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Business Expertise and Advice for Makers - How to sell on Not on the High Street

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

Not on the Highstreet was set up in 2006 as an alternative selling platform to showcase quality handmade goods that... you guessed it.... can't be found on the high street.

From chocolates to children's wear and pearls to pottery, there are thousands of gift ideas for any friend or loved one, but how does Not on the Highstreet fare as a selling platform for your lampshades? We take a closer look at the platform, how it might work for you in growing your shade-making business.

How big is Not on the High Street?

With just over 5,000 small creative businesses and over 39 million unique visitors annually, Not on the Highstreet has become the go-to website for creative ingenuity and unique products.

What percentage of products are handmade?

All products are handmade and include gifts, homewares, jewellery, clothing, and creative or creative experiences.

What are the selling fees?

NOTHS charges 25% commission on sales and there is also a one-off joining fee of £199, which includes a variety of benefits (see below).

How easy is it to set up?

NOTHS is application only therefore you can’t simply set up an account as you would with other marketplace platforms.

To apply you’ll need to complete the application form, which at first glance looks surprisingly sparse, but you’ll need to ensure you write a clear description of your brand that reflects what your business is all about. Here are some tips on what to consider before you complete your application:

  • Visually your website (or Flicker page with your product photos) will need to reflect quality and unique products, two of the key factors that NOTHS are looking for.

  • Remember that your lampshades will be judged by a panel, so make sure your images tell the story of each of your products and are styled if possible. NOTHS don’t expect professional images, but putting effort in at this stage will pay off.

  • Take time to describe your products as clearly as possible and be sure to include the detail of the product, the craftsmanship, and why it's unique.

What are the benefits of selling on Not on the High Street?

Due to the curated nature of NOTHS, you are likely to be only one of few lampshade sellers and even then they will probably all have a different design aesthetic, making sales a bigger possibility than other more saturated online marketplaces. It’s worth checking out what could be your competition before you start your application.

NOTHS advertise BIG include TV and radio campaigns and have developed a strong relationship with the press, which on occasions features their sellers.

For your £199 one-off fee you’ll get the following, which includes business support:

  • A NOTHS account

  • A NOTHS online shop window, which includes an introduction to your business, a product grid showcasing your products, a review section, and delivery information

  • Access to the 24-hour order management system

  • Business development resources such as SEO, business planning

  • Access to SPARK, the NOTHS exclusive partner area featuring how-to guides and trends updates

What are the cons of selling on Not on the High Street?

Make sure it makes financial sense – as well as the £199 joining fee, 25% commission can be a lot to a small business so make sure the retail prices and profit margins of your lampshades work out.

You’ll need to make sure your products are unique and can’t be found on the high street. Over recent years NOTHS have started to focus on ‘trends’ and may be something you want to consider, although this could clash with the bespoke nature of your lampshades.

Comparisons to other online sites

Unlike Etsy, Facebook and Instagram where the fees are much lower, NOTHS is the number one site for consumers wanting to buy bespoke handmade gifts, so in terms of traffic and profile can make a big difference to your small business.

Useful resources

Mike Chamberlain has this advice to offer pre-application or if your application has been declined and it's also worth knowing that you can reapply to sell on the site.

Lume Lighting

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Facebook - @lumelighting

How do you find NOTHS as a selling platform for your lampshades?

I find NOTHS a great place to sell my lampshades and have had a really positive experience since becoming a partner. NOTHS is very customer-focused and makes it really easy for customers to find beautiful and unusual handmade products on their website. What are the benefits to you as a seller?

A few benefits of selling on NOTHS is that there’s lots of potential for press or corporate clients to find you. They market NOTHS in very well-known publications and also advertise on TV, so there's always the potential for getting your product featured.

Another benefit of being a seller is that they have a specific resource section for their sellers called ‘The Hub’ which has information and advice on all sorts, including a section on trends and product inspiration which is very helpful. The Hub is great to get advice on your product listings and photography too, which you can then use when setting up your own website and listing products. What made you choose NOTHS over other platforms?

I started selling on NOTHS quite early on in my business, even before I was selling on other platforms. It seemed like the perfect place to sell my products as it had a much wider reach than my own website and gets my products in front of people who might not normally find me.

Any tips for selling on NOTHS that could help other lampshade makers?

Make sure you have good photographs of your lampshades, as this is what will make you stand out from other sellers. You will want to make sure you have a variety of different types of photos, including lifestyle shots and close-ups. You can also find advice about photography on The Hub which is brilliant.

Another tip would be to make sure your product descriptions are well thought out and explain clearly what your product is, how it has been made and how it will be packaged and sent. This really helps the customer to get to know your process and visualise your product without seeing it in real life.


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