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Webstore Questions

Hey there A_B, it's been a while! Anyway I decided to put off taking commissions until I turned 18 which I am very thankful for.

However, a few friends and I have been discussing ways to sell art-things online. We want to set up a webstore for the four of us, and we plan to sell a large variety of things.
At this stage, of course, it's still all hypothetical and planning. We probably won't actually do this for another few months.

My main question is! What would be best for hosting the site?
Would we be best off making our own site and renting the domain and splitting that fee, or utilising a site such as Etsy or Ebay? 
I'm still a bit new to this but I wanted to get the advice from A_B since many of you are very familiar with businesses.
We are looking to sell: Fursuit pieces, traditional art, digital art, armour (leather), possibly skateboard boards and little bits and bobs like jewellery and figurines/plushies. Would a host site like Etsy be good? Or Ebay? Or would we be better off hosting our own site?
Also we'd want to only deal with Paypal at this stage.

Thanks in advance! And sorry if this is repetitive in any way. 

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( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
neolucky
Aug. 4th, 2012 10:52 pm (UTC)
My favorite hosting site for personal website usage is Dreamhost, but it sounds as though an Etsy/Ebay/Furbuy/Furbid would be a better place for your products until you gather enough of a client-base to make your own. Your own domain looks nicer though in the long run!
arcticious
Aug. 5th, 2012 12:05 am (UTC)
I'll check out Dreamhost and just snoop around :D thanks for the advice.
animecat
Aug. 5th, 2012 12:12 am (UTC)
Other than hosting your own site, I'd do something like Storenvy. They don't charge you to list things like Etsy does. Etsy will charge you a fee for each item you list as well as take a percentage of your sales. Storenvy is free.
arcticious
Aug. 5th, 2012 07:01 am (UTC)
Storenvy sounds good, I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the advice!
rusti_knight
Aug. 5th, 2012 01:24 am (UTC)
Unless you're super duper at marketing and promotion getting your site URL out there, I would start out with someplace like Etsy (if your things are going to be handmade) that has its own internal traffic. It does charge 20 cents per listing but the listing lasts three to four months before you have to renew. They have categories you can divide your shop into for your separate things.

I sell collars and artwork there, and plan on listing some tee designs as I get them finished.
arcticious
Aug. 5th, 2012 07:01 am (UTC)
That does sound good, I might look into all my options and discuss it with them. 20 cents isn't so bad, especially if we just list everything and divide up the fees.
We were hoping to go to all the conventions we can physically get to and set up stalls there. Plus, we can go down to local markets and share a stall with a friend who has a place there.
Thanks for the advice, I see a lot of planning ahead!
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Aug. 5th, 2012 01:34 am (UTC) - Expand
arcticious
Aug. 5th, 2012 06:57 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've actually been drafting up some scaffolds for products we'll be selling etc. What I was thinking was letting us all have access to the account, and just text/email each other if we notice someone has notified someone about eg. armour or art. I can see this getting a little messy though, so I will have to talk to them.
I like the idea of a logistics partner. I will see if I can get my partner is in on this, since that way it would be much easier to discuss with him if something were to go wrong.
I love this community, the replies have really given me a lot to think about.
Thank you for the advice!
ljmydayaway
Aug. 5th, 2012 03:06 am (UTC)
I would recommend starting with etsy or ebay, and if things go well from there, getting your own store. Etsy is well known so people trust the site, ebay has all sorts of ridiculous things to keep people happy (refunding if the item isn't correct, etc.), but can screw the seller over too. So you'll have to watch out for that.
arcticious
Aug. 5th, 2012 06:51 am (UTC)
Thanks for the advice, I think we will start with a site that is trusted.
iinkwell
Aug. 5th, 2012 03:52 am (UTC)
Furbuy is cool. Ebay charges you a fee, but is otherwise spiff.
Tumblr, actually, I've found is a great way to promote yourself (not exactly sell because the note system there is shite) and 'brand' your company by having a spiff page.

I beg of you don't use Etsy. ; A;
SOMETIMES Etsy is great. 80% of the time, Etsy has a bunch of 'hand made' 'one of a kind' pieces that you can buy at michaels or jo ann fabrics for much less. For serious Etsy buyers, a lot of people discount small items(as in ignore them because they simply assume it's a carbon copy item someone bought). Unless you're selling full-on fursuits, customized, I wouldn't bother with their listing fees either. That's just me though. Also not sure how the furry fandom would gloss over there. *shrug* It seems to be flooded with mostly hipster/fandom items so who knows. Just be ever watchful. SOME Etsy users will literally screenshot your store, steal your pictures, and put it up in their OWN store to scam people. = 3= I saw that in a case with cake pops. Just be careful. Everyone thinks that website is super safe, but it really isn't for first time users.
arcticious
Aug. 5th, 2012 06:49 am (UTC)
Thank you, that really gets me thinking about the fur reputation. That's why I was slightly hesitant to join up with a host site like Etsy, since it -may- not take kindly to fur stuff.
Thanks for the warning on Etsy :o I will definitely beware. I will check out Furbuy if I do end up splitting from the other people and if we set up individual stores, for better specific audiences.
Thank goodness we have a lot of time to plan this out and discuss if we want to remain all as one or split off into a few stores.
Thanks for the advice
ljmydayaway
Aug. 5th, 2012 09:39 pm (UTC)
Actually, things like ears, tails, and eared hats do wickedly well on etsy. :O I've seen people be able to sell them for much more than they would have been able to sell them on FA/ebay/etc.

