I Support the Etsy Strike - April 2022
Here is why I'm supporting the current Etsy strike regarding the April 11th Seller Fee Increase.
Etsy recorded a 30% increase in profits since the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic. It can only exist with it's hard working sellers and they are fully accountable for this increase in profit. Many sellers had no choice but to work harder than ever on their online sales as the stand alone shops that they supply or hold concessions in had to close under government restrictions. Many sellers, myself included shifted focus to Etsy and other online platforms and managed to firefight our way through one of the biggest challenges retail has ever seen. Etsy reaped the rewards.
Instead of thanking us, Etsy have scandalously increased seller fees going forward by 30%. Angry users are rightly labelling this as "pandemic profiteering".
Etsy’s last fee increase was in July 2018. These new fees mean that our overheads on the platform have more than doubled in less than four years. These basic fees do not include additional fees for Offsite ads - a form of off site marketing that sellers can only opt out of if they turn over less than £10,000. For more successful sellers this is compulsory and the extra charge can eat away at up to 20% of an item's worth. For a lot of maker's and creative businesses, 20% can be the majority of profit on an item.
The new fees having risen from 5% to 6.5% (a 30% increase) means that for a small hobbyist business that sells on average 3 items at £20 each every month will pay etsy the equivalent of £54.00 in a year in fees alone.
In contrast, and on a separate note (as a stark example of how unfair the concept is to sellers of high value items):
For a similarly small business that sells 3 items at £200 each per month, they will pay the equivalent of £455 in a year in fees.
For. Exactly. The. Same. Service.
If the Etsy's user experience was slick maybe I wouldn't have an issue with the rise so much, but there is vast room for improvement on the platform from a seller's perspective.
In addition to rising fees and something else born out of the pandemic is the "star seller status" campaign by which Etsy awards a higher rating to sellers who respond promptly to messages (including spam and messages that do not even require a reply), or to sellers that ship orders out quickly, regardless of whether an item is "off the rack" or bespoke and made to order. As a seller the pressure to achieve a "good grade" is an unnecessary hoop to have to jump through seeing as verified reviews are already on display for all to see meaning buyers are already equipped with information regarding a seller's integrity and as a result are well informed in order to make a considered choice to give a seller their custom or not.
Ironically Etsy on the other hand offers both buyers and sellers little to no customer service or support. It regularly shuts down people's shops with no prior warning and withholds money from legitimate sales, occasionally leaving sellers with open support tickets frustrated at their lack of response to real problems.
Etsy used to be a treasure trove of handmade goodies made by independant artists, creators and makers. A wealth of talent on just one website. Now we have to sift through mass produced products disguised as "artisan" or "hand assembled" in order to find those items which are made from an artists blood, sweat, tears and that showcase their invaluable time and skill and for many, years and years of practice.
Inclusion of these mass produced items on the platform and the sellers responsible for them in turn drives the price of real skilfully handmade items lower in order for sellers to even attempt to compete, meaning creators often end up making little to no profit on certain items.
The solution is simple. Remove such listings, hunt down the users responsible and ban them from the site.
The truth is, Etsy is simply not delivering for us as sellers and we expect more.
For those of you who know my business well you will know that I predicted change would come and I moved my product from Etsy last year to my own website due to their already over priced fees that I could simply not absorb in my product prices. Rather than asking you to pay more to cover those fees I decided that I would rather build my own website where I could have my shop, my biography, a gallery of my work, and a blog, all in one place.
However, I was hoping this year to reinvest some of my time and money back into my Etsy shop in the hope that I could make it work like so many do with a few considered pieces that would be financially justifiable but I think this fee increase has sadly knocked that nail into the handmade coffin hard. I feel for the businesses who do not feel confident in making that jump away from Etsy, after all it has the right traffic, it attracts genuine buyers and it's ready to go.
I wholeheartedly support sellers that are directly affected by these recent changes and hope the issues they find most difficult to stomach can be resolved quickly and that Etsy can return to being a fabulous place once again to find unique one off items, handmade with love, care and attention to detail from real people with real talent and skill. In a show of solidarity my shop depsite lack of product listings has been put into Vacation Mode for the week 11th April to 18th April. I currently have no plans to reinstate the shop beyond this date unless the current fee increase is reviewed.
I do still love Etsy as a concept but for now it's right that we part ways like this until change happens.
For those affected by the changes and those would like to sign the petition asking for them to be reviewed please follow the link here: