May 15, 2012

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CEO of the Year

Utah’s business landscape is rich with professionals who have le...Read More

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Thinking Small to Create Big Results

Sarah Cutler

May 15, 2012

Big Cartel is an online company making a big impact for artists trying to make a living doing what they love. Think Etsy or eBay, but with a deeply invested focus on the artists. The site is dedicated to the artists’ creative expression and making their shops unique and successful.

Founded in 2005 as a way for co-founder Matt Wigham to sell merchandise for his own band, Big Cartel is now home to more than 250,000 bands, record labels, clothing designers, jewelry makers, crafters and other artists.

“Big Cartel is all about each individual artist, and we give you the keys to your own online store. You are free to customize it any way you’d like, from colors, to graphics and even your own custom domain name. Think of it as having your own boutique shop in SOHO versus a booth at a craft fair,” said Wigham.

Unlike similar services, Big Cartel charges a flat monthly fee, depending on the size of the product offering. It does not charge the artists any listing or per transaction fees.

With only 12 employees, Big Cartel is 100 percent self-funded. Wigham says the company has been approached by VCs and angel investors, both in Utah and nationally, but has repeatedly turned them away—making it possible to maintain creative freedom and control.

Big Cartel has experienced rapid growth and success in its short time as a company and is currently finishing building an office in Salt Lake City’s art district on Broadway.

“It’s been a wonderful surprise to have the business thrive on word of mouth alone for nearly seven years, and people are always surprised to learn how tiny we are. Since opening day, it feels like we’ve been trying to keep up with our own growth,” said Wigham.

“For us, Salt Lake City has been a wonderful place to build our company. It’s allowed us to stay away from the pervasive big investment/big exit culture of Silicon Valley and instead focus on building a long-standing company that we love being a part of and [that] makes a real difference in the lives of our customers.”

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