I have discovered–and ordered–many treasures on Etsy. It is one of my favorite places to shop for unique gifts and there’s nothing like supporting the independent artist or budding mompreneur. That’s why I’m anxious to try out Ponoko, an Etsy-like site that offers you more than a place to buy and sell unique handmade items.
With Ponoko you can “…shop for and make things that are completely original, and do this in the greenest way possible.” I really can’t do the site justice by trying to explain it myself–I’m just learning all about the Ponoko possibilities! But here’s a little insight from Ponoko’s About Us page:
Ponoko manages every detail for you to buy, make and sell stuff. This service includes a marketplace for shoppers to find the most original designer crafted goods, match making between shoppers and designers to get exactly what you want, a personal online factory for you to ‘click to make’ whatever you can draw, and a personal online shop to show, share or sell your stuff.
Whew! It sounds like Etsy on steroids…but really cool, really individualized steroids!
The buying side seems pretty straightforward. It’s the making and selling that intrigues me. You can upload your own designs for products, choose the materials and Ponoko will provide you with an instant online price. Simply pay for your product and it’s shipped to your door. How cool is that?!?! And the selling sides seems pretty nifty too (copyrighting, pricing, showrooms, oh my!) You can read more about the ins and outs on Ponoko’s About Us page.
I do think they need a little better way to find products once you click on Shop. Though you can search by designer, by tag or by keyword, I would have liked a list of categories better than the few at the very bottom of the page. I was a bit overwhelmed with the randomness of the products as I browsed them page by page. It made me miss Etsy’s nicely organized navigation.
Ponoko has already received quite a lot of buzz from some serious sources, including The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The New York Times, BusinessWeek and Wired.
Whether you’re looking to buy something designed just for you or create your own artistic piece, Ponoko offers you an easy way to get (or make) just what you want. Oh, and did I mention Ponoko has no setup fees, monthly fees, listing or sales fees, no minimum orders and no inventory? “Simply click to design, make, sell and deliver your creativity to the world, at your own speed.” Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? –Emily