I certainly don't want to sit here and beat a dead horse. But Etsy sure is on this downward spiral lately and I have to have a Plan B. Plan B in this case, was a kick in the pants to get my own domain name and website. Done. and Done!
If you haven't heard what's going on with Etsy, I'm not going to get into a lot of details here... I don't know if the Etsy Gestapo are watching me like Big Brother. They may be!! Ya just never know. But the bottom line is, Etsy has changed quite a bit since I started selling there in 2007. They feature non-handmade artisans on the front page while the real artists are busting their asses on their handmade items and promoting their own shops on their own. They shut down Etsy shops when a shop announcement insinuates that the seller may need to find a plan B. These things alone are crazy and outlandish- I can only imagine what else is happening behind the scenes that I don't even know about.
I still love Etsy- I love that I can find my most favorite bead artisans there, and I will continue to do so. I have been struggling though about what to do about my jewelry business. I have never been so wishy washy in all my life really. I normally make quick and easy decisions about things. But for some reason, in this case, I am torn. Do I close up shop and sell jewelry elsewhere as a sort of rebellion against Etsy? Because let's face it, that protest I signed up for on May 10th isn't going to make that much of a difference in the big sceme of things.
Or, do I just continue on doing what I'm doing- taking note that if it ain't broke, don't fix it?
Or, do I just share the love, and have a little bit in different places for a while til I decide the direction I'd like to go in?
One thing is for sure. I am completely overwhelmed by all the options out there for ecommerce. We'll get there in a minute.
So I set up my new website using Squarespace. It was super easy, user friendly and the domain name/host was included. I am quite happy with their customer service as well. I asked many questions during the process and got responses usually within a 2 hour period. That's pretty darn good in my book.
Initially the site was expensive, only because I dished out the cash to pay all up front for 1 year. Note to self, be sure to put a reminder somewhere to save cash for the renewal next year.
My idea was to have everything all in one place. Blog, shop, website, image galleries, news, ebooks/courses, book info. But then I start to panic that blog readers won't want to go to a new space to keep reading. Blog readers may like the blog reader set up automatically for updates. So at this point, I just linked to the blogger blog from the site.
Most everything else was easy to set up. Links to the book. A purchase page for the eBook. A contact and About page. Now I have to decide what to do about ecommerce.
I've looked into quite a few options. Shopify. Seems expensive but when I think about what I am paying Etsy- kind of comparable.
Also checked out adding Paypal buttons. This seems like a reasonable option. I can add a button to items posted on the site- add to cart or buy it now.
I looked into SupaDupa. Even went as far as listing 2 items. It looks nice. The free option doesn't give you a lot of options- only 1 listing image but has good things about it too- Paypal payment options., lots of shop options. Seamless shop integration from Etsy. Coupon codes and discount codes. Social media for each listing! Read more here...
I looked into Mals E-Commerce. Says it's totally free. Seemed a bit confusing when I was signing up - to figure out the shipping costs. But otherwise, it's a solid option.
I guess I have my work cut out for me. I wonder- what is it that causes people to go from having their own website to opening shop on Etsy? I've seen that happen. Could be the lack of traffic. This is a real legitimate fear for me. And even though my business has never really been BOOMING on etsy, it's been steady and pretty consistent. If someone decides they are going to try to find some handmade earrings online, ten to one they are going to Etsy first to find something there. Which is a pretty compelling reason to keep a shop set up.
Another thing I am contemplating is keeping Etsy open- offering repeated designs there and keep more one of a kind designs for sale on my website. Then I get the best of both worlds? Right?
See?? totally wishy washy.
Thanks for hanging in there til the end of this post. I know it was a wordy one today. My head is swimming with so many questions.
