Combines Indie Products with Popular Bloggers in a New Online Marketplace

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

Can indie products + referrals from popular bloggers = online success? hopes so.

curated online marketplaces

I actually discovered this new curated online marketplace from one of the popular blogs that has a shop there, Cool Mom Picks. Another popular wedding blog, Green Wedding Shoes, also has a boutique there. Essentially bloggers become tastemakers, open up their own curated shop on and fill it with their favorite products from indie makers. It is affiliate marketing, but done in a more stylish/seamless way.

How Does Work?

As an indie shop selling on, you will always get paid the wholesale price (50%) when your product sells.

If one of’s tastemakers adds your products to their curated shop, and it sells, then they earn retail markup revenue. Their revenue varies on whether the sale came from traffic from their site, or the landing page, or from another shop, so it is worthwhile for the bloggers/tastemakers to expose your products to their targeted audience.

Also, your products can be in more than one tastemakers’ boutique, widening your exposure. There are no other fees and the indie shop is responsible for shipping all product.

curated online marketplaces

Types of Products Features

Right now the types of products on include home, kids and fashion accessories. There are currently over 65 tastemaker boutiques and hundreds of products listed.

If you are interested in selling on, you can apply here.

Need Some Fresh Marketing Tactics for Your Small Business?

attentiongetting_marketing_graphicWhether you’re an online business, retail storefront, professional office, restaurant, individual entrepreneur – any type of small business, I can evaluate your current marketing efforts and give you a complete plan of new ideas and tactics, specific to your business and target market – that will work! Just visit my Marketing Services page or contact me at to discuss. 



AHAlife is a Curated Marketplace Where the Sellers Get the Spotlight

by G.B. Oliver

AHAlife is a curated marketplace with products for men, women, home, beauty, dining and tech from independent brands and may be an option for your products.


Focuses on the Brand

There are some great products featured in this marketplace, but what I really loved about AHAlife’s approach is their focus on the brands and the companies behind them.

ahalife online marketplaceEvery product listing includes a short writeup about the company at the bottom (you can click on a link to get more information) as well as shows other products in their line. On the home page, you can see the top 5 selling products, as well as the top 5 selling brands. They really make an effort to help the sellers carve out an identity in their marketplace.

Case in point, you can visually search through the various brands’ shop images, to quickly discover a company that you may not have found if searching by product.

ahalife marketplace online

So AHAlife isn’t about just setting up a shop and selling stuff. It’s about allowing indie sellers to establish a brand, a product line, a company and an identity, and that is what you should aspire for if you are serious about the products you create and want a customer base that will be loyal to your brand and recommend you to others.

Indie sellers can apply to have their products sold in the AHAlife marketplace, or recommend products, here.

Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 2.48.06 PMAbout the Author: I’m G.B. Oliver, a small business marketing consultant. I can create a complete & detailed Marketing Action Plan for your small business. Inquire using the form below.

© 2014 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved

OpenSky – Another Interesting Competitor in the Online Marketplace

by G.B. Oliver

I recently came across the online marketplace, OpenSky. It has been around since April 2011, but it just relaunched this month as a full-fledged online marketplace.

This blog post made the New York Times Small Business page, May 20, 2014
This blog post made the New York Times Small Business page, May 20, 2014

Like others in this category, they have unique features for artisans and independent sellers who want to get their goods in front of more buyers. Some of these unique features include a customer referral points program (which encourages your buyers to recommend you), and that your shop can also make money if your customers buy from another OpenSky shop, sort of an affiliate program arrangement.

OpenSkyHow OpenSky Works

  • They act as a merchant portal
  • One shopping cart checkout (buyers can buy from multiple stores in one purchase)
  • If you bring your customers to your OpenSky shop, you keep 100% of the sales
  • If existing customers on OpenSky come to your shop, you keep 80% of the sales
  • If you bring your customers to OpenSky and they buy from another shop there, you get a 10% bonus

What’s Unique About OpenSky

It really takes advantage of the social aspect of shopping online. OpenSky provides incentives for shoppers to spread the word to their friends with a points program. For example, for each friend a buyer invites, they get 100 points. For every friend that joins with Facebook connect, they get 2,500 points, and when their friends buy something, they get 10,000 points.

