Me and Etsy – The End of the Affair

Over the last couple of months or so I’ve spent a fair chunk of my time revamping my Etsy shop in preparation for their latest online changes. I know that plenty of folk are resistant to change if change appears to be pointless. What’s the expression ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’ However, considering making changes can prompt you to dispassionately scrutinise the status quo. The Etsy new look for their shops has certainly made me tidy up and redesign the look and feel of both my Etsy outlet and my own online shop.

My Agnes Ashe online shop homepage as seen on an iPad.

Okay, so that was all well and good, but then, on the back of a few other gripes, came the final straw. Etsy introduced an easy to use template for a shop’s policies. Just bear with me here for a sec. Etsy has ‘found’ that customers don’t like reading lots of words, particularly about boring issues such as time to send out goods, delivery details, buying from another country, insurance and what happens should wish to return an item. Yes, I agree, I don’t want pages of legalese, but when I’m buying I do want to know what to expect especially if I’m buying a special gift for someone and time is crucial.

Homepage as seen on a PC.

Etsy has been around for over a decade now and should know that the ‘world of handmade’ is not a homogeneous place where ‘one size fits all’ solutions are going to be the answer. Like many of my fellow Etsy artisans who create one-off pieces, I spent sometime writing my policies to give my customers as much information as possible. As Etsy sellers, who are not all based in the US (Etsy is a US listed public corporation), we are subject to our own, quite specific, national trading laws regarding online commerce. I would have thought that this fact alone would suggest that a policies template for everyone was going to be inappropriate. It transpires that you don’t have to use the new template, but there’s a hint that if you don’t comply you are less likely to be ‘found’ when customers search on Etsy.

So, is it time I left the Etsy platform – the end of the affair? I’ve only been an Etsy seller since 2013, a relative newbie, but during this time Etsy changes have meant a broader acceptance of work for sale that is neither vintage nor handmade. Of course, digitally printed silk scarves spring to mind – what can I say! This issue, coupled with a general race to the bottom pricing as some crafters flood the Etsy market with cheaply made offers, means I feel that perhaps it’s no longer the place for me. Remember the film depicting the short reign of Anne Boleyn, ‘Anne of a Thousand Days’, well I’m ‘Agnes of 947 days’.

Update – I have now closed my Etsy shop.  All my hand painted scarves and textile art is available from my own Agnes Ashe boutique/gallery which is run through a professional eCommerce platform based in the UK (most of my sales are to UK customers). I may have left Etsy, but I do still ship internationally to Europe, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan and accept major debit/credit cards.

That’s it – end of the moan and end of all those boring . . .  words.

Logo on homepage as seen on a mobile phone.

Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

18 thoughts on “Me and Etsy – The End of the Affair”

  1. I had an etsy shop some years back, and it was a pain to do everything. I also had and still maintain an shop – but because I was one of their first users, I was grandfathered in and I can sell all I want for $5.95 a month – their charges have changed a lot.

    I have found out, though, that I can sell so much more from my Facebook page. I have a page for my farm, and I post things there, then I share that to my own wall. And it costs nothing. Not one penny.

    1. Thanks so much for taking time to comment and share some helpful advice. To be honest I’ve been thinking about closing it for awhile as it has been both a waste of time and money, but it was hard to say goodbye with all the uploaded photos etc. But definitely time to move on. I don’t have a Facebook page, but I do post daily to Instagram as it’s so visual.
      Thanks again and all the best for your business. Agnes

    1. There are lots of rules about so many things when really most creative folk just want to get on with making their stuff and sell through a friendly reliable outlet. Oh, a dream world!😄

  2. Those do sound like the sort of details you have to check out when I’m getting second-hand books off eBay. All the social media sites seem to keep wanting to change, often for the worse, and it is painful and I don’t know why. Glad you are sorted out now.

    1. Thanks. Sometimes you have to spend hours making sure you’re doing things properly. Before I started trading online I waded, sorry, that would be scrolled, through reams of distance trading regs for the UK just to be sure I wasn’t breaking any laws. Etsy was always a second string to my bow, but I could neither justify the time nor the money.
      I hope the library staff have backed off – you need to develop an unfriendly, slightly menacing scowl to flick in there direction the minute they start to advance.

  3. I tried Etsy a while back and found it took so much time to enter each item (since each one was unique). I gave up pretty quickly and continued as I had been, selling in art fairs. Works for me. I think you did the right thing and you can now do things your own way. Easier.

    I have gotten on a list for a site called Folksy, I mean as a customer, not a seller – I can’t remember how they found me, but I like it. It’s just for UK designers. Don’t know if you have heard of it, thought I’d mention it.

  4. Ah yes, thanks for your positive comment. I did take a look at Folksy when I first signed up with Etsy, but it hadn’t been going as long as Etsy and had a much smaller presence. I might just take another look. 😊

  5. I love your slogan “every piece, unrepeatable and unique”. I do hope the change works well for you. These things are meant to be a tool, not a job in themselves. So if it was not working for you, good idea to move on.

    1. Ah ha – thanks for that. I must admit it has taken me a long time of fiddling around to get the homepage looking more or less like I wanted it to. I now have a long term project to re-photograph some of the scarves now we have brighter days. Winter daylight photos have not always got the colours as accurately as I would like. And, I’ve learnt the hard way that silk really does look better in natural light when taking product pictures.

    1. Please also read round what others have to say, mine is a very personal view. I did see some report mentioning that Etsy customers were very US based and that was also my finding, but that might change in the future. You could always try it out for a while as it’s not expensive only a bit time-consuming.

  6. I had tried out etsy a few years back and it was a disaster. I just reopened my shop a few weeks ago, and I had horrible anxiety then. Reading this makes me want to go back and make sure I have read the fine print. Best of luck

    1. Don’t worry – there isn’t much in the Etsy fine print as long as you are following your own country’s/state’s laws about eRetailing. The biggest negative now with Etsy is there are so many sellers and it’s difficult to be found. Of course, if people already know your work then it works well. Best of luck with reopening your shop. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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