Friday, October 17, 2008

Let's Get Something Perfectly Straight

That's the title of one of those long running threads in the etsy forums. This one is discussing the inability of the average seller to make a living on etsy. I know that many people are disillusioned with their results selling their wares. Many of them thought that this was a list it and they will buy proposition, but that's simply not the case. Other people think that their meager etsy fees buy them an unnaturally large amount of services. Then rather than leave the site that they feel wrongs them, they simply complain ad nauseam.

I could go into the reasons why I think people are not making any sales or at least the amount of sales that they feel they should be making, but I've done that before. Instead, I just want to make a point about expectations. When I started on etsy, I expected to list a few things and make a little extra spending money. I understood that it was up to me to go get customers and to make my product as listings as good as I could. In short, I was only going to get out of this endeavor what I was willing to put into it. I knew that all my 20 cents bought me was a listing, nothing more. I enjoyed watching etsy grow and I suffered through many growing pains that new sellers never experienced and yet I've never thought of leaving. I was never tricked into thinking that I could make a living at tatting.

I often wonder if those who complain the most could, if given an unlimited supply of customers, actually make a living at their craft. That is, could they make enough product to actually support themselves. For the vast majority of sellers, I imagine the answer is no. I certainly couldn't keep up a supply that would allow me to live above the poverty line on my own. I know there are sellers who make things that could fetch a high enough price point and be produced in large enough numbers to make that happen, but I bet even they would not make a living if etsy were their only venue. I imagine they would sell in boutiques, at shows and in other online venues as well to maintain their income.

You see, it's a matter of having realistic expectations. I am happy with etsy not because I'm some kind of crazy etsy fanatic, but because I knew what I getting into. I continue to adjust my expectations to fit new conditions and I'm never disappointed. I know that I can't make a living with my tatting, but I can do my best and get paid for doing something I love and would do anyway. That's why I like etsy and that's all I expect from them.


Asianexpressions said...

I really like what you've written on your blog.

Waterrose said...

Perfect observation and analysis. The percentage will be very small of people who can actually make a living on Etsy. But, I think given trends, it can help launch people who use Etsy and one of many marketing tools.

Sam said...

I agree with you on that. My expectations of etsy are not to suddenly make money and quit my job. I just like it for giving me the chance to fund my yarn addiction so i can keep creating :)

rockcreekcreations said...

You have it exactly right. I'm not sure that I would even want to make enough of my stuff to make a living at it!

Thanks for the good post!

rachael said...

i totally agree, etsy is what you make of it! i love your shop and glad i've found your blog (thanks storque) :)

Heike said...

Well said.
I see that I get out of my Etsy store what I put in. I get exposure, but most of my sales are still in person, with booths. I guess it always depends on your wares. My goddesses happen to be very personal. I stink at taking pictures :)...I think Etsy is still one of the best, cheap, and easy to navigate.