Selling Online for the first time? Check this out!

Did you know?  

Our Art + Design Department offers current students and alumni the opportunity to sell their art and handmade goods every year through the Department Gallery. The Student Art Sale is a tradition that takes place in the Fall semester and helps students promote their work throughout the University community. 
Due to the pandemic restrictions, we will not be able to host our Student Art Sale in person...
But we will make it happen online! As usual, all NEIU Art + Design students are invited to participate. All media is accepted and proceeds go directly to YOU. We will not be charging a fee for entry, but YOU the student will be responsible for all sales and shipping. We will provide the platform to spread the word around our Art Department and campus, so all we need from you is a link to your online store (: 
If you have an online store or would like to sell online for the first time keep reading! 

As someone who has owned an online shop for 3 years, I can say the most important things to have in mind before selling online are time, audience, and budget. Budget is extremely important. You will need some additional funds to purchase shipping supplies, packaging supplies, or any additional equipment. Some people may want to invest in printing business cards as well... if this is your first time selling online don't worry too much about it. A hand written note with your social media username is enough at first. If people love your work they will notice your effort and will keep on supporting you. Trust me! I had very few things when I started and have sold over 600 items as of today. 
Since our Student Art Sale will be advertised to a wide audience don't be afraid of listing just about anything you have made and are proud of. Make sure to take nice pictures. 

Some of the most common websites to sell art and handmade goods are Etsy, Ebay, Storenvy, Big Cartel, Shopify, and Wix. And yes, you might be wondering about fees to set up an online store and sale fees. 
Just wanted to say from personal experience that Etsy is a great start and one of the most common sites for artists to sell their art and handmade goods, but it will charge a fee per sale and per product listing. I used to sell on Etsy due to the exposure one gets until I was able to direct traffic myself from social media to my online shop, so I opened my shop on Big Cartel and only pay a $9.99 monthly fee for the domain + access to multiple customization and marketing features. Big Cartel does not charge per product listing and won't take any money from your sale. (Etsy is great if you want to give it a try for the first time) it's easy to navigate and will do the job quickly if you wish to participate in the Student Art Sale. Fees will depend on the price of your product and the total amount of sales by the end of the month, so don't worry about it! 
Oh and Etsy charges a listing fee of $0.20 USD for each item you list. It is not bad right? 

Our amazing NEIU Student Kellie Jarr has been selling on eBay for about a year, here's what she thinks about it: 
"I like that on eBay you can list things your first 200 items per month for free. Also you can take your item down for free if it does not sell. Or you can have it keep renewing until it does sell. When you make a sale the fees taken are relativity low. When pricing your item, I suggest using one of the eBay fees calculators you can search for online, to see how much you want to list your item.

On eBay you can set the price, to be a biding, or you can have a set price with no offers taken, or you can have a set price but allow offers between this amount and that amount of your choosing. I usually do the set amount with offers available between blank amount and blank amount of my choosing.  

EBay does not necessary get much traffic for people looking to buy art, so if you plan to use eBay for a while you will have to do your best to draw in your own crowd. If this is your first time selling online or if you plan to only sell temporarily for the purposes of the NEIU Student Art Sale, I would suggest eBay since you can take any listing down for free if they do not sell. We will be advertising this to the whole NEIU community so we will be trying to pull in some traffic for everyone selling in the sale.

If you plan to sell more permanently online I would suggest trying out a plat form that is for people are going to looking for art, like Etsy since you will get more traffic. Or if you can put in the effort to drawing your own traffic, other websites like Big Cartel are a good option. I will be using Etsy for the more recent future, since it helps bring in some traffic that I do not yet have myself.

A warning for eBay and any online selling platform, watch out for scammers. Only talk to people through eBay message, and ship directly to the address given through eBay. Scammers often try to get you to talk to them through their phone number so they can ask you to ship it to their “cousin’s address” instead. Don’t be fooled. EBay can’t protect you if you message them not using the eBay messaging system. There is no reason not to just directly talk through eBay’s messaging system. That goes for any selling plat form." 

We hope our experience helps and hope to see you participate in our Art + Design Department tradition! 
Do you have a favorite platform to sell online? We would love to read your thoughts and personal experience, please leave your thoughts below! 

Written by Jackie Sanchez 


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