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Michaels Takes Its Online Handmade Goods Marketplace to Retail Stores

Michaels, the major arts and crafts retail chain, is piloting an in-person program to allow vendors from its online handmade marketplace MakerPlace to sell their goods at select Michaels retail stores.

The pilot launched on February 24th at seven Michaels locations, with one vendor per store. A second round of stores will be added to the pilot on March 23rd, with plans for a nationwide rollout soon after if successful.

MakerPlace is Michaels' online platform launched in November 2023 that allows artisans, crafters, and makers to sell their handmade products, offer classes, and share how-to guides. It was created after Michaels received customer feedback that many felt they had outgrown just buying supplies at Michaels and wanted to sell their creations as well.

The online platform functions similar to sites like Etsy, allowing anyone to open a virtual shop. However, MakerPlace offers more flexible pricing with lower commission rates than some competitors.

By testing an in-person retail component, Michaels hopes to merge its traditional supply business with selling handmade finished goods created by MakerPlace vendors. Michaels CEO Ashley Buchanan stated the goal is to create a "closed-loop system" where makers can buy supplies and then sell their products conveniently through Michaels.

The in-store pilot currently does not take any commission from MakerPlace vendor sales, though the online platform does charge commission fees. Michaels is focused on first driving customer engagement and sales to the MakerPlace online vendors during this test phase.

If successful, the program could upend the handmade goods market by allowing artisans to leverage Michaels' substantial physical retail footprint in addition to just selling online. It remains to be seen how the arts and crafts retail giant's move into handmade goods will impact competitors like Etsy.

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