Etsy’s Gone Public: Handmade Artists Clamor for a Back to Basics Storefront, but Options are Limited

I’ve been on Etsy for about 4 years now. So far, it has allowed my hobby to do well, but usually only around Christmas. Since I’ve been doing it part time up until now…I was ok with that. Now that I’ve moved and graduated, I want to see about making it full time, but with the sporadic sales at Etsy that I’ve previously experienced, I realize I can’t have all my beads in one basket. As a result of my desire to expand, I’ve begun researching other suggestions for alternative places to sell crafts online.

I tried Artfire for over a year, with only 4 sales- not a success! It’s now a $20 – 60 monthly fee (I used to pay $12.95) whether you sell or not, so it’s not worth it for me to continue trying them. I’m now experimenting with inSelly viaInstagram‘s new marketplace. So far there are a lot of glitches and I’ve not made any sales there after just over a month of trying it out. I’m researching the following:

None of them have the traffic so far that Etsy has garnered over 10 years since they opened up.

I’ve got a website which links to my Etsy shop, but my audience is not large enough to sustain shopping at the website alone. If you can’t drive traffic to your website, regardless of offering a free standing eCommerce cart on it or linking to your Etsy shop, having a website alone still won’t guarantee success unless your brand becomes very popular and your SEO is amazing. Usually, artisans rely on blogs, social media, YouTube channel and craft shops such as Etsy to point to their website if they even have one. Many times successful artisans have their website with a shopping cart feature as their main sales presence, but still open Etsy shops due to the popularity of that site and the exposure that could be gained by pointing from their shop to their website.

Until someone mimics the success of Yardsellr which used to run as a marketplace app selling via Facebook, that will truly put the pressure on artisans as to how many marketplaces to try and fail vs. craft fairs or Etsy. Yardsellr did better for me in the 6 months I was there than in the entire 4 years I’ve been with Etsy. They had a great formula for tying in the social experience to get your items seen via people seeing your item intermittently when they logged into Facebook. Then, you could choose to pay ads and as Yardsellr got more popular, they started messing up by creating games to earn ad credits which led to chaos and an abrupt shutdown.

The truth is, most creative people are frustrated by constantly researching SEO tactics and uploading items into new online craft shops, in addition to attending craft fairs, taking great photos and keeping up with eMarketing communications via social media. All these tasks reduce the amount of time to CREATE, which is why we handmade artisans got involved with Etsy for in the first place, right? To get our goods online in front of the world, while still allowing time for us to make our goodies. If you want to be successful, you must always keep an eye on trends in your craft as well as your sales locale and audience shift. This means battling the frustration or just giving up online altogether in favor of craft fairs, home parties and personal sales.
So, I’m thankful for Etsy, but I’m looking at additional alternatives to use in conjunction with that shop in order to grow my biz online plus beginning to go to craft fairs. I wish Etsy would have made purchasing stock available to its sellers before going public so that we could have had an option in sharing in the wealth, since we helped them get to this point.Their stock already doubled on opening day and I’ve not seen the first invite as to how to get in on purchasing it, if I’m interested. Now I already can’t afford it. hahaha.

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