The internet is full of handmade sites that an artist can use to sell his unique products. However not all of them are going to bring you closer to the public.
One of the most helpful for a starter artist is Ezebee.com. The site offers small designers a free place to sell, a community and a lot of advices on how to grow their business. And the most important thing...it offers visibility in the big ocean of the handmade trend.
I talked to Christina Muller, the social media and PR of Ezebee, who explaned me more about the site and how does it help small businesses grow.
Who are the people behind Ezebee.com?
There are two minds behind ezebee.com, Ossian Vogel and Frank de Vries, both entrepreneurs with a mind of online marketing. The ezebee team is made up of about 20 people. The site runs in 7 languages so there is at least one representative for each language and we have a team of programmers and designers working on the site as well.
Where did you get the idea for your business and when did you get started?
Ossian and Frank came up with the idea for Ezebee in the summer of 2012. The idea was to create a site where people wanting to start their own online business, but did not possess either the skills or the funds to do so. Instead, people be their own boss and offer their products or services online in just a few steps on an international marketplace platform without having to pay for it.
How did you come up with your brand name?
Ezebee come from two words that when put together embody the spirit of the site. The 'bee' represents the sense of support and community. A bee alone cannot do very much, but with help and support from the rest of the hive, they can accomplish great things! Like in business, you cannot do it alone. We think it's important to have a sense of community so, with functions like the wall feed and share options small business owners can support each other. And the "eze" means easy! With all the tools and apps Ezebee offers, running your business is easy!
It helps small business get started online without restrictions or fees that one may have to deal with on other pages. Users are open to sell what you want, open to share pages with handy buttons, open to blog about their business right within the Showroom! Getting started selling online can be done in 3 simple steps with Ezebee. 1: Open a Showroom. It's free! (Bonus: You can open multiple Showrooms if you have multiple talents!) Be sure to add a logo and a banner to personalize your page and make it more eye-catching! 2: Add products. You can make listings for products and services. Uploading nice pictures and writing descriptive texts really helps fill out your Showroom. There are no charges for posting so add as many items as you like! 3: Spread the word!!! When a new shop opens up the owners don't just sit on the block and wait for the crowd to come. Invite your Facebook friends to your shop, share your Showroom link on your social networks, post it on street signs, whatever you can do to help yourself be found. Hint: Ezebee helps too. When there are nice looking Showrooms with good looking pictures, they are more likely to show up on one of our social media pages ;)
How many businesses are now on Ezebee and from how many countries do their owners come from?
There are over 7,000 Showrooms open on Ezebee.com and users from over 84 countries! Most of the users are from Germany, Spain, the US, Brazil and other parts of South America, Canada, France, and Italy… just to name a few.
I see a lot of people starting their handmade business. What do you think makes some of them stand out from the crowd?
Standing out from the crowd depends on many factors. First of all you have to have a quality product, so put care and time into the work you do. After that, I think a big part of it is having a uniform look. Keep things consistent. Take photographs that are well-lit and in the same style as your other photos. When you change the way you photograph your products, that can be distracting. Don't get me wrong, you should photograph items multiple ways, just as long as the photographs look like they were made by the same photographer. It's also important to have an established brand look. If you have a logo, use that as your Showroom icon. Include it in your banner, on Facebook, twitter (etc.) and make sure you use the same name for all your pages. There is nothing more frustrating that seeing a name on a site, but not being able to find it on Facebook or other social media. Pick a name that is unique and a look that fits your brand and stick with it so that you can be found and remembered by your customers or potential shoppers.
Do you have a favorite product or store on Ezebee?
There are SO many things I love on Ezebee. If you want to see my favorites, check out my pinned products! http://www.ezebee.com/profile/1104/pins
Do you have some tips for the small business owners, creatives and people who like to have their own business?
When you have your own business you have to be active! Just because your items now exist on the internet does not mean that they will magically be found. Share your link wherever possible, even consider printing it on business cards. Also, don't be afraid to work with other businesses. It's good to have a competitive spirit, but it's OK to partner up with other businesses and do cross promotions. When you refer someone to a store you like, that store owner can refer you to their customers. Cross promotion can be done on blogs, Facebook, twitter, and can be as simple as sharing a link.
Is Ezebee managing any other projects to help boost the views and sales for its customers?
We are always spreading the word about Ezebee Showrooms on our social media pages. We try to do cross promotion in that way by sharing Showrooms that are active on their social media and talking about Ezebee. Hint: using #ezebee will help us see what you are saying on twitter and Facebook. We also have opportunities for Showrooms to do interviews with us.
We like to do interviews with Showrooms that have a great look, interesting products, and are active with their business. We also have a promotion that is currently available to anyone who runs a blog outside of Ezebee: http://www.ezebee.com/forums/topic/422/marketing-for-ezebee-bloggers For any other opportunities to partner with Ezebee, please use our Contact page to get in touch: http://www.ezebee.com/help/contact
Does Ezebee have future projects for its customers?
We have recently taken into account what users have been saying and are planning to make changes to the site based on user feedback. We've got big plans for 2014, so keep your eyes peeled for some new features!
Is there anything else you would like to tell me about Ezebee?
Continue on Ezebee and be active! Don't be afraid to visit the forums and start a discussion. We love to hear suggestions form users and are always trying to improve the site to make it better for our users.
Thanks to Christina for this lovely interview. To see the artists, the products or even sign up check out www.ezebee.com