In the Loop

Ambivalent on Etsy

Posted at 12:16 PM on December 2, 2008 by Jeff Horwich (37 Comments)

As this especially frugal and self-conscious shopping season gets underway, it's not hard to find people raving about a new site called Etsy. I think it's actually a couple years old, but seems to have caught the wave this year. I ran across it a few weeks ago, but was reminded again today by a post from a local blogger who had just done some shopping for the holidays.

Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade gifts: Jewelry, potholders, artwork, jewelry (did I mention jewelry?). It looks like it's relatively easy for sellers to get up and running. The result is something like a virtual art fair, though browsing is considerably more clunky online than at the real thing.

Why Etsy is cool and has people gushing doesn't need much explanation: Handmade stuff makes special gifts, and this makes it easy to shop for it. And it gives (often struggling) makers of goods like this another revenue stream. Hard to argue with that.

But something about it makes me a little queasy, too. Somehow the idea of buying stuff like this online feels different -- maybe more or a betrayal? -- than buying something heartless like electronics or a book.

Maybe it's that, if brick-and-mortar venues (like the cute little art store here in St. Paul where I like to shop, or in a small town like Decorah, Iowa, where I did some shopping on Friday) aren't good for this stuff, then what hope does brick-and-mortar (and the wonderful in-person shopping experience) have?

Going online to buy handmade? A big part of me says that if you're going to buy handmade (and maybe even local) it should be done the old-fashioned way.

I'm a free-market guy, and I have probably bought half of what's in my house online. So that's an unnatural reaction for me. But there you have it.


Comments (37)

Ooh, I'm gonna have to disagree with your anti-Etsyan stance, Mr. Horwich. Sure, browsing through cute little shops is one of life's singular pleasures. But the reality is that when you work from 8:30 AM to 5 PM, don't own a car and live in a frigid climate, getting out to the cute little shops during business hours can prove to be problematic. Enter Etsy: the car-less indie urbanite's holiday gifting savior. All you have to do is pop online, ogle pretty trinkets, transfer some PayPal cash to independent crafters, and a couple days later you receive a fun parcel in the mail. Everybody wins. Except Santa, who is out of a job. Sorry, Mr. Claus. Foiled again by the Internet.

Posted by Alex Franzen | December 2, 2008 5:16 PM


While it may feel like a betrayal, buying arts and crafts online from sites like Etsy means you're buying directly from the original artist, not paying up to 50% of the tag price to that cute little local place with ambience. Same is true of art galleries. Sure, it's a wonderful experience that can't be replicated online (yet) but only a small portion of what you're spending there actually goes to the artist.

Etsy and other online art/craft venues let you have a relationship directly with the hands that made your goods. That's a win/win situation in my book!

Posted by Amie Gillingham | December 2, 2008 6:07 PM


So many artists on Etsy also have products in brick and mortars and/or sell at craft sales locally. For those of us that are struggling to make a name for ourselves, it's important to not put all our eggs in one basket. Because of that, we also advertise every source we sell at. Therefore, our presence in the arts and crafts world supports not just online venues.

Sometimes it's nice to have the variety that Etsy offers. I can't find everything for everyone I know in local shops, and that's when I turn to Etsy.

Plus it's ridiculously cool to know that someone in Australia owns something I made.

Posted by Danger Kitty | December 2, 2008 9:33 PM


Today I exchanged emails with a mom in Montreal who found my handcrafted designs on Etsy. She was hoping I could custom make aprons for her 2 and 4 year old daughters and ship them to Canada in time for Christmas. She was delighted to know that I will be able to do that for her at a reasonable price. It was a fun and personal exchange of ideas and good will. I'm hoping she will she will send photos of the girls wearing my aprons in front of their Christmas tree.

Posted by Lah-ti-dah Designs | December 2, 2008 10:14 PM


The fantastic part about Esty is it brings the handmade goodness to every living room in the world. Maybe you can't afford to stroll the markets in Milan. With Etsy you can now. Perhaps the last "Craft Fair" you went to hoping to find one of a kind cards, lampwork beads and boutique style clothing, had more ~ Tupperware, Tastefully Simple and vacation booking agents than anything that could possibly be called a craft.

