#THELABCHAT: The Handmade Directory – Why We Need It: READ MORE HERE
Makers want to be discovered. This simple statement is at the core of why I started IAMTHELAB over 3 years ago. Since then, I’ve featured thousands of artists and makers from around the world, in a plethora of categories. From self-hosted shops to shops nested on Etsy, Big Cartel, Squarespace, Shopify and more, the LAB is a great place to find new modern makers to add to your personal handmade collection.
As much as I love blogging and the art of discovery, I’ve noticed that, no matter how big and comprehensive the blog bceomes, it’s still not the best format for searching. No, you definitely need a different format for large-scale search, and being able to find makers is really essential. On the E-commerce side of things, none of the major e-commerce platforms have directories and for good reasons: they’re designed to promote the act of setting up your own autonomous stores, not to become one. (My favs Big Cartel explain it quite well here.)
Then there is Etsy. Where do we begin? Great makers get lost in the morass of nonsense that populates and proliferates over there. Modern makers find themselves floating in a crowded sea of not-so-handmade goods and crafty-crafts, making it especially challenging to stand out and be discovered. If it wasn’t for the LAB and probably Uncoverly (which you all should be using, BTW), most modern makers who only have Etsy shops do not get the exposure they deserve.
Another thing to consider when it comes to search is the brick and mortar aspect. There are a lot of shops that feature handmade and are looking for fresh makers to collaborate with. Shop owners know that there is a renewed interest in both supporting makers and especially championing creatives who live locally. No online platform exists to help shop owners fulfill either of these missions. That is, until now.
@ellomakers @ellodesign @elloart @ellofashion @ellofuture