you can hear me (and more importantly, an journalist from WSJ who has been writing about Etsy) talk about what these changes might mean on this podcast: Etsy: DIY to IPO
maybe you'll also hear a quiver in my voice because speaking about the Etsy experience comes with a sort of looming threat they've established over the years that they can close your business and shut you down, maybe even if they just don't like what you've said.
i really feel the majority of serious Etsy sellers live in a perpetual state of fear: fear of constant changes Etsy makes to the site that cause their sales to spike and plummet unpredictably and without recourse, fear of negative feedback, fear of being copied, fear of an uncertain future with a website who has all but hidden and locked down the branding and customer base of each of their shops… this list can go on. and i'm writing this post in the middle of the night because worry about Etsy literally has kept me up at night. because instead of listening and actively responding and making changes that serve rather than alienate their sellers, they could just shut me down.
artists like me on Etsy should feel utterly supported by and heard by this platform -- we drive Etsy and make it special (and, according to this podcast, account for 97% of their revenue) but there is such an imbalance here. years ago, Etsy straight up broke their search function so only an SEO guru - not a crafter - can be found. they removed the very idea of a homepage and turned it into a feed of their marketing team's picks. most recently, they've made some really damaging and scary changes to their etsy app, and even to their accounting reports.
and their marketing team's "picks" -- what they face out to their millions of members -- are NOT reflective of the Etsy / craft community i know, built by real artists, movers and shakers. Etsy's marketing team defines and highlights "popular shops" differently, too.
but here's the thing: Etsy has been - and sometimes still is - an awesome website with wonderful potential to support and sustain artists (real artists, not resellers of Alibaba stuff). they certainly have done this in the past. and I know amazing people (or at least one really amazing person) who works there who has helped me understand changes on Etsy during some of my darkest hours with Etsy.
but Etsy is making some decisions lately that really hurt and scare individuals like me who've knit their businesses together with a changing marketplace and no longer can trust what might lie ahead or what it means for their businesses.
thanks to Julie Sabatier for the interview and for asking all the right questions and for this thoughtful podcast. for more info about this episode & her podcast – Rendered Radio – go here.