Even better, You can click the buy local link and find artisans such as myself right here in Minnesota. That will help reduce your carbon footprint, generate money in your local economy and garner yourself a unique high quality gift. I say give Etsy another look.

Posted by Rachel Wright | December 2, 2008 10:48 PM


I think that buying on Etsy is actually more personal than buying from the cute little boutique stores. Even though you can find handmade gifts in brick & mortar stores, you usually aren't buying directly from the seller/maker, as you are on Etsy.

Posted by Kellybot | December 2, 2008 10:52 PM


I am an jewelry artist from St Paul Minnesota. I have my jewelry in four stores/galleries in the metro area and western Wisconsin. Two of those venues asked to sell my work because they found my shop on Etsy. So suffice it to say I love Etsy. It will never replace my local presence and hopefully will bring increasing amounts of money to me and our local economy from outstate.

Posted by Jan Geisen | December 2, 2008 10:52 PM


I love (and sell on) Etsy. Quite frankly, I never knew where to *find* local artists before. I've developed friendships with other sellers as well as my own customers. There is an AMAZING variety of talent on Etsy, the vast majority of which I would never be exposed to without the site. It has also put me more in touch with what local events are going on, given me a much greater appreciation for handmade crafts, and helped me grow as an artist within my own crafts.

Posted by Amanda Conger | December 2, 2008 11:08 PM


Hello, I buy and I sell on Etsy.com.
I have a Brick and Mortor Store in Northern Minnesota,My over head kills me, the rent, the heat, employees. Therefore my products cost more in my Brick and Mortor store.
I design and sell T-shirts and Hoodied Sweatshirts,with Screenprinting,Rhinestone,Vinyl, all of my products are less expensive on Etsy, than in my Store because of that overhead,.on etsy it cost me 20 cents to have a item listed for 3 months.
I have found more beautiful things as a buyer also, from custom buttons used for advertising, to silicone soap molds, and Graphic Designers to help me with some of my designs, I could not have found any of those at the Mall..
Please log in to Etsy.com, take a look around, and if you dont see what you want go to alchemy and request anything at all that you are looking for, from a wedding dress to a handpainted motorcyle.
Alchemy is a area that you list what you want, then poeple contact you with a bid, you accept the bid if you have found the right person to work with..
give it a try ,, I think it will change your mind.
Thanks for you time.

Posted by Sandy Jo Pilgram | December 2, 2008 11:24 PM


As an Etsy seller and buyer - I have to disagree that buying handmade goods on line is a betrayal.
Quit the opposite in fact....... You deal directly with the Artist / Craftsperson. How much more personal could you get? You can have conversations, request custom items and build a repore that you don't get with any other experience. I have made many "on line" friends in my adventures of buying and selling on Etsy.

I would much rather pay for shipping than pay fees to a gallery or shop that did not do anything but offer a display space! I take GREAT satisfaction in knowing that 100% of the funds are going direct to the Artist instead of a Shop or Gallery. I highly recommend the "Shop Local" feature - you will find an abundance of fab locally made goods - sooo much fun!

Posted by Heidi Eberle | December 2, 2008 11:26 PM


Maybe you just enjoy a good treasure hunt. There’s nothing wrong with that. While, I would agree that there are some search-related challenges to the Etsy site, there are also some really cool features that can help you on your gift finding quest—guilt free! For example: Shopping by location. There are also gift guides and showcases in every category. If you enjoy art fairs and craft shows, you will most likely find that the artisans also sell their wares on Etsy. I too, enjoy all the little boutiques and art galleries around town, but am finding plenty of interesting things on Etsy—and I’m glad to support local artists directly. Etsy is an advertiser on MPR and this Etsy store owner is a founding member of The Current—so if nothing else—maybe you can like that they help pay the bills. I’m also wondering how you are able to tell if people are struggling or not? I feel blessed to be able to make things and work on my own after a number of years in the corporate world.

