The epic battle between 2 websites that sell handmade (cue the light saber sounds).
There has been a lot of talk between members of both websites about which one is better and why.
One such topic that keeps coming up is the issue of resellers. What are resellers you ask? Well, they are those who buy in bulk (usually from a foreign country like China) and resell it to you via a handmade website and call it handmade. Of course they triple or even quadruple of the price for those who are non the wiser. Why are they bad? Well, they are simply not handmade. They are taking away from the beauty of what has been worked on by the artists. They also take away sales…LOTS of IT!
To add insult to injury, many of these reseller items then get featured on the Front Page of your handmade website and your items, that you’ve worked so hard for, gets lost amongst the pages and pages of reseller CRAP! Want proof? Take for example Etsy’s “Glamour Gate” scandal. Glamour magazine features an article showing 5 handmade Etsy dresses. Etsy congratulates all the “artists” on their facebook page, but wait…whats this? One of the dresses is from a reseller (*GASP*). Commence the already boiling rage of TRUE handmade artists. Here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/Etsy/posts/10150108444909727
Now what? What happens when one of the largest handmade websites are no longer making their artists happy? People leave! And right they should.
So what about Artfire? Well, from my experience, things are run a lot differently over there. Resellers are RARE and when caught, they are swiftly removed. The COO, Tony is constantly in touch via the forums to seek suggestions, updates with any new news and generally is in constant contact with their sellers.
Arftire also has this crazy idea that their search engines works like a search engine! WHAT? Really?… Yeah! The search is based on the shoppers relevancy to the shoppers query system, like Google! Etsy search engines, on the other hand, breaks down tags and keywords down into its context and singular meaning and not a word or phrase matching. So, if you tag an item with “red rose”, Etsy will yield results for BOTH “red” and “rose” making some of the products displayed irrelevant in your search.
“But surely in Artfire you have to constantly renew your item to stay on the top of your category?” Only in Etsy world is this how you do business. “You mean if I give you $0.20 every 2 to 3 hours t that piece I made will appear on the first 30 pages when someone searches my categfory? Will it then somehow end up in page 235 by tomorrow and then be destined to disappear into oblivion if I don’t?” …NO!
So with Etsy, let’s assume I renew my $10.00 item every day because I want to stay somewhere on the first 100 pages since their search feature is a bit skewed. Renewing everyday for a month equals $6.00, per item. So , here is my math:
$10.00 (Item Price. You want to remain competitive with those resellers!) + $2.50 (Shipping)= $12.50 (This is what I made)
**Now watch this**
$12.50 (What you earned as a whole) -$0.35 (Etys final fee for selling your item) -$6.00 (Renewing everyday to keep your item relevant in the Etsy business world) – $0.66 (Paypal Fees)= $2.99 (Your Total Profit!) Subtract the cost of supplies and time you worked on and what are you left with? Barely anything.
On the other hand, Artfire has a flat monthly fee. No renewal fees AND They push your product through Google Shopping.
Artfire is WORK! You have to work to get your customers to view you. They will push your products but you won’t be able to sit back and see money rolling in. You will have to treat it as a business with marketing and promotion. This is a true business model. Done right, you will be successful. Artfire allows you to link to you OWN website, your OWN blog, heck, EVEN ETSY. They WANT you to be successful. It’s your stuff and you can choose to sell it any way you’d like. Why stop you from doing that?
Am I keeping my Etsy store open? For the time being, yes I will. I have invested some money into Etsy already and I feel stuck with them for the time being, but I am transitioning to Artfire for the sake of my sanity. I can’t deal with resellers and Etsy constant shutting down of forums when their CUSTOMERS ask for an explanation, clarity or even a simple apology. I figure when I run out of my business cards with my Etsy website on them, the transition will be final towards Artfire and work on my own website here some some more. I only have a few more so this will be done once I make my move overseas.
It’s a shame that their “heyday” is coming to an end. They had a great thing working for them but they had to screw it up with unwanted changes.
For more of a read, check out these true front runners in the fight against resellers and Etsy changes:
Even if you wander over to Etsy’s own forum, you can catch some of the unhappy artists (before Etsy closes down the thread of course).
Keep creating you lovely people you. Don’t let the Etsy man get you down!