Updated: Dec 12, 2020
You read that right, I’m pulling the plug. Before I begin, this is not a slander piece against Etsy. I'm just describing my experiences and ideas with the platform and explaining why I'm putting the shop on the back burner.
For a little background, I’ve been on the platform since 2015 and I opened a shop just before I started my YouTube channel in 2018. I started actively promoting my shop late 2019 and throughout 2020. In fact, as you all know, I set up shop this year for shipping physical items. This has been an interesting run however; I don’t believe that this arrangement is the most beneficial for Infiniti Crafting Company.
Just as I was making the decision in my mind, I got the biggest order I’ve ever had on the platform and for that I am EXTREMELY grateful. I lost a job this year and the employer really kind of screwed me over in retrospect so the support I DO get from my Etsy customers is GREATLY appreciated.
I have decided to shift Infiniti Crafting Co.’s Etsy to a digital only format for my crochet and knitting patterns. This decision comes from generally low return on investment, the relatively high fees, and a host of other issues. Etsy has…its merits as there are no barriers to entry but, the policy implementations over the years draws the favor from the little people to those who can afford to play the game.
Etsy is a flooded space full of crafty hopefuls trying to create extra income. The sheer number of people in my niche makes it difficult enough to rank in the search. Not only that, there are makers on the platform who don’t sell for income but for the cost of their materials. God bless ‘em but, that makes the rest of us trying to build a brand look like lunatics when it comes to pricing.
In conjunction to that, Etsy has allowed manufactured items to take over the platform in a way that really belittles those of use who make everything by hand. The free shipping policy is frankly a joke as well, especially for smaller stores who cannot afford to give free shipping. If you don’t opt into this policy, you’re dooming yourself to be buried in the search results. I’ve theoretically done everything to drive traffic to my shop or to rank on the platform to no avail. Some people are better at the Etsy game than I am definitely, but as it is, I don’t see my Etsy shop paying the tuition at this rate.
High Collective Fees
Sometimes I think the low barrier to entry is like a venus fly trap. In order to list on Etsy, you pay $0.20 per listing which renew every 4 months if you have it on auto renew. I’ve been creating items all year and doing inventory. Currently on the website I’m building, I have an inventory consisting of 44 items and counting. On Etsy, that would be $8.80 per billing cycle. That’s not terrible, it’s a big site, lots of data, they’ve got to make money too. Don’t get me wrong. It’s the 8% + $0.25 per sale, plus whatever is taken off for shipping. If you’re not making big bucks, this is going to hurt. For example, November was abysmally low and I only sold a $4 pattern from my shop. By the time Etsy got done with fees, they direct deposited a whopping $1.23 into my account. I was hurt. By comparison, the series of sales I made the other day amounted to $54.80, the pay out was 47.53. That wasn’t so bad but, considering that most months have been like the former, I can’t take it. By comparison Wix, the platform I’m using, only charges 2.9% of the transaction amount + 0.30 USD per transaction and there are no listing fees. My site will be $324/ yr to host and that’s about the end of that.
I cannot tell you dear Crafties, just how much I’ve poured into advertising for my shop this year. I was using Etsy Ads at one point, Pinterest Ads, Facebook/IG ads and I just… Don’t do it. Not only was I not making any sales, I was also not getting the traffic I’d hoped for no matter what I did. To me, there’s no sense in running into the same wall over and over again. I’m not really ranking in search and I’m driving about 70% of my traffic every month so why am I giving all that to Etsy?
Building My Own
There is little to be said for building up a brand on the platform. It’s a hot mess. I had the idea when I started my shop that it’d be a great help to me while I built my own website for Infiniti Crafting Co. I was wrong for some of the aforementioned reasons as well as some beginner mistakes. Over time though, I’ve come to realize that Etsy literally markets your competition beneath your store. Competition is wonderful but, if someone is considering your item and then sees a similar one next to it for cheaper… you can guess where that goes. I am still currently developing my website and I’m slated to publish it in February 2021.
I drive really great traffic to my Etsy shop, so I’d like to refocus that energy toward something of my own. The selling fees will be collectively lower, I won’t have to pay listing fees, and I’d have control over my own platform.
So, the moral of this story?
I’m not totally withdrawing from Etsy, but I believe it is time to take my power and skill and actively apply it to my own efforts. I’ll leave Etsy to function as a source of passive income. If you haven’t already, I recommend you sign up for my email list, you’ll want to see this wonderful masterpiece I’m putting together.
I'm hosting a sale for 15% in my shop on all physical items in my shop! Here's to 2021.
P.S. I plan on getting back into fine art in 2021 and selling my work on my website as well.
If you want to support the content, feel free to send me a coffee!