Posted by Tara Cole | December 2, 2008 11:32 PM


Not to beat the point into oblivion, as each reply above me has already said this, but Etsy brings local artists right into your living room, and truly closes the gap between artist and purchaser. As both a buyer and seller, I have found many international (and even a few local) friends and fellow crafters through Etsy. I have been trading for christmas gifts with shops throughout MN and Wisc, which truly makes the holiday spirit rise in my heart.

Also for very very small sellers, who have no hopes of placing their items in a brick-and-mortar store, Etsy offers a chance to do something we love and maybe break even in the process!

But I am glad to see that MPR is interested in Etsy, and hope that you will advertise this great medium to your listeners.

Posted by Amy Muhlenkort | December 2, 2008 11:41 PM


As a seller on Etsy and the leader of the Minnesota Etsy Street Team, I feel you have a lot to learn about Etsy and other online selling venues that sell handmade goods. Etsy is not only a marketplace, it’s also a community and the Minnesota Etsy Street Team has regular communication with each other over various things. Did you know the Minnesota Etsy Street Team has over 270 members who are ALL sellers, and these members are just a tiny representation of Minnesota sellers as a whole on Etsy and online? Our team supports each other not only online, but in person and at craft shows that we vend at.

We are buyers as well, we not only buy from shops on Etsy, but we buy locally on Etsy too. I just purchases 2 fabulous glass leaves online, on Etsy, from a seller in Minnesota...a Minnesota Etsy Street Team member. I know you didn't mention crafting community, but I feel it should be mentioned, since it's a big part of Etsy and a big part of why a lot of people love it there too.

I have to agree with a lot of the comments above. I have sold all over the world right from the comforts of my home. How many can say that? I do sell in B&M, but the majority of my sales come from online and more specifically Etsy. In a B&M environment you oftentimes go into a split percentage agreement with the store or have to pay a fee in order to have your products on display whereas on Etsy you have control over pretty much everything. There are fees to pay, but they are nowhere near the percentage you may have to split with a store or a monthly fee you may have to pay.

Posted by Jenna Halek | December 2, 2008 11:51 PM


It sounds to me like you're in the technological/shopping bracket of my 60 something mother and my 70 something father. If they can't pick it up and shake it, they just don't trust it.



And maybe that's OK for you - but, as most of these posters have pointed out, and as I'm going to too - the big picture in handmade is the BIG PICTURE in terms of the entire world's economy. There is not a single aspect of our lives, even on the arts level, that is absolutely local. Sure, I'm a local perfumer. I live near the Northrup building in Minneapolis, and I can go hobknob with neighborhood artists every Thursday. And yes, I feel great about that, but it in no way lessens my interdependence on other locations and my need to connect to it via the very cheap and efficient method of the Internet. If I want jojoba for my base oils in my scents, my supplier still has to contact a business in Mexico. There are no large-scale essential oil producers in Minnesota, and with the demand for vanilla, jasmine and other precious scents I have to draw from places like China, Ethiopia and Sudan through my supplier - yet I take these worldwide supplies and assemble them in my Minnesotan home studio.



Other artists are very much in the same boat. How much paint is produced in China? For the jewelers using semi-precious gems, the stones that make those beads and sets are from South America and Africa. It's not just your US made car with one part made in Japan and the other in Mexico that's been around the world without even trying - it's literally everything you own.



So all those artsy baubles you see in local businesses you want to support? Those are part of the big picture, too, most made with supplies that originated very far from Minnesota.


Your article also overlooks that the store you mention above, along with many others, has Etsy sellers supplying those items you look at - and in many cases those store owners themselves come to Etsy looking for those items to resell in their shops.


One of the reasons Etsy is underwriting announcements on MPR is because of the very high concentration of Etsy sellers - yes, artists who sell on Etsy - who live within transmission range of your employer's stations.


For those of us who want to connect, who want to sell our arts, meet people, or find where all the art stores are, we go to the computer, and for artists, Etsy inevitably comes up. It's a big picture - much bigger than just that lovely mercantile in St. Paul.

