With all of the amazing platforms available to online sellers, two stand out above the crowd. But which one is the better place to house a craft shop?
I take a deeper dive into Shopify and WooCommerce to determine which is the better choice.
Do you have a favorite? Let me know if you are already in a platform and what you like or don’t like about it!
I even share a thought that may surprise you!
Links Mentioned in This Episode –  
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Ep. 02 - Full Transcription

[00:00:00] Kam: Okay. First of all, I do have to say that this cute little microphone, it just, yeah, I, I love this. It’s called a snowball and I love it, but I love everything that is mid-century, so makes me feel like an old timer Radio, radio host. So I, where I need to sing some Annie song. Talk about toothpaste. What was the toothpaste they did in that movie?

[00:00:31] Kam: Welcome to the second episode of The Maker Space, a podcast to encourage moms who are building both a family and an online craft business. I’m Cam Ostwald. I am a wife, mother of six three adopted and three biological. And then I am also an online agency owner. My agency works with specifically website designers and podcast creators to be online business management for them. Thanks for coming to the Maker space.

[00:01:03] Kam: Okay, so I just wanna take a few minutes and help with the decision making of what platform to use when you do go online, when you move your shop from going to virtual, or I’m sorry, going from craft shows to online virtual shops, craft shows and whether you should do a Shopify, an Etsy store or build your own website.

[00:01:32] Kam: And there are other options that you can do. And I will have an instructional video, uh, for each of those platforms on my YouTube channel. I will be doing those over the next week or two. If there is one specific that specifically that you would like to see, let me know. Because I know that Square also does some, I have looked into those.

[00:01:56] Kam: I know there’s Wix and, uh, Go Daddy and all of the do DIY platforms, which for starting out, they’re okay. Those platforms, however, do have some of their own issues similar to social media. You have to be careful what you are putting your shops and your inventory on, because at any time you could lose your information because that platform does not belong to you, all of your information that’s not your real estate.

[00:02:34] Kam: So at any time they could shut their pla go, Daddy should could shut down and all of your shop and information would be gone and nobody would have any way to, of knowing why, knowing where you were. The ones that I’m going to talk about today are specific to you for your own real estate, online real estate.

[00:02:59] Kam: And the first one that I wanna go over is Shopify. And I didn’t have a whole lot of experience with Shopify until this past year. My one of my 17 year olds had actually created his own shop. I really don’t know why. He just wanted to try it and see how it went. And so he got in there and he created his own store.

[00:03:25] Kam: He was a drop shipper, so he never had any inventory and he got it working and it was bringing in income. It was not a lot, but he didn’t put a lot of time and marketing into it. In fact, I don’t think he did any marketing except to friends. And at one time, he even had a $75 which that’s great with no marketing, no inventory that you have to worry about.

[00:03:54] Kam: However, the only thing with Shopify, and it’s not even a bad thing, but they do have a $29 a month fee that they do ask of you. Now, a lot of times they will do sales and specials, and I know this summer they had a special dollar a I believe it was. And a lot of times they will run those deals to kind of get you in and help you build up your store.

[00:04:25] Kam: So it, I would watch for those. If you’re not already on a Shopify or a website, something like that. If you’re thinking about getting into a Shopify, I would watch for those deals. They do have a 14 day trial period, which is good to try out, and a lot of times those deals that they do, I know when I got mine hooked up, it was the end of July.

[00:04:48] Kam: It was the end of August and they had a dollar for the next three months, and then in November then I will start paying the full $29 a month, which is still pretty reasonable considering that they already have everything set up and all you have to do is put in your store information and inventory, and so there’s no setup fee to do that. You just have to pay that original $29 fee, and then as you make sales through the store, there is a 2.9% sales fee, but that does go up when you pay in the higher tiers for the monthly service, this is different than Etsy. Etsy will charge a little bit higher, uh, for the sales fee, but they don’t charge for a monthly fee, but I’ll talk about that later.

[00:05:45] Kam: You can have unlimited inventory on Shopify. There is self hosting on Shopify. And just to kind of describe how the websites are set up, you need a domain name, which is your address. That’s where you live, that’s where the website lives, or the shop or whatever. And if you go through a place like Shopify or Etsy, they will already have that address set up for you.

[00:06:16] Kam: They just add your name or the, your shop. And then that’s the link that you share when you set up a website. Your domain is whatever you give it. You have to go and purchase that and find out if that’s available. And similar to setting up a user, On any platform, any social media, whatever you go into.

