Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I've Been Spotted! Hotlist: IndieSpotting

I've been checking the website for what felt like days and days and I've finally been selected on IndieSpotting!  Go, click, view the front page before my fabric flower gets moved to page 2 to make room for new finds!

My fabric flower is not Valentine's Day specific like many of the other entries on the front page, but it was selected anyway and I couldn't be more thrilled!  Because of this, I've decided to do a special Tuesday edition of my EB Hotlist and give you guys all the scoop on IndieSpotting.  Yup, that's right.  Get excited! ;)

If you've checked out my previous post on CraftGawker and their gallery of handmade items you're going to already be familiar with the IndieSpotting concept.  (Keep reading anyway though.  You'll want to hear the site-specific features.)  Artisans are allowed to submit photos of their work with direct links to the product.  Then IndieSpotting staff reviews the submissions and posts the ones they feel are of the best quality.  According to their website, the reasons most photos are rejected are because of:
  • Improper exposure (too dark, blown out, etc.)
  • Lighting (color cast, harsh shadows)
  • Poor resolution or distortion
  • Out of focus
  • The photo is smaller than 200px square
  • The photo doesn't appear at the link provided
  • The photo contains distracting text or a watermark
  • The link provided is dead or incorrect
  • Your item sold out or your shop is closed
  • The item has already been featured
Fans of handmade can submit products from other people but are required to give appropriate attribution.  If your products are listed on the site and you don't want them to be, you can just ask to have them taken down.  I'm not sure why you'd do this though because having your items in the gallery equals free exposure for your business and allows you to connect with people you may not have otherwise reached.  Over 5000 people subscribe to the twitter feed, they're the #1 Google result for "indie handmade finds" and front page for "handmade finds" so I would assume that their website receives quite a bit of traffic.

Once your photo has been accepted, it is featured in the gallery on the front page.  When people click on your photo, they're taken directly to that listing in your shop.  This increases your traffic and allows your target buyers to purchase that item and/or browse the rest of your store for similarly styled products.  On a regular basis (usually daily) the site is updated with fresh finds on the front page.  Not having photos added on a continual basis throughout the day allows for prolonged front page exposure for those who have just been accepted.  Right now there are 56 pages in the IndieSpotting gallery which means that your photos also don't just drop off into complete obscurity as soon as they move from the front page.  The same can't be said of some other front pages, like Etsy for example.

If you make soaps, beauty products, or other replicable items, pay attention to this part.  When you go to IndieSpotting.com, you're actually viewing a portion of a larger website called MyShoppingConnection.com.  They've got a much more in-depth submission form on the main site, but it's worth taking the time to fill everything out.  No one-of-a-kind items are accepted.  You can highlight your promotions and/or charitable giving (if applicable) and you can even submit non-returnable samples to their staff for a chance to get a huge Editor's Pick feature at the top of the front page:

There's also plenty of space for advertisement if you want to place a paid ad with them.  You'll need to contact them to find out their ad prices.  I generally stick with sites that use Project Wonderful, but if you have the budget you may want to consider requesting a media kit from here.  You can also list yourself in the ShoppingByMail directory for $25/year or in a Holiday Gift Guide for $5.  I missed the deadline for the Valentine's Day guide by a couple of days because I had to wait on my paycheck (yes, I'm a bit brokish) so unfortunately I can't review that feature for you from a seller's point of view.  If you're on IndieSpotting and go to the bottom right corner, you'll see a graphic to connect you to the guide:

There's only one page of items displayed so participating in these guides may be a way to increase traffic to your shop.  If this feature is any indicator for future guides, they will be available on the site for a month.  $5 for 1 month is thrifty enough even for me (well, most months)!  There are other opportunities via IndieSpotting and MyShoppingConnection to be featured, to have your work displayed, or to view fashion trends so be sure to explore the "Reading" tab on the MyShoppingConnection page for more information.

If you're a consumer of handmade, these sites are relatively easy to browse.  There is a lot of content and there are advertisements on both sides of the page at MyShoppingConnection, but you'll find a lot of great products listed there and links to the ones at IndieSpotting.  IndieSpotting is much more streamlined and trendy looking and can be fun to browse when you have time just to click through the pictures and see what grabs you.

Have you been spotted or featured at IndieSpotting?  Have you purchased something you've seen on IndieSpotting or MyShopping Connection?  Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

*P.S. The picture that got featured here on IndieSpotting was rejected by CraftGawker for being, and I quote, "dull/unsharp."  Dull?  Ouch!  While submitting photos and hearing rejection is not fun, don't give up if your first submissions don't make it through.  Keep taking pictures and submit your best work, preferably to more than one website.  What one staff team may not like, another may decide to feature!*


juliecache said...

thanks for stopping by wanderingknits earlier. i appreciate your post a LOT as I've been thinking of moving to pro crafting instead of dabbling. I took notes, even!

Elle said...

I'm glad you found it informative! I try to post review articles like this at least once a week so be sure to check back Friday evening or Saturday morning!

Another good blog to read if you're interested in starting a business is Timothy Adam's. http://timothyadamdesigns.blogspot.com/ I'm not a huge fan of his blog design, but he's immensely successful so he's a good resource.

Thanks for reading!

Engagement rings said...

Nice!! I have checked all contents of your blog, they all are so attractive and gorgeous, but that one you posted is pretty well.
Engagement Rings

Elle said...

Thanks so much! I'm going to be posting again starting this week so I hope to chat with you!