Posted by Di | December 3, 2008 1:18 AM


Hm, I think I’d have to disagree. I can understand that buying handmade online might seem initially like the antithesis of handmade. It is really the exact opposite, though. Etsy is an online venue that helps buyers and sellers directly link to one another. Its not as anonymous as purchasing other items online. Of the many of sales I’ve made online, I always thank all my customers personally both with a written note and via e-mail. Buyers will often email me after they’ve received their item and tell me how much they love it. You don’t get that kind of connection through other online stores. I’ve even made a few new friends through Etsy!

In other words, I think Etsy helps support a form of consumerism that is more communal. Etsy helps us stray away from mindless consumption because buying handmade (whether online or not) creates conscious consumerism that supports not only the makers but also a system free of sweatshop labor and exploitation.

I suggest you take a second peek at the community of buyers and sellers on Etsy!

Posted by Katie Lin | December 3, 2008 8:44 AM


Etsy came into the world in June 2005, just in time to cultivate the explosion of the independent craft movement. As an Etsy seller since early 2006, I disagree that it could be a detractor from shopping local. My experience is that those from this area who sell on Etsy make a point to show our local roots, be it in bricks & mortar shops or fairs/exhibits.



There are happily several shops in the area that cater to local artists, and many of those artists also sell online in one capacity or another. But there are some higher profile area gift shops that do incredibly well and yet do not offer any work from local vendors. As nice as it would be, we can't all sell in local shops. Competition is too fierce because willing businesses are too few. Thanks to their Shop Local function, if one wants to buy from artists in their area via Etsy, one can.

Posted by Jodi Trotta | December 3, 2008 9:12 AM


I love Etsy! I have been a buyer there since it began, and have recently opened a shop of my own. As a small independent seller it can be hard to find brick and mortar venues to sell my goods. Etsy allows me to reach a large number of people and have control of my own products. I have had wonderful personal interactions with both sellers and buyers, and enjoy the online community. Etsy gives me many opportunities I would never normally have. I hope to eventually grow my business into more B&M settings, but Etsy gives me a chance to get started and allows me to control my fledgeling business.
I'd also like to point out the "shop local" feature on Etsy. If you want to find local-only Etsy shops, it's easy to do. This way you can shop from local artists who may not have emerged into the B&M venues yet.

Posted by Lily Loves Bernie | December 3, 2008 9:20 AM


Etsy came into the world in June 2005, just in time to cultivate the explosion of the independent craft movement. As an Etsy seller since early 2006, I disagree that it could be a detractor from shopping local. My experience is that those from this area who sell on Etsy make a point to show our local roots, be it in bricks & mortar shops or fairs/exhibits.



There are happily several shops in the area that cater to local artists, and many of those artists also sell online in one capacity or another. But there are some higher profile area gift shops that do incredibly well and yet do not offer any work from local vendors. As nice as it would be, we can't all sell in local shops. Competition is too fierce because willing businesses are too few. Thanks to their Shop Local function, if one wants to buy from artists in their area via Etsy, one can.

Posted by Jodi Trotta | December 3, 2008 9:30 AM


Jodi makes a very good point that many of the handmade items in local B&M shops are not, in fact, local artists. Some are, but many are the same artists you would find in handmade boutiques in Chicago or San Francisco. I am very happy for the success of these artists and craftsters, and have bought from them myself, and met many of them. But if buying from local artists is your main goal, a local B&M may not necessarily be the answer.

Posted by Lily Loves Bernie | December 3, 2008 9:42 AM


I LOVE Etsy. I'm a work at home mom because of it :)

Posted by Julie | December 3, 2008 9:43 AM


Well Mr. Horwich, you have not spent enough time on ETSY! It's a wonderful place to shop for any type of handmade product. I believe there are plenty of people that do NOT want to fight the crowds at the mall, fight for a parking spot, and freeze the toes off looking for something they don't know what to buy (for that hard to buy for person). ETSY has all types of ways to search for gifts for every age bracket. Although some may think handmade gifts are "impersonal" (I have one of those in my family), plenty of others love the idea of getting a gift that was personally crafted. ETSY is really a superb way of building an on-line business, without all the business costs! AND, for users looking to purchase....well.....pictures don't do the works of art justice!
Just my two cents, give it another try, you might be surprised at what you get!