[00:06:41] Kam: If it’s already used or occupied or somebody has already purchased it, then obviously you can’t. So that is the difference with Shopify, that, and you can actually purchase your own domain and use it when you pay one of the higher tiers so that it is all specifically your choice, your creation, your domain.

[00:07:07] Kam: It’s still under the Shopify umbrella though. And then to kind of help understand how the websites are set up. The site itself is your house. So when you hire somebody or you do it yourself to build the house, when you choose one of these other platforms, a diy, that kind of thing, those are kind of like going out and getting the prefab homes.

[00:07:37] Kam: When you go through Shopify, they already have those homes created, and so you can choose one of those and you can put in your own flavor to it so that it looks like your personality, but it’s still a house that they designed. So that’s just something to keep in mind. Payment receiving is already set up when you get Shopify and shipping discounts come into play.

[00:08:07] Kam: When you get into those higher tiered, uh, monthly payments. It’s extremely user friendly. I was able to set my shop up and. In just a couple of days, and I will say it did help that I already had some, um, basic foundational information on how to do that. There is a lot more that you are able to do in Shopify but if you don’t know how to set it up, it will take you a lot longer. So I do suggest finding a course, some, uh, directions on YouTube, find something to kind of help you guide those. Um, if you don’t have kind of that foundational development that, uh, you already understand. So Shopify, I highly recommend it.

[00:08:57] Kam: It’s, uh, it was started by actually a couple of guys who wanted to create their own online store, but there was nothing around that really fit their needs. And if I remember right, they wanted to sell skateboards or surfboards, one of those two. And so, They went ahead and designed their own shop, and then they have now turned it into this multi-billion dollar uh, business that’s not going away anytime soon, so you don’t have to worry about putting your shop in and something happening to it.

[00:09:36] Kam: Shopify is everywhere. There are tons of marketers and shops that most of them do a resale. That would probably be the only con, um, well, not the only con, but the biggest con about doing Shopify.

[00:09:53] Kam: That I really would say mostly because most people relate a Shopify store to a resale store. And in that situation or a drop ship store, that is when you are able to. Be the middle guy for which. Basically what Walmart does, except Walmart is able to house all of the inventory, but they actually never pay for the inventory that they have.

[00:10:23] Kam: They just sell it for other people, and that’s what your Shopify store is doing if you choose to drop ship. Now, obviously with the maker space and virtual street market, we’re trying to help crafters, and so this is a very valid option for a crafter to set up craft website shop and be able to make their sales that way. So like I said, I do recommend Shopify. I do currently have one, and the only reason that I would change anything is because I do have a background in website and WordPress.

[00:11:09] Kam: So that would be the only reason I would change. And that’s actually the segue into my next suggestion is, and another option is to do a WooCommerce sort, and that is through WordPress. And this is a platform that is completely yours. You have complete control of. You don’t purchase, You don’t do a monthly fee, but you are in charge of everything, of making sure that you have a domain of making sure that you have your hosting. And the hosting is incredibly important and really, Google won’t even pay attention to you if you aren’t hosted and you can’t even go live.

[00:11:55] Kam: But when you are hosted somewhere, you need to be sure that they are a secure hosting, that it is a good hosting option for you, and Shopify already has their own. A Woo Commerce, I would be happy to link a couple options that I currently use or would recommend, um, for the ones that I don’t. So, a Woo Commerce is a WordPress website that the Woo Commerce is a plugin that you would have to add to your site, and this gives you the option of selling items and receiving money for those items.

[00:12:42] Kam: It will keep track of inventory for you. It will set up shipping and all of the details that you need for a shop. Um, the only difference is, like I said, WordPress is not going anywhere. It actually controls two thirds of the internet. Now, most websites are on WordPress. It’s very user friendly. They have thousands of templates.

[00:13:07] Kam: They use templates that are already set up like divvy element. Oxygen. That’s just to name a couple that I’m in the community of, and it is very simple. Again, I would recommend finding a course, which I can recommend in my, in the links that, um, at the end of this one, I would recommend is Josh Hall for Divvy, and another would be Wes McDowell for Element.

[00:13:38] Kam: And these guys are great at helping you learn how to set up a divvy site in WordPress, an elementary site in WordPress. They teach you what you need to know. You guys, I set up an elementary website for myself in like a few hours, like, and now I can just kind of play with it and. Put my own look to it, my own feel to it.

