Epla.no – was launched 2 weeks ago, and it looks like it will take off as the place to buy and sell handmade items from artists and designers all over Norway. I opened my store yesterday, and am thrilled that I have been featured on the front page already!
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Epla is much needed in the norwegian handmade market. At a time when buying handmade is more appreciated than ever (read my post on buying handmade), Epla really has found its niche, the question now solely lies on whether or not they can reach the public at large. Only time will tell, and I will do my best to spread the word.
The Norwegian market is a unique one. The cost of living in Norway – compared to North America or many other European countries is drastically higher. Trust me, coming from life on the other side of the pond, it was a huge awakening. Do not get me wrong, the quality of life in Norway far far outweighs the costs! But when it comes to making a living (or at least a profit ) on your art, many struggle, and competing with other artists worldwide is almost impossible. Everything including the cost of raw materials (even when you import them yourself at wholesale prices), tools/equipment and what one needs to charge labour-wise on an hourly basis adds to much higher pricing.
Many norwegian artisans/designers have tried Etsy to some level of success, but many have resorted to lowering their prices to compete for their share of the market. It is a losing proposition for norwegian artisans, and until now, the norwegian market was difficult to reach for the typical artist who lives rurally. Participating in fairs and markets in the larger cities is a costly and time consuming business (shameless plug – hehe: meet me at DogA’s design market this weekend). Hopefully Epla.no will fill the void, allowing us to create and sell from the comfort of our studios while having the marketing done on a larger scale. The key here will be to see how Epla develops, adding features and allowing those who wish to grow with them to benefit from the broader market that Epla is able to reach… and of course it is up to each and every one of us who has decided to open an Epla shop to keep the standards high. Providing quality products and good service – not to mention ‘eye candy’ to keep the customers coming.
Check my shop next week, after the Design show at DogA, I will have some time to fill my shelves… stay tuned.