Handmade jewelry websites are often seen on Etsy and eBay, and sometimes, you may see a few on Amazon. Yet these are not actual independent Jewelry Websites. They use a large shopping platform controlled by another entity. These platforms often force small jewelry sellers to follow certain practices that may go against their own policies and procedures.
With this in mind, a seller may not showcase all their jewelry because all listings and items are subjected to platform algorithms that define when or how a seller’s listing will appear on the site or not appear.
Give this a try to test out what I stated above. Shop for handmade jewelry on Etsy or eBay. Then search the internet for the seller’s website. 9 out of 10 times, you will find a website connected to the seller. To your surprise, you will most likely find many jewelry items not found on Etsy or eBay. Many of those items will be very beautiful and top quality.
Why Would A Seller Not Wan to Showcase Their Best Items On A Large Shopping Site?
There are a few reasons for this. Some sellers’ sole business on these larger shopping platforms is tracking and monitoring these larger sites for items that sell well. They then illegally replicate those items with cheap inferior gemstones and metals.
Or, at times, they will state the gemstones are exact and instead swap them out with a glass or lab-created precious gemstones. This is also true of the metals in the jewelry. They then compete against the legitimate seller at a ridiculous rock bottom price. This affects the seller’s reputation, as well as impacts their income.
Many of these sellers make a living off of selling their jewelry. They have little money to fight off these kinds of unethical sellers. It can become a full-time job for an attorney to take down the dishonest sellers as they tend to pop up a few days later under a new company name.
As you can imagine, the legal costs could quickly eat away at any profits made. There is also the fact that any damage done to the seller’s reputation is hard to correct. Often times the synergy of sales that once was, never returns.
How Do Sellers Protect Their Intellectual Property?
To protect themselves, sellers save their true treasures for their own websites, where they can control everything.
When using self-controlled and built handmade jewelry websites, an unethical seller can’t monitor what goes on behind the seems. At best, they can use tools to guess, but no data can be acquired without hacking into the website itself. We will go into that later in this article.
Most unethical sellers will not waste their time on unproven data or guesstimates. They want hard data to tell them who they can exploit, make a quick buck, and move on to their next victim.
Platforms like WordPress, Square, Wix, and others make it difficult for anyone but the administrator of the site to get any data out of it. Widgets, plugins, and hosting layers work 24/7 to protect your intellectual property on your website. Security is a huge thing nowadays, and the less access someone has to your business and intellectual property, the better.
Another challenging issue to control when dealing with the larger brand sites is fake reviews and competitor reviews. I am not talking about the good reviews. I am talking about fake bad reviews from competitors.
There are actual companies that make a living by placing bad reviews on a competitor listing to drive down their ability to sell. Often it can put a seller out of business.
It is easier to control reviews when you run your own handmade jewelry websites. You can send all reviews through a moderator to address a customer’s concern and hopefully change their mind about leaving a bad review. Further, you can send fake competitor reviews to SPAM and never have to worry about this issue again.
So now that I scared you about selling on large shopping platforms, why would a handmade jewelry seller want to showcase their items anywhere else but their own website?
- There are a few reasons for this:
You have access to a ready-made audience of millions of people to get your product in front of without paying for it.
- Websites like Etsy will create social media advertising for you at no additional cost. You only pay a small fee if your product is found and sold through this program.
- You can directly target your audience through paid ads made by Etsy for Etsy customers. The same goes for eBay and Amazon.
- SEO is limited, and you really only need to focus on keywords for the platform you sell on. Google automatically ranks Etsy, eBay, and Amazon high on the platform.
- Finally, the logistics of finding the customer, shipping the product, managing your inventory, etc., are all done for you on these platforms.
- It is a business in a box.
That sounds great, but you already know the risks. And there is also one other colossal risk. Your business and listings on these large platforms do not belong to you. You could receive a notice from Etsy, eBay, or Amazon that your listings have been taken down and are no longer showing. Further, they can freeze your financial assets and hold them until an investigation is completed.
The crazy thing is that all this can happen with just one person making a fake claim, such as selling counterfeit goods, violating copyright laws, or doing one of the many other things that violate a policy of Etsy, eBay, or Amazon.
So now that you know the good, the bad, and the ugly about running handmade jewelry websites. What platform should you choose to sell your handmade jewelry products?
Interested in making handmade jewelry but don’t know where to start? Read our article on handmade jewelry tips.
I suggest starting out with your own website. Learn about SEO, shipping products, and maybe seek out a 3PL warehouse to help you ship your items automatically. Invest in QuickBooks to manage your financials.
A great way to start is with Wix, Square, or WordPress. If you are not technically savvy, then Wix and Square is the way to go. It is straightforward to start a website that you can protect and feel confident no one can take your business away from you.
Charles Albert is a great example of a seller who started small and grew big with his website. Read more about him here.
WordPress is the best but does require a bit of design knowledge to get it all set up. Suppose you have a bit of money to invest. In this case, you hire a web designer to set up a WordPress website and an SEO expert to take your place within Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This way, you will build your traffic and unique customers.
If you are worried about not having access to the millions of jewelry buyers on the big brand shopping sites. Then do what the rest do.
Set up a little Etsy shop, and put just a handful of your items there. When someone orders, put an insert card into the package to let them know you have your own website, and if they come there, you can give them a discount or something free with their next order.
This method works very well and is the best of both worlds. You leverage the larger market by driving a percentage of those customers back to your own website.
If you are interested in reading more about what it takes to develop and manage a great website, read our article here.
Whether you are a small start-up or have been around for a while, your own website is an asset you will eventually want to invest in and scale to grow your business. Plus, it is something that you can later sell down the road when you are ready to retire or move on to something new.
Harmony Jewelry is an independent jewelry company in San Diego, CA. We design handmade jewelry.
Read our other articles we think you would like. We wrote a whole article on why you may want to choose small independent jewelry companies over a big box name-brand jewelry.