Before I started a shop with Etsy I read all of their about, mission, values and reported information to get a sense of what they stand for and what they have accomplished within the handmade seller community.
I was impressed at their true love and understanding of what their sellers wanted and needed and how they could help them as a platform and as a team of supportive people.
What is Etsy?
Etsy is the largest platform dedicated to handmade product makers and sellers. They have offices in Canada, the United States, Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia, France and Japan.
And, although their definition of handmade is constantly changing and being redefined they are still primarily a market for handmade, artisan goods and vintage finds.
So, why is Etsy so good for handmade businesses?
- They get a large amount of buyer traffic.
- They are a premade platform.
- They have a great support system.
- They connect sellers locally.
According to their about page they have 25 million active buyers for their only 1.6 million sellers.
This accounted for $2.39 billion in annual gross merchandise sales in 2015.
Why is this good? Well for those that aren’t tech savvy this makes selling online easier. And for those that are it is still an opportunity to have an online presence without putting in extra time on a website on top of the already needed marketing efforts.
With Etsy teams and local event listings, sellers can connect with each other in their own areas and find local shows to present their work at. Some seller teams have also been known to arrange their own shows.
If these points and the community don’t convince you then perhaps it’s worth noting that their listing fees of .20US (around .25CAN) are lower than that of .
You also don’t have to pay extra to have more than one image per product or any extra lines of text. You can include all the information about you and your business to build a real, personal connection with sellers.
The Cons of Etsy for Handmade Items
Naturally, no platform is perfect and just as has its flaws so does Etsy.
As mentioned in point #3 their customer service can be considered rather lacking but I myself have made contact via email without issue. So I would say this isn’t a problem for everyone.
Another thing to consider is that with their new third party payment system there are added payment processing fees on top of listing fees and the 3.5% on each sale.
Etsy direct fees are listed at 3% plus .25CAN for orders from Canada or the US and from other international locations it’s 4% plus .25CAN. This changes depending on the seller’s location.
Weighing the pros and cons.
Added up the Etsy fees are still less than the 10% alone that takes from a final sale but I put the fees under cons because when starting up most handmade sellers don’t have much of a budget.
I would say that the community, the buyer expectations and the traffic to Etsy are big reasons to give the platform a try.
As for the Etsy Evolution.
As their successful sellers grew they began allowing people to hire help and even outsource the creation of their designs.
Some people see the changes that have happened to Etsy over the course of the last 11 years to be a stab in the back to the handmade community.
Yet others see this as positive.
I hate to be so blunt (ok, I don’t hate being blunt), but if you are putting your work out there and expect it to stay small and stay a hobby then you should not be upset about those around you growing and hence evolving the platform you chose to sell on.
If you aren’t looking to grow then that is your choice but others choose to grow and evolve with their needs and the needs of their customers.
Etsy is a platform that evolves with its sellers. As the CEO Chad Dickerson said in a 2014 Wired.com interview:
Have you set up shop on Etsy?
What do you think of the changes they have made over the past 11 years?
Do you have another handmade sellers platform you would like me to review?