For. Reals. Yesterday, Etsy held a “City Hall” where they basically unveiled their new plans to be Ebay 2.0. Oh, except you can sell cars on Ebay and not on Etsy. THAT’S the important distinction to make. It doesn’t actually matter if a thing is actually yhandmade, so long as someone’s hands are involved somewhere in the process at some point. This has been their unofficial policy for a while now, but now it’s actually a thing. So. Go Etsy.
As a small business seller of actually handmade goods, this is bad news. This means that your crocheted hat will now be buried under pages of this. “100000 Piece/Pieces per Week?” Can you keep up without an equivalently-sized factory? Will you be able to compete with the price?
Get your own domain. We’re talking $10.00 a year or less. Set up a site on Weebly or BigCommerce or Square or something. You’re going to have to drive your own traffic anyway, why not drive it to yourself?
The problem is… Buyers are still being told the “handmade” line. Etsy is the home of handmade, EVERYONE knows that. Except, it’s not anymore. So what can you, as a consumer of quality handmade goods, do?
Don’t feed the Etsy machine. Most Etsy shops will have a Facebook link directly on their page. Go to their Facebook page. See if they have an off-Etsy site set up, and if they don’t, send them a message (through Facebook, it’s a no-no to do it on Etsy) and ask them if they would be willing to sell to you off-Etsy. Some of them might not, but… The biggest problem a great number of sellers face is that EVERYONE goes to Etsy for their handmade goodies, so it’s very difficult to support their business OFF of Etsy. Help them out. Show them that they don’t need to sell their wares on a site where they’ll compete directly with factories. When you say, “OMG I FOUND THIS AWESOMETASTIC HANDMADE NECKLACE ISN’T IT AMAZING” and someone asks you where you found it, don’t say Etsy, give the name of the business. When you’re looking for handmade quality, or unique handmade gifts, use a search engine to find what you’re looking for, instead of Etsy.
Stop feeding the Etsy machine and support the artists and designers that you love.