Warning, this post is a bit of a rant.
I have been on Etsy since 2010. I don’t sell a lot, and do not kid myself that I am the next greatest viral thing out there. I know that is not my reality. I simply enjoy making and selling handmade items. Thinking about someone trusting me to have a product that they would purchase is humbling and exciting at the same time.
Anyone who has been around the handmade world that Etsy championed, knows that it is fraught with issues, and has become more complicated over the years. In spite of that, many sell their items regularly and consistently. I am not one of those people. I truly wish I were.
This year, with all the changes that Etsy has put in place, my shop, which was merely the tiniest star in their universe has dimmed significantly. Views and sales are nonexistent. Like so many others, I have given so much time and thought to what I could possibly be doing so wrong that the little success I had with my shop went to zero. When your heart and soul is bound in this little corner of the internet, you want it to be received well and not ignored. Believe me when I say that failure is exhausting.
I searched the internet over looking for advice, forums, help, insight, anything, that I am sure to be missing. Surely there is some explanation for my failure that my little brain is incapable of understanding.
What did I find? Lots. So much information in fact that I am on information overload. Some advise to get off Etsy and start your own website. Others say to send out emails to subscriber lists to get sales. The vast majority of advisers are telling you what worked for them. Every single one of them has a story, which is their path to success. It isn’t necessarily good advice.
What I’ve come to understand is that those who write advice blogs are making their success at writing the blogs and selling their knowledge, not their handmade items. One advisor talks about making $100k in the first four months of the year. I’m happy for her, but she didn’t do it selling on Etsy. She did it selling her advice, knowledge and coaching services. Her knowledge is great, I’m not denying that, but trying to use it as an example of what can be done in the crafty world isn’t accurate. I actually find it deceiving.
To say it another way, Cindy Crawford, was the face of a generation and made her career in the modeling world. She was wildly successful. If you were to see her now, she would still look amazingly good. If she were to create a skin care line and sell it to you, you might consider buying it based on how she looks and her success as a model, and you might like the product. Would you look like her and have her skin? No. She has genetics on her side.
Similarly, those selling knowledge of how they succeeded on Etsy, doesn’t lead you to success.
So, I say to you, Buyer Beware. I don’t have the knowledge of what is right or wrong when it comes to being an entrepreneurial success in the handmade world. If I did, I would give it to you, for free. What I do know, is that catchy blog titles and well worded statements that only lead you to another hyperlink, is not the answer. If I ever found an honest forthcoming blog or advisor who was truly interested in helping me succeed, and not directing me to click around their sight, I’d be extremely happy.