Amidst the worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings. – Lao Tzu
Let’s Get Philosophical
And so, it’s probably fortuitous that as this year ends, doing business with Etsy shall also come to an end, permanently and with deliberate measure. New year, new beginnings. I’d call that Kismet.
Observing Endings & Beginnings
My shop was closed this year. Etsy should not have had that right, but it happened, (during a mandatory hurricane evacuation nonetheless). In the new year, no one will ever be able to pull that kind of trickery again. Because my things are quite special, you know, the non mass produced good old things that embody the spirit of quality, design, whimsy and innocence of times past, I’ll begin sharing these little treasures of goodness on my own website for starters, so stay tuned.
The Sellers Dilemma
I succumbed to the the ever changing and demanding policies of Etsy, thinking it would somehow matter. I spent thousands of hours creating an an absolute one of a kind gem, a ridiculously irresistible find among the ordinary masses. And for awhile, fabulous buyers found me, speaking a mutual language of appreciation and respect.
By my second year, with new policies in place, Etsy changed. After unpleasantries with opportunistic buyers, no support, actually negative support from Etsy, an increase to a 30% cost factor on each sale, and a yearly sales decline of 63%, I woke up. I was making less than minimum wage, and for what?
Only to Be Insulted
Per CEO Josh Silverman: “We need to do what our sellers need, not want,” Silverman says. “To serve the sellers, you need to obsess over the buyer experience.”
Oh and there are a few other nuggets you can find if you dig a little deeper, but in a nutshell, Josh Silverman does not care about sellers. Didn’t his Ma ever tell him not to bite the hand that feeds him?
Perception Is Reality
But, at 40 million a year, plus all of the perks the stockholders have deemed appropriate, (following the April 2021 sellers strike) Silverman’s world is a far different place than that of Etsy sellers, who have made it all possible.
Brilliant move. While Silverman and Etsy peeps travel the world, posting stories about doing good, parties & more parties, new staff for obscure sounding positions, and staff dancing in the hallways, (those little rascals who close our shops), it’s all about PR. Perception is reality.
Except for thousands of Etsy sellers. The sting of a business ending is real.
It’s a bubble though, and history repeats itself. According to “pymnts” of this year: “… After experiencing what Etsy CEO Josh Silverman referred to as a “tidal wave of growth” over the past two years, the leading marketplace for handmade clothing, jewelry and other items is now facing an earthquake of sorts that has pushed its stock down 60% in six months to a two-year low. …”
Hummmm …. haven’t seen this on the Etsy Influencers social media shout outs. Sellers beware. That is all.
In the meantime, some upstart seller platforms are beginning to rise from the ashes of exploited artists, creators, crafts folk, collectors and those who will not be defined – who are developing an Etsy alternative. Keep your eye on Indie Sellers Guild and Artisans Cooperative. There are scads on blogs on the subject too.
Back to Beginnings
In the Etsy culture and the so called “Keeping Commerce Human” mantra, solicitously revealing to us what great mindfulness is given to their employees, and extended communities, isn’t it time for sellers, (and all the kicked out of the club sellers) to embrace being “Human” again?
Etsy got more of our attention than our families, friends, partners, pets and the chance to meet new people out in the real world, because we were married to you. It’s good to be divorced from you. On to new beginnings.
With love, Jolie
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