In 2019, I cautiously entered the world of puppet building for sale to collectors, hobbyists and professional puppeteers. The most logical choice of platform at the time was Etsy, a marketplace geared specifically towards hand made crafts and small-scale home businesses. I had never done anything like this before, and Etsy made the whole process as easy as it could be.
Over the following years Etsy grew into something much more unsavoury and uncomfortable. Fees began at a reasonable 3.5% of sales, then increased to 5%. While that was a blow, the value that the platform brought meant I could handle it. Then it was announced that if a shop made over $10k/year in revenue, it would be forcibly enrolled in their Offside Ads program with no option to opt-out, which meant any sale made from one of those ads was charged a whopping 15%. Then recently it was announced they would be increasing their fee to 6.5%. This was no longer manageable. I was losing a huge amount off of every sale, and to make it worse, the more successful the shop became, the more they took.
Recently there was an organized effort on the part of sellers to draw attention to this, and I along with thousands of other shops participated in a week-long strike. Etsy has yet to respond in any meaningful way, but the damage was done.
Spurred by the increasing struggle to try to make ends meet on Etsy *despite* having a successful shop, many of us have been seeking viable alternatives. My decision was to launch my own direct shop right here on the site. I’m using WooCommerce, a well known and much used e-commerce solution, which simply takes 3.5% of sales as a processing fee. Very reasonable.
It means I’m focusing more attention on the site and having to drive traffic here, but the plan is to eventually move all of the higher-end items to the direct shop. At the moment having Etsy’s search results point people my way is useful so I’m not in a position to leave them altogether, but hopefully as this shop grows it will become self-sustaining.
It didn’t have to be like this. I was happy on Etsy, but their greed and exploitive behavior is something I cannot ignore any longer. It’s been a lot of hard work, very *very* scary and stressful, but also liberating to take my first step towards true independence. Thanks for sticking with me.
From here, we grow.