Posted by Michelle Peterson | December 3, 2008 10:19 AM


I don't have a dictionary handy but I believe "ambivalent" means...."off two minds, undecided" ? I hope some of the above posts have been helpful in making the Etsy leap of faith .

I have been crafting since I was about 5 and built my first stick and rock home for my pet beetle , but my Aspergers made social interactions like approaching a B&M or participating in a craft fair an impossible dream. Now, even a crafter with social phobias can offer their creations to people with out anxiety . I may not sell much, but it keeps me connected to others who share my passion for creating and even more special to me, I have actually made two wonderful friends there .

This is about human beings who live their lives to create things of beauty and share them with the world....I'm not sure what there is to be ambivalent about if you remind yourself that there is a real life person on the other end of that "merchandise" .

Posted by Denise Junk | December 3, 2008 10:27 AM


Hey Jeff - have you made any purchases on Etsy? If you haven't - try and it and write a follow up post.

With 3 small children, I can't even think about walking into one of those cute little shops. I can, however, pour myself a cup of coffee and sit down with my laptop to shop while my children play. I've purchased more than half of my holiday gifts from Etsy already. If you're one of those shoppers who thrive on that shopping high, the anticipation of waiting for a wonderful gift to arrive at your door far outweighs the instant, yet fleeting, gratification of making a purchase in a brick and mortar store.

Want to shop local this holiday season - Click on Etsy, then search Locall for hundreds of fabulous shops!

Posted by Julie M | December 3, 2008 10:36 AM


Holy cow -- well, thanks to all of you for so politely ripping me a new one :-)

Someone just tweeted to me: "You're just lucky you got away without your eyes being crocheted shut!"

All these arguments make good sense. I'm not saying Etsy is evil or even slightly malevolent. On balance, it may be a great thing -- especially for the artists involved.

But I still can't discount the feeling I get as a shopper from shopping in-the-flesh for stuff like this. There's a modest magic there, I think. And I'd have to be pretty cynical to graft a corporate mentality or somehow otherwise find fault with my local craft stores. God bless 'em!

Posted by Jeff Horwich | December 3, 2008 11:13 AM


I know what you mean about the joy of unearthing treasures in a B&M store, the fun of experiencing a treasure with all of your senses, the feeling of being part of a communal endeavor...

But as a former owner of a popular B&M store, and now a member of the aforementioned Etsy MN Street Team, I have to say that there is definitely something special about being able to have personal contact with the artist him/herself. As a store owner, it can be frustrating to be unable to explain to a customer exactly how the artist accomplished a particular effect, or where their information or training came from - as a store owner who truly cared about both customer and artist, it was sometimes sad to realize what the artist was missing in not being able to enjoy the reactions of customers to their work.

And I have to say that as an artist, Etsy has provided me with an even closer personal relationship with both customers and artists than I've ever had before. When I recently helped with a benefit auction for a cancer victim, I mentioned it on our Street Team elist and several member artists immediately donated valuable items for the auction - some also showed up for the auction itself. Impressive, when you consider that at the time I had only been a member for a couple weeks, and nobody knew either me or the person the benefit was for! I am sure that I wouldn't have gotten nearly the same response from the folks who visited my B&M store... Etsy truly is a community in the best sense of the word.

Posted by Eileen Maloney | December 3, 2008 2:09 PM


I think all the comments so far have been right on the spot.

As far as local gift stores go, I'm all for supporting local stores and small businesses. I think shopping for handmade items online goes hand-in-hand with that mentality. Both ways, you can support independent business people, instead of funneling money into corporations.

