Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Etsy Rant

I have been biting my tongue for so long but now I can no longer hold my tongue.

Etsy a site that promoted itself as being handmade, vintage and supplies items has totally sold out.  No big deal and no big surprise for some of the more knowledgable readers who will be saying they are after all a business (aka corporation) BUT it is a travesty for the people who signed up to sell their homemade (I prefer homecrafted btw as a label) and vintage and supples who were the people who advertised and brought customers to the site cos Etsy didn't advertise.

As one of the handcrafting people who advertised Etsy I feel ashamed I promoted the site.  Sure there are many genuine artisans on the site still  - but in their midst, and invisible to Etsy admin it seems, are the resellers.

Now let me state straight off that I have no problem with resellers per se.  What I have a problem with is when they infliltrate a handcrafted site and claim their work is handcrafted and the site admin lets them away with that.  

What's the problem you ask?  Well it's pretty simple. I for an example take my fabrics out and start mixing and matching and sewing them together for a cuff.  Sometimes I like the effect first go but a lot of the time I feel it needs re-worked and will unstitch and re-sew.  When I'm happy with the basic backdrop then I'll go get my stash of vintage buttons and beads and jewelry out and play around with what looks good. 

When the cuff is finished then I photograph it (edit it usually too cos we don't  have good natural light here a lot of the year round) and then list it. 

Now I realise much of what I've written makes homemade/homecrafted sound cumbersome and involved.  Well you know what? It is! 

I don't have any helpers to design or sew, or take photo's or list.  Thats what people are paying for - the one to one touch, the ultimate designer item. Don't get me wrong here ... I love what I do but I am trying to stress that it is what I singular do- just like so many other genuine Etsy sellers do.

But when we are on a site that promotes handmade yet blatantly promotes resellers, through it's various PR tools, then there is a problem for me the wee seller as now my truly handcrafted items are on the same page as the mass produced and that affects my credibility by association as well as the fact that I can't compete price wise to a mass produced item. 

I saw this problem with Etsy a couple of years back  ... but recent developments seem to confirm that they have truly disregarded the artisans who made the site what it is today.

And therein lies Etsys downfall - you screw the people who made you then they will go find another site to promote.  

Etsy will no doubt go on and will enjoy financial success in the short to mid term .... but their credibility is being dragged in the gutter. 

Roosters always come home to roost and if (when?) the behemoth of handcrafted falls it will only have itself to blame.