Every good thing must come to an end and I fear a breakup is in the works between me and Etsy.
Back in 2011 when I first opened my Etsy shop I thought it was a handmakers dream come true. I bowed before the Etsy gods and thanked them mightily for giving me a place to showcase my work and perhaps even sell something. For the most part that first year was mostly crickets, nothing much sold, but I could puff up my chest and declare “I sell on Etsy”
In 2011 I had one sale (which one of my friends bought something!). My sales doubled in 2012 with 2 sales! I was on a roll. Life got better in 2013 with 17 whole orders (I was on my way). 2014 and 2015 tied at 33 sales each.
In 2016 I really tried “working” it. I was in my new studio, producing pottery on a daily basis. I concentrated on good photographs, coming up with better descriptions, posted shop updates, listed 50+ new listings, and sold (are you ready) 12 items.
I should hang my head in Etsy shame. Thank goodness for my gallery and various art shows!
In November 2016, I joined a FB group devoted to selling on Etsy. I even pay monthly to be part of it. December of 2016 was the most discouraging time for Etsy and I. This group made me realize that Etsy was no longer about handmade but more about hand produced. Makers (me) vs producers is how it was stated to me during a mentor call. These young, mostly stay at home moms found an amazing niche market where they could produce something and sell it. Similar to what I do, but they can basically mass produce the same item over and over.
They found a need and filled it. I make stuff for my own artistic pleasure and then hope someone loves it.
For them it means one listing, hundreds of sales. For me it means one listing, one sale, because I make One of a Kind (OOAK) items.
And some of them are raking it in. Money, I mean! And they are gleefully posting about it.
I applaud these folks, I really do! Were I 30 years younger I would be doing the same thing. But all I want to do now is make pottery and sell a bit of it now and then.
Etsy is also in the business of making money. They want to show their viewers stuff that sells and so their search algorithms is not OOAK friendly.
Great for Producers, not great for Makers.
Then I noticed that not everything on Etsy is handmade anymore, although I must admit that there are some pretty cool things on Etsy you can’t get elsewhere.
Then along came Amazon Handmade. Working with Amazon is a subject to another post but suffice it to say they outsell Etsy for me 3:1. And it’s juried, meaning they are still promoting real handmade.
Now I don’t make that much stuff. Pottery is a lot of work and there are a lot of steps involved and there are also plenty of failures so I was listing the same item on Etsy and Amazon and that got real confusing. Sell an item on one platform and remember to take it off the other. Yikes.
I had to make a decision.
Amazon AND Etsy, or Amazon OR Etsy.
Please don’t get me wrong, I love Etsy. I think it’s amazing but I just don’t think it’s a good fit for me anymore. I do reserve the right, though it change my mind!
Good-bye sweet Etsy. Thank you for your amazing service but it is time to part ways.