According to the latest statistics, the creative industries are facing a 74 billion pound drop in income after lockdown. Freelancers are likely to be hardest hit, reliant on a support system set up for the self-employed that could be revised at any time. Whether you are an independent artist or simply want to support a sector in need of rejuvenation, here are five great sites to either set up shop or spend some money.
Ohh Deer is a treasure trove of art that’s both fun and functional. The site sells weird and wonderful designs from a huge roster of independent artists, including greetings cards from comic cartoonists such as Gemma Correll. The products are not only by artists but for artists, and the site is currently supporting a new startup called Artful, which ships art products to your door quarterly so that you can get creative at home.
You’ve probably heard of Etsy. An online marketplace selling vintage and one-of-a-kind items, it has long been champion of the independent art scene. The site is a haven for the art-loving community; from hand-crafted jewellery to quirky gifts (or gift cards) and personalised wedding supplies, it’s the perfect place to find something no one else will have. Etsy evolves along with the changing trends and hosts a constantly growing network of contributors working in all sorts of materials, from felting, embroidery and crochet to metal and woodwork. Approximately 90% of the profit will go back to the artist, so you can make a purchase knowing you are directly supporting freelance creatives.
When it comes to supporting local artists, Folksy is certainly worth checking out. The site brands itself as “the UK’s biggest online crafts fair”, and though it’s not a household name, if the Covid-19 crisis can convince us to turn from big labels and buy from our neighbours, perhaps it soon will be. Folksy also only takes 10% commission for each piece sold, meaning most of the money goes straight to the pockets of British craftspeople. And while we can’t visit quaint little stalls in village halls, this is the next best thing.
Red Bubble is a site that makes it easy for artists to sell their work without spending anything. Both budding and well-established creatives can simply upload their graphics onto a series of products for free, and whenever an item is sold they will receive a portion of the profit. There are many templates to choose from, including mugs, tea towels, tote bags, prints, coasters, phone cases and pillowcases. As a buyer, it’s like visiting a never-ending virtual gallery in which you can explore designs from all over the world. What’s more, as anyone can upload their illustrations, the site is a great place to search for products inspired by niche shows or cult images.
Similar to Red Bubble, Society 6 allows artists to reproduce their designs and print them onto posters, clothes, accessories and stationary, to name a few. This is a great place to find customisable art to furnish your home or dress up in. The company have responded to the Black Lives Matter movement by launching a special section to discover black artists, providing an essential platform for cultural expression during turbulent times.