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CRAFTY CHRISTMAS: Site Markets Handmade Goods

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Only twelve shopping days left until Christmas, and the quickly approaching deadline has a local toymaker working overtime.

You can find homemade presents from the comfort of your home, and the beauty is, you don't have to be the one making the gifts. A local website can help you have a crafty Christmas.

Jesse Bannor is working overtime. He says, "It is like Santa's workshop. We're busy all the time."

He started making handmade wood toys professionally more than a year ago and as a hobby before that. He says, "My wife runs an in home daycare, and she was looking for toys that were imaginative, stuff that was friendly, she didn't have to worry about recalls and plastic."

Now, he's become Santa's helper, cranking out rattles, blocks and more as part of his business Bannor Toys. He says, "We build wood toys with a mind toward being eco-friendly."

He says nearly half his transactions happen during the holidays. He sells at vendor fairs, his website and on online marketplace

Goodsmiths Co-founder and CEO James Eliason says, "We're an e-commerce marketplace, so we allow a shop owner to set up on Goodsmiths for free, so there's literally no cost to them."

Eliason says Goodsmiths takes a transaction fee for every successful sale. The West Des Moines company launched in April with 275 shops. Now, you'll find more than 4,000 makers with $6 million worth of inventory. Eliason says, "Handmade in general is starting to pick up a little with popularity. Obviously in the holiday season, a lot of people enjoy buying handmade things for people."

Goodsmiths created a new service that will help makers like Bannor Toys, and it just requires a smartphone. Eliason says, “We're building a mobile application called Swipe that will enable Goodsmiths shops to take their shop to market."

Eliason says makers will be able to keep track of inventory and process payment transactions with their smartphone while they're at art shows or farmers markets. He says, "You just swipe card and it goes through."

He says Bannor Toys will help test it. Swipe should launch in the next week or two.

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