Dear Etsy: I'm breaking up with you.
This is long. If you decide to follow along, grab yourself a cup of tea (or glass of wine). You can also scroll down to the last paragraph to get to the important bit.
You may have heard that Etsy dropped some unpalatable news on its sellers this week. In addition to a fee increase, they announced a new commission on shipping rates. Many sellers are upset with this move and are protesting, signing petitions, and closing shop. While the increase doesn't particularly bother me as it's still competitive, the move in general has cemented for me my suspicion that Etsy's direction and mine are no longer co-linear. Their fees were always lower than other sites because they were all about helping the maker. I don’t feel like that value is still their priority.
I've been debating the direction of my online business for a while now, as it just hasn't been working for me. Etsy has made it more and more difficult to play in their field, and the time invested vs return wasn't balancing. I have been spending too much time trying to defeat Etsy's algorithms, and not enough time designing, making, communicating, and creating instructional materials. But most importantly, I felt that by playing by Etsy's rules, I was alienating those most important to me: Canadians.
While I’ve wanted to switch to my own individual shop site I worried that people wouldn't find me off of Etsy's platform, and an independent site is a pretty high per-month cost. However, this new move means that soon the two options will be at par, and that has made my decision easier.
The biggest issue is this: I am a maker. I am not an Amazon business. And most importantly, I don’t want to be an Amazon business.
The stress-ridden, fast pace of next day shipping that Etsy sellers are expected to promise in order to be found in search results (because Amazon has made shoppers expect this) doesn’t suit a handmade, slow living lifestyle. I don’t think it’s reasonable to have to match eBay and Amazon in this way. Likewise the free shipping (which gets buried in the price of items), the constant promotions, and the American pricing that is required to be “in the game,” contradict my goals as a maker.
Most of the people who visit my shop and Facebook page are Canadian. But very few Canadians make purchases. I can 100% understand. In order to compete on Etsy, my shop setup must cater to American shoppers as Etsy is an American site. And while I absolutely value my American customers, knowing that they will greatly benefit from Canadian pricing (our exchange rate!) and that it costs roughly the same to ship to the US as it does within Canada, keeping the shop set up in USD isn't helping anyone. Also, I can't pretend that I don’t grow more and more concerned about shipping my items across the border with the current administration.
Are you still with me? Here's the nuts and bolts:
This week's news has been good for me. It has forced me to re-evaluate my priorities and take action on the direction I've been contemplating for a while now.
Next month I will be moving listings over to an up and coming Canadian makers' platform, called We Shop Canadian. These prices will all be in Canadian dollars.
I’m also going to open an independent site in Canadian pricing. My domain of www. rosesnpurls. com will direct patrons there rather than to Etsy.
My Etsy shop will remain open, but I'll be focusing my time and energy on the two new sites.
This will result in lower prices (not having to account for fluctuations in the exchange rate or commission rates in pricing), with Americans also reaping the benefit of the lower dollar. I will also be able to run direct pre-orders and offer options for local pickup and gift cards. All existing coupon codes will also apply on the new independent site.
My passion has been to support Canadian shepherds and Canadian fibre artists, and Etsy has been making that very difficult.
So Etsy it's been fun, but I'm breaking up with you. Happy Birthday anyway.