When I set up my Etsy shop last year I bought domain names at the same time since I had no idea whether anyone wold buy my jewellery but wanted to secure them just in case. I've done nothing with them as yet. Like you my biggest fear is that as an individual website I'm going to come way behind aggregated market places like Etsy when it comes to searches. I have nowhere near the presence you have on etsy but I'm doing better than I expected and I'm loathe to take a risk right now. I don't think you're being wishy washy at all...agreed the only way to find out what really works is to test it but it is a minefield and things happen so quickly that I think you do right to take a considered approach and weight up all options and permutations.ReplyDelete
Thanks Lesley. I think you're right. It's smart to weigh all options and not rush into anything.Delete
Actually, none of this seems wishy washy at all to me. There are some really big questions to sort out when you decide to leap from or expand from Etsy. These are some of the questions I've been struggling with for some time and they seem even more important now that there some problems with Etsy. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience with this. Good luck with the new site! I'm off to have a look.ReplyDelete
Thanks LeAnn- I hope that readers can learn something from my process or at the very least find out about some other options out there so they can make their own calculated decisions. Hope you like the new site!Delete
I'm not on Etsy or anywhere yet so I don't know all the problems. I have noticed quite a number of people commenting on problems with Etsy and in a quandry as what to do - so you are not alone - not that is a consolation. It sounds like you are going down the right path and investigating all options and weighing them. Good luck and please keep us updated so we can continue to follow you.ReplyDelete
Yes I too have noticed many people talking about these same issues. I will absolutely keep updating the blog as to my whereabouts.Delete
Great post. You know how I feel...but I'll reiterate. :) Two shops is a good thing. Traffic comes from Etsy. Bottom line is that they're a business and while I think they've made some pretty huge mistakes (which I hope will be corrected???), they still have a business to run. YOU also have a business and should do the very same thing. Consider all the options. Use Etsy. And diversify. That's my .02. And I love your new site!ReplyDelete
Thanks Lori! I am really appreciating your .02 cents! I think that you are right- spreading the love - not putting all my eggs in one basket... is where it's at.Delete
I envy that you can make decisions quick and easily! If I had those superpowers, even for just one day! There is nothing wishy washy about not knowing what step to take next though. Take your time to research and think about what is best for you. I think that you should still keep a shop open on Etsy but I wouldn't suggest only repeated designs. It may lower your customer base. You are known for making unique one of a kind pieces. I would suggest offering a variety in both places; your website and Etsy. Then you have two marketplaces for your jewelry.ReplyDelete
The website looks great! Thank you for sharing your thought process with us. Posts such as this helps us learn from one another. :)
Thanks Kathleen, good point. Maybe you are right- about keeping a variety in both places. It must just work out that way anyway, who knows. I just fear that shoppers may be hesitant to shop directly from my site for awhile.Delete
Thanks for checking out the site. I like it so far.
oh boy, i've been out of the loop so long, i didn't know all this was happening with Etsy. i agree with everyone here, you have to do what's best for you and consider all your options.ReplyDelete
Gosh...I haven't heard what is going on with etsy (besides the featured seller/s)..where can I read and get caught up? I may have to join you on squarespace- I really do appreciate you sharing! It will be so nice to have a main hub- plus I've read that some bigger shows won't even accept you unless you have a site outside of etsy. I think Lori gave some great advice and I love your idea of having one of a kinds on your website but still keeping your etsy shop open!ReplyDelete
I've just been following stuff from Regretsy, on that one particular story. And then someone shared with me this story...Delete
It's an interesting one!
I hope you try squarespace out. I think you'd like it.
What a fantastic blog.. keep sharing kinda good stuff..ReplyDelete
I've been keeping track of what is going on and I'm definitely worried. My shop has only been open six months, sales have been slow (31 total), and my blog has been slow, too. That makes me concerned that if my domain names went to a website rather than my blog, as they now do, that no one would ever visit. I feel like I'm damned if I do--damned if I don't.ReplyDelete
6 months isn't a very long time to have a shop open- It took quite some time to get going, for me. I know that's the case for a lot of new etsy sellers. be patient. Keep working on it.Delete
I agree with Leann, it's important to check all your options, that's not wishy washy, it's research...I like your idea, the Etsy shop as venue for showcasing "repeat" designs and you can announce your website and blog addresses there..etsy's traffic is significant, i am reluctant to discard that.ReplyDelete
I love your new website..it looks amazing...I hope it all works out for you.....xoxReplyDelete
Thank you Lana!Delete
How are all of you keeping up on the Etsy issues? I'm getting closer to opening a shop, and would like to know more about what I'm getting into.ReplyDelete
Love it or hate it, Etsy is a destination. I go there every day and check out my favorite shops, and look through my Circles, hoping to spot something new and amazing - and I often do. It's kind of like hanging out in a particular coffee shop, knowing many of your friends will be in sooner or later. To have a separate website, you're depending on people specifically wanting to go there, and therein lies the risk.
