Could Irving-Based Michaels Rival Etsy? Its Maker Marketplace Is Expanding

With its first brand campaign and new in-store selling pilot, the arts and crafts retailer is positioning its MakerPlace platform as a top destination for handmade goods, aiming to create a "closed-loop system" where makers can both purchase supplies and sell their creations.

Irving-based retailer Michaels unveiled the first brand campaign for MakerPlace by Michaels, the new online marketplace for handmade goods, classes, and how-to’s, alongside an in-store selling pilot at select Michaels stores for MakerPlace sellers.

The “Respect the Handmade” campaign, created by purpose-driven creative agency OBERLAND, features handcrafted creations—think crochet chickens, handcrafted handbags, sock puppets, and talking dogs—busting a move to a playful cover of the iconic song “Respect.”

“Respect the Handmade”
Watch the 30-second spot here.

“We chose a song [that’s] indisputably the best song ever written about respect. And the joy is so contagious, even the goods being sold on MakerPlace are psyched to be there,” said Lisa Topol, executive creative director and managing partner at OBERLAND.

Topol explained that the campaign’s core message is about supporting and valuing small, independent businesses and the customers who appreciate their work.

Per the OBERLAND agency: “We focused on what makes MakerPlace unique: respect for both buyers and sellers.” The “Respect the Handmade” campaign features a playful cover of the iconic song “Respect” performed by handcrafted puppets representing the kinds of items sold on MakerPlace, including goods available from sellers Sun Sprinkles and Breads and Threads Handmade.

Support for the independent handmade community

The company said this is the latest in Michaels’ continuous evolution of the platform in support of its goal to be the best place for handmade sellers and shoppers. We told you about the launch of MakerPlace, Michaels online alternative to Etsy, in November.

“Our latest efforts, including our first brand campaign and an in-store selling pilot, are just the beginning of what we have planned to deepen our support for the independent handmade community,” said Michaels CEO Ashley Buchanan in a statement. 

By combining their stores and expanded e-commerce offerings, Michaels aims to ‘be the true one-stop-shop to support handmade sellers along every step of their creative journey,’ Buchanan said.

The CEO added, “We’re grateful to the MakerPlace sellers and customers who have been with us from our early beta and look forward to continuing to grow together.”

Products at Michaels MakerPlace [Video screenshot]

‘Respect the Handmade’

The brand campaign “Respect the Handmade,” realized in partnership with OBERLAND, will extend across social media, the MakerPlace website, and Michaels-owned channels as well as streaming video and programmatic paid media.

Inc. reported that Buchanan would like for MakerPlace to eventually operate as a “closed-loop system” in which sellers can buy the supplies they need to make their artwork or products and then sell those creations.

“We want to be the easiest place for buyers and sellers of handmade products to use and operate,” Buchanan told Inc. “And we want to give back to those small businesses so they can keep more and more money.”

The campaign is based on the concept of handmade goods coming to life, showcasing the thrill of discovering unique, handmade treasures and the joy these items bring to the customers purchasing them.

“I’ve been a MakerPlace by Michaels seller since the beta launch and have been thrilled to see Michaels continue to support and evolve the site,” Linette Ramos de Soto of Breads and Threads Handmade on MakerPlace said in a statement.

“The new ‘Respect the Handmade’ campaign is a testament to the admiration Michaels and MakerPlace have for truly handmade businesses, and I’m so excited that my art will be featured and seen by millions.”

According to Michaels, MakerPlace was designed with the goal of helping handmade artists and makers succeed with lower fees, flexible membership options, and more ways to earn.

In-store pilot program

Along with the launch of the brand campaign, Michaels said it is leveraging its brick-and-mortar presence to test another way for MakerPlace sellers to earn via an in-store pilot program.

Select MakerPlace sellers will be invited to sell directly to their community via their local Michaels store, creating a new opportunity to drive exposure and sales for their independent handmade businesses, Michaels said.

Michaels customers can discover local handmade artists and shop high-quality handmade goods across MakerPlace categories, such as home décor and accents, fine art, and woodwork, alongside the Michaels offerings they know and love.

Michaels said the pilot is the latest example of its “test and learn” strategy, which takes a data-driven approach to launching and evaluating small-scale in-market innovations that inform future launches.

“Finding and reaching potential customers is one of the biggest challenges for small businesses, especially in the handmade space where online marketplaces have become crowded and difficult to break through,” Jande Laulu, of Jande Summer on MakerPlace, said in a statement.

[Video screenshot]

“I jumped at the invitation from Michaels to test their in-store MakerPlace pilot. It’s an exciting way to connect with my local community and reach new customers who love and appreciate handmade goods.”

The company said the first in-store pilot began on Feb. 24 in seven stores across North Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Utah, Louisiana, and Massachusetts, with the next pilot scheduled for March 23. A spokesperson told Dallas Innovates the company expects to have “several DFW stores participating, 

Founded in 1973, The Michaels Companies operates more than more than 1,300 stores in 49 states and Canada and online at and The company also owns Artistree, a manufacturer of custom and specialty framing merchandise, and MakerPlace by Michaels, a dedicated handmade goods marketplace.

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R E A D   N E X T

  • U.S. customers visiting MakerPlace can browse dozens of categories of handmade goods—including jewelry, home décor, art, accessories, crafting arts, bath and beauty, and clothing. Michaels says they can also learn or refine skills to bring their own creative ideas to life via maker-led classes and how-to’s.

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