Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Continuing The Conundrum Of Etsy

This past week, I have gotten an extraordinary number of treasury requests. For those readers who are not Etsy sellers, a treasury is a collection of products for sale from a whole bunch of Etsy stores arranged around some kind of a theme. Some are straight forward and others are grasping at straws. Looking at them I realized, for the first time, that its Etsy sellers clicking and creating lovely "treasuries" of each others work. The problem is that it is only Etsyians work and rarely do those treasuries go outside the Etsy universe, if ever. We can click all we want, favor and such but I realized that this is a bubble. There is no way out.

A Typical Etsy Treasury

What do we do? I know that for the 1.5 million sellers on Etsy there are probably less that 200 success stories defined as selling hundreds if not thousands of items a year. Many of us got angry when these people got Etsy to allow them to continue to sell products that were being made overseas. The argument was that they designed it and had to have others make it so they could keep up with sales. I said then and I say now, how does that make what you're selling a hand made craft? There was no answer and the silence rings still! No matter how lovely the necklace you see at Macy's you can rest assured that there are more in every Macy's in the country. Someone designed it, somewhere it had to be made in quanities to go to thousands of stores. However, this does not make it a hand crafted item.

There is a wonderful gallery we found in Sonoma, CA called the Terra Firma Gallery. Each and everyone of the items they sell are unique, made by very talented craftsmen and artists. I'm not saying that I want to be considered in that league but I feel that stores such as this, especially in a wine traffic center probably has a better chance of selling something. I know I bought my daughter a wonderful graduation gift there when she earned her Masters In Social Work. This is something she can wear and treasure her whole life. There lays the conundrum - Terra Firma artists are competing with a few other artists (not millions) and you can make the decision to enter or not.

What can we do? I guess we can open up our own store or gallery, or create a web site that extols our creations beyond Etsy. The latter certainly would be cheaper! We were discussing selling on the web yesterday and not one person in the room of 8 women and two men had ever heard of Etsy.

The decision becomes, when do we leave mother's milk? Does there become a time when all of our time and energy needs to be on our own site? Its scary but until we dip our feet in the water we will never know.

Several Etsy sellers have made a career out of selling books, guides, etc. on how to sell on Etsy. In fact Timothy Adam was one of the first and I have to say buying and using his book was no different than doing nothing. He has seminars, classes online and a whole bunch of other ways to get a few bucks out of you. My experience seems to show the only person who made a profit in that deal was Tim.

People who are mostly sellers and readers of my blog from Etsy have remained silent. I am at a loss for a solution and wonder who among you have found a successful alternative solution?

Please visit my craft store at KrugsStudio.etsy.com and my fine art store at AlanKrugFineArt.etsy.com. Thank you for stopping by and reading!

1 comment:

  1. No solution for you, Alan, as I face the same conundrum! I've often thought Etsy makes more off of me and my listings than I do in sales but at this time, I have no alternatives. I'm just grateful I don't have to put dinner on the table because we'd all starve to death! I didn't know you had a second shop. On my way over to peruse.
    My best to you and your ventures.