Posted on

Comment on Bloomberg Business article about Etsy

I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not to list my products are Etsy.  They do have traffic, but am I going to benefit from that traffic?  You can have all the traffic in the world but if a portion isn’t directed at your shop, you might as well be invisible.

Here is a recent article about ‘Artisanal Factories’ and how Etsy wants to work more with them:

This is a quote from Fred Wilson.  Someone who is a really brilliant venture capitialist.  If you don’t know who he is, he’s been running facebook ads touting his expertiveness.  (Seriously, he is well respected.)

Fred Wilson Quote

I guess Etsy needs to do stuff to get noticed by money folks, but do they really need to get in bed with someone who doesn’t see handmade as part of Etsy’s key values?  Who does Fred think built Etsy?  Who does Fred think trucked all their customers over to Etsy?

Now, that some of those same people have transformed themselves into mini factories shipping thousands of units a year, perhaps he has a point.  Maybe the top 20% of seller are not making handmade goods anymore.  They probably, if they are not outsourcing product manufacturing, have manufacturing tools to help them make that much product.

However, as someone who has a smaller Etsy shop, I’ve got to wonder if I should be investing time and effort to pay for more listings.  Am I to be outnumbered by the journal companies that take a chipboard premade notebook, add a funny saying, and then call it home made?  According to craft count, those companies make way more sales than I will with my handmade book journals.

Etsy has long redefined handmade as something that you buy with a bow on it.  A recent example that I saw on Facebook was a tutu maker who pre-bought all her tutus and then added flowers and figures to it.  I really had no idea that the many tutu makers on etsy weren’t making their own tutu’s.  Really, a tutu is one the easiest things to make.  It’s a wide elastic waist and netting.

Now in this quote from the same article, it appears that Etsy doesn’t want people to notice that there is mass produced products on their handmade website.

Etsy Article

Um, gotta say, that is perhaps too late.  When I went shopping for a tshirt for my sweetie earlier this year, it was very apparent that there were generic models with tshirts photoshopped on them.  Maybe someone else would like a minion shirt, but I am more interested in original tshirts that no one else has.

Or perhaps, Etsy is to replace SkyMall, which folded last year, and have small lot manufacturing.

If someone wants to buy blanks or products that you can put a bow on to make it Etsy legal, here are a few resources:


Fire Mountain Gems:

Panda Hall:

Bicycle Playing Cards:

And I could go on and on there are tons of companies that are willing to premanufacture your handmade goods.  I’d list out more, but I think it’s pretty clear that Etsy needs the volume to make their business grow.  After all, how else are they going to prop up their stock price?