Sorry, this is going to be a bit of a serious post, but I'll throw in some photos of pretty jewelry, art and stuff to make it bearable...
If you follow me on Facebook or on my blog, you know that recently I made the decision to close my Etsy shop until further notice. I've been an Etsy seller for over seven years. I'm sure you have seen the news, it's all over the Internet, how Etsy has gone from a handmade market place to a source for mass produced goods, mixed with handmade. Why does this drive me so crazy? Why is it reason enough to close my shop?
|I'm working on a LIMITED number of new leather cuffs to offer on Facebook.|
Well, I did it for several reasons. For one, Etsy rocketed to fame on a platform of selling truly handmade goods. It was a welcoming community supporting artists creating everything from stunning works of museum quality artwork to crochet toaster covers (which are FREAKING AWESOME AS WELL). It was, and still is, an affordable venue for artists to sell online. But then, it changed. Over the years re-sellers crept in, marketing mass produced works as handmade. Artists have been totally ripped off by "clone" shops that lift photos of work and offer the goods under another name. Mass produced "tchotchkes" were (and still are) making the front page of Etsy offered as handmade. Artists struggling to get noticed and make a sale were being out-competed by these re-sellers offering imported goods for pennies, compared to original artwork offered at reasonable prices. Small artists who don't have a huge following, like me and hundreds more, simply cannot compete with this and SHOULDN'T HAVE TO on a site built upon the sales produced by original artists creating handmade work.
|THIS IS POLYMER CLAY! Breathtaking vessel by|
Emily Squire Levin
When this all started coming to a head, shop owners innundated Etsy with letters of complaint and calls to shut down the fraudulant shops. Etsy responded by hiring a new CEO who has notified all Etsy sellers that re-selling mass produced goods would now be allowed on the site, you just have to "note the origin of the work". CRAP ON TOAST. Pardon my French...In my opinion this is betrayal, period.
So, I closed my shop until further notice, and this decision has directly impacted me financially. But, I simply can't roll over and take it. This is just how I feel and I certainly don't fault any other Etsy seller out there. I'm thrilled that artists I personally know and support have healthy, successful Etsy shops, and STRONGLY encourage everyone to continue to support handmade shops and independent artists wherever you find them. This is my decision alone and it really sucks.
|Did you know I also make weird assemblage creations?|
This is my Beetle God in a burned shadowbox.
So, I am virtually homeless--or shop-less, I guess. I have set up an independent e-commerce page on my website (with Shopify--give it a look...) that allows sales directly, and hope that this will somehow be noticed in the churning sea of the Internet. Without a big name and storefront like Etsy, I doubt I will be able to do a fraction of the sales I had previously. Sigh...
|I also make these three-dimensional figures I call "Butterfly Keepers".|
Real butterfly wings in laminate and stuff....
There are new storefronts supporting handmade popping up out there, and I am tracking as many as I can to see if they can compete with Etsy and support handmade like Etsy once did. I've tried Artfire, Copious, StorEnvy, Big Cartel and most recently Goodsmiths. I have yet to make a sale anywhere other than Facebook, which is turning out to be a great selling platform--and fun too! It eliminates the "middle man". I can direclty interact with my friends and clients, offer "Facebook specials", and have actually sold a bit. I hope this means I'll be able to sell some work this holiday season...cross your fingers, toes, whatever body parts you can for me!
|For the holidays I'll also be offering custom made pendants featuring old family photos.|
This pendant is mine, featuring a photo of my Grandfather holding my Dad.
Copper, silver, optic lens, gears and more....EMAIL ME FOR DETAILS!
I mean it when I say that I support handmade art and independent artists. It's a commitment I take very seriously, and felt I needed to reflect that in my shop as well. I applaud all you working artists out there that continue to amaze me with your works. I wish us all a prolific and profitable future so we can continue to do what we love.
If you know of new handmade storefronts, please let us know!!! See you on the Internet....