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Handmade at Amazon travels abroad

The artisanal storefront comes to five of Amazon's European sites, in its first expansion outside the US.

Bonjour, Handmade!

Amazon's hub for handcrafted, artisanal wares -- from personalized rose-gold bracelets to reclaimed barn wood tables with steel pipe legs -- is making its first move outside the US, and just in time for the holidays. The site, called Handmade at Amazon, expanded Thursday to the e-retailer's five European marketplaces -- the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Now, calligraphed invitations and chunky-cable knit hats can be purchased by Amazon customers across the Europe -- not just in those five countries.

The expansion comes as Amazon has worked to bring more specialty and exclusive items to its storefronts, with the launches last year of Handmade, as well as two sites for up-and-coming brands: Launchpad and Exclusives. All three storefronts could help Amazon differentiate itself from competing retailers, including and eBay, which sell similar household items like printer cartridges, electric toothbrushes and frying pans.

Amazon so far has taken a cautious approach to expanding Handmade since launching the site last October. Some of Handmade's bigger moves included poaching Martha Stewart's American Made store from eBay in November and growing its product categories in May to include accessories, and baby, toy and game items. But, despite a lot of attention from the site's launch, Handmade is still a much smaller operation than its clearest rival, the crafts site Etsy, which says its available in just about every country in the world.

Amazon promoted Handmade's growth on Thursday, saying its number of products available jumped by over five times since launch to more than 500,000 listings. The company didn't say how many active sellers it currently has. In comparison, a search on Etsy found the company had over 41 million listings.