Tag Archives: selling art online

The Stall & Craft Collective (Exclusive Interview!)

The Stall & Craft Collective is an online craft & gift marketplace, and events directory, which launched in June of this year. This October, they’ve reached over 30,000 unique visitors and 227,000 page views — and climbing. Part of their success lies in the fact that they have undertaken an extensive marketing campaign in UK craft magazines, securing over 25 full page advertisements that have reached a potential readership of over 650,000.

stall and crafts collective

If you’re thinking, “This is just like Etsy,” well, it’s not quite the same. But I’ll let the founder of the collector, Helen Eskins, tell you more about it.

helen eskinsHello & welcome, Helen! Tell us a bit about yourself, please.

My name is Helen Eskins and I’m a mother of two from Birmingham, West Midlands. My background is on the administrative side of Child Protection and criminal law. I have been self-employed for around 11 years now, after having started a company working from home transcribing court hearings and police interviews. My own little craft business is called Harriet-Rose Crafts.

I began to attend local craft fairs and met some wonderful people along the way. I soon began to get a bit disillusioned with all the local craft fairs I was attending due to the obvious lack of advertising and promoting being done by the organisers, resulting in very poor attendance by customers, so I decided to start up my own events organising company to help my fellow crafters, a lot of whom had become very close friends. This resulted in the formation of Moon & Light Markets some five or so years ago now. Moon & Light Markets have been incredibly successful and we organise events all across the West Midlands, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire areas, until recently holding fairs once a month. This in turn then led to the idea of Stall & Craft Collective.

What is the purpose of Stall & Craft Collective:

The idea of Stall & Craft Collective was formed whilst organising craft fairs through Moon & Light Markets. I began to think how much easier it would be for event organisers if there was a website they could go to where everything they needed to organise an event was there all under one roof so to speak. My husband, Mark Eskins, had just taken redundancy from work so it seemed an ideal opportunity for us to take on a new challenge together and turn this idea into a reality.

product offerings stall craft collective ukWe want Stall & Craft Collective to provide event organisers with free advertising of their events, and in turn for potential customers to find their local events to attend. We also want event organisers and stallholders to be able to easily find and contact each other so that stalls can be filled. Stallholders are then able to list the events they are attending so customers can see where their favourite stallholders will be, and will also be able to look through the stallholders at an event they are going to, in case there is anything they can pre-order or have personalised etc.

Another wish I had was for our stallholders to be able to have a forum where they could sell their items at any given time to a nationwide audience, rather than just once a month at a craft fair. Having attended craft fairs myself as a stallholder and as an organiser, I was aware that a lot of stallholders find it difficult to make a living from their craft and I wanted to ensure that they had a selling platform without the high fees and commission taken from other high end shopping sites. We therefore decided on a small yearly fee with no commission or other charges to give an opportunity to every stallholder to join up.

We welcome all crafters, stallholders, and small business owners. There are categories to suit everybody including vintage, antiques, clothing, shabby chic, furniture, jewellery, home décor, cakes, wedding services, etc. and we welcome your suggestions for any different categories if you can’t find something suitable.

Is this just for folks in the UK?

It is at present but there may be plans to change this in the future.

(Fingers crossed!)

If you’re a buyer, just head on over to the Stall & Craft Collective Marketplace, look at upcoming fairs and events, or begin browsing news about products & sellers in the Spotlight.

If you’re an event organizer, register and list your event(s) now — for free.

If you are a maker or seller of things, however…

Here’s what you need to know about becoming a stallholder.

Prices start at just £15 per year; there is no commission on your sales.

Stallholders have three different registration packages to choose from which includes:

  • the creation of your own mini webpage
  • the opportunity to sell your items on our online marketplace
  • use of an individual noticeboard where you can advertise sales, promotions and news
  • ability to link your Social Media pages and website
  • promotion of your attendance at events
  • opportunity to submit news and interviews
  • use of a private message service

You can also keep up with the Stall & Craft Collective on Facebook & Twitter.

Struggling with Art on Online Stores


I’m trying to make my ASCII art work for the online stores. So far I am sticking with working on Zazzle (recommended by a friend with many names) and CafePress (mostly because it’s been around a long time and I like the name). It is a very uphill battle. Each time I make some progress something else comes along to slow down the progress. Sadly, I only have one image showing on CafePress though I have loaded it with 5 or 6 on products. There is that small difference of loading up images (which was the simple part) and then getting the images on products which is turning out to be the tricky part. With Zazzle there are ever more tricky parts and my patience is pretty thin with them right now.

Of course, this is not where the story began. First, before I could make even this much progress, I had to adapt my art. ASCII art is not high resolution like a photograph, so I had to find a way to change that. A few weeks later I found the solution, thanks to an obscure video on YouTube which I have not been able to find twice. That’s an adventure I will write more about on my ASCII Artist blog for those who really want to know the details. Basically, it worked!

CafePress liked most of my newly resolutioned images. Half of them were not the 600 x 600 standard though. So I went back to the drawing board, sort of literally. I opened up my old, trusty MS FrontPage Image Editor (that’s not the actual, legal name) and I cut and patched something together to make it the right size. That worked. So, except for the fact that only one image is showing up on CafePress, I am happy with CafePress. The store looks nice. However, the lack of products actually showing up is a pretty large issue.

Also, today, I noticed the store index is not really working either. On the main page I can see products for greeting cards but if you click the index it goes into denial. So, even though CafePress was less headaches to load up images and products to sell and I did finally find a widget for my store to add to the blog (not by searching CafePress) I may eventually have to dump CafePress for lack of functionality. In shorter words, it’s not working.

Zazzle’s two main problems are that it screws up the images in between the process of loading them and placing them on products. I don’t know if it does this with photos being placed on products, it may just be a text art problem. It is a pretty big problem as it means all the time I spend uploading the image and fussing over getting it all working on the product was time I could have spent having a hot shower, making fresh coffee, or just about anything else which could have been even slightly productive.

The other Zazzle problem is being forced to decide and categorize everything. Not just the image but each individual product. How do I know what occasion someone might want to send someone else a coffee mug with an ASCII art lighthouse?… Also, just finding a category for lighthouse took far more time and patience than I was enjoying.

So, chances are I will be off and adventuring into other online stores like ArtFire and the odd other which I have found in my wandering. I just want something that works, it doesn’t have to be rich and famous.