Tuesday, October 29, 2013

WHEN Is A Craft Store A Craft Store That Isn't? Etsy vs Zibbet!

I have no doubt there isn't an Etsy store owner who hasn't heard about the new seller policies on Etsy. With over 300,000 sellers, Etsy, once the world's most popular online craft store, caved in to the sellers that have in reality outgrown the confines of Etsy. While the majority of owners, myself included, create for the love of it and try to sell a few things online through Etsy, some of these crafters have hit success. I am very happy for them. They do indeed deserve a larger, more liberal type of store. However, by Etsy caving in to their demands (though we can never rule out Dickerson's pie in the sky eyes of $$$$$), they have taken a very few individuals and thrown the rest of us to the wolves. I can already smell the blood of those much smaller web sites who see an opening at last!

By allowing Etsy shop owners to "hire as many employees as their business demands, use outside firms to deliver their goods AND outsource all manufacturing of a product to third parties," how is this any different from what you can buy at Wal-Mart? Tell me?

I have noticed items that I know were not done by hand the past few months. In fact I have noticed a great many items that were not made by a local crafter. So did many others. Chad Dickerson, in a tap dance sure to please mostly no one is quoted as saying, "When members saw items that didn't 'look' handmade, they could assume shops were breaking our rules, but many shops were actually following rules that we hadn't made clear enough to everyone." Isn't this like the beginning and end of ANIMAL FARM? At the beginning the sign over the barn read, ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL. By the end of the book it now reads, SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS. Explain to me Chad, what's the difference? When I opened my store two years ago the rules were pretty clear. You made it and maybe you could have an assistant. Open and shut.

You have to laugh (if you're a store owner cry) at this statement that Etsy will allow sellers to label an item as handmade as long as the idea originates with them, they take responsibility for how its produced, and they are transparent with Etsy and Etsy Shoppers about the different parties involved in making their goods.

Let's see now. ALL Apple products are designed in California but with new and rare exceptions these wonderfully designed products are manufactured in China with the strictest standards known to man. The US military should be so lucky. Do they qualify? How about a new Chevy Impala or Hershey's chocolate? These are designed here and are carefully shepherded through the manufacturing process from an original design. The same could be said for say Tiffany's.

In a correspondence with another Etsy seller, she mentioned she might go to Zibbet, a newer and still smaller craft seller. I had never heard of it. But then it was my daughter who urged me to go on Etsy. In many ways Zibbet's terms are nicer. A full year nets out at $6.67 a month, unlimited listings and NO fees if you sell an item. Since I had never heard of it I Googled it and found that the day of Etsy''s announcement so many Etsy sellers had opened an account at Zibbet their server crashed and something like 35,000 photos were still waiting to be downloaded. To make things even easier, they even include software to fetch your Etsy information, items, etc., and download it on their site. They also include helpful hints on how to "edit" your new store items so search engines will see both listings and not confuse one with another. Very helpful.
So what's it to be? Well, I just might open another store. I am still waiting to hear about my acceptance by the gallery but maybe being in another store that is still truly catering to crafters, it may not be such a bad move. Compare the two of them and drop the one that performs the least.

I am somewhat hampered at the moment by some medical issues but I am certainly considering the idea of opening another store or, if performance continues to falter on Etsy, shutter that store and move over to Zibbet. However, I tried ArtFire and got few hits and NO sales. So, I guess, for the moment Etsy is still king. But as many a company has learned, the mighty do fall. Look at GM, Kodak, Lehman Brothers, Microsoft and others. Too big to fail? Don't you believe it.

So, in the meantime, please visit my store: KrugsStudio.etsy.com. There are some wonderful Christmas items in a wide variety of prices. ALL hand painted by me, really!

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