Setting up Shop: Look like You're Big-Time

By Melanie Burk.

Seven years ago, the only options for a shop online were expensive and complicated. Most cost thousands of dollars to set up and had a pretty complicated back-end. I know, because that is how I started my shop. Today there are practical, easy, and professional platforms to choose from. Which platform is best for you? It depends entirely on you and your audience, your marketing plan, and your skill set.

Here are the two best platforms for hosting a shop online:

1. Etsy

Etsy is a great place for crafters. It has a simple back-end, and is easy to get everything up and ready for sale. One of Etsy's best features is the community of artists it supports. It is great for creatives who are just starting out and don't necessarily have a customer base. If you don't have a marketing plan for yourself, are simply testing out products, or are just getting started—etsy is a great place for you. One negative of the platform—it is impossible to customize and make it look more like your brand.

2. Big Cartel

Although newer to the game, Big Cartel has some huge strengths it brings to the table. The back-end is as smooth as can be, and its platform makes it appealing to all types of creatives. Unlike Etsy, it isn't limited to just crafts. Another great thing about Big Cartel is how customizable it is; creatives can set their shop to look seamless with their site and/or blog. Big Cartel is great for beginners to advanced creatives and for those who already have a marketing plan worked out.

For more details on how to decide between these platforms, Cargoh and other online platforms for your site, be sure to sign up for Melanie Burk's Setting up Online Class in September! Image by Leah Duncan.

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Eden Hensley

Marketing creative, community engagement specialist, technophile, photographer, food and wine enthusiast, and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Road to The Good Life, a lifestyle blog about appreciating and enhancing your life by being grateful for the "haves" instead of lingering on the "wants." There you will find personal stories about my life and family weaved in with real-life, achievable entertaining tips, recipes for hearty home cooked meals, and DIY projects for capturing and sharing memories. I believe the best place to swap stories is over a shared meal, preferably a Thai-meal served family style, and teach an online introduction class to Thai Flavors and host the Family Dinners at The Station supper club in San Francisco.