People always ask me - How or where do you sell your jewelry? Well, I'm primarily a teacher. I used to do two fine craft shows a year in Los Angeles, but since I moved to Richmond, taking part in shows took a back seat. Most of them are outside, and I just don't want to set up a tent or sit in the rain anymore. And the holiday shows in town are not really my market. And I haven't had a shopping cart of any kind for years. My website had also fallen into disrepair so I finally decided to do something about my online presence.
I started doing a tiny bit of research and decided that I wanted to use Square. Little did I know that SquareSpace and SquareUp are two entirely different platforms! When did I discover that little bit of information? Why, after my SquareSpace site was done of course (except for the shopping cart). And why did that make a big difference for me? Because I wanted to continue to use my Square account for the banking portion of my shopping cart. SquareSpace uses Stripe as their e-commerce provider (which has a pay as you go option, but it looks like that's in addition to the SquareSpace per transaction fee).
I have to say, both SquareSpace and SquareUp were super easy to use, set up, personalize, etc. Especially for someone like me who thinks they have no computer skills other than surfing Pinterest or commenting on FaceBook. I don't even know everything about Word or this blogging site.
Here's what I found out:
• There's a small monthly fee for the website, made smaller if you actually pay yearly.
• There's also a small per transaction fee.
• You can use a custom Domain
• Options for pages, drop downs, slideshows, galleries, blogs, and other fabulous options are pretty close to endless
• There are many templates to choose from
• The ability to simply drag and drop images into all of these options is super user friendly
• I never got around to setting up the commerce section so I can't speak to anything that concerns that
• If you scroll to the bottom of any of the website pages, you can take a tour of others who have used SquareSpace to set up a website (I find this very helpful)
• There are tutorials on YouTube created by 'real people' to help you along your path
• They have 24 hr. live help if you get in trouble
• There is absolutely no fee at all for the website
• There is a small per transaction fee
• You can use a custom Domain
• Options are limited! Text fonts, placement, photo options, etc. are set in stone. Like it or leave it
• There are only four, very similar, templates to choose from
• The ability to upload photos is super easy and user friendly
• No one has purchased anything yet so I don't really know exactly how the commerce section goes, but it sure looks pretty!
• There is very little information or help to set it up (I'll help if you need it)
• It's super easy to create your site with any template, then use the Store Editor to test out other templates to see which one suits your needs best.
• SquareUp is partners with Weebly and three other e-commerce providers if you want a more inclusive website. I hear Weebly is also super easy to use - but haven't tried it.
• This is a scroll only website. No separate pages. No link options. No anything fancy.
I'm not good at promoting my work for sale. If someone asks me, now I can direct them to my web store. But mostly I'm a teacher, so I wanted to include some information about my classes for potential students. Because SquareUp doesn't offer any way to include separate text pages (except an 'About' section) I used the 'Events' option (instead of 'Goods or Services') to add text. The dropdown options fall under the 'Shop' link, and you can have as many as you want - I have one for my jewelry, one for classes, one to list my blogs. 'About' and 'Contact' have their own links. I also wanted to have an area for testimonials, so I created a jpg image in Photoshop and was able to plug it into one of the permanent image sections of my template. At some point I also want to use a custom font to superimpose "Lora Hart Jewels" over the photo of the lover's eye brooch, but I need someone with Illustrator to help me out with that. (Photoshop is too pixillated)
You might want to have a number of sections for 'Bracelets', 'Necklaces', 'Earrings', etc. Someday I might want to add a new section for specific workshops so students can pay online. If you don't mind the scrolling, and like the simple, but clean and modern, template - SquareUp might be a good platform to start with. Even if you already have an Etsy site, It wouldn't hurt to have another place to direct your customers.
My website can be found at www.lorahart.com (for those creating a custom domain - it took a full two days for mine to become functional. The SquareUp URL worked perfectly until then).
Come and test it out, and tell me what you think. Thanks for reading, and good luck setting up a fabulous website of your own.