If you're a crafter, Etsy should need no introduction. More than 875,000 merchants run shops on the site, with 12.3 million products available at any one time. Visit Etsy, and you'll find getting around is pretty easy. A list of major categories (Candles, Quilts, Geekery) runs down the left rail, while a selection of hand-picked, curated items can be found in an ever-evolving grid on the home page. Listings are clean and easy to understand, and shipping costs are clear and visible. A variety of checkout systems are supported, including Etsy's newest, homegrown payment processing option. And if you want to go mobile, Etsy has both an iPhone app and a Web-optimized version of the site ready.
Etsy has set the bar for what is and isn't allowable for sale on most sites for handmade goods, and most of the sites we looked at follow Etsy's lead pretty closely. Merchandise falls into three main categories: handmade items, vintage items, and crafting supplies that can be used to make items in the first category. While it's not a major focus of the site, food sales are also allowed (consisting primarily of cookies).
Etsy is the only site in this roundup to charge listing fees, but at a flat 20 cents per item, they aren't significant unless you're selling very inexpensive merchandise. When the sale is complete, Etsy collects an additional 3.5 percent commission.
The bottom line: Etsy is clean and easy to use, and it's obviously beloved by both shoppers and sellers. If you're selling handmade merchandise, you almost certainly need to be on Etsy.
DaWanda, based in Germany, is the second-largest marketplace in our comparison: It features 130,000 registered merchants, compared to Etsy's 875,000. While there is certainly a critical mass of shoppers from all over the world here, you'll note that all items are priced in euros, not dollars--even if both buyer and seller are in the United States. That may be a plus if you're trying to build a European audience, but it will probably turn away domestic buyers concerned about getting hit with foreign currency charges on their credit card.
DaWanda has no listing fees--though the company says it will be adding them this year--but it does charge a 5 percent closing fee on sold items, which is considerably higher than the 3.5 percent you'll pay at Etsy.