I generally try to keep an open mind, and to roll with new changes that Etsy introduces. Sometimes they’re cool — like those awesome shipping options that they offered (and later removed) last year — and sometimes they really stink. In this case, I can’t imagine a single positive. I don’t have time this morning to write out my plentiful and extensive rants on the subject, but suffice to say that they are not only plentiful and extensive, they are grounded in personal experience. I was a power seller on eBay when they introduced the DSR system, which created a horrible imbalance in the relationship between buyers and sellers. I experienced the fallout from that change and it was awful. So awful, that I quickly abandoned a marketplace where I’d been selling successfully for over a decade.
So when I twitch and growl at the prospect of this new system over on Etsy, I’m not just being reactionary. I do have a frame of reference, and while admin keeps insisting that this is different, we eBay refugees are extremely wary. I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I’m also working to develop an exit strategy in the event that it becomes necessary.
For one thing, I’m going to stop putting all of my eggs in one basket. I do have an established website, though I tend to be bad at updating it. I’m going to focus a bit more energy on improving that, and on networking and linking with other artisans (please let me know if you’d like to trade links!). I’m also going to start exploring other markets again. In the past, I’ve felt that selling on multiple sites spread me a bit too thin … but between this new announcement and Etsy’s snarky and poorly thought out replies to customer concerns, it feels like these exploratory efforts may be needed. Thus far, I have re-opened my Artfire shop, and I am considering dipping my toe into the waters of eBay again, at least on a small scale. There are a few other ideas that I want to flesh out a bit more, but this is already getting long, so I’ll leave it at that.
In the meantime, I think I will hold off on listing much more on Esty, and if they don’t come back with some SOLID answers to seller concerns soon, I’ll gradually reduce my listings there. It’s frustrating (and honestly, a bit frightening) that this is happening at the start of my busy season– the season in which I make the majority of my income for the year. I should be in my studio right now, prolifically creating crazy costumes. Instead, I am worrying about this stupidity, and re-evaluating my current business strategy. Ah well, I suppose it’s a reminder that markets change; never get too comfortable, and always strive to be adaptable and imaginative in finding new solutions.