, Tictail, Storenvy, etc. don’t quite allow that kind of engagement for me.
I also know I’m in the online business in the long haul, so having my own website feels right.
I, of course, see the appeal of setting up shop in an already active marketplace, like Etsy, or leaning in on other websites for ease of transactions and customer support. That’s wonderful. Nothing wrong with that.
(And if anyone wants to move customers to your own website, it is possible! I haven’t done it myself but I know an artist who has done it before. I would imagine building a solid following on social media first, perhaps making use of the connections you received from these third-party websites, and then notifying your clients of the change.)
I, on the other hand, will stick with a .com website. Even with the monthly cost of web hosting, not bringing in revenue yet, and the complications of having your own website may bring (and has brought), the beauty, flexibility, and creativity of a self-hosted website keeps me here, nurturing and building my online home.