Query “What is Etsy?” on Google and you’ll see their description as follows: “Find the perfect handmade gift, vintage & on-trend clothes, unique jewelry, and more… lots more.”
That’s true. That’s 100% true, so they’re not lying, and I’m not against Etsy for anything they’ve done or in any way they’ve wronged me. The truth of the matter is unless you’re invested a hearty chunk of change into Etsy marketing (at a minimum of $1/day), you will be pages deep on the search page. Simply put, a dollar a day to not be seen, why wouldn’t you just upgrade to WordPress Premium so you can add WooCommerce and sell directly on your own site? It’s not so much your art or skills at competition as where your product is listed amongst the thousands of listings. My art, design, or graphics competing against another? All day I’ll do that. That’s not what annoys me. Put my work in front of someone and I’ll get a sale. But paying (or I tried this…not paying) for Etsy marketing to still rarely be seen is futile.
So here’s what I’m thinking, and something that you’ll be seeing soon. Instead of $7/week to get a few visits here and there competing against thousands of other prints, why not be the best and only top dog on your own site?
I think part of me writing this is my annoyance at myself for paying for a couple months, not having any conversions into sales/views, and then re-evaluating what the heck I’m trying to do. I have a website, I have products, so why am I paying a chunk of change to be displayed 8 pages deep? I could care less if anyone reads this, I’m writing because that’s how I process. I’m typing because I can type 100+ WPM and my handwriting can’t keep up with my brain.
While I’m moving let me make another point. I see some sweet prints on Etsy. And if you think I’m saying the beautiful art, graphics, designs, or artists on Etsy are tomfoolery or bogus, my point is soaring above your head. Most of the art and artists are great. I’m not bashing on Etsy because the users suck. I’m encouraging any person who wants to sell their products on Etsy to reconsider because you might have a great product, but if no one ever sees it, you won’t sell a thing. Especially if you’re trying to sell a few lower price items, remember that at a minimum of $1 a day: that’s the price to maybe be seen. If you’re not advertising and your product includes a title that is popular or semi-popular, do a search from an incognito tab and see where your product ranks.
Another reason Etsy may not be a fantastic place to post products is you’re competing with some major huge shops that can afford to print and ship prints for $3-$7 range. Because I’m a small-time artist, an 8×10 print costs me anywhere from $2-$4 to print. I’d like to think that I should be able to sell that for $10-$15. But I’m going against people who sell them (and somehow profit from) prints (like the image above) for like $6. To me that’s unrealistic.
I feel Etsy is doing to art and prints what cheap clip art did to graphic designers in the 90s: rules them obsolete. Why pay an artist to create an illustration when I could get a cheap clip art that conveys that same purpose? I’d argue that because the product you’ll end up with is mass produces, impersonal, and probably comes from a Print-On-Demand service or China. And that might be great for some people. But as an artist I just see tons of cheap prints that are mass produced so that the seller who maybe once did the work can make $0.60 from a print on demand service. You’re not a customer, you’re an invoice number. Go for it if that’s for you.
On the flipside, be checking my site later as I long for something better for myself. I’m not going to pay $1-$5 a day to be listed on on page 4 of a search result to make $0.60 in profit. So as I update my site, be looking to see me upgrade to WordPress Premium so I can add the Woocommerce widget to my site, allowing customers to buy my products directly from me. I’d rather my products compete with themselves on my site than to hopefully get a glance from a potential customer.
Thanks for reading. If you got something you’d like to add to this feel free. If you’re an artist or graphic designer who has seen some sort of profit, I’d love to hear what works for you. I’m not a genius, and I always got room to learn and improve.