I’ve got a new resource for you today! CustomMade is a fabulous website for makers, and really for you to use as a consumer as well. Here’s how it works:
1. Customers describe their idea in words or by uploading a picture right from the homepage, which currently features a gorgeous picture of a leatherworker in the midst of painting a piece.
Then they’re prompted to sign up or sign in. They can use Facebook or just an email address.
Once they’re signed in, there’s a step by step process for finding a maker to create their custom piece for them. Step 1 is briefly explaining what they want. Step 2 is how much they want to spend. Step 3 is a one-word answer of what they want made (table, shoes, necklace, etc) and their zip code. Step 4 asks them how they would like to find makers: either with the CustomMade Concierge who gives them a list of a few perfect makers or with a contact system that has all the makers contact them directly to bid on the project and work out details. Both methods let the customer pick the final maker of their piece and appears that there’s no commitment until they’ve settled on a maker.
Then they’re sent to a page letting them know the project is in process and they should hear from interested makers within 1 day. The page has an activity tracker that summarizes their project request too.
2. Alternatively, that customer can click over to categories of popular projects like rings, bookcases, or cabinets. And they’re confronted with lots of cool projects that have been completed and look great!
3. As a maker, you click the Maker Signup button in the top right.
The page gives you the option to join right away or to read more about CustomMade. The video outlines the reason behind the site and what it can do to help you build relationships with your customers and create beautiful art and objects for a living.
500,000 visitors come to the site monthly. As a maker, you get notified when new project requests are posted so you can contact the customer and see if you can help them fulfill their dream. You keep an unlimited portfolio of projects so customers can see what you’ve made before and decide to work with you based on your portfolio. These customers can contact you directly to work out a custom project.
The payment system is pretty open, allowing you to take payments via check, credit card, or Paypal. And their policy is “we only make money when you get work.” So your membership is free. Posting work and contacting potential customers about their projects is free. And when you make a sale, they simply get a 10% commission, high but not outrageous and probably worth it for most handmade businesses.
Overall, the site is just a really great place to connect makers with people who value one-of-a-kind and enjoy the ability to customize their needs. It’s a long overdue resource that I can see becoming a really great aspect of many artists’ businesses. Pop on over and let me know what you think in the comments!