The Trouble with Etsy

Bubble Tea is NOT impressed, resellers. Not impressed at all.

Etsy is a vibrant marketplace where you can find brilliant, quirky, hilarious, stunning handmade goods.

It’s also your go-to source for owl pendants fresh from a factory in China, stolen photos and descriptions, and not-even-remotely handmade wedding gowns.

It makes my head hurt, quite honestly, and leaves me in a quandry.

I want to sell my work online.

I do not want Etsy to get a penny of my money (or your money, if you bought something from me), because so MANY MANY MANY of their pennies come from resellers. And it would appear that they don’t care.

(To read more about resellers on Etsy, check out this post on Regretsy)

So, what’s a girl to do?

I’ve been looking up Etsy alternatives and here’s what I’ve found. This is not an in-depth research project and not a pros and cons list; just information that struck me as being important when I was looking at their sites.

Meylah
2.75% transaction fee on all sales you make. Can sell digital files (like patterns for oh, I dunno, fish? Cacti? Ham? I’m just thinking outloud, here.) Accepts paypal. You can blog within your store. Anyone can open up a shop.
Cargoh
Super clean, super spiffy layout that looks like a retail store’s website. Cargoh is curated, which means you have to apply to be a seller (that’s a BIG plus in my book!). Higher transaction fee than any of the other sites (8%), but there’s no charge to list an item. This is a high-quality marketplace, people.

Artfire
The first two weeks are free, then you’re charged $12.95 per month to be a seller – but there are no transaction fees on top of that. Not as big as Etsy, but still gets a lot of traffic. A flat monthly fee would be great if you have a lot of transactions, but I’m not looking to have that kind of volume. So, while ArtFire is technically an option, the monthly fee rules it out for me.

Of course, there’s always the option of setting up e-commerce on your own website, and then promoting the heck out of it because you can’t rely on other Etsy traffic. I like this idea because you are in complete control of your content. Plus, let’s be honest, “just being on Etsy” is not a great marketing strategy. You should be promoting your shop regardless of where it’s hosted.

┬áSo…now what?

I don’t know. I really don’t. For now I’m working hard on creating things to sell, since the marketplace is irrelevant if there’s no product! I’m also setting up a new website, since my shop has a name that’s not Crafty Sheep (stay tuned – I’ll be writing more about this next week!).

Here’s where I could use your help: what else is out there? Do you buy handmade from a website other than Etsy? Let me know in the comments!

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