Are you hankering to start your own online handmade craft store but are afraid of the additional costs?  Or are you an established artisan looking for more ways to sell your wares?

Here is a sweet giveaway for you. A free shop for life at the Handmade Artists' Shop (HAS) for one lucky winner!   No monthly fees, no listing fees, no commission charges, ever. Sounds great, doesn't it?

It's also a timely giveaway because Artfire recently announced  they are getting rid of their free (basic) shops.  So if this affects you and you don't want to pay for a pro shop, try your luck here!

HAS is the newest of the 3 online ventures by the couple of chain maille artisans behind Making the Best of It (MBOI) whom I have featured before. Both Andrew and Kimberly Kitchen are so passionate about handmade designs, they started the Handmade Artists' Forum (HAF) as well as the accompanying blog to build a friendly community of like-minded individuals.

About a year ago, they began HAS, a logical progression from the forum as many artisans needed an online venue.  As with any new beginning, there were some growing pains. The original site was not as user friendly as they liked. So they recently relaunched HAS using a different platform which is now "100 times better than our old platform!"

HAS charges $5 a month ($50 a year, a savings of $10) but has no listings and no commission fees. It's a very inexpensive way to have a website showing your wares. The shop is extensively promoted via Facebook, Twitter, Plurk and Stumbleupon.  They also do paid advertising through Google Adwords and Project Wonderful. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have indeed spotted their HAS Project Wonderful ads on my blog now and then).

One thing I like about HAS is the emphasis on addressing some of the pet peeves artisans have about other online market places. Their top priority is for handmade.  No commercial supplies (unless they are handmade supplies like ear wires, clasps, polymer beads or lamp work beads you make), no unaltered vintage, no mass produced items and no resale listings.

I asked them how they would define handmade.  This is what Kimberley had to say :

"As far as our definition of handmade, we racked our brains to find a line…and found out that there isn’t one! There is so much gray area that we couldn’t make a definitive rule. What we decided was that if you buy mass produced charms and put it on a mass produced chain, we don’t call that handmade. We feel that handmade, including bead stringers, must put a bit of themselves into the piece. A person that buys a stash of beads and puts them together is showing their talent and creativity in their own way. I say this because if I handed the same stash of beads to 10 people, they would string them differently from each other! If I handed those same 10 a batch of charms and chain, they would all look the same.

We don’t expect knitters to shear the sheep and spin the yarn any more than we expect all jewelry artists to create their own beads and findings (though those who do are so cool!) but we do expect to be able to see your personality in each piece. Because of all the gray area in the what is handmade argument that shows up on every forum and site, we are taking everything on a case by case basis and doing the best we can to keep HAS a purely handmade marketplace where our vendors can stand proud amongst other artists."
  Well said!

HAS is definitely a safe, family orientated site.  No mature items are allowed. I count myself as a broad-minded person but some Etsy listings sure do make my eyebrows shoot up!

HAS also does feature designer articles on their front page in a fair manner. There is no favoritism. Someone who makes low sales will have an equal chance of being featured as does a hot seller. It is first come, first served so long as your shop has a minimum of 10 items. Makes sense as there is no advantage in sending visitors to a near empty shop.

To enter this wonderful free shop for life giveaway, all you have to do is make a comment below. Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. Please say so in the comments. The giveaway ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, July 25, 2011. I will pick a winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to come back and check! Good luck!

Subscribers : To comment, click on the post title to return to the blog post. At the bottom, click on "Comments". If you do not have a website or online store, use Name/URL - and leave the URL blank.

Please note :
  • Commenting should be quicker now the bad blog code snippet has been removed. - thanks again Carol, for helping me locate it! The blog now loads fast for those affected. So if you missed commenting on last week's book giveaway, there is still time (until 6 pm EST today)
  • All giveaways are international unless stated otherwise.
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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