How to apply as an artisan

Massimo Rossello

As we enter a phase where we’ll launch a campaign for more artisans to join, I will also take the chance to clear up, below, what is the intended nature of the project, what are the general criteria for being accepted as an artisan and why.

In order to apply, an artisan can visit our homepage, scroll down to the “opportunities for artisans” section, and drop an email there (if you are browsing as a registered user, you will only see a button as we have your email already). You can also take first contact writing an email to info@artistii.com.

Why apply on Artistii rather than Amazon Handmade, Etsy or eBay? Because our value proposition is different, and this is what we are going to explain with our campaigns that are next to come.
If you look at Amazon’s presentation video at https://youtu.be/4yBNMzo6UIo, you can see artisans mostly sit at their PC desk creating their page. If you, as a customer, browse Etsy, you will fight to emerge as relevant amongst hundreds of nice pictures of items from hobbyists (which is nice if you are looking for that).

Our aim is at first to help and protect crafting traditions and quality handmade products, both from western countries and (hopefully) rural areas, from craftsmen that are not web specialists nor gurus about self marketing. And as a customer, I want to be able to access to products that I can’t likely find at my corner nor easily find on the internet, because I want original pieces for me, for my house and for presents I’ll do.

This is why we will select our artisans and will provide them with a full set of free services (free for them), building their personal and product pages out of their raw material, doing marketing for them, mediating customer relationships and even organising shipping.
Being selected means respecting some rules about the kind of products and quality, but also means to gain a personal brand and reputation that comes from being selected. For the customer, this means the possibility to browse through all relevant handmade and original crafts, rather than push through dollies and wooden letters (with all respect to dollies and wooden letters…).

So here are the three main rules (of thumb).

The item shall be original. Original for us means to have a tradition behind, or a strong story, not just an original design. I can find original design at every jewellery in my city, but I can find similar unusual design anywhere.
Instead, hand-weaving makes a scarf original, because it keeps a long tradition and a few are still doing so.
An exception to this are world-recognized artists, or artists with a very particular or fresh style. This means that paintings may be listed, but they should really stand out. A still life would not do.

Second practical rule, is that even if the items are original, they should not be unique pieces. This seems a contradiction, yet it is not. Of course in practical terms having an item on sale that is reproducible, means that we just have to control stock availability, rather than add products after products. We couldn’t follow every single unique piece, unless they are very expensive ones.
However, if you think for a while, a tradition builds over things that are reproducible. Items are unique because handmade, original because nobody does so in my backyard, traditional because reproducible. At least, they are reproducible in style. Maybe, one product listing could describe a line of items under some particular characteristics, where differences are described precisely so that the customer wouldn’t complain for difference wrt the picture seen. It is possible to start a conversation with the customer, too.

The third is also a practical rule: shipping costs must be reasonable. Currently we can sell to EU countries, with a particular target to UK for the moment, and costs within EU are always reasonable. Shipping rates from India are reasonable enough. A lot depends on the item price, so that the shipping costs should be a reasonable percentage. We’d love to sell aboriginal crafts from Australia, but we need to build the channel first, so that we can gather many orders together; this is not possible tomorrow, even if we have strategies that we can apply in the future.

So we’d be grateful if you would point artists and artisans to us, possibly compliant with the above rules. However, we can always talk and try to find a reasonable setting, provided that there is quality.

Thank you for reading until here.