I have been reading a lot lately about what Etsy (a seller's marketplace that supposedly allows only handmade items) is doing to the "handmade" market. I have to say that I do still have my Etsy shop up and running, and even though I have never sold a thing there, have kept it strictly for marketing purposes. Now...I am reconsidering that decision.
For those of you that don't know about Etsy, it is a marketplace that was started to feature handmade items from all over the world. At this point in time, there are probably over 30M items for sale, with the Jewelry category being one of the largest on the site. Since its inception, Etsy has gone from "handmade" only to three sections: Handmade (or I made it), Another From My Shop (made the item), or Another Company or Person (made the item).
When you look at those three sections, the first two are pretty much self explanatory. The third, however, is ambiguous. Another company or person leaves a lot to the imagination. Etsy does ask that if you design something and have a manufacturer make it for you, that you fill out their form with specific questions as to how much this company had to do with the design itself or the making of your product.
That is a big "whatever" from me. Okay, honest people are going to go through the process in hopes that Etsy reviews their form and puts their stamp of approval on their selling their product(s) on the Etsy forum. Seriously, do you really think that everyone is going to do that? Or do you think they will stretch that request all out of shape to fit whatever they want it to mean and do it without telling Etsy?
If you think most people would go through with that "process" I have had my laugh for the day at your expense...sorry, kids. When money is more important to someone than coming clean, usually the money will win. Makes me sigh...a really big sigh. But I feel that is the truth. So sad...
To add insult to injury, Etsy's third section of "Another Company or Person (made my product), pretty much says it all, right? That leaves it wide open to market just about anything from anyone or anywhere. They do have a list of things you can't market, like porn, drugs, alcohol, and other illegal substances like ivory. What I found amusing was that the list of prohibited items was actually longer than the area that defined "handmade."
Personally, there is a lot of discrepancy when it comes to how we define the word "handmade." What it means to me might not be what it means to you. For me, it means making everything included in the designs I make, down to the jump rings and clasps. Wait a minute! Don't get mad at me just yet!
That doesn't mean that if you string beads to make your jewelry, that isn't handmade. Sure it is. You are using your understanding of color and aesthetics to design your piece, just like I do. It's a personal thing for me, just like it is for you. Still love me???
Where I draw the line is where most of you do. When someone in the booth right next to you is selling necklaces from China for $12, while your handmade ones are marked $35, it can be pretty discouraging. Trust me, I've been there, and it ain't much fun!!!
I am a little off track here, but let me elaborate a little. My motto has always been "Live and Learn." Everything we go through in everyday has a purpose, and most of it is to teach us something we need to know. Hey, I'm included in that. I learned not to do as many craft shows (if at all) because they were usually a bust for me...as I am the one that got stuck next to the "Made in China" jewelry booth. Customers all oooo'd and ahhhhh'd over my stuff and then went to her booth and bought. And she had the nerve to look at me and wink...ugh.
Craft shows are less expensive to do. I understand that. However, I would rather do one or two good shows a year (maybe juried shows) than ten less expensive shows, where I could be totally shut out in sales. So, I save my money until a good one pops up. Sometimes you have to plan ahead, as these shows fill up fast, but it is worth it.
Back to Etsy...I will probably get kicked out if they get wind of this anyway, so I may as well shut that puppy down now. I have to stand up for what I believe in and that is handmade should be handmade and not titled "handmade" because someone somewhere made it!
Well, I'm done ranting for now. I would like to finish with this: Don't let your anger wear you down. Anger is not only a sin, it is bad for your health, both mental and physical. Be determined to be better than those other guys. Walk with your head up and be proud of what you do. If you aren't selling enough, research and consider other selling arenas, like galleries and retail shops. YOU CAN DO IT.
Anyway, I'm pulling MY Etsy store before they catch me! Have a great day...and Stay Wired Up!!!