New Handmade Social Community Opens to Shoppers for Last Minute Gift Ideas

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Craftsu.com opened today as an online social network for craft artists to tell their stories to consumers shopping for unique handmade crafts. Shoppers can go to Craftsu, interact with artisans and find last minute holiday gift ideas.

12 Bars of Christmas Soap from EarthGift.com

The latest statistics show people are turning to social networks in larger numbers to find out what products people are talking about and to look for special deals.

Craftsu.com is a new online social network where shoppers for unique handmade gifts can connect and interact with artists who make and sell crafts.

Think of it as a Facebook to buy and sell crafts. Craftsu’s networking platform prompts interaction between buyers and sellers through forums, blogs, videos, photos and artist profiles.

Artists who sell crafts and artwork upload images that range from photography to Christmas ornaments to handmade soap, like the EarthGift.com herbal soaps from Asaera Patricia Cote in New Mexico. ArizonaGourds.com artisan, Bonnie Gibson displays her hand painted Southwestern gourds on her Craftsu profile where she invites and answers questions from shoppers seeking something special to give as gifts.

Craftsu.com founder, James Dillehay, is a craft artist and author who has researched e-commerce trends since 2000 and authored several books on selling online. He says many artists and craft makers are seeing the demand for their handmade crafts grow. It's become a trend to 'buy handmade.' He may be right. Popular sites like Etsy and eBay reported increasing sales of craft items from the end of 2008 through 2009, despite a dismal economy for most other industries.

Shoppers are going social, too, notes Dillehay. The latest statistics show people are turning to social networks in larger numbers to find out what products people are talking about and to look for special deals. Recent stats on social media shopping from eMarketer show that:

27% of shoppers online will look to social networks for gift ideas.
45% will “use social networks to research items, compare prices and look for offers."
And more than half of shoppers will research gift ideas and check out friends' and family members’ wish lists.

Dillehay wants to introduce buyers to craft artists through social shopping, where artists can tell their stories and engage customers in real-time. He designed Craftsu to be 'search engine friendly' so that artist-members’ profiles capture traffic from Google and Yahoo search.

With lots of Americans still trimming their spending this holiday season, it's nice to know that inexpensive crafts can be easily had as last minute gift ideas. If you've grown weary of trudging through pictures of the same old ties and shirts in holiday gift guides, visit http://www.Craftsu.com and see the array of crafts from artist members.

In addition to managing Craftsu and weaving his own craft items, James Dillehay is author of nine books. He's been interviewed in Family Circle Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Bottom Line, The Chicago Tribune, Entrepreneur Radio and on HGTV.

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