22 December 2011

An Interview with Bridget of Hearts Collective - On-line Marketplace

We complete our series of New Zealand on-line marketplaces bringing art, craft and design to your doorstep with new site Hearts Collective .  Established this year, owner and passionate supporter of eco-friendly products and businesses, Bridget, offers us an insight into the Hearts Collective 'heart and soul' ...

What is 'Hearts Collective'?

Hearts Collective is an online community for creators of eco-friendly handmade art, craft and design. 'Heartists' can open their own store, upload photos of their goodies, set categories, pricing and shipping. Our focus is to showcase beautiful, useful and stylish goods made from recycled or sustainable materials.

How did the idea for starting Hearts Collective first come about?

I was a partner in a business for many years publishing snowboarding, skiing and skateboard magazines. After selling the business, I wanted a new challenge that was creative, meaningful and environmentally sound. I enjoy building a business but it has to have some depth and a wider sense of responsibility. Anyway I was waiting for the right idea to come to me and I was working as a website editor. My boss was selling a partially built website similar to etsy.com so I thought it would be a great opportunity to promote eco-friendly art, craft and design. 

How long has Hearts Collective been in business?

We started this year! We're very much at the beginning of the journey with Hearts Collective so we are welcoming new artists to join up. I am able to help anyone with the technical side of opening a store. Its all very easy and logical but if people are nervous about selling online I can help out.

Who is on your team?

Dave Wilcox is the web developer and tech guru for Hearts Collective.  Dave has been great at fixing any of the inevitable little bugs in the system and he's great to work with because has a genuine interest in Hearts Collective. I also have a very supportive partner David Hemapo who believes in me 100% which is pretty cool. Other than that, its my friends and family who are there to discus, support and suggest.
What is your vision for Hearts Collective?

At the moment we are focusing on building up a strong community of 'Heartists' in New Zealand but the vision is for Hearts Collective to continue to grow and be a globally recognised and fully utilised online marketplace attracting the high quality environmentally conscious artisans and buyers. Our goal is to promote the value of beautiful and sustainable handmade goods and make them accessible to buyers.

What types of sellers make a good fit on Hearts Collective?

People who make beautiful things from the heart using environmentally sound materials and methods.

How are sellers verified and is there buyer and seller feedback for sales/purchases?

Often sellers will email me asking if their products are suitable for Hearts Collective. Anything that is at least 80% sustainable is welcome on the site, this includes things like woollen goods, upcycled jewellery and clothing, natural cosmetics, furniture made from recycled wood, organic cotton clothing etc. Sellers are requested to state their environmental philosophy in their profile. There is also a feedback function where buyers can rate the seller and give written feedback.

How big is the market for Handmade Goods in New Zealand?

There is currently a huge shift towards understanding the intrinsic value of handmade, recycled, upcycled and sustainable goods. Consumers are becoming much more savvy about how their buying choices affect the environment. The market for handmade goods in new Zealand will continue to grow as people slowly start to realise the fulility of buying things at the Warehouse!

Do you actively seek out international buyers, and if so, what age of buyers are from overseas?

At the moment we are focusing on the New Zealand market but we have set up the site so that we can easily include the international market in the near future.
What’s the most popular category sales-wise?

Jewellery is the most popular category for buyers, but it also the most competitive category for sellers. The most successful handmade artisans obviously need to be doing something unique and appealing. Its great to see people who are doing something that nobody else has thought of! On Hearts Collective we have people who make outdoor chairs from ancient wine barrels, children's furniture from wooden crates, contemporary homewares upcycled from vintage plates and jewellery made from recycled silver. You could use old bedheads or pages from old books as a painting canvas or unravel old jerseys and knit a cushion cover! There are lots of great websites to inspire your creative upcycling brilliance!

There are a wide variety of merchandise prices on your site. Is there a particular price point or range that seems to do best on Hearts Collective?

Most people are looking for gifts under $50.

Where can people learn more about buying and selling on Hearts Collective?

You can check out info centre (http://www.heartscollective.com/pages/info-centre.php) and just go ahead and join up or you are welcome to contact me: bridget@heartscollective.com

Anything else you would like to add?

Hearts Collective is pretty new and we're on the lookout for new 'Heartists' to sign up. Its free to join and only costs 50 cents to list each product for 3 months. Its so cheap and a great way to sell your creations online. I'd love to hear from you!

NZHM Members on Hearts Collective:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bridget, there is something rather cool about being a creator/crafter for "Hearts Collective", it is a nice friendly site to navigate around. cheers Marie


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