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Love it or hate it, Etsy is thriving

Anyone have the app Timeshop? Handy little app that shows you your daily posts on social media in previous years (all the way back to nine years ago when I was in college…some stuff should just be left unseen…). Yesterday I got the notification of a post I shared on Facebook two years ago. I had been listed on Craftcount as one of the “top daily sellers”. (Woooo!) This sparked my interest and I visited the site once again to see how the top sellers compared to two years ago. I noticed a huge difference immediately.

The sales counts.

Such growth in sales shown over this two year period! And this comes during a time of, dare I say… Etsy bashing?

Etsy’s decision to allow third-party manufacturing, followed by an announcement to “go public” has seemed to create an uproar among sellers (and even non-sellers). For months now I have been hearing “I’m leaving Etsy.” “Etsy is going downhill.” “Etsy sold out.” “Etsy did this.” “Etsy did that.”

I have bit my tongue a lot as I watched the internet bash the site I built my business on. But…. the proof is in the fucking numbers. And the numbers say that Etsy is thriving.

My first year on Etsy I made $608. I was not always (and am still not always) lucky enough to make the “top daily sellers” list on Craftcount. I sold on Etsy for years before quitting my day job. I do not always agree with every single change Etsy makes (working there seriously has to be the hardest job).

But I have so much love for the site. For the opportunity that it has given me, and thousands of other people. I do not blame it for my downfalls, just as I do not praise it for my successes. The blame and praise are on me. But I am proud to be an Etsy sellers, and I am happy to see it continuing to flourish because I know that, in some small way, I contributed to that success.

Join the discussion 14 Comments

  • Very well said, and I agree completely.

  • It’s great to see a post like this. I agree there is a lot of Etsy bashing and I might have done some of it. BUT I’m still there and will probably keep my shop there. I’ve tried to have online shops elsewhere but I keep coming back to Etsy. There is definitely something there and they have to keep growing in order to succeed. I think some sellers forget that they still have to put in the work to promote their own shops. I can’t rely on Etsy to bring customers to me, I have to do that myself. As the Etsy name gets more recognizable, it’s good to be a part of that.

  • corischwabe says:

    Love this! I think it’s always so important to hold yourself accountable, rather than the system or middle man. Kudos on creating a successful business!

  • I’m not mad at Etsy at all. Because of it, I was able to quit my deskjob and do my business fulltime. And this business of mine supports my family of three. Bennett is a stay-at-home dad (and remains such) and we have a 4-year old little guy running around our house. So thank you, Etsy.

    And thanks to you, Julie, for sharing a little positivity toward this company that has obviously helped so many people in our generation create their own positions in this world that wouldn’t have otherwise been there. So many people not retiring as early as they’ve done in the past is forcing our generation to make their own jobs. I did. And I’m quite happy with it. 🙂

  • I’m not mad at them – not one bit. I have sold on ETSY on and off since 2009. I have tried other platforms and nothing performed like ETSY has continued to do for me. If it weren’t for ETSY I wouldn’t be working from home and have the opportunity to be home with my kids. Without ETSY I wouldn’t have been given a lot of the other opportunities that have come my way. Go on with your bad self ETSY and do the damn thing! P.S. you do the damn thing too girl!!!

  • Great to hear you talk about it! I still sell on Etsy myself and I love the site. I haven’t been on there long enough to talk about ‘how it was before’ but I like how it is at the moment.


  • You know, I have to respectfully disagree. I don’t blame Etsy for all of my failures, nor do I give them credit for all of my success, but it should be a symbiotic relationship and I think Etsy has been taking more than they give. I know your shop wasn’t affected by the Search Algorithm Debacle of the holiday shopping season, but a lot of people with previously consistent sales records were. (And I’m not even counting my shop because I mainly focus on other stuff now.) People lost a lot of money because Etsy fiddled with things. That doesn’t sit well with me. The news that they’re going public is like the final nail in the coffin as far as fostering a handmade community is concerned. They’re all about money now, which is working out for some shops, but it’s definitely not the environment it used to be.

    • Erika says:

      I think Etsy’s growth is great and I think quite honestly, they are doing what they can in the midst of insane growth and change. Things are bound to change, and I think they are doing their best to deal with resellers, because they realize how much they devalue the site as a whole. I am grateful for Etsy and what they have done for my business. While there are some things that are frustrating, I can see why they’ve made the changes and I am doing my best to adapt.

      As for going public, that doesn’t necessarily mean a company is selling out. As an employee of a small company that went public, I can say a lot of things did not change — but rather the company had greater opportunities and financing options. It really depends on how the IPO and organization is structured. Many public companies still hold a great deal of control because they’ve structured their company not to be beholden to shareholders.

  • I would be really interested to see comparative data of those shops listed on the January 2013 list as compared to where *they* are now. That would be a truer comparison of the changes because those shops may have been affected by some of this recent stuff. I also wonder how many of the top 10 shops from January 2015 are actually resellers with very cheap products and those who now have goods manufactured outside of their own studio. There is a big difference between those shops and the regular handmade do-it-all folks who can’t maintain 500 listings in their shop and still have time to actually make anything. I like Etsy as a platform and I use it and will continue to, but as Paige said above me, it’s not about being handmade anymore- that ethos is out the window, which is sad.

    • Julie Ann says:

      Hi Kristen, thanks for the input! I can only speak for myself as one of the shops on both those lists, but I can say that Jan ’15 has been a better month for me than Jan ’13. I completely understand that resellers are an issue but I don’t think it’s fair to question whether people are resellers just because they are selling well. I think Etsy, like many businesses, is dealing with growing pains and learning how to adapt. I don’t think Etsy would knowingly make changes that negatively effect its sellers when they literally depends on us.

  • Great thoughts! I’m new to Etsy (well about 6 months into attempting to sell) and I’m still waiting for my first purchase to happen! Any advice to get those first few sales???

  • Sophie says:

    Etsy works for some people.. and for others it’s terrible. I started on Etsy but I now have my own website and my business is thriving. I can see the pros and cons to both sides but honestly? Etsy isn’t the best place to run a business.

    If it works for you, awesome, that’s great. But I know a lot of people who it doesn’t work for.

  • Olivia says:

    Great post, I completely agree!

  • Great post! Thanks for your insight.

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