Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review of Heartsy -- for Buyers

Heartsy - Exclusive deals on fabulous handmade designer items at members-only prices.Have you been to Heartsy yet? If you are a fan of handmade, and want to save a few bucks, head on over to Heartsy and check out the deal of the day. I shop on Etsy just about every day, (usually when I am supposed to be working) so when I heard about Heartsy, I had to check it out.

Heartsy works like the popular coupon site Groupon.com, but the deals are all with shops offering handmade goods, mostly from etsy or artfire artisans. Customers purchase a heartsy coupon code, that can then be used with an online seller. The deals change each day, with plenty of jewelry, art, photography and accessory shops to choose from.

Like Groupon, Heartsy offers coupons for a set price; the coupons can be redeemed in the store immediately or within the next 30 days. Regular Heartsy deals offer about 50% off a particular store or item. VIP deals increase the savings, and are worth the cost of a VIP membership ($10 per month, optional) if you buy a lot of handmade items.
Recent offerings include:
$10 for a $21 coupon for handmade jewelry
$10 for a $31 VIP coupon for handmade, organic kids items (yep, I grabbed one of these)
$10 for a $31 VIP coupon to a hand-dyed yarn and roving shop (got one of these too...)
Save on handmade, like this luscious soap from the Soap Seduction

Since the deals change each day, you'll need to visit and keep an eye on current offerings; Heartsy does send an email each day letting you know what's up next.

The Good Stuff about Buying on Heartsy:
You'll save money: Obviously, the savings is the big draw here. If you are like me and spend a decent amount on handmade soaps, kids toys and other gear each month, then you can save a considerable amount of money by using Heartsy.
Creative and fun jewelry from XOXii shop, featured on Heartsy this week.
Fewer flakes: If you buy a lot of handmade, then you already know some shops can have great items--but less than stellar follow through. Shops that are using Heartsy are actively marketing their businesses, so you can be sure that the products you get will be great quality. The main draw to sellers is the exposure and potential good publicity; all of my purchases so far have been great, and I am planning on buying again from at least one seller (full price, but worth it). 

Support handmade: When you buy handmade items, you put money directly into the hands of the artisan. If you haven't taken the handmade plunge yet, using a Heartsy voucher is a good way to get started without much risk. Click here for a great post on why handmade is "expensive" by Lex, the creative genius behind SmarmyClothes and WhattheCraft. I read this awhile ago and bookmarked it to share, it is a must read.

Heartsy is juried: Part of the Heartsy application process involves jurying; users can vote on the stores that they would buy from if a code was offered. What does this mean to you? Just like real life art fairs, jurying means that the shops that make it through likely offer appealing items that you'll want to check out.

Shipping is included: You can use your Heartsy coupon for shipping, so if you plan your purchase right, you won't have to pay out of pocket for shipping. 
Upcycled comic books meet pencils, notebooks and more at Colleen and Cohort, a featured Heartsy shop.

The Not so Good Stuff about Buying on Heartsy:

You'll get hooked on handmade:This isn't really a bad thing, but once you try real, handmade soap or custom made clothing that fits your style and figure perfectly, you won't want to go back to the retail, mass produced stuff. Consider Heartsy a gateway drug...once you're hooked, you won't look at jewelry, clothing or accessories the same way again.

Timing: You'll need to snap a deal up when you see it, so if you are looking for favors for a birthday party or a gift, buy early. You may not see a deal you like if you try to shop at the last minute. The site has also run out of coupons for popular stores in the past, so if you see something you like, grab it before it's gone.

Expiration dates: Heartsy coupons are only good for a month, so you'll need to use yours before it expires! If you buy a code, don't forget about it (though Heartsy will remind you that your code is languishing, via email).

Lower stock levels: While most shops stock up prior to offering a Heartsy deal, they can get overwhelmed. Most shops are run by a sole proprietor, so  expect your items to ship out a little later than usual if you buy during a big Heartsy rush. (A little later means 3-5 days, not 3-5 weeks in most cases.) Shops can get pretty depleted when a Heartsy deal is offered, so either pounce and order immediately, or buy your code and wait a week or two until the shop restocks.

Flakes: It happens when you buy handmade...just like it happens when you buy commercial. The last order I placed and didn't' receive was from Burpee, the seed giant, so it can happen with any vendor (I am still waiting for my garlic and potato seeds, Burpee!!!). The flake rate seems to be a little higher with Artfire shops than Etsy ones, but be aware that it can happen. If you don't get your item, you can get a credit (not a refund) from Heartsy, so you will be covered.

So there's the deal for buyers--Heartsy is pretty much a win for those of us who love handmade. My husband is a fan, even though he has never visited the site; thanks to the reduction in my etsy/artfire spending.

But what about the sellers? 

Does offering such a substantial discount really pay off for sellers? Check back soon for the scoop, I am working on a review of Heartsy for sellers this week.

Boring small print disclaimer: 
 I don't work for Heartsy, and purchased the codes I used to evaluate and learn about the site on my own; no freebies, nothing to see here, move along... 

This post is part of the TA DA Tuesday Link Party on  Mommy by Day, Crafter by Night
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