The accumulation of these points raises a buyer to various status levels, and each level gives the buyer greater shopping credits each month and other perks like free shipping. Everyone even gets a $10 credit just for joining.

This is a great way to get buyers to be loyal to an online marketplace. OpenSky currently has 3 million members and 2,000 vendors.

What Does This Mean For Sellers?

  • You get more ways to earn, other than just your sales revenues
  • OpenSky’s point system encourages loyal and regular buyers, which sellers benefit from
  • Getting customer referrals has never been easier with the 10,000 points buying incentive (it doesn’t cost you, it costs OpenSky)

As the online marketplace continues to evolve, it is interesting to see what new features they can offer sellers and buyers, and what this means for the future of online shopping.

G.B._OliverNeed Help Marketing Your Online Business? I offer a variety of affordable marketing services. Just contact me at or use the contact form below. Also, check out my Ebook Shop for more marketing advice.

© 2013 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.

Storenvy, Another Player in the Online Marketplace

by G.B. Oliver

You know Etsy, Artfire, Lilyshop, Fab, but do you know Storenvy?

Storenvy touts itself as the only store builder and marketplace in one, sort of a Shopify meets Etsy. They allow merchants to create an online storefront, for free, and then uses their social marketplace to reach customers. It is hoping to be the Tumblr for e-commerce. And did I mention it is free?

Storenvy started in 2008, but in the last two years has grown from 2,800 stores to over 43,000.

storenvy review storenvy vs etsy

The Facts about Storenvy

  • Free – no listing fees, no commissions on sales, no monthly fees (however, on the site they talk about introducing a “Market Revenue Share” in the future, so not sure what that entails).
  • Independence – Here you can have a customized Storefront as well as a Storenvy store, so you have more control over the look and feel of your store.
  • Community – The Storenvy community promotes your products by “envying” them or buying them.
  • Promotion – Products appear on the front page in real-time based on their popularity (“Envys” and purchases).
  • Email Promotion – Storenvy emails their customers regularly with picks based on their likes, previous purchases, etc.
  • Connected – Storefronts include direct hyperlinks to a seller’s website, Pinterest, Wanelo, Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter pages.
  • Social Media – The Storenvy Facebook app gives merchants a free store on their Facebook page.
  • Followers – People can become a “Watcher” of your store. Basically this means they will get instant updates when you add new things to your store.
  • Extras – For $4.99 you can secure your own domain name, and there are fees such as $2.99 to use discount codes, but they do promote your discounts for you.
  • One Checkout – Customers can buy from a variety of stores on the Marketplace and they all appear in one shopping cart and one checkout.

FINAL WORD: I have noticed Storenvy shops starting to pop up here and there in fashion editorial, so they are definitely gaining momentum. As the online marketplace continues to be a billion dollar industry, you will see more players enter the market and eventually it will shake out who stays and who goes. But, as as online seller, the good news is you have a lot of options, and considering this one is free, it is worth investigating.

MalloryHopeDesign_AGMarketing_eBookWhatever marketplace you choose, you still have to promote! My ebooks, Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work! tell you everything you need to do to successfully sell online, whether you are established or just starting out.

© 2013 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.

LilyShop Adds a New Twist to the Online Marketplace

by G.B. Oliver

I have written about a few online marketplaces lately such as Etsy, and One Kings Lane. I came across another one that I thought had an interesting approach. It is called Lilyshop. This is a very pretty site so when I clicked on it I thought that it was an Etsy just for women. It is and it isn’t. While I think it does cater to a female clientele, it does sell the same category of items you would find on the other online marketplaces.