[00:14:06] Kam: It’s my store. I know it’s not going anywhere. I do have to maintain it. So that would be the only thing with the Shopify, you can kind of let it go on its own. If you don’t, however, get into your Shopify and make the platform aware, and this is actually for any of the platforms. If you don’t make the platform aware that there’s activity in your site yet the platform is not going to support you and it’s not going to encourage you.

[00:14:36] Kam: If you’re on YouTube, if you’re on your own website, then you’ll attract Google’s attention. If you’re on Etsy, you are not going to get any of the traction and marketing will be harder if you don’t spend time in your shop. and I would say probably daily go in and adjust verbiage on something, add tags to something.

[00:15:00] Kam: And all of this just helps with getting the internet eyes attention. It’s kind of like the Lord of the rings that, that, um, whatever that eye the all seeing eye was called. So you wanna attract that. Um, even though, you know, we don’t carry a ring.

[00:15:22] Kam: The pros for a WooCommerce, other than it’s your platform is obviously, I said there’s no monthly down payment or no monthly payment, no membership fee that you have to be in charge of. There may be some security things that you wanna look into, those may come at a cost. That would be something that you would be able to kind of make that choice. Those aren’t decisions that are already made for you by Shopify. The look of the store’s entirely up to you. You’re not limited to one certain template.

[00:15:57] Kam: You can change templates. The customer service for WordPress, or, I’m sorry, WordPress is amazing. The community is amazing. You guys, I have been in multiple, uh, website communities. WordPress is by far unique in the fact that they share things that other website communities do not. Even when you’re trying to figure out a problem, basically I have posted issues in a Magento community, which is a lot smaller than WordPress, but it’s a very beefy, uh, word, uh, I’m sorry, website design and I got crickets.

[00:16:51] Kam: But when I go into WordPress in the community and I ask a question about an issue that I’m having, I’ll get 5, 6, 7 suggestions or recommendations or people reaching out saying, Let me know if I can help. If you need me to just take it over . So the community is amazing and I just, I have so much respect for everybody that does WordPress design and it’s just a, another great option for shop owners and it’s very easy to find people who can help you.

[00:17:33] Kam: Virtual street market is one of the one of them. We specifically have this website to help crafters who don’t know what they’re doing on that side of things. Don’t care to find out, Don’t wanna spend that time in that effort trying to figure out how to diy even the Shopify. Like I said, that one can take time to do and if you don’t understand everything that you’re working with, it can be very frustrat.

[00:18:04] Kam: So that is why Virtual Street Market came to being, because I have the expertise, I know the people who can help. So even if it’s something that me and my team can’t do, I know who to find out. And these guys know what they’re doing. They’ve been doing for upwards of 10 to 20 years. I know one guy out in Colorado, he’s been doing coding since 90 five or something like that. I, Who does coding anymore? He does. He is extremely intelligent. That is his preferred way of building a website is with coding. Which, if you’re not familiar with coding, that is creating a website purely by the way you put in numbers and letters and arranging it so that the internet sees it a certain way.

[00:19:01] Kam: Have you ever seen The Matrix ? It’s the Matrix that’s coding. And so a lot of these guys have been doing this since, you know, coding was the only way to do it. Now it’s so much easier, but that’s what Virtual Street Market was created for, was to help on that side or to connect you and to help guide you. And those are the things that I will be doing more videos and um, probably courses in the future just to help with those.

[00:19:33] Kam: So then the last one that I wanted to talk about is Etsy, and I have a bit of a problem with Etsy. I feel like I have to break up with Etsy and it upsets me. And don’t get me wrong, I, when Etsy first came out, holy smokes, I love this platform. It and Pinterest were my two go-tos. I’d be up until two o’clock in the morning on these two platforms and my husband would always know I was either in an Etsy loop or a Pinterest loop. And I always loved going on Etsy.

[00:20:10] Kam: And it was just that, that again, community of creators and people who they wanted to create and they wanted to get it out there and they wanted to share it with people, and people were buying it. Odd stuff and unique stuff or, you know, it, it was just, it was fresh and it was also vintage and supplies. So you knew that if you had buttons that you wanted to find something specific for that you could go to Etsy.

[00:20:44] Kam: You still can, and it, it is an option, but unfortunately it has also been completely overrun with upsellers and drop shippers and, I’m sorry, resellers and drop shippers. And it is being, I, I started noticing it when there was a bracelet on there that I thought was really neat and I thought, Oh, I wonder you know, wonder how that person did it. And then I went to another shop and saw the same bracelet and you guys, that had never happened before.

