When I wrote my previous blog post I never imagined so many people would read it. I figured maybe a couple dozen might read it, mainly other bear artists that I linked it to. I have a widget that keeps track of my stats, and since I wrote the post I have had 743 unique hits and 118 repeat visitors. I can't say how all those people felt about what I wrote, but I did receive about 200 responses grand total through e-mail and comments on the Etsy forums as well as the handful of comments on the blog.
99% of the people who responded agreed with what I wrote at least in part. That being said, I really want to thank everyone who visited and took the time to really read it all. I can't speculate if anyone that works for Etsy read it or not. I have no way to know that unless they tell me.
But I still feel it's my responsibility since so many people read this, to make something very clear anyway, even though most people who replied didn't take it this way...in no way was I suggesting that Etsy is a bad company or that people shouldn't sell through them or that no one with high end merchandise isn't selling.
It is important to remember that Etsy is a fairly young company that has increased their customer base to somewhere in the neighborhood of 250,000 sellers in a very short time. Like any of us, during their growth phase they are going to have a learning curve. During that learning curve I sincerely hope that they figure out a solution to representation of the handmade industry that benefits the most people possible. I don't feel they are there yet. With that many sellers competing for consumer dollars in a smaller market not everyone is going to be a success story. I never suggested that Etsy could give every seller free promotion on the front page or the gift guides. But I do think it's within their power to give certain types of items the same exposure they give to others by broadening the types of things they feature.
I think they should try to stick to their mission statement of wanting to provide a place for people in this business to make a living by combating the image that it's a place to get good stuff cheap. I also think that anyone who has been in business any length of time is going to not put all their eggs in the Etsy basket unless they are selling their socks off through them and making a fair profit for their work.
It's up to us as individual business owners to decide if it's worth it for us to put the time and effort into promotion of our shop on Etsy to gain clients over another venue that might be working harder on our behalf or that we have more control over. The answer will be different for everyone based on a multitude of variables.
The post I made below was my own experience and what I observed through studying the site. I am not an expert when it comes to what will work or not work for every seller. I feel I am qualified to say I am an expert on making the type of bears I do, due to nearly 3 decades of perfecting my craft and being out in the world as a seller of those bears. However the learning curve never ends no matter how long you have been in business. It is my sincere hope that you will look upon what I have written and take away from it more realistic expectations of the site. If you supersede those expectations, that's wonderful! But if you don't, perhaps you at least have some idea why despite your best efforts to make it work, it hasn't after reading my post. Maybe you will take what I have learned and research it further to find even more answers and solutions.