Big Cartel or Etsy?

  • 8 March 2022
  • 7 min read
Big Cartel or Etsy?

We often see headlines like “Big Cartel vs. Etsy” or people asking “Should I use Big Cartel or Etsy?” It’s a good question.

To tell you the truth, we’re fans of Etsy as well. They’ve done a lot for the handmade world and provide a great tool to help you make money following your passions. Many sellers use and enjoy both services, and like Big Cartel, Etsy was created in support of artists. But we've heard from others who have stepped away from Etsy, and because your needs may change over time, we thought we'd make a few key differences clear.

Don't get lost in the crowd

A community marketplace like Etsy is essentially one giant shopping cart, with products from hundreds of thousands of sellers all under one umbrella. It can be a great way to get your products thrown in the mix, but it’s very difficult to market your own unique brand, and very easy to get lost in the crowd.

Or put another way: When someone buys your goods, you want them to tell their friends they bought it from you, not Etsy.

So, while a marketplace might be great for limited-run handmade goods or an artist still looking for those initial sales, it may not be where you want to establish your online home.

Your own store


Ceramic Rituals

Big Cartel is all about each individual artist, and we give you the keys to your own store. Setup is a breeze, and you're free to customize it any way you'd like, from colors to graphics, and even your own custom domain name. Think of it as having your own brick and mortar shop versus a booth at a craft fair.

It can take a little longer to build your traffic and customer base away from a community marketplace, but once you do you’re no longer sharing them with your competition or getting lost in the crowd.

Sell (almost) anything

You can sell almost anything with Big Cartel. From handmade to vintage, digital products to rare vinyl toys - Big Cartel supports artists and DIY entrepreneurs making money doing whatever it is they love doing.

We keep things simple


This is the easy part - one flat monthly fee. Big Cartel has offered a slim-featured free plan since 2006 — it's a fully functioning shop with no trial period to use for as long as you like. And our full-featured paid plans are only $9.99 or $19.99 a month. In comparison, Etsy charged a 3.5% transaction fee on every sale prior to 2018, and that's steadily increased to a planned 6.5% fee beginning in April 2022.

To be clear, Big Cartel doesn't take a cut from your sales and we don't charge listing fees. Your listings never expire, no matter how much you sell. Just pick the number of products you want, and you can always move up or down if needed. No surprises. With a marketplace, you could be charged to list the product for sale, then charged again once someone buys the item.

Heads up: Payment processors, like Stripe and PayPal, do charge a percentage of each transaction they process. These are the same fees you'll find anywhere, and they exist to support the service and security they provide.

Another benefit is that we never ask your customers to sign up to become a member to shop in your store. With Big Cartel, your shoppers can buy your product directly from your store and go about their day. This also keeps their order history private, as it should be — we won't follow them around the Internet.

Direct communication

Shoppers can message you directly through your store’s contact form. No separate inbox, no forwarded conversations - questions and compliments go straight to you. You can respond directly to customers from any device. Easy!

And that customer info is yours. When you earn their sale, you can give shoppers an opportunity to sign up for your mailing list, and you'll have their email address if you need to reach out with any order details. You did the work to build your audience, so we're not gate-keeping their details. (Of course, you're still expected to use that info responsibly. Follow the FTC's guidelines to stay out of hot water -- and in your customer's good graces!)

You're in good company

We have a growing community - over a million artists and entrepreneurs call Big Cartel home. If your end goal is to build a unique brand that allows you to make money doing what you love, at some point you’ll need a personal storefront to help you step confidently onto that stage. We've got you.

The Big Cartel team is made up of musicians, crafters, photographers, and other creative people just like you. Sleep easy knowing we'll always have artists' best interests at heart. And because Big Cartel continues to be a privately-owned company of around 40 individuals, we can make choices about what's best for our team and our customers, not any stock-holders looking to cash out.

All the tools you need

Big Cartel gives you all the tools you’ll need to build your store and track your progress along the way. We have built-in tools for product management, promotion, search engine optimization, customization, and more.

You also have the option to integrate with a bunch of third-party apps to make your life even easier! Some apps we love include:

  • Zapier for automating everything from email marketing to social media.

  • PirateShip for getting discounted USPS shipping for all of your orders.

  • Printful and Art of Where for custom product manufacturing and shipping.

  • Elfsight for adding eye-catching pop-ups, image carousels, customer reviews, and other widgets anywhere in your shop.

Plus, with our friendly support team and a vibrant help area, Big Cartel gives you everything you need to get out there and do it on your own.

Ready for the next step

If you’re ready to take your business to the next level and establish your own unique presence online, why not take Big Cartel for a spin? If you already have an Etsy profile or a shop with Shopify or Squarespace, you can quickly load your catalog into your Big Cartel shop with our product import feature. You can sign up for a free Gold account and kick the tires for as long as you’d like. After that, upgrading is simple if you think we’re right for you. Start your store today.

8 March 2022

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