[00:21:22] Kam: Like crafters. We just, we don’t really do that. It’s just not our thing. We don’t copy somebody else’s design and, and that kind of thing. And I thought that was weird and I thought that actually looks like something that I could just go to Walmart or Target or Claire’s and pick out it out of their jewelry section.

[00:21:45] Kam: Even though it was a neat bracelet, it just looked off. Then I just started discovering that there were a lot of things on Etsy that didn’t really belong on Etsy. I could find Pokemon cards for my sons on there. I could find specific Legos, not like, I mean, well, some Lego sets, but if they wanted a specific person, I could find that on Etsy and as interesting and unique as that is, that’s not what Etsy should be.

[00:22:25] Kam: And even recently I had a very rather disturbing search on Etsy. I was looking for my own client’s item, and it’s just a helicopter, you guys. It seriously is basically a wind. Um, uh, weather vein and it’s in it, it’s a Vietnam era helicopter and I went searching for his shop, which is LZ Legends, That’s all it is.

[00:23:01] Kam: And it came up with some seriously disturbing. , um, shops and items, and I was really upset about it because had I had my kids standing here watching, uh, that would’ve been terribly embarrassing for everybody. And I just thought, why for one, Etsy should have a section. Uh, that’s my opinion, that they should have a separate section for some of those items.

[00:23:34] Kam: That’s fine if people are into the crafts like that, but I’m not, and that is not my choice to go and find those. So to have that in a, uh, a search was just really disheartening and it, it honestly, it kind of broke my heart. Um, some of the cons for Etsy that is that other than the fact that they have kind of gotten off of what they had originally started as they have increased their fees so now as of the time of recording this, they have increased their fees per sale for, So every time you sell an item, they will take six and a half percent of your profit.

[00:24:27] Kam: And they also have and that went from 5% to six and a half. They also have a 20 cent fee every time you list, and they also have payment processing fees, and then the shipping fees. And so you do have to be very mindful of everything that you are paying for. With Etsy, it doesn’t come in nice, neat little package of a monthly membership like Shopify does, and the more you sell, the more you will be paying them. So that is something to keep in mind. It’s not like going to a craft show and you’re paying the the vendor fee, this is every time you make a a sale.

[00:25:20] Kam: So it’s almost, it’s almost a catch 22. You wanna make sales, but you don’t wanna have to pay Etsy so much. So then there are also. Along with that, you can place ads on Etsy. Know those obviously cost as well, depending on what you wanna spend every day. It will start at a dollar, um, at the time of recording this. But you can, it’s similar to Facebook. You can spend as much as you’d like and obviously the more you spend, the more they’ll push you.

[00:25:53] Kam: But I’ve also heard that if you have an issue with Etsy, that a lot of times you don’t get a response unless you mention, uh, that you want it, you want the issues resolved before you start purchasing ads, then that’s the only time that you get any feedback or resolve.

[00:26:13] Kam: And so that’s just something that you wanna keep in mind other than the fact that there are now a bunch of drop shippers everywhere. So as much as I loved Etsy, I do not recommend going on this platform. I would rather take the time to help somebody or learn how to do a Shopify and pay a $29 fee every month and know what it is that I’m paying for, uh, rather than pay et sea to possibly get buried.

[00:26:51] Kam: Honestly, a lot of stores get buried unless they kind of I don’t wanna say pay the piper, but unless you’re buying ads and a lot of ads, because my client also pays for advertising, but he doesn’t pay much and we don’t get a lot of traffic on his shop. My shop, I don’t pay for any ads. I get no traffic. I don’t do a lot of marketing in Etsy. I do do the shop.

[00:27:24] Kam: So, and that is for the experiment that I am doing until the week of Black Friday in November. This is my a hundred day challenge that got knocked down to 50 Days if you were listening to the last episode. And so, I hope that kind of helps to distinguish between some of the, um, some of these platforms.

[00:27:48] Kam: Anyway, like I said, if there are any that in anybody has a question about, I’ll be glad to kind of dive in, ask my people about ’em, what they think about them. I have opinions on different hosting. I’ll link the ones that there are two specific that I would recommend for hosting and for also buying domain names.

[00:28:11] Kam: The, Which is not as important, but still something that you need to be aware of. So I hope that helps and let me know you have been thinking about it. If you are already on one of these platforms, if you really like the one that you’re on, why do you like it? And if you don’t, why do you not like it? Why would you switch? What would you change about it? I would honestly love to hear your feedback on that. I hope you guys have a great day, a great rest of the week, and we will talk to you next week.

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