Today was a fantastic day! A friend and I headed to Stratford to wander around the shops there and on the way we stopped in Shakespeare to look at antique furniture. We walked around for a few hours, out in the warm sun (and yes, I got burned), looking at different things and chatting. It was so relaxing and fun. We even bought stuff: my friend bought a small table at one of the antique shops and we both bought some books in Stratford.
While in Shakespeare we also ran into someone who sells on etsy (she makes masks) so we chatted for a bit about some of the issues affecting etsy. It turns out that we're both quite passionate about the problems there. Etsy has a lot of sellers who buy stuff from wholesalers and sell them as handmade - these are resellers, and they run rampant on etsy. Etsy claims to want to get rid of them but they've done nothing to do that - instead, they've coached some of the worst offenders so that it's less obvious that those people are resellers. Etsy doesn't walk the talk, as it were.
I've actually let all of my listings expire on etsy. Part of the reason for that is that I want my photographs to be different but I don't know what I want to do about that. The other part of the reason is that I really don't have any confidence in etsy. They used to be all about handmade and connecting makers with buyers. That's gone. I believe that etsy doesn't really want to get rid of the resellers; after all, those resellers are making a lot of sales and putting a lot of money into etsy's pockets.
Etsy has more problems than just this reseller problem: they created a bunch of SEO problems, causing a huge drop in sales for many sellers; they have terrible communication problems with sellers; and basic seller functionality that's been requested for years - like coupon codes, say - hasn't been implemented.
I no longer promote etsy as a place to sell handmade wares. If you do buy on etsy, try to be sure that you're buying a real handmade or vintage item. Designer bags, for example, aren't being handmade just for etsy :)
I might still end up selling there as they have the advantage of being the best known of the handmade venues. I've been thinking of going to Artfire, which is smaller but has more seller tools and is becoming better known. We'll see. I keep hoping that etsy will get better.
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