Etsy has its ups and downs, but it still works well for makers.
Like most creative people, I love making my art and craft.
Like most creative people, I love putting my work out into the world.
Like most creative people, I love it when my work connects with other people.
And like most creative people, I love it when other people love my work enough to buy it.
I’ve had a shop on Etsy for years now. At first, didn’t work well for me for selling my jewelry and mixed media work. To be honest, I didn’t put the time into it. I was doing well selling through stores and galleries, with my open studio events, and at League of NH Craftsmen’s Annual Craftsmen’s Fair. (Which is going on right now, without me!)
So I used Etsy to sell odd stuff. Jewelry supplies I didn’t use anymore, a batch of collectible pottery I needed to move on before moving to California, other odds and ends.
Then we…well, we moved to California. And suddenly, I not only had to introduce my work to an entirely new audience, I had to find a way to let people on the East Coast to continue to collect my work.
I revamped my Etsy site. I updated my listings, and sales have been good.
Around the same time, Amazon announced it was creating a new option for handmade sellers on their site. I toyed with the decision to try it. In the end, I didn’t. Here’s why:
Been there. Done that. Never got the t-shirt.
Several years ago, Amazon launched a very similar Etsy-ish option called A Thousand Markets. I jumped on board, spent hours building my site, uploading images, entering descriptions, all the time-consuming stuff that goes into setting up shop.
And a year later, Amazon sold the kit-and-kaboodle to Bonanza.com.
I have no complaints about Bonanza itself. The tranfer was fairly seamless, considering. It has a lot of not-handmade stuff, but so do all these sites. I won’t complain about low sales, because again, I didn’t put that much time into it.
What I hated was choosing Amazon. And then being flung into another site entirely.
So I’ve stayed with Etsy. I have no regrets.
And now I’m even happier I didn’t choose Amazon again.
ECommerceBytes is….well, an e-commerce newsletter published by Ina Steiner that comes out several times a week. Most of the news is about updates and issues with Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy. It’s an interesting read even for small fry like moi.
Recently, it shared an article comparing sales at the new Amazon handmade to Etsy.
Amazon lost. Big-time.
Of course, Etsy has the history, and Amazon’s newest venture is….well, new. It may build, over time.
And I firmly believe wherever you put your time and efforts, your collectors will follow you. (I don’t rely on attracting people who are totally unfamiliar with my work. My work isn’t cheap, and it’s not usually an impulse buy.)
But I will always remember how 1,000 Markets disappeared, seemingly overnight. I still remember what that felt like, how much extra work I had to put in, and the switch in image I had to deal with.
I remember how I felt I was an early adapter, working with Amazon to make this new thing succeed. I remember feeling like I was a part of something new, something wonderful.
And then it was gone.
So I’m sticking with Etsy.
Many of us feel Etsy is over-the-hill. But in talking with new collectors, young and old, I find that many are still ‘discovering’ Etsy for the first time. (And they love it.)
I know artists who have left Etsy and set up their own online shops, or who use some of the other well-known sites, like Artfire (and, hey, Bonanza.) I know they have good reasons.
But for me, for now, the old reliable is better than the new and glitzy.
If you are considering the switch, go for it, and let me know how it works out.
But hold on to your Etsy shop until you’re sure you’ve got what’s best for you.
Resources for you to explore: