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Monday, September 28, 2009

Promotion Through Artisan Communities and Networks

There are so many social communities that are specifically geared to handmade artists. For me, my medium is jewelry art so I have become a part of Jewelry Geeks, Beaders Showcase, The Jewelry Artist Network, and The Jewelry Makers Network. I also just became a member of The Handmade Artist Hangout which is tied into Handmade Crafts, the virtual craft show site and all it's affiliated sites.

Like any social networking site, you are given your own page to upload photos, make comments, invite friends, many of them have blog capabilities and there is usually a directory to list your online business.

One of the best ways to find the network for your specific craft is to search ning, the site where you can create your own social network...if you haven't checked this site out, it's really awesome! You can run a search of all social networks in your genre and check out all the social network sites or you can create your own!

There are so many benefits to becoming a part of these networks. They are great places to find new friends, receive support and feedback from fellow artisans, participate in targeted groups on a wide variety of subjects, take advantage of a wealth of information in the forums as well as participate in those forums, view instructional video tutorials on a wide range of topics, and they are a great way to showcase your work.

Most of these networks have a marketplaces where you can sell your designs and gain exposure to a very captive audience who loves all handmade! Many of these sites have direct links to Twitter, Facebook and other broad based social networks to enhance the number of people viewing your work.

Best of all, it's great being part of a community that shares your ideas and visions of the social benefits of buying and selling handmade.

Here are a few social networking sites to check out, in addition to the ones I listed above. Again, this is by no means a complete list, just a start to your journey into these wonderful social communities:

  • Indiepublic--an independent art and design community. If you're an artist, designer, retailer, blogger, or just someone who gets giddy when they buy indie, they've saved a seat for you!
  • MixxMade--an online community for indie artisans with a directory and marketplace to sell your designs. They have an extensive following on Twitter to increase artisan's exposure.
  • The Cafe Handmade Lounge--A social network to connect those who love to buy handmade with those that love to create handmade.Tied into Cafe Handmade Virtual Craft Show.
  • Try Handmade--indie shopping blog featuring jewelry, crafts, photography, clothing, gifts and more, all made by hand. Their mission is to to get people to move away from shopping at big box stores, and back to the more intimate and personal world of handmade.

Take a look around! I bet you'll find social networking sites tailored just for you!

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    I am an MBA Jewelry Artisan and owner of Zur Designs.  I create handcrafted jewelry using only the highest quality materials such as sterling silver,semi-precious gemstones, swarovski crystals, and pearls.

    My designs are inspired by life, love, and the beauty that surrounds me from the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts to the wonderful beaches in Rhode Island...both I consider my home.