Etsy, Paradise Lost

Little Grasshopper

So for a long, very long time I sold antiques, collectibles, vintage, paintings and very cool found objects on eBay. My mother had shops in New York since I was knee high to a grasshopper, and we traipsed countrywide and into Canada for buying trips that included sales and auctions of massive estate liquidations when heirs could no longer afford to pay taxes on old mansions and estates. We really did have the treasure trove of good old beautiful things in one of the oldest settled areas in the country.

A Damn Good Platform

As brick and mortar stores and shops were replaced with ecommerce selling platforms, the love of the hunt did not change, it was the way we evolved to stay in the game, find awesome things and make a profit.

eBay was it! I sold thousands of items on eBay for years. Of course there were growing pains, bits of chaos and the usual suspects when things were not quite right, but in retrospect, it was and is a damn good platform. I changed my format from a store to just listing my items on their own. When I took a trip to Europe, I discovered that I was not able to pause my account to vacation mode. I had to delete all of my items and when I returned I found it difficult to activate them.

My Not So “aHa” Moment

This is when I thought, aha! I’ll try Etsy. What could go wrong? I opened my store in October 2020. Honestly, I thought at that time Etsy had become all grown up while maintaining it’s child like spirit. You know embracing ideas and concepts like dreams that really could come true, artists who could create beautiful things and make money, or collectors who could curate a vintage collection to share with the world – and make money. My wild, blind faith in the idealism of Etsy, caused me to just dive in. Sure, I saw some complainers and whiners, but that’s wasn’t me or my style. I ignored the red flags.

Bitch Slapped & Not Digging It

Fast forward, and two years later I got bitch slapped by Etsy, not once, but twice. Call me smug, but nothing I have ever done or stood for as an aficionado or experienced dealer prepared me for this. It didn’t matter one bit, Etsy shut down my shop twice. So no matter who you are, I think it’s always a good idea to see what other people are going through every day, as they try to make Etsy a part of their creative process and livelihood. People matter. Etsy, I assure you, you have not even come close to keeping commerce human for thousands of sellers throughout the world.

Real Reviews by Real People

Here is a gallery of recent reviews by Etsy sellers who have experienced the wrath of the new and improved Etsy, found on Trustpilot.

Dreamers, Not Schemers

Oh how smug, but naïve I was. I think a lot of Etsy people (and former Etsy people) might be as naïve as me, so many are dreamers, not schemers. CEO Josh Silverman and the shareholders know it and bank on it, literally. Just have a look at the bare bones compensation for the brass at Etsy for its 2021 fiscal year, from its annual proxy statement to the SEC, from salary.com.

Josh Does Not Care About Sellers

If Etsy continues to shut down shops with blatant disregard for sellers, thus reducing its own revenue base which finances the Etsy machine, where is the money going to come from? Etsy acquisitions. Which again supports the idea that Josh Silverman really does not care about sellers: 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.” Source: Forbes.com.

Isn’t It Nice to Have Acquisitions

Etsy’s doors will stay open with these acquisitions in their back pocket while they shutter countless shops. We’ll never know how many have been given the hatchet and final blow. But each time Etsy plays Russian Roulette with other peoples lives, real people suffer in countless ways.

I Tell Ya, I Get No Respect

Etsy radically assures sellers that their obsession must be dedicated to the buyers experience. In Josh Silverman’s world it is the only thing that matters. As a former Etsy seller, of course I cared, I cared deeply that every buyer was wildly happy about their purchases. This is a common thread among all successful sellers. And when a customer was difficult or dishonest I expected to be listened to and respected by the refund rulers of Etsyland. (I had a no refund policy, it is an unenforceable policy, be aware). There is no appeal process.

Etsy Is Barely Recognizable

But who better to embrace the vision versus today’s reality at Etsy than one of the original co-founders and ice cream maker Chris Maguire? Truly, one of the good guys, so you know that couldn’t last.

“How an Etsy founder turned ice cream maker feels about the e-commerce giant today”

PUBLISHED TUE, APR 19 202210:52 AM EDTUPDATED WED, APR 20 20229:33 AM EDT

Alexis Gebhardt, special to CNBC.com

“Co-founder Chris Maguire tells CNBC of the company today, “It’s kind of more geared towards, ‘We’re selling stuff and we’re selling as much as possible, and that should be the driving goal.’ But it’s, you know, there’s not quite as much playfulness.” …

“But as Etsy has grown well beyond its original goal – to create a sustainable place for people to buy and sell the things they make – it has become more difficult to maintain its do–it-yourself ethos. Maguire says being emotionally involved with the crafting community made the founders want to build something that would suit their needs, and today, while Etsy still makes sure that there’s a buyer and seller connection that goes beyond a transaction, he has noticed that the company has become more like a machine for making sales.

“They had this playful aesthetic. And I don’t see that as much on Etsy now,” Maguire said. “It’s kind of more geared towards, ‘We’re selling stuff and we’re selling as much as possible, and that should be the driving goal.’ But it’s, you know, there’s not quite as much playfulness.” 

“The success of our business model is based on the success of our sellers,” then-Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson told the New York Times. “That means we don’t have to make a choice between people and profit.”

But that has become an increasingly harder line to walk as a public company with Wall Street on watch. The changes at Etsy go much deeper than the latest transaction fee increases. 

In 2017, Dickerson, who had led the company since 2011, was ousted and board member Josh Silverman was brought in as CEO at time when private equity firms and hedge funds were amassing shares. The fears of a potential takeover were matched by fears about the company’s mission being lost.

New York Times feature from 2017 noted that even as financials improved, in other respects, “Etsy is barely recognizable.” “

Red Flags Everywhere

I know I shouldn’t look back because I am not going that way. But I was personally subjected to an injustice by Etsy bots and ghosts that has affected my life in a big way. By sharing information about my experience, it is my hope that past, present and possible future sellers will do a bit of due diligence, weigh in on the pros and cons before taking that dive.

I Shall Always Refuse

This was my shop. Although Etsy dismantled all of my listings, they will not allow me to actually close the shop until I pay a disingenuous and false claim against me. I refuse. I will always refuse.

Yours truly, jolie

All rights reserved.

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2 responses to “Etsy, Paradise Lost”

  1. I am definitely interested in joining with other parties to sue Etsy for discrimination etc.

    Like

  2. I have written several blogs and have issued formal complaints. This blog references a former seller in Milan, Italy who wants to begin a gofundme account to begin a class action suit: https://vintagelife.blog/2023/01/22/confessions-of-a-milan-etsy-seller-2/. It would be nice if we could gain some momentum to entice a great big legal team who finds merit in uncovering the practices that have put thousands of sellers out of business.

    Like

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