To Etsy or Not to Etsy


Lately I’ve been doing through a situation where I ask myself, “Self, is it better to have an Etsy shop, pay for each item to renew on top of a transaction fee AND a fee to Paypal in order to keep my shop and my side business alive?”  You know, I actually DO respond to myself.  Since forging new friendships on Ravelry and through my newest Rav group Craft Cafe DFW, I’ve found out about Big Cartel and ArtFire

Clicking this banner will take you to my Etsy Shop

Both of these mediums are for independent sellers and they charge a flat rate per month.  Sellers can choose different levels of payment (gold, silver, platinum, etc.) for better perks.  I like the fact that I know, ahead of time, what my expenditure will be for my shop on a specific website.

Some questions that have arised in the creation of my online shops at BigCartel and ArtFire are, “How to items renew or get bumped up to the beginning of the search for a customer?  In other words, how visible are my listings?”  On Etsy, I can pay $0.20 and renew an item.  Within seconds I see that same item on the front page of  that category.  How is that handled on those websites?

I’m also wondering about the exposure of each of these websites.  Over the last several years, Etsy has become a household name to many people I talk to.  I’ve heard more comments like, “I bought everything off of Etsy this year for Christmas” and “I love shopping on Etsy.  You can find everything there.”  So, will BigCartel and ArtFire grow to the same popularity?

If you’re an online indie seller and you have questions or have answers, please comment below.  I’d love to open this discussion up to those who are interested in some way.  We can all help each other make the best decision for ourselves as business owners.

Twitter: @craftcafedfw

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About craftcafedfw

Ashley is an elementary school teacher in the Fort Worth area who has a vision and mission to bring community members together in the name of arts, crafts, and the greater good. I am in the process of building up the name of Craft Cafe as not only a place where crafters meet to enjoy themselves as they work, but as a community outreach movement to improve the lives of others, namely children, in a variety of ways. Although the idea for Craft Cafe is as new as a spring chick, Ashley is deeply committed to the mission of providing enriching opportunities for children and adults through the arts, crafting, education, and the environment.

One response »

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one with questions exactly like this! I’m just getting started, I haven’t even gotten my Etsy up and going yet, so I’m behind you. Besides big cartel and artfire, I just recently came across storenvy. It is an indie selling site somehow combined with a social network platform, as close as I can tell. They are free, which frankly makes me more than a little suspicious of them!

    I was leaning toward artfire, because their listings look like they somehow show up in searches. Now I’m not sure.

    While it is true that more people know and love and use Etsy *right now*, I’m not sure this trend will continue for exactly the reason you stated — indie sellers want/need fewer charges. It reminds me of how the market used to only be ebay, then etsy showed up… I think social media has blown the new marketplaces wide open. In the end, does the platform matter IF we are able to harness the power of facebook, twitter, our blogs, or (gasp) our real life contacts and specifically link our customers to our stores? As a consumer, if a store I Like tells me about something I want and includes a link to their store, I don’t think about where that store is located – I just click.

    So, maybe we need to consider what generates the majority of our buying traffic. If our sales come mostly from our own contacts, then moving away from Etsy will have little negative impact. If, however, most of our buying traffic comes from people already searching on Etsy, then maybe we should maintain at least a small store there, and cross reference it to a larger selection on a better, cheaper platform. With that being said, I have no idea how to find those stats! Does that show up on the seller’s side of etsy?! Seems like it should be a basic function — to help you track where your buyers come from — but like I said, I’m really new to all of this.

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