Friday, September 10, 2010

Etsy : A Love / Hate Relationship

Let me start out by saying that I was already making a living with my jewelry and Bad Girls of the North business before I discovered etsy in 2007.  But I thought, "what the heck, I'll try out this etsy thing and maybe I can eliminate a show or 2 from my fall schedule".  Yes, I've eliminated shows, but not necessarily because of my wild success (ha!) on etsy.  I eliminated them because they were no longer profitable enough to make sense for my business.  To make up for that lost income, I increased my gallery presence and increased my wholesale.

Now, onto the subject at hand: etsy.

Why I love etsy

I love etsy for what it purports to be -- a marketplace for handmade goods.  The concept is fabulous!  The execution, not so much.  There are so many exceptions to the "handmade" rules, that it sometimes feels like I've disappeared and am drowning in a sea of mass produced factory made stuff.  All of that is out of my control, so I try very hard to ignore it, but it is becoming increasingly difficult.

The other reason I love etsy is because because of the wonderful people I've met there.  I treasure those online friendships for so many reasons. But that's a topic for another blog post. 

Why I hate etsy

Etsy is a time suck.  It sucks hours of my day, everyday.  I fully understand that I allow it to do so.  It is my choice.  But seriously, how can you stay out of those ever-enticing forum trainwrecks?  Even if I was to contain my forum-reading to just the admin announcements, etsy is still a time suck.  I'm no master photographer, so every photo shoot I do is a learning experience.  And it takes me more time than it probably should.  Then there's the photo editing.  Then there's the listing.  Then there's the renewing.  And on and on.

What sucks even more time is the social media that seems to be so important to etsy success: twitter and facebook.  Even though I have a facebook account, I don't remember ever using it.  Sometimes I get email notifications from them, but that's the extent of my involvement.  I'll admit to using twitter quite a bit, but I'm ready to scale back on that.  It has simply taken too much of my precious (yes, precious) time that I'd rather devote to actually ... making jewelry!

If I never become an etsy success (seemingly less likely every single day), so be it.  I loved my little business pre-etsy and I continue to love it.

Have any thoughts you would like to share on the subject of etsy?


Cindy Shake said...

I so agree with you on all points. A couple of years ago when I first saw ESTY, I loved the handmade-ness, the originality, the fresh hipness of the site. NOW, as an artist are but a spec of sand on a very long beach thrown in with more non-artists. What has kept me from uploading items to ETSY is the numbers -THOUSANDS of images a customer now has to navigate through and the sheer quantity of unknowns...

Pricilla said...

You really don't want me to comment, do you?

Brandi said...

I can only agree with you, Vicki, on all points. I've been pretty desperate to have my own e-commerce site, and if Big Cartel offered more than 100 items, I would have moved a looong time ago. My biggest concern with moving off Etsy is the traffic, and that's really the only reason why I'm stayed. I was hoping that this summer and fall would allow me to make a big move, but that hasn't been the case. Soon, though.

And as far as the forums go, I give you credit. I stopped visiting ages ago - too much negativity!

Orion Designs said...

Thank you all for your comments!

Brandi --- traffic is indeed the problem with individual websites and the reason I stay with etsy. Every sale I get on etsy is one I would not have had otherwise. I just need to manage my etsy-time better!

ShinyAdornments said...

I'm with Patty. It would be a novel and I'd probably end up getting myself into trouble.

Good points though V.


Jael said...

Since it seems that Etsy admins are not interested in maintaining that handmade-ness, I feel less and less like being a part of the site. I agree that it's a time-suck, and one that I can no longer afford at ALL (okay, I can't even get anything made...)

Without the groups and self promotion, selling something there is more miss than hits. And who can compete with (dare I say it?) third-world sweat-shop "handmade" stuff?