What do you get if you breed eBay with a crafts fair? An online, community-driven market that connects individual designers to consumers who love unique, handmade goods.
The steps are simple: Own a digital camera, and you're a few clicks away from starting your own business. But be careful not to compare these DIY outlets with sites like Threadless -- where artists can submit their art to be voted on. While both types promote community involvement and empower independent designers, DIY sites don't require voter approval -- anyone can submit and sell their handmade products with the click of a button.
It's like going to a flea market on the internet. Sites like these have branded themselves and make appearances at local shows such as Unique LA, which can draw crowds of about 15,000 during a weekend event.
Here are TakePart's four favorite DIY destinations for local artists and their awesome hand-crafted goods.
With an interactive homepage featuring the latest items and news on DIY fashion, it's hard not to include this website on our list, despite its home base being in Europe. DaWanda does international shipping if you really fall in love with one of its items. (But you might want to ride your bike for the next couple days to even out the carbon footprint of your new purchase!)
Made it Myself is a comparatively small DIY online market, but a couple of features separate this site from the rest. First of all, the custom theme change makes the site extra fun to browse. The real attention catcher is that people can post their local nonprofit organizations on the site so the 4000+ members can easily make donations. Currently, only five nonprofits are listed;so make a move if you want your nonprofit to be an early adopter!
With its visually intuitive layout for easy shopping, Supermarket is a straight-to-the-point marketplace that does simply one thing: connect the consumer directly with the designers. There's no online forum -- no personalized profile accounts here -- but they do feature a "superblog" of posts relating to the DIY world.
Watch out, Etsy! Cargoh has been exploding in products and popularity in the DIY world and may prove to be quite the competitor. With its elaborate website and booming community forum and blog, this site has gained a chattering following and is poised to go places -- in fact, there's even a tab for "events" of all the fairs and venues Cargoh will be attending.
From our friends at TakePart.com, who cover the culture and lifestyle of change.