I'm hearing lots of stuff about Etsy's high costs, but when compared with selling in a shop and paying a 30% to 40% fee, they seem pretty reasonable. Maybe I don't understand how they add up. Lori, have you ever figured out what percentage of your gross sales, go to Etsy and Paypal?
I just read stuff that I see on Facebook or other blogs. Regretsy has some pretty compelling arguments about Etsy.
You are so right- Etsy is where it's at and I'd be crazy to leave altogether. They do have pretty good rates for selling.
Back in the day eBay was the place to be. There were four of us selling handmade glass windchimes. Then came the copiers, some more original than others. When I started finding imported glass chimes in Michael's and JoAnn's I knew my time was up. eBay turned into the biggest flea market in the world. It seems like Etsy is going that way also. I stopped listing on Etsy, probably a couple of years ago. Sales were slower than I like and since we do many art shows I found I didn't have time to keep up. If you have time to do both Etsy and a website and duplicate what you're selling, I would think that would be best for now. I've heard there are other Etsy-like shops that might bear looking into. You can also spend more money on getting your link to the top of search engine lists but you probably know that. For the most part, I am directed to look at other people's blogs and purchase from their Etsy shops or websites by what I see on facebook. You might remember you posted a photo of a pendant on fb and I ended up buying it. Not sure any of this will be helpful but I would keep the Etsy shop open while you explore other options.ReplyDelete
i depend on my publications too.... keeping up in the magazines, people will search my website that way if i leave that as a contact too. And FB is a great promotional tool for business! absolutely!Delete
Whenever I'm like this, I have to calm down and the right choice will come to me. I'm totally wishy washy right now too, I think because Etsy has been so easy. I've been lulled into a comfortable rhythm with it, but I don't like where things are going and just ethically I have issues with how they're running their business. Oh I don't know!!! Waaaahhhh!!!ReplyDelete
I hear ya Beth! I totally am feeling exactly that way, wahhhhh! what to do what to do!?!Delete
And I am the LAZIEST person sometimes- so doing a lot of research and finding an alternative way seems exhausting to me right now.
I feel your pain...I have always had my own website and an Etsy shop. It is sort of a pain in the butt to list items in more than one place, but I have continued to do so. I have never had huge success on Etsy, but keep trying just in case :) Good luck to you on the new website!ReplyDelete
Thank you Melissa!!! Appreciate your visit. I will keep on keeping on and hope for the best.Delete
the thing i hate now about Etsy...it is too big. When you see 1 million necklaces listed...I cannot spend 1 hour or more trying to get through the junk. There are just too many ugly things on there now.....liked it 2 years ago. Good luck! love your jewelry.ReplyDelete
Hi there Anonymous. I totally agree. There is a whole lot of not so great stuff on Etsy these days. I fiind it very difficult and time consuming to wade through it all to find the good stuff.Delete
I don't think you are being wishy washy - I think it is a big decision and you are right to do things one step at a time. 2 shop options seems a good idea - I know you tried that already with BigCartel but I'm guessing you like the look of these new options more? I will have to check them out. I think having a variety in both locations would be good. Sometimes (mentally I think!), people find it easier to shop on etsy. But once they have done that and they like it, they will look beyond the etsy site. I have certainly 'discovered' sellers on etsy, liked what I have bought, and then used their own website from then on. Patina Queen and Sowzere Designs to name two; I'm sure there are others. I think keeping your options open at this stage is definitely a wise plan. Keep us posted! This was a really interesting post.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your comment.You made an excellent point. I too shop with patina queen on her website instead of etsy now.
Hmmm. that's a good thought.
