Taking Handmade Britain to a Global Market

With the UK’s economy improving and attitudes towards women in business shifting – albeit gradually – has there ever been a better time for women to take the initiative and become entrepreneurs?

The time is now

While Britain’s economic near-future does, for the time being, remain wobbly, it seems that the worst is now behind us. Taking that along with developments in technology and connectivity, and the growing acceptance of e-commerce, there really has never been a better time to set up shop.

We have the technology

For women, maintaining an online presence is just as integral – if not more so – than getting established on the bricks-and-mortar front. By having a professional website developed and engaging with users across the core social media platforms, the geographical barriers of trading and engaging have well and truly been lifted.

One of the most significant by-products of the gargantuan rise in smartphone and tablet technology has been the uptake of e-commerce and m-commerce. Sites like eBay, of course, thrived even when desktop computers served as the primary platform for accessing the internet. Now, however, more people shop on the site as it has grown even more accessible through simple mobile apps and payment processes. This means more and more people have set up shop on the site, using it as a complementary sales platform to a main website.

Another big name in the e-commerce arena is Etsy, a site specialising in items with a vintage or antique twist, particularly handmade goods. Just like eBay, businesses with brick-and-mortar stores or those run from home can set up shop on Etsy, tapping into the potential offered by the site’s vast number of daily visitors. Sites like Etsy have made things even easier for SMEs looking to reach out from the shores of Britain and tap into a global market. Following a recent update from the quirky retail website, many listings are now viewable in other languages besides English, significantly increasing the reach of UK SMEs utilising Etsy. That said, retail platforms shouldn’t serve as a replacement for a main website, which allows firms to provide their customers with a recognisable brand and central hub.

Just do it

The best advice for women looking to start a business is to get the thinking cap out and just go for it – use social media, network with other businesses in your area where possible, attend any relevant shows or conferences and speak to women who have already established enterprises of their own. With attitudes in the UK towards female professionals – and the opportunities available to them – slowly but surely changing for the better, there’s no doubt that in the near future, we’ll see more British women in business.

Top sales platforms for handmade products

Etsy The world’s largest handmade sales platform. Currently it costs $0.20 to list an item for 4 months and Etsy collect a 3.5% fee on the sale price.
Folksy Aims to be the UK’s leading handmade platform. Folksy currently charges £0.15 + vat to list an item for 4 months and takes a 6% commission on all sales.
Wow Thank You For UK based non mass produced artisans.
Not Mass Produced Potential sellers are hand-picked for this site.
My Own Creation Products listed in the marketplace also appear on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Listings from just 10p per month and there is no commission on sales.
DaWanda Europe’s biggest online marketplace for unique and handmade items. There is no charge to list an item and there is a 5% commission on any item sold.
Not on the High Street Doesn’t accept all sellers. Annual membership fee and commissions.

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