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I belong to a great community called Etsy. Etsy is a place to sell all things handmade, supplies and vintage items.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Etsy Problems

If you are an active member of Etsy then you know about the daily struggles that handmade artist face. Between the same shops being featured over and over again, resellers, glitches in the system and people who are selling (and taking money from us) items that are not handmade Etsy is forecasting an internal storm.


What it really boils down to is that Etsy wants to make money and they'll make it any way they can. I think in the beginning they really did care about providing a venue where handmade artist were allowed to gather and be successful. Then as time passed and they got so famous their morals and ideals took a down slide. This problem is not limited to just Etsy it can be seen in most successful businesses. When one person, say an Etsy Artist, is in complete control of their shop they make all the designs, they chose the prices and qualities of their products, they market the product. Now lets say that shop owner gains huge success and now their demand is so great they can't possibly do everything themselves as they are only humans so they start taking on employees to take some of the weight and stress off themselves. As the business continues to grow more of the day to day decisions are filtered down the chain OWNER----->VP----->Manager----->Employee. Every time some one makes a decision for you about your business they bring their own set of morals and visions to the table that may not match the owner's. The owner however is now busy thinking about other things other than the little day to day things they used to love and thrive off. In Etsy's case where at one point the owner really did care about us artists they have so many other things on their plates that they forgot about those of us who got them where they are today. The members of their chain care about getting a good pay check in this economy and the bills they have to pay. Where does that leave us artist?
I've observed that some artist have taken on the "if you can't beat them join them" theory. I ask how does this help our cause? How can we yell about our rights as handmade artists when our fellow artist are selling out? In some cases instead of standing on the front line and making it known that with out us artists Etsy can make no money artist have gone to . If there's nothing to buy there's no money going into Etsy. Is it realistic that every seller will shut up shop? No because we have bills to pay.
I've been told more than once at craft shows, through family and friends that "you know if you just make ___________and sell it for ________ you'd make so much money" I generally say that isn't my business vision. I don't want to mass produce junk in order to sell because that makes me cheap. I fully understand that in this economy not everyone can buy one of my cuffs for forty dollars. My solution? To pour my skill into a skinnier version to allow for price variance. I use the same quality materials and love in my Skinny Minis and I do in my bigger pieces. That has become my solution. I don't believe in using cheaper products to mass product items that I see are selling well. If you start doing that then you've become the Owner who sells out.

I encourage artists to make a stand and make it your own. Stand on the front line in a way that makes you comfortable.

What are your thoughts?

3 comments:

Vandiva said...

Very well said! If only etsy could hear us.

SendingLoveGallery said...

very inspiring post, much to think about...thanks!

trentongal said...

Thanks for your thoughtful post! I can't imagine making something that I don't personally like....

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