This is a great discussion! Very timely, too, as I have been contemplating a move to Squarespace, so I truly appreciate your honesty about how it has worked! I am with Lori in that you need to diversify. I sell my work in a local gallery (currently 20% commission but I am moving to a commission only membership that will be 50% but it is still the place for me to be locally), just got approached by three more galleries/stores to carry my work and some of that is becuase they found me on Etsy! So I won't abandon Etsy, but I am very concerned by what I have been reading and in particular some of the horrid experiences people have had. That said, I think we do need to think of our own business first. I don't consider the fees that Etsy/PayPal charge to be outrageous. Merely the cost of doing business. Getting your pricing to where it suits the market and still makes a profit is the key. I expect that at minimum 10% of my sale will be eaten up in fees, and that includes the gallery work I do. I have already looked into Squarespace and the cost was not prohibitive in my mind. I already pay a separtate hosting company and Wix.com for a similar fee but they cannot be all in one. That is why Squarespace looks so inviting. I want my blog, gallery website and maybe ecommerce, in addition to Etsy links all in one place. I am pulled in so many different directions that having one place to go to update and be able to do it myself would be brilliant! I actually own two domain names, and might consider adding a third for my blog if it comes to that, and they all point to the same place. So thank you so much for sharing this useful information Miss Lorelei! I will be following your progress. And the site looks very Lorelei to me!ReplyDelete
I am so surprised that so many readers have been contemplating this same thing. I hope that we can all find the right direction to go in for our businesses.
I had to come back and read through some of the comments. All good points! I think that for me it is more than just the trials and tribulations that people are experiencing with Etsy. I will stay there no matter what. But I just want one place to have it all! I have looked at Wordpress too but that seems too daunting. I am going to follow up on Squarespace after your recommendation. Perhaps you should get an affiliate commission from them ;-)Delete
I think that keeping connected to others by FB, Twitter, etc is powerful and we can also help support each other. I love to help people make connections!
I completely understand what you speak of and oh too well. I DID shoot myself in the foot and made the hasty decision to sell on my website rather than Etsy. I lost a lot of customers in that year, people want the convenience of shopping in one place and Etsy is an addiction
It's taken me a long time to get back on track, I'm sharing the love as you say and am selling everywhere. Stores, Galleries mainly, Etsy, my website and now trying "Copius". It's a dog eat dog world out there, too many jewelry designers and most doing the same thing. I ponder leaving this industry every single day, but then I have a ton of money tied up into the studio and tools so what does a struggling artist do in this economy? I follow my heart, always.
Answer: Faith, follow your heart and advise from me is to not make any hasty decisions.
You'll find the answer, you've done well for yourself! =o)
Sending nothing but love and positive energy!
People love you no matter what!
Haven't heard of Copius. Will have to check that out.
Thanks for your comment. I am trying hard to follow my heart. anything I do can be undone hopefully!
Well you don't have to make any decisions right now..... :) I personally love to shop on etsy.. all my favorite artists in one place. As a matter of fact I'm thinking of a jewelry artist that I like that doesn't have a presence on etsy... I actually think that they are losing business because of that. Why not just have both?ReplyDelete
I like to shop on Etsy too. I am sure many many people feel that way too.Delete
I think having both is the key!
I think you are smart to diversify. Look at it as opening a new virtual store. You have just expanded your business. If you have the time (and it is a time suck) to list on your web and Etsy it is the best of both worlds to have both. After 20 years in radio marketing, I can't emphasize enough the importance of cross- promotion. Everywhere you are should have an easy way to get to your other venues. A website can be so much more than Etsy....it can be a glorified shop/ Facebook/ web school. It is a fabulous tool for you even if it takes awhile to build the traffic you are dreaming of. Use Etsy to promote your web site!ReplyDelete
Cindy is right....people love you no matter what....so don't agonize over your choices...forge ahead!
Thank you Mary!Delete
It will be more work for sure to update two places. but hopefully it will be worth it in the end!
My independent website was great when I first started it...back in the dawn of time before blogs and Etsy and all of that. Then, my domain name account got hacked and as a result, I had to change my domain from a .com to a .net ending. All the promotion and traffic-building I'd done for the original site then meant nothing. The new site never really took off AND because I had designed it all myself using Dreamweaver, all the upkeep was mine to do and as my inventory grew, it became too overwhelming to manage. That's why I ended up switching over to Etsy.ReplyDelete
I don't see you having the same problems, though. You've already got a fan base to build traffic from so wherever you open a site to sell...your customers will come.
Hey There KJDelete
Sorry to hear about your website experience...
I never thought that running a website/blog/online shop would be as much as it is.
This has been all- consuming the past few days.
