I started Hattie Rex in 2007 by selling at craft shows and later on Etsy. Back then, no one knew what Etsy was, and I was the only person selling dog tags there. Now, 12 years later, there are tens of thousands of dog tag makers on Etsy. The trend caught on.
Almost three years ago, after a decade of running and growing Hattie Rex, I stepped away to start a consulting business designed to help artists make a living and get their best work into the world. This endeavor eventually morphed into an e-commerce setup business helping artists, retail stores, and other businesses get set up on Shopify.
Now, in the time of the coronavirus, things are coming full circle. Our shop is closed temporarily and we are once again online only.
Cassandra moved away -- a planned move to be closer to her family -- and so the team is down to just me, kept company by Sofia the shop dog.
Being a one-woman team has brought me back to creating dog tags again. It's been a long time since I've held that hammer in my hand for hours at a time, creating dog tags at the bench while bad reality tv plays in the background.
And while this certainly isn't what I wanted, it's exactly what I needed. I feel more like myself while making dog tags than I have in years. It's meditative for me and feels incredibly nurturing and fulfilling.
Like many people during this time, I've found myself asking, "How can I serve?" And I've found that what I want to share with the world right now is that feeling of satisfaction that I get from creating a product with my hands, sharing it with another person, and having that transaction help sustain me in more ways than one.
Hattie Rex will soon become a multi-vendor marketplace. While we've sold other artists' work on our website and in our retail store for years, this iteration will remove the limit on the number of artists and products that we can offer.
Similar to the Etsy that Hattie grew up on, approved artists and makers will be able to list their own products from the comfort and safety of their own homes and ship the products directly to the customers when they make a sale.
This way, artists keep a greater percentage of the sales price.
The marketplace will be cooperative in that a percentage of the commission paid to Hattie goes into marketing, creating a larger advertising budget and larger reach than any one artist could accomplish on their own.
It will also be cooperative in other marketing areas as well, such as blogging and social media content, email marketing, publicity, and virtual events.
The marketplace will be similar in structure to Etsy, but very curated so our customers are only shopping the highest quality handmade goods from local and regional artists. My hope is that this marketplace can help both artists and customers experience a virtual farmers market or an art fair because both sides will be missing those this summer.
There are many things in the works in regard to this marketplace, including a resource guide to help artists photograph their products, write descriptions, price for profit, and package and ship products. The commission structure hasn't yet been finalized, but we will send out information to interested parties when this is ready.
So, if you or someone you know is an artist or maker with a product to sell, either for the first time or just wanting to add a new sales channel to your existing ones, please sign up on the form below to be notified when the marketplace is live.
Thank you for being a part of the Hattie Rex community. It's such an honor to get to do this for a living and my goal now, like it was in 2017, is to help other artists and makers get to experience that same privilege.