Paws, feet, and heads may not sell as well, though.
arcticious
Aug. 6th, 2012 07:29 am (UTC)
Awesome! That's good since I'm mainly looking to do tails and paws, so I would possibly have a chance on Etsy.
Thanks for the advice!
karthegrax
Aug. 5th, 2012 06:13 am (UTC)
Hmm. To be honest, its all going to depend on how much you plan to sell. If you guys are pushing out one plushie and 3 pictures, or 2 fursuits a month, its not worth your own domain. Use the sites that already have a customer base, such as furbuy, or ebay (but watch the fees! D:).

And that's going to be your main problem. Promotion. My suggestion, without knowing how much you actually plan to produce, is to get a DA or FA or something and post all your work there. Sell it on external sites and include links back to your gallery. When you get a customer base you can start thinking about your own site.

You also need to be careful with the money you make. Ensure it is distributed every month or fortnight. Treat it professionally as you would with randoms. That way if the friendship goes sour there's not going to be a mega issue.

Not sure how you'll split the funds, I mean you CAN have 4 people working on a plushie at the same time, but not really. So just keep an eye on that. If you're selling as a team, you all need to put in the same amount of effort, else you're just asking for arguments, and friend breakups.

Anyway, best of luck with it!
P.S I didn't stop replying to you as such, I took a break from LJ during the uni semester so I could focus on my studies. Visiting LJ makes me want to make fursuits, and they eat all my time :3 nom nom
arcticious
Aug. 5th, 2012 06:44 am (UTC)
Thanks for the advice! We were sort of thinking of having four seperate parts to the store (sorry if this is confusing), and dividing the funds between who sells what. So having sub-stores, kind of, so each person sells something different. That way we can share the fees, share the exposure to customers, however earn our own money for our own work. For instance, I plan on making fursuit pieces, but my friend plans on making armour. So it would just be like if someone wants armour, she gets the pay but only she makes it, if that makes sense? Of course if we have spare time I might help.
However we may just be best off having seperate stores, that way if it does go sour, we will be independent.
Oh that's fine! I have been so darn busy with school (last term soon, big exams) I really want to work on fursuits full time, too x_x darn education taking up all my time xD
Thanks again for the advice :)
karthegrax
Aug. 5th, 2012 07:02 am (UTC)
Ooooohhh yep. I getcha now. Thats a good idea for exposure. Maybe you'd just be best sharing a photobucket or DA or something and you can post everybodys work there for exposure. You could even give yourselves a fancy name "xyz studios". IMO its easier selling separately. Especially since paypal eats fees for money transfer and currency conversion and all that kind of nonsense. And money makes people grumpy. lol.

If you can find something that does sub stores that'd probably work great too.
arcticious
Aug. 5th, 2012 07:14 am (UTC)
Yeah, singular stores is sounding much easier, unless I can get substores.
I was just thinking a "studio" style thing would be easier for conventions and exposure, but it may get messy especially if we end up getting sour with each other.
Thanks for the advice, I will definitely discuss with them so we can plan better and make sure we have lots of backups in case it goes downhill.
karthegrax
Aug. 6th, 2012 04:22 am (UTC)
I hope things don't go sour, I'm just recalling all the advice people drilled into us in high school about renting with mates. Don't lend them money for rent or bills cause you could be friends one day and enemies the next, and you'll never get your money back. And always co-sign the lease! lol.

G'luck!
arcticious
Aug. 6th, 2012 07:19 am (UTC)
This may sound weird, but most of us aren't -good- friends, more or less friendly acquaintances. I think this could work in our favor, since we wouldn't lend each other money or rely on each other too heavily.
However I am thinking of branching off myself since I get the sense I'm really the only one super driven and I can see a few of them flaking off later on and having to make alterations if we share a store.
Thanks heaps :D When I eventually get it going I'll be sure to check in with you and thank everyone if it succeeds xD
celarania
Aug. 5th, 2012 06:57 pm (UTC)
I'll second what almost everyone said. However, what I'd add is have one front and separate paypals if you do da (or such). There's no reason to combine your paypals just for fun.

If you do combine, it would be best to include some sort of written agreement for the things that nobody wants to happen. What do you do if someone steals money, if someone is spamming the front page, etc. Just give your group a way to deal with things before they happen.

I'd definitely not recommend your own domain. I'd go with a pre-established website over making your own webpage out in the internet, but if you must make a webpage, just look for a free host. Do you really have any reason to think you guys would be more successful on a webpage?
arcticious
Aug. 6th, 2012 07:27 am (UTC)
Thanks for the advice! A group store is sounding less appealing with the general human nature xD I can see this falling in our faces later and ending up messy.
I will definitely give it a lot of thought, A_B has given me much great advice to discuss and mull over.
But I will most likely go with a host site like Etsy or Dealer's Den.
Thanks again :D
(Deleted comment)
karthegrax
Aug. 6th, 2012 04:25 am (UTC)
Agreeing with this, a lot of the popular makers have started using this to try to draw traffic from furbuy (let's not go into the why at this point, just that theres a good reason for it), so it'd be great if you could support them too. ^^
arcticious
Aug. 6th, 2012 07:30 am (UTC)
I'm going to have to do some looking around. If I split off to my own store, then I will probably need a fur-specific site such as Dealer's Den or Furbuy.
arcticious
Aug. 6th, 2012 07:22 am (UTC)
Oh thanks! I would be more than happy to support your site, I've heard some good things about Dealers Den.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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