When I started my business, I first made sure that a domain name and shops on Etsy and Artfire were available. I always just list my domain name on all printed material. That way, I'm not tied down to a specific marketplace in case I later want to make a change. Currently, I have my shop on Artfire because the fees are less. However, I know that in order to be successful selling online, I will probably need to get the Etsy shop open as well.ReplyDelete
As someone mentioned, Etsy is a destination and several times I've had people ask if I'm on Etsy. So more and more people know about Etsy. No one has heard of Artfire but I figured if I drive the traffic, I would send them there. And then for the people who go to Etsy as a destination, I hope they stumble upon my shop there. Although I don't have much of a shop on Etsy yet (only two items), it will be a tremendous amount of work to have shops in two locations.
I counted up your sales on Etsy for April and it was 62. That is phenomenal! You mentioned in that book on blogging that half of your sales come from your blog. So I'm thinking that other half is coming from either Etsy or search engines. If it's search engines, hopefully they would find you on your new website. But how much is a direct result of Etsy as a destination? Probably quite a bit since you are very active on Etsy and post frequently, which I've read is the key to success on Etsy.
So long story short. It’s good to have the website as a single destination. Have a shop there but keep the Etsy shop if you have time to do both. If you are able to have just one shop, keep Etsy. Also, as far as I know, Lori Anderson sells just from her own website. She would be a good source of information about a standalone website versus Etsy.
Definitely, I think you're right. About have of the traffic is still coming from Etsy and or search engines.
It's important to keep that line of traffic up and running.
One of the two may suffer- where I don't update as often as the other. I am betting etsy will be the one more updated only
because it makes a huge difference if you keep listing on a daily/ or every other day basis.
It's a rough decision to make, definitely! I've tried for years to get together a successful website, and have used Shopp and Shopperpress plugins for Wordpress and was not completely bowled over by either.ReplyDelete
Etsy is moving forward and changing directions, as businesses do, though I wish they would do so with more transparency, lol. Etsy still brings in the traffic, and they are growing, and they're still a good way to be seen in a crowded marketplace.
Whichever direction or directions you choose, I wish you much luck! Your jewelry is fab and I love your blog. :)
Thank you so much!Delete
I forgot to mention that I was researching Wordpress too. I just can't wrap my head around wordpress.
I didn't think it was user friendly and I think for some reason it didn't work with my brain.
I agree that once you have an established business on etsy and a following it makes sense to have your own web site as well. But I think it is wise to have both.ReplyDelete
Starting last year I have expanded my business by participating in bead shows, even at the shows I do the best I figure my overhead (hotel, table, gas) is usually 20%. It's just the cost of doing business.
As far as resellers go my philosophy is that the customers that are happy with that product were never your customers to begin with. There is no comparison to handmade, well crafted, jewelry designs.
I know etsy is massive, but I still think that if you take great photos your customer will stop and look. The flip side of etsy having so many sellers is that they have millions of customers and potential customers from all over the world. I have sent my products to at least 6 different countries, that could have never happened on my own.
Thanks for all the information Lorelei, getting a website with the following you have is a great addition to your business. Maybe someday for me too.
Good point about the resellers. This isn't my audience at all.
I agree photography is a huge part of online success.
And yes just the other day the woman at the post office told me how
surprised she was that I have so many customers in other countries. It's pretty amazing!
Hi Lorelei, I am in awe about all these Etsy goings on. I was innocently thinking I would give it a try in the next couple of months, but now I am not so sure. I sell my potato jewellery through an Australian handmade website, www.madeit.com.au and maybe I will just stay there for the time being and watch and learn! I love reading how you are going and even more I love your beautiful jewellery. Well done, you are an inspiration to us all. Sincerely JaneReplyDelete
Thank you Jane!Delete
I think Etsy is a good starting place for a business- I am so grateful for Etsy- it has been a pivotal part of my
jewelry career. But sometimes you just have to break away from that security blanket a little bit.
I hope it works out.
I have been reading Nicole Hanna's blog before the Etsy issue- she is fun to read and her jewelry amazes me. I hope she finds the success that her jewelry deserves.ReplyDelete
As to listing repeats on Etsy, why not try two different lines? Maybe your Etsy shop specializes in earrings and you list everything in your own shop. Or maybe your Etsy shop lists your less expensive items. Or maybe your Etsy shop is for sales?
