Makers Market (RIP)

The beta test period for Makers Market has come to a close and we're bummed to announce that the doors are closing on the Market and our Boing Boing Bazaar. There is some terrific stuff in the BB Bazaar and we encourage you to reach out to the sellers directly and seek out their merchandise via other channels. Thank you to all the makers, the buyers, and our great partners/friends at MAKE! We learned a lot from this experiment and are currently exploring some new ways to create a curated catalog of wonderful things. More on that soon. The official message from our partners at MAKE follows.
After a 7 month beta test period, we're sad to report that we've reached a decision to cease operation of Makers Market and Boing Boing Bazaar. Although the concept of a marketplace for indie makers invited by the staffs of Make and Boing Boing received strong praise from sellers and customers alike, in the final analysis it is not generating the kind of sales for our sellers that we expected, nor generating the revenue we need to "keep the lights on". Working in close collaboration with Boing Boing we attracted over 150 wonderful makers with creations so magical we frequently found ourselves pulling out our own wallets to buy gifts. However, our model was predicated on a highly cooperative premise: that a marketplace of indie makers actively engaged in their respective communities would quickly begin to draw its own critical mass. In spite of our best effort, this dynamic simply hasn't evolved. Too many sellers have confided in us that they are heavily committed to other projects or too pre-occupied promoting their own sites or preexisting stores to effectively tend to their Makers Market/Boing Boing Bazaar storefront. Which means that on any given day, the only product(s) that sell well are those that Boing Boing and Make have blogged that day.

October 8th will be the last day to sell products on Makers Market and Boing Boing Bazaar. Thereafter, we will keep the market open through November 9th to facilitate communications between sellers and their customers. We will publish a full-width graphical announcement on all marketplace pages explaining that the marketplace is closed, but that orders already placed are being fulfilled, and that customers can continue to access their account and order details and can communicate with sellers as through November 9th. On November 10th, we will replace the marketplace with a static page with a message from Make and pertinent contact info.

Effective immediately, we will waive any new fees other than commissions for those sellers who wish to continue selling through October 8th. For sellers who continue to sell though Oct 8th, standard sales commissions will continue to apply.

We sincerely appreciate your investment in time and energy into Makers Market and Boing Boing Bazaar. We want you to know that we have spent countless weeks evaluating the underlying circumstances, talking with sellers, and analyzing various options. In the final analysis, we are unable to sustain the marketplace without many times the traffic we are generating. We welcome your comments and would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Please write us at help@makersmarket.com

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  1. Sucks for me. I won a contest and my prize was an item at the Maker’s Market. Several emails and phone calls over more than a month went unanswered. I guess I’ll never get that prize now :-(

  2. too bad. i bought stuff. great stuff.

    nice job curating, i loved to browse and was 100% satisfied with my purchases. i’ll miss this resource.

  3. That’s a shame. I always liked looking there, can’t say I bought anything through it though. I more or less would check it out whenever something was promoted on the site.

  4. It’s a real shame it never reached critical mass. Browsing through the curated market was always a fantastic trip. (Compared to sites like Etsy where I was constantly confounded with low quality or uninteresting stuff.) If I had the resources I would have bought half the stuff in the MM.

    I hope someone somewhere figures out how to make it work. Most of these craftspeople deserve all the fame and money they can get.

  5. I think it would be great if there was a permanent website set up somewhere that just had a list of the Maker’s Market vendors with a single photo and paragraph that exemplified their wares along with contact information. I know I saw a lot of unique cool things there and I’d like to be able to find them again.

  6. Sucks that it didnt work out.

    I understand how and why it didnt.
    I really thought it would beat the odds though.
    maybe now isnt the time. maybe the time has yet to come.

    Kind of on the same page as @simonbarsinister
    There should be some sort of memorial site.

  7. Shame. I only bought once–zombie shadow-makers for my partner’s birthday, and he looooved them–but I had my eyes on a Professor Marvel poster.

  8. In many ways, I guess I don’t understand why it even has to close. I know it costs some $ for hosting and traffic, but the commissions should cover that… No?

    Why not just leave it open and let it die slowly or maybe it will drive itself to be bigger over time and not need investment money to promote. Xmas is coming and I am just not sure 6 months is really enough time to say anything would succeed. It feels a bit like when they cancel a great show after 6 episodes because it wasn’t getting the ratings right away.

    If anyone wants a similar experience there is also supermarkethq.com which uses the same interface and is curated with better items unlike Etsy.

    1. > it is not generating the kind of sales for our sellers that we expected, nor generating the revenue we need to “keep the lights on”.

      > I know it costs some $ for hosting and traffic, but the commissions should cover that… No?

      Guess not.

  9. Sorry it didn’t work out :( But if it’s not writ in stone yet, maybe you could squeeze it through the end of the year? I wouldn’t say any retail endeavor had had a fair shake unless it’d gone through at least one “holiday season”. (I hate to say, but the seven months you all had it open was pretty much the opposite of the traditional US retail busy season.)

  10. Agreed. I was looking forward to the holiday season on Maker’s Market. I think it is extremely reactionary to close it when we haven’t seen how it does through the end of the year. I guess they are losing money on it somehow? I’m glad I only printed a few hundred business cards with that URL on them…

    Anyway – Curious Customs is still open for business on Maker’s Market. Come see us there and at World Maker Faire in NYC later this month. We’ll figure out how to keep our doors open through the holidays…

    http://curiouscustoms.makersmarket.com

  11. I’m kind bummed about this. While I made more in my own shop on my site, it was a thrill to have my stuff right next to the likes of Jordan Crane. However, I did get mentioned on the ol’ Boing and damn near sold off everything I had. Maker’s Market, we knew ye well.