If more people focus on that aspect of shopping, places like Etsy can be an additional venue to shop, but doesn't have to eliminate B&Ms. You may be surprised how reasonably you can buy high quality handmade bath and body products, clothing, accessories, art and decorations, food, pet products, gifts, and more. If we think of local or independent sellers first for items we often buy at the grocery store or department store, there will be more business to support them.

For your "heartless" items like books and electronics, there are also local small business B&Ms, as well as independent online sellers who really care about those items and would love to get a chance at your business over a chain store as well.

Maybe you will find a perfect gift at a local B&M, maybe not. Online, you will certainly have many more options. To try to fit all the products available from Twin Cities area artists and crafters into one B&M, it would have to be bigger than IKEA. That's not going to happen, but if you order something from a local artist, either online or in a B&M, it is certain to be more special than if you bought it at a corporate chain.

Posted by Sarah Thole | December 3, 2008 4:36 PM


I used to think the same way until I realized people that sell on etsy, for the most part, are the same people you buy your handmade items from in person. They are made with care and usually by one person or a small cottage industry.
Many of my local boutiques carry items made outside the US. On Etsy, I can choose what country I choose to buy from, even what city I want to buy from.

I have two shops on etsy and really enjoy the feedback I get from buyers. Many of my buyers I know feel are my friends. I have met people from all over the world. It really is the best of both worlds in my book
Linda

Posted by Crafts from the heart at etsy.com | December 3, 2008 5:10 PM


Well Jeff, I think we can tell what kind of a shopper you are! You are the browser, the impulse buyer, am I right? I like shopping on Etsy because usually I know exactly what I want and the hard part is finding it. I can find something really nice on Etsy in ten minutes of online shopping that would have cost me countless hours and countless gallons of gas driving around and peeking in little boutiques here and there. With Etsy I can buy from all those same artist and craftspeople without all the time and frustration. For example, my latest Etsy purchase was some baby hair clips to match my daughter's holiday dress. The clips I got not only match her dress perfectly, but they are ribbon-covered alligator clips - the ONLY type that actually stays in her hair and doesn't immediately slip out. There is no way I would have found clips like that browsing my local gift shop. The other good point of Etsy over local niche shops is the Alchemy option. I have used this several times to get exactly the size or color or design I was looking for when I found an artist whose work I loved but who didn't have anything for sale that worked for me. Great for the artist because they had the ability to connect with buyers like me who would otherwise have walked out of that local gift shop empty handed. Instead I was able to custom order exactly what I was looking for and they got additional business.

So I guess in my mind both Etsy and brick and mortar shops have their place. If you know what you want you'll find it on Etsy. If you just want to browse and look and see what's out there then the local shop will suit you just fine.

Posted by Elizabeth Wickoren | December 3, 2008 9:35 PM


I hope you'll visit many Etsy sellers in person this weekend at No Coast at Midtown Global Market & Handmaidens Craftmas at the VFW in Uptown. Please, do some hands-on shopping for local goods! You'll be happy you did.

Posted by Ericka Bailie-Byrne | December 4, 2008 10:24 PM


Anyone remember Eziba?

Sure, buying handmade goods locally is a great idea-- but artisans often work in localities that "aren't New York"-- distant from markets and people who have the resources to pay for and support their work. Equally, some "local goods"-- Czech crystal to Argentinian shirts-- have a local, specialized quality that "isn't the same" produced locally.

Having a way to exchange these goods, and support the economies involved, outside the "box shops" and major retailers and "boutiques"-- is surely good for us all. Eziba was a great idea-- and terribly executed. Etsy-- I don't know, but don't knock it.

Regardless, there's a very important idea here-- that "consumers" can purchase (and fund the production of) 'local' and 'specialty' and 'handmade' artisanry, regardless of location-- and without the overhead of and distortion of traditional middlemen.

Good luck to all in this :)

Posted by Ken Thomas | December 5, 2008 1:00 AM


I think you make a valid point, Jeff, but I just wanted to say that I ordered 4 gifts from Etsy this year. Two of the 3 artists sent FREE items with my orders. You don't get that in stores.

