Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How the Etsy policy changes affect your shop.

Have other online sellers of handmade items noticed a sharp decline in online sales during the past year?

It's time to revisit this phenomenon.

I began selling on Etsy as a beta tester in 2006 and encouraged my my fellow indie designers to join me. Also disillusioned by the competition from mass produced goods on EBay, they followed me like rats from a sinking ship.

It was all rainbows and unicorns at first. Then it all came to a screeching halt.

On October 1, 2013, CEO Chad Dickerson held an online Town Hall Meeting to announce that Etsy would now permit factory-made goods and drop shipping. Stipulations included: proof that the seller either designed or hired designers of the items, disclosed to Etsy the use and location of their factory, and took "ownership" of the process. Henceforth, Etsy claimed the meaning of the word "handmade" should be redefined to encompass factory-made.

Yet numerous stores are shut down presumably for taking advantage of these "new opportunities." Lisa Jacob, owner of Energy Shop Jewelry, shares her story and offers tips for a solid back-up plan if your shop suddenly disappears from the site.

The sole reason buyers flocked to Etsy initially, to find unique and creative handmade items, has now been drastically altered. What was formerly a violation of Etsy's TOS is now encouraged. Whether the departure from its original mission statement is honestly for the "sake of greater transparency" or simply rationalization to increase the bottom line, they may have killed their Golden Goose. 

I haven't given up on this venue yet but when faced with the repercussions of such roadblocks, it's vital to find new ways to increase traffic in your Etsy shop as suggested in this excellent blog article.     

I wish you all luck!