    Get your Hot Pocket poster print while you can!

    http://perriconedesign.makersmarket.com

  12. I love it when really awesome stores and clubs, et al, shut down and all the cool kids come out of the woodwork to say how much they loved the place they never spent a nickle at.

    To me it’s always seemed such a middle finger in the face to the people who busted hump to run the business. But maybe that’s just me. I just hate that kind of empty platitude.

  13. Thanks for trying; the simple existence of the bazaar, and the implicit statement on the importance of art in one’s life, was not insignificant. In this digital world we internet users sometimes need a gentle reminder that there’s something special about hanging a painting on the wall.

  14. Thanks again for the positive words, all. There were actually not-insignificant costs involved for our partners at MAKE who had the platform built and really worked hard running the whole operation. And the commission on sales was pretty small (8.5%), so it really boiled down to the math. But it was fun while it lasted and, like I said, we’re already thinking up new catalog, product, and store ideas that may be lighter weight…

    1. I’m sure it took some money to get set up..but aren’t those basically sunk costs, unrecoverable even if you close it? I can’t imagine the hosting being more than a couple bucks a months. Maybe it will take off in a year or two, sometimes these things take time? I really don’t understand the reason for closing it, as opposed to just kind of letting it idle.

  15. When I heard about Makers Market I felt it was just what I was hoping for. I’ve enjoyed my participation and wish it didn’t have to end.
    I hope you do come up with something lighter weight that might allow us to continue working together.
    I plan to stay the remaining days and I wish you all the best!!!

  16. Well, I must have been just about the last person ever to have a product approved for sale in the BB Bazzar, My Crystal Jellybean Skulls went on sale there Friday with a kind mention on the Blog, and I sold out in one day! Unfortunately that one day is the only business day I had before this announcement. TOO BAD I JUST SUNK HALF THE MONEY I MADE ON MORE SILICONE MOLDS TO KEEP UP. Thanks though to everybody who ordered one (shipping soon!) and esp. to BoingBoing for featuring my product like on the main blog. I’ll still sell them anywhere I can, but my own site (www.skatemonk.com) won’t be redesigned for another few weeks.

  17. Noooo… I was really hopeful for the BB Bazzar… I was esp. psyeched for the crystal jellybean skulls…

    It’s hard to keep up this kind of business and I’m glad that you guys kept it up as long as you did… if anyone could do it, it was Boingboing. I hope you guys reconsider other avenues in the future… and makers, don’t lose hope.

    Good luck!

  18. Well I’m glad Amazon, Ebay and Etsy gave it more than 7 months to determine if they had a business. Don’t remember the BB Bazzar being promoted as being in beta, no wonder it’s dying. Everyone can setup sales platform on the internet, it’s what you do with it that counts.

    Interesting that individual makers often have their own web stores or accounts in other market systems. Maybe they didn’t get the traffic or support they deserved for another party making a commission on top.

    Sorry to see it go.

  19. Makes sense – why pay a commission when you get as much traffic to your own site? That way you keep that 8.5%.

    I mean, ebay charges 9% now but has 80 bajillion times the traffic at least.

    The fact that it is curated is probably the big issue. Etsy succeeds because the popular stuff props up the slower moving, long tail items.

  20. It’d be nice if you left the site operational, but in a limited capacity. At a minimum, leave the different sub-sites up, and allow the sellers to have those URLs perform a re-direct to their new store. Yes, there will be some overhead, but I think it would be a good gesture, and at least those who were banking on the site won’t feel as hurt or betrayed.

  21. Noooo…
    I love Maker’s Marketplace, I just never got around to buying anything there. I always planned to when I had some disposable income, but I’m a poor college student…

    Maybe they can keep the site up, but scale back on whatever part costs so much to run? I can’t imagine bandwidth is much of an issue, nor the electricity bill or curation. I’m not familiar with how it works, but if they handle distribution and keep a warehouse, maybe do away with it and make the sellers responsible? I plan to buy what I can afford between now and October to show my support either way.

  22. I third the idea for an anchor site to redirect interest. The MM experience was an exciting one, and I hope the future holds potential for this kind of animal.

    I have a shop on Etsy too, but would love to hear about other venues better suited to kinetic art, if anyone knows…

    Anyway, cheers to the MM team and all the awesome sellers. And here is my etsy shop fyi: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArtsonicDesign

  23. If you think that featuring a Makers Market item on Boing Boing didn’t drive traffic to the seller or, in almost every case, lead to a huge spike in sales, you are mistaken. The point that MAKE was making in their announcement of the closure that I quoted above is that the commission on those spikes were not enough money for this to be a viable, self-sustaining business.

  24. I wanted to be a seller at Makers Market but could not afford the steep storefront fee’s. I wanted to offer items from industrial salvage that I think would’ve been a big hit with many people to make their own things with.

    Perhaps if they had implemented a payment structure based on the final selling price they would have gotten that larger base needed to insure profitability.

    David F

  25. So sad… I was about to make my first purchase for my father’s birthday. I bookmarked the site and was excited to buy something :-( I wish there were an alternative….

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