Posted by Stacia | December 5, 2008 9:40 AM


If I lived in a warmer climate or somewhere that had a decent selection of cute little shops to have my items in, I'd be there. Instead, I live in SE Minnesota, where you are lucky to get 3 solid months of decent weather to do outside shows. There are a few stores to have items in, but it's a huge risk as a seller to place your items on consignment. It's not always a fair deal, some shop owners aren't easy to work with, and you won't always get what your items are worth. I feel that my Etsy shop, even though it hasn't made me tons of money, was a great place for me to start my business. I have learned many valuable lessons about business and met many helpful, kind people. I've even enjoyed trading goods for goods with other sellers and given advice to others who are just starting out.

From a buyer's point of view, I love the fact that if there's something in a shop that I like, I can contact the person who made it directly. Etsy makes giving gifts in any season that much easier. I can buy something imported from another country without paying a huge markup. Etsy is great for anyone who doesn't want to shop "Big Box", and I think that many people are becoming more aware that Big Box isn't the only way to shop.

Posted by jenandcompany2 | December 5, 2008 2:11 PM


I think that Etsy is going to change the Quality market place more than Ebay has...

Posted by Mike Williamson | December 12, 2008 8:59 PM


While you may mourn for the cute little art gallery or folksy craft shop, few craftspeople & artisans will.

First, it can be hell to get your work placed in one. It sometimes costs a percentage of your sale, so high that it does not pay to make the piece. If you have a spat with the owner, you'll never get your work displayed.

Second, how many people visit the cute little crafts store in your neighborhood? How many might want to buy my specialties... rosaries & beaded icons?

Now, on a website like Etsy or Ebay... How many people might view my work & think about buying it... for my price... not the price set by the shopkeeper to pay the brick & mortar overhead & his or her own salary?

I am not a hobbiest. I make to sell because otherwise I cannot afford to waste the time & money to make. Occasionally I give away, but let that be my choice.

Posted by Scholastica8 | December 12, 2008 10:30 PM


I'm a seller on Etsy in North Carolina. I love listing an item and seeing the next day that 40 or 50 people have looked at it while it sits or hangs here in my home. When I put my floorcloths in B & M shops they get shopworn and are often not displayed well. When you buy something on Etsy it will arrive in pristine condition.
I am in several fine art street teams on Etsy and have made some good on line friends on the site. When I sell at a B & M store I never know who the buyer is and can't tell them the story of the piece they're purchasing. On Etsy I can. I like that contact with my buyers and I like Etsy.
Heronkate

Posted by heronkate | December 14, 2008 4:49 PM


LOL I kind of agree with him. I buy very little because I usually get over charged on etsy (while I get the argument that you got packaging and stuff, something that cost 1.18 in postage and then a recycled envelope doesn't justify a $5 shipping fee, which was more then the items I bought) and then to buy it online when there's local craft faires too...it does feel like a betrayal to the local community.

And I live where the Amish do, and so it's not like I can buy their stuff online, or the old ladies that join them and also sell there (none of which have etsy shops btw), and they have similar stuff.

I don't have the problem of waiting for someone to answer my questions. I don't have the problem of being told "since you don't have a shop it's going to cost you $x more" (and this has happened 4 times to me), I don't get gouged on shipping, and usually I pay less in person, not to mention that I have never had any kind of personal experience with a seller of etsy other then "thanks for paying" or "all information is listed on the item's description." I do get the friendly service in person I don't online, and etsy for me is just like shopping at any other type of store, not a crafty type store.

In short. for me it's no more a "craft faire" as going to any other store online, and there's no camaraderie as a buyer of etsy you get at a B&M shop, and for me that loses most of the enjoyment of shopping in places where handmade rules.

Posted by El | December 15, 2008 7:07 AM


Wait...someone kind of agreed with me? No way! :-)

Even my own sister wrote to tell me Etsy is awesome, brutally pointing out that the bibs she so generously sewed for my little one were made from supplies and patterns she found on Etsy.

- Jeff

Posted by Jeff Horwich | December 16, 2008 2:46 PM


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