The handmade marketplace ArtFire will be shutting down at the end of 2021. Founded in 2008, the marketplace did over $250 million in business over the last 13 years according to a statement published yesterday by the company’s president and co-founder John Jacobs. He cited changes in regulations and the growing complexities of operating an online marketplace as factors in the decision. All existing accounts will be upgraded to the premium shop levels and fees will be waived until the closure. Jacobs did not reply to our request for comment.

ArtFire competed with Etsy which was founded in 2005. Over time, Etsy continued to gain marketshare, and today there are 7.5 million active Etsy sellers. Both sites feature handmade, vintage, and craft supplies. Artfire had lower transaction fees than Etsy but charged sellers a monthly subscription fee.

Other Etsy competitors have also fallen away over the years. Zibbet was sold to craft retail chain AC Moore in 2017 and relaunched as the AC Moore Marketplace two years later before closing when AC Moore went out of business. Zibbet has since been sold again, although the buyer hasn’t yet been disclosed.

A new handmade marketplace, goimagine, emerged in 2020 with a focus social good; all of the company’s profits are donated to charity.

Scott Zrubek has been selling on ArtFire since 2009. “I’ve been very active in the forums on the site and noticed a drop off in forum activity and increased response times from the ArtFire staff.  It seemed a logical conclusion that they had reduced staff,” he said. “I think most of the previously active sellers have gone quiet on ArtFire due to a lack of sales. Also, updates to the site seemed to have dropped off in frequency over the past couple of years. If I sold two or three items per year, it was a good year for me.”

ArtFire jewelry seller Eileen Grobeck reacted to the news this way: “I learned about ArtFire shutting down from your email. ArtFire has not informed any of its sellers about this and it really makes me mad. I’ve had an ArtFire shop since October 2009 – 12 years. To be honest, I never did well on ArtFire. I guess they didn’t do much promotion even though they collected fees like clockwork. I feel very let down by them. Now I have to scramble to get all of my shop data copied and look for a new venue. All this during the busiest selling time of the year.”


Abby Glassenberg

Abby Glassenberg


Abby co-founded Craft Industry Alliance and now serves as its president. She’s a sewing pattern designer, teacher, and journalist. She’s dedicated to creating an outstanding trade association for the crafts industry. Abby lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

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