Dear Etsy, It’s not me, It’s you.

I’ve been slightly uneasy about my relationship with my Etsy shop for a few years now, but actually breaking up with them has always been the step I wasn’t quite ready to take. I’m still not quite there, but I recently read an article which articulated my vague uneasiness in a way that I’ve been unable to. And now I can’t get it out of my mind, especially this quote:

A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend who shops on Etsy but is not a crafter. She asked why we don’t run Ex-Boyfriend through Etsy. I said “You shop on Etsy a lot, right?” She nodded.

I continued, “Imagine you found the scarf you’re wearing on Etsy. If I said to you, ‘hey that’s a great scarf, where did you get that?’ what would you tell me?”

She looked confused and said “I’d tell you I got it on Etsy.”

And that’s why Ex-Boyfriend isn’t run through Etsy.

Oh wow. That’s… eye opening. And so very true.
I love the idea behind Etsy, and I enjoy shopping there, but as a shop owner, there are issues that simply get tiring. The search function is still not very functional, meaning re-listing items over and over is still the only way to come up in search. Consistent, fair and prompt Customer Service sometimes seems like it’s reserved for buyers, and Etsy’s staff tend to be intolerant of complaints, often muting or banning sellers who are vocal about recurring problems. There has also been a huge influx of sweatshop-produced goods, with inconsistent policing by staff. Finally, the new Seller Profile pages are full of so many ways to leave the seller’s shop (circles, treasuries, favorites, teams…) that I sometimes wish I could shut it down. Who am I promoting, anyway?

So… I don’t know. I guess I need to rethink this whole shop business and figure out a way that my online sales can be as successful as my in-person sales. Smaller Box’s article really gives me a lot to think about.


3 thoughts on “Dear Etsy, It’s not me, It’s you.

  1. I haven’t been on etsy since December 2009. They really don’t care about their sellers, as I learned that December.

    Good news, though. My friend Jonathan and Hethe are starting a site that will kick Etsy’s butt. They are addressing all the things that are wrong with Etsy and doing them right with their site. It’s called TrendRiot. I’ll send you the link to them on FB so you can keep updated. He is very close to it going live. 🙂

    • Yes, a couple years ago I had an extremely bad experience with Customer Service. They allowed a non-paying buyer to leave me negative feedback and refused to remove it. I should have left then, but I chickened out. I don’t think I’ll close my shop, but I think focusing on my own site is a smart move.

  2. There are many things which Etsy could definitely do better, but I’m hanging in there for the time being. They have improved a few things over the years, the new (current) listing form being a HUGE improvement. Etsy has tried to reinvent the wheel so many times, when they should have been learning from those who went before them. eBay played around with their listing form many times in their first 5 years, but when they got it down to 2 screens (as Etsy has FINALLY done), it was a HUGE improvement!

    I’ve had my own web site (got one really good wholesale customer, but few retail customers). I’ve sold on eBay since 1998 (not always handmade items). I’ve tried a few other sites, including ArtFire and Zibbet. In nearly 3 years on ArtFire, I’ve made exactly ONE sale there — to a customer who had seen my things on Etsy but didn’t want to set up an account there. I still have things listed on both of these sites but am putting little, if any, effort into them at this time.

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