You do not sound wishy-washy to me, you are doing research which will pay off when you make the right decision for you. I tend to research things to death but as a result I am happy with my decisions instead of second guessing after they are made.
Good luck to you whatever path you decide on.
I like your idea KJ- maybe components at Etsy and higher end jewelry on your own website.ReplyDelete
I've been reading about all of the mess on Etsy and thinking of not re-listing, but this discussion is really helping me clarify. Maybe I'll leave some things there.
I've been on Etsy for a couple of years, but I'm just now getting my products and pricing where they should be. It's a learning. I love Blogger, hated Wordpress, and use FatCow for my website. I currently link my site to Blogger and Etsy. I'm looking at Big Cartel for selling, but I will check out Shopify.
Thank you for the timely post, Lorelei!
Lorelei, a big thank you for sharing this information and starting the discussion..this is really eye-opening. Love hearing everyone's feedback. I've been using Squarespace for a few months and you are right...a good amount of upfront work, but not too daunting. So far, I've been very pleased with Sqarespace and their customer support is awesome. I think they're priced reasonably and would recommend them in a heartbeat. The beauty is that you can put everything in one place..blog, contact info, etc. and it's manageable to maintain. Your new website is great!ReplyDelete
Great post! I've been so busy with my new studio I didn't even notice anything was up with Etsy. I think keeping Etsy and having your own website is a great idea, especially if you list special high end items on your website that you don't list on Etsy. I don't usually jump to quick decisions, instead take my time and look into things before I commit so I think you're doing the right thing by seeing whats out there that will work for you and your business. I really appreciate that you blog about them also, sure makes it easier when we're all sharing this great information. Best of luck!ReplyDelete
Let me add to everyone else that having both your own web site along with Etsy is a good transition. No reason why you can't drop Etsy later. I am on Etsy with my vintage and my daughter's crochet. Intending to eventually bring my jewelry designs to Etsy. Viewing it as a way to test prices and designs as I work to define my own individual style. You are much further down that path, of course. The traffic that you get from Etsy is still a great advantage, I would think. Best of luck moving forward!ReplyDelete
I can't remember if I saw it on her blog or in her ebook, but artist Kelly Rae Roberts shared her thoughts on transitioning from Etsy to her own website. I'll keep looking, but did find some info on her blog re hosting, ecommerce, etc. http://kellyraeroberts.blogspot.com/2011/05/village-appreciation-day.htmlReplyDelete
Great post. You're so wise to do your research and find what works best for you. It's just that finding what works best is the daunting part! :) I have two Etsy shops and one does well (findings, etc.) and my jewelry site just kinda sits there because I suck at marketing, etc. But Etsy is easy, not that expensice compared to other places, and like everyone else has mentioned, it's where so many of us turn to find handmade items first. I always like your honesty about what you find on different sites and how you compare them and tell us all about it - truly sharing like this helps everyone, so thank you (and everyone else here who's chimed in, too!). Wish I had some good advice or suggestions - but I'm kinda searching like everyone else right now. I'll share if I find anything worth talking about.ReplyDelete
I don't think you need to rush any decision. At this time I think it would be best to still keep a storefront on Etsy as that is often where many people prefer to shop and you still will likely pick up new customers through search, treasuries, circles, favorites, etc. That being said, I think you should definitely have your own website as well, where you can offer your pieces. That way you can build your following on your website, and if you decide to transition and drop Etsy, it won't be so difficult.ReplyDelete
On a different note, I just wanted to say how much I love your work, you inspire me (and make me feel inadequate at the same time- lol!) I was also wondering if you remember which artist made the owl pendant featured in the necklace in the picture above this post? I love it :)
The owl is from Nancy of Round Rabbit Extra she updates her shop about once every week to two weeks. www.roundrabbitextra.bigcartel.com
Lorelei - I saw something recently that allows you to have a selling location out of Facebook, it's an Etsy app. I don't know how well it works, but I know you are on Facebook, and thought you might be interested in that combination of traffic, to test it also. If you are in your Etsy shop and go to Etsy Apps, you will find it near the top. Sorry, I've forgotten what it was called.ReplyDelete
Interesting topic, thanks for sharing the information.