Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Etsy Exodus and why it's not really happening

Formula for a successful listing: cute dog + funny hat + bright colors = $$$
Artists and crafters jumped like flies onto ETSY in the mid 2000s with its handmade DIY theme. It was pretty clunky at first offering few options for layout, listing quantities, variations etc. But it added those slowly and developed a reputation as THE place for Indie crafters. And it was all due to early adopter artists and craftspeople looking for a way to sell their wares online easily and with other like-minded indies.
$25 mfg ring from India
Now it’s gone mainstream, and left the artists who helped make ETSY what it is in the dumpster.  I've been selling on ETSY since 2006, had quite a few different shops over the years. I've seen sales on my two current shops go slowly downhill in the past two years. I’ve been saying I’m leaving ETSY for about a year now. I see other shop owners write the same thing on their shops but we’re still there. Why?

Because it takes a lot of work to move your shop.  

It's not easy and we’re all just too busy and too maxed out to learn one more new thing. ETSY has not been listening to it's core base for years. It has it’s own agenda that it's banking on and it's now built up a momentum that can sustain itself w/o the artists who made it what it is. ETSY doesn't care.

If you're a shop owner and you're not MAD, you should be

I know I’ve invested a lot of time, energy and money into my ETSY shops. I've paid them good money each month and I don't have time to move my 2 shops and learn a new system. But I must. It's the only thing to do.
Get to work! Hardhat required.
So I plan to share what I learn and my transition process here. Because artists need to stick together and help each other and the big corps don't give a shit. If what I share helps just one person get off ETSY then it’s worth it.

Artists need to feel empowered and not a pawn in the system. The only way to do that is be as independent as you can be. I’ll be sharing my decisions, processes, techniques, problems, questions and struggles here as I wean myself of ETSY kicking and screaming.

13 comments:

  1. I'm at the same point, so I will be eager reading about your transition. My views and sales continue to decline, and I'm wondering whether it just has to do with the sheer number of sellers or the search algorithm Etsy uses. The shift in focus at Etsy happened I think when the original founders sold Etsy and the new owners decided to take it in a more corporate direction.

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  2. Also, recently Grace Dobush wrote about problems with Etsy in a recent Wired magazine issue. She linked to a useful chart that compares other sales slites here:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/tCyGR90UQue991GC4e_GJiQ/htmlview

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    Replies
    1. Awesome Claudia thanks for the spreadsheet link. I'm simply going to document the transition to Shopify in hopes that it will encourage others and make it a bit easier. I have sold online for 15 years and I used to be more independent but I became complacent w/ Etsy, now I'm paying for it. Thanks for reading.

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  3. Awesome Claudia thanks for the spreadsheet link. I'm simply going to document the transition to Shopify in hopes that it will encourage others and make it a bit easier. I have sold online for 15 years and I used to be more independent but I became complacent w/ Etsy, now I'm paying for it. Thanks for reading.

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  4. Good luck on your move, Christine!

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  5. Etsy is a very useful platform, indeed, so I don't understand why anyone would want to discard it. It's not the only market means for us, but it's a great thing that it's hhere. It's kind of like the newsstands, really. They may seem ubiquitous, almost to the point of irrelevancy, but it pays for a product to have a presence there. Anyway, thanks for sharing that! More power to you!

    Mildred Stephens @ Reputation Local

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    Replies
    1. Etsy started out as a handmade venue, the fact that it is no longer that is a very good reason to leave. Imagine trying to sell handmade knitted hats in Walmart, competing with cheap Chinese ones. It's pointless.

      Artists and crafters may be able to tell the difference but the general public does not. Even those who buy hand crafted items cannot always tell the difference. So trusting your platform to screen out the junk is very important.

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  6. Thanks for your comments Mildred tho I don't agree I appreciate the dialog.

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  7. May I ask a question ? I opened a shop on Etsy but wasn't asked for a credit card number to cover the cost of listings, nor can I find a way to list anything in my shop. And I;m computer savvy. What am I missing ?! Thank you -

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    1. You probably just have a "buyer" account and need to set yourself up as a seller. What that entails I don't know exactly as it's been so long I don't remember. I'd just poke around the site until you find something about opening a shop or do a search on their help menu.

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  8. Etsy definitely skyrocketed on its first few years, and a lot of business-minded netizens invested a lot of their time on it. However, I agree that it's hard to fight against the competition, now that it has gone mainstream. I do hope you haven't given up hope, though. It may be hard to fight against what Etsy popularizes as trends, but seeing how beautiful your products are, I'm sure you'll be able to take back your throne someday soon. Wishing you all the best, Christine! More power to you and your business!

    Daryl Cross @ Nahi Gazal

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  9. I think that is the reason that most artists have for not leaving Etsy. It is a lot of work to move out and set up shop somewhere, considering the audience they've built up and accumulated for the past few years. The new competition will be a challenge, as well as what appears to be the redefinition of the Etsy brand. If Etsy continues to turn a blind eye to this trend, then it’s really for the best to pack up and find an alternate way to set up shop. Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter.

    Gilberto Ingram @ Enhance Traffic Marketing

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