9/08/2010

To Etsy or not to Etsy?

I've been thinking a lot about my online selling woes the past month. I've had my Etsy shop closed for the summer with a message saying that it would open again in the fall. Well, fall is basically here and my shop has no signs of life yet. I'm struggling to find the motivation to get my pictures how I want them. Even now when I know way more about photography than I did when I started, it still takes a lot of time to take the pictures, edit them, and then set up the listing. All for maybe a few sales a month which just isn't worth it to me.

There was a time when I could expect 1 or 2 sales a week during the prime knitwear buying season, late Oct-Dec. There is now so much competition on Etsy that it is nearly impossible to be found, even with improved photos. There are currently 26,553 results for knit scarf. You can tag as efficiently as possible but without some kind of personal promotional tool it's a long shot to be found. I'm not even going to get into my pet peeve about the same people constantly being promoted on the front page and other Etsy promotional areas.

I have kept my shop open the past 3 years through the dry spells because I thought it was important to have an on-line presence. My main priority has been doing a few targeted craft shows a year but I liked having a shop to direct my customers to online. I've enjoyed the camaraderie on Etsy despite their many flaws, but lately I just feel over their antics. They have made a number of controversial design changes and major overhauls to the checkout and feedback systems which make me nervous to reopen at this time.

Etsy Bitch as always, is the best place to go to find out the real story behind the changes. I am sick to death of reading the Storque and getting the sugar coated BS that the Etsy Admin put out. You have to read between the lines so much that it almost becomes illegible. I was even more confused after reading their post about collecting sales tax with the new checkout system. The 99 page forum thread is simply too daunting to figure out what I need to do to be safe.

I'm once again considering other options such as Artfire but I have a box of 500 business cards with my Etsy address on it that I'm planning to use as price tags for the Strange Folk Festival. If anyone has thoughts I would gladly hear them. Do you think that I'm hurting myself by not having an online venue as a kind of portfolio for my work?

12 comments:

Lin said...

It is crazy to try to find something on Etsy now as there are a cabillion vendors on there. That said, I do like to just browse every so often. Lately, I'm not buying too much as money is tight. I would think you would need an online presence, but if you aren't getting sales that way, maybe not.

Tracy said...

This is my eternal struggle as well. I keep thinking that maybe, just maybe, my day will come when the sales would start pouring in. But, after a couple of years, and only TWO sales, I am of the opinion that maybe my dream is just that, a dream. Shoot, I have had FOUR sales on my own personal website in the last 6 months...a better average, and I don't have to pay listing fees, and what not. I have more control over my items, and my look and feel. It is not any harder than listing on Etsy, and like I said, more sales on there. So, I think I am going to let Etsy go, and concentrate on promoting MYSELF, not half a million other peeps!! I know, my little rant doesn't help you much, just wanted you to know I feel your pain, and hope you the best in whatever you decide to do.

Ann said...

I don't know much about etsy so I really can't give much of an opinion. I have to agree with Lin though that it's kind of crazy to find something there.

Home Hooked said...

I have the same dilemma. But then I think, at least I'm not paying Etsy when I'm not selling things. It does get frustrating when the same people are always featured, though. Or how the front page always looks the same. I'll never get on it because I have colorful pictures, not dreamy or stark ones.

Patrice-The Soap Seduction said...

I'm working on my own website as we speak. I'm only going to carry a certain number of products on Etsy and when my listings expire, I'm not renewing. I'm giving Etsy too much money and power over my shop

Evermore Organics said...

I'm over at 1000 Markets now and I like it much better than Etsy. Etsy is so messed up and self-absorbed these days. I've also had my own website for 6 years and that by far is the best.

Sinclair said...

I vote for your own website/domain. I haven't had much luck on Etsy, and the work and time put in compared to the sale ratio is severely unbalanced. I like that photo you have there on this post.

It is certainly at scarf weather here already. Looking for hot tea and warm fuzzies now!

Sinclair said...

I vote for your own website/domain. I haven't had much luck on Etsy, and the work and time put in compared to the sale ratio is severely unbalanced. I like that photo you have there on this post.

It is certainly at scarf weather here already. Looking for hot tea and warm fuzzies now!

Nancy said...

I feel your pain. Big time. As I think many of us do. But, even despite the amount of blow up on etsy these days, I just think that jewelry and cute things sell, while knitters seem to be left in the dust more often. Just a sad fact.

I deleted my artfire account recently just because if you want an online presence, and know you're not gonna have many sales, the $12 fee a month was just too much for me. I can let my items sit in etsy for relatively little if I'm not keeping up with them. So that was that choice.

Too bad there's not a magic answer, but, I do think it's good to have some online representation. What about creating your own website? Duni (lovely purses) could probably talk to you some about that.

Ruth said...

I'm having similar thoughts, I haven't had anything posted in my shop for months--I've had four sales in five years on Etsy and it just doesn't seem worth it. I'm thinking about trying Zibbet, I've heard some good things about that, but not sure what to start with. Older stuff that hasn't sold on Etsy or new stuff? Hmmm...I've been kind of in a funk lately too (haven't posted to my own blog since back in the spring, had some difficult things going on and feel like anything I post would just be a depressed whine) and not sure I can keep up the energy getting a new shop set up and advertised would need--quite a dilemma, huh? I do think Etsy has kind of grown bigger than Admin can manage, the whole thing with resellers is just crazy FWIH--haven't been on the boards there for ages though. It's like they need several full time staffers just to deal with all the flagged shops.

Split Rock Ranch said...

Since it doesn't cost anything but time to keep the Etsy shop open, you might as well do it. Sales for everyone have been down lately, even the sellers who normally list fibers that sell literally as fast as they are listed. Now those stores have items that have been sitting there for weeks, some items have been there for months. Think of it as advertising. If you sell something, that's icing on the cake. ArtFire sales for me are virtually non-existent. I just have the freebie ArtFire store and cannot justify paying $15 or $16 a month just to keep a store open there. They do have some nice features of the paid store but I just can't afford the monthly fees to use those features. Hang in there - things will hopefully get better soon. Thanks for hosting my EC ad today!

jgbeanz said...

I was on again and off again on etsy and finally had decided to put it to a end. I did not find all the time, money, paperwork etc...I put into it was worth it anymore.....if you have tried it for a while and it's not working...maybe look at other online places and if you can do some shows locally. Good Luck :)

Jill

 

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