But here is what I really like about Lilyshop:

1. Their blog is really well done. I could have stayed here all day. Informative articles, great photos, and a variety of topics from recipes to health and wellness. If I could suggest a change it would be to call the Home & Garden and Crafts sections DIY instead, because that is more what it is and the DIY projects are top notch, and a Fashion category would also make sense.

2. They do not charge any kind of fees, rather they just take 5% of the sale (before shipping). They only make money when you make money.

3. They promote products more so than shops. So, what this means is you can buy from many vendors in a single checkout. Much more convenient.

4. They aim to be a female shopping experience, which I think is smart because with so many online marketplaces popping up, you will have to specialize to be successful.

5. They have a section entitled “Shop Yard Sale”, where you can find items at 50% off, 30% off, 25% off. Great for vendors trying to get rid of inventory and shoppers looking for deals.

Now, given the economy, I would include a category called Cheap Find of the Day with products under $20. Everyone wants a bargain and my advice always when the economy is down is that there is not a lot of people with a lot of money to spend, but there is always a lot of people with a little money to spend.

One more thing about online marketplaces. Why don’t any of them allow for the creation of wish lists? Yes, I know some will let you mark as favorites but a wish list you can actually send to your husband or bridal shower guests. People don’t always buy right away and bookmarks get forgotten about. Let people make a wish list and then remind them, via email, the same way online retailers remind you when you have left items in your shopping cart. Don’t let buyers forget about you.

 If you sell online, whether independently or through one of these marketplaces, you need to promote yourself beyond what these sites can do for you. There are just too many players so you have to get your own attention. To get my latest marketing ideas (as always I keep my best stuff in my ebooks) that will help you do just that, please check out my online ebook shop.

Is Fab the New Model for Online Marketplaces?

by G.B. Oliver

Have you checked out yet? Fab is the latest entry in the online marketplace selling designers’ and artisans’ work. They have been incredibly successful and in the past year have grown from 1.5 million members to now over 7.5 million (members = buyers) and they do things a little differently, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Fab sells products that are hand selected by their staff via submissions (anyone can submit). They offer up to 70% off retail prices on a variety of products including furniture, gadgets, home accessories, art, jewelry and so forth.

So, what does Fab bring to the table that the other marketplaces don’t?

1. Fab is more more hands-on. As mentioned, they have a team that hand selects the items that make it onto the site, so there is quality control.

2. They write the clever and witty copy that accompanies each product because vendors don’t always know how to market their products in the best light (hence the need for ebooks like mine), and it maintains a consistency across the vendors.

3. While the designer/shop is mentioned by name, there is no link to the seller’s shop (you stay on Fab). Also, there is no actual permanent shop on the site for a vendor, but they will group their items together in a “storefront” window for as long as their sale lasts.

So it is kind of like a One Kings Lane meets Etsy.

4. Fab’s “Feed” is interesting as well. This is how you search. A random search of products is displayed, but you can search by popularity, price, category and color. You can also add comments to products that show up right on the search page, similar to how you see Pinterest comments.

5. Fab integrates social media really well.  If you “Like”, “Tweet” “Pin” or “Tumble” their products you earn Fab points to be used towards future purchases. Great incentive for people to do so. They also have a mobile app so you can get their daily inspirations on the go (30% of their orders are via mobile).

6. Fab also sends lots of emails, typically four a day in your mailbox, as each day there are new sales starting at 11 am EST. So they really work hard to promote ALL the products on the site.

7. What is really refreshing about Fab is their sense of personality. They are quirky and fun and you can tell they look for products that are not only in this vein, but are also original, functional and well-designed. While other online marketplaces have worked to create community among their sellers, Fab uses this sense of personality to create community between itself, its sellers AND the customers, which I think is its strongest asset.

This is not your typical shopping experience. And that’s what makes it Fab!


★  If you have an online shop, be sure to check out my new series of PDFs, entitled Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work! where I give you all my best and latest marketing secrets that will make your shop a top seller in 2013! Editions for Jewelry & Fashion Accessories, Home Products, Kids & Baby Products and Wedding Products. Get your copy by email today!

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© 2012 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.