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TheWeeShed
Community Member

Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

I've been finding myself less and less motivated to list things on here so I've been thinking of a few reasons why. I guess that it's a general problem with being online, like having your own website means you are then trying to be found on Google.

1 I find myself making things that I think are going to make the Etsy search engine happy rather than making thing that will make a person happy. Rather than spending  time dreaming up and creating art I spend it trying to work out why nobody sees my items.
It gets to the point where you think 'There is no point in my trying that because it won't be seen in search'.

2 It seems like search results are always skewed towards people who can easily make copies of things and auto-renew.If you actually made something unique and one off you have to take new photos, write new listings, think up new tags, it starts at the back, it sells then you have to do that all over again. I think it's probably similar with vintage items.
I used to not mind doing that because I *naively* thought that I'd get found for trying something a bit different.

3 Business and making money seems to take priority over everything else here. I'd see myself as an artist rather than a business owner but more and more it seems like it's all about money and sales rather that things like beauty. Etsy seems to treat your items more like commodities rather than art. That's why they want you to just knock 20% of it. Of if people like they are churn.

4 It feels like you're being controlled or manipulated by a corporation, chiefly for their profit, that they are trying to tell you what you need to do to suceed and make it work. So they try to strong arm people into free shipping. Sometimes it feels like you're working for them or being used by them to build their own brand. As an artist I want and need to have freedom and not be controlled, to not be told what to do.

5 It feels a bit fake here sometimes. Like the whole thing that got me here in the first place was that it was supposed to be about handmade and things that are unique. Yet all around me I see things that I wouldn't consider handmade or unique.

6 I live too much of my time online . You don't go out and look at the world around you and draw stuff, instead you spend it typing stuff on the Etsy forums. I could be painting stuff but instead I'm here moaning about Etsy.


 

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maydaylabels
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

1) Generally speaking, I try everything that sounds good to me, and make long lists of things I would love to try when I have time.  I'd say of my ideas, maybe 10% are absolute winners, another 25% or so do okay, 10% never sell, and the rest sell every now and again.  Of course I was generally equally excited about all 100% of them.  I've learned that (for me, as the material investment is minimal for my shop), it's totally worth trying out everything, just to keep the fun in it.

2) I agree, but this isn't just Etsy, it's the nature of business as a whole and esp. online business.  Product photography, listing copy, SEO, all of it takes a ton of time.  I make one of a kind things but I don't try to sell them.  If I did make one of a kind things to sell I think I'd have to be a lot more spectacular of an artist and crafter than I am, on katwise's level maybe.

3) If you just want to do the art end, you have to pay somebody to do the business end (like consignment in an art gallery maybe).  People here are doing the business end themselves, which is why you see so much focus on business topics and what makes money, etc.

4) I do not ever feel like Etsy tells me what to do.  This is only on venue online, and it happens to be one that has my customer demographic almost precisely, so it's a great one for me.  If they change something so that it doesn't work like it did in the past, I either go with it if the money works (free shipping is fine for us) or skip it if it doesn't and find some way to ameliorate the loss (promoted listings was great but we won't do Etsy Ads; I figured out how to make up the revenue in different ways).  Germany instituted this new ridiculous packaging law thing; we sold a few things to Germany to see if it was more bark or bite; lost 2 packages out of about 10, no longer shipping to Germany.  Luckily we sell almost all custom or we'd stop shipping to the EU too b/c of the refund requirement (shipping included).  

5) I think Etsy has almost always oversold the handmade-ness and unique-ness to some degree, and certainly they built their reputation as a handmade site and then a few years ago said oh well, you don't have to even pretend to make your things anymore, have them printed on demand or sewn in a third world country or whatever, we don't really care.  That was irritating and still irritates.  The uniqueness I don't mind, there's ton of unique stuff here - but also ton of stuff that's not that unique.  I am not really all that unique in style, so I appreciate a plain blue knitted hat or a bar of lemon soap (not lemon/vanilla/clementine/cinammon with yak's milk) or a silver charm on a silver chain.

6) I agree!  I get bored is all, and I think a lot of us are probably sole proprietorships, people crafting by themselves, running a business by themselves, and it gets lonely.  

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MichaelVermeij
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

@maydaylabels  May I ask, how you exclude only Germany from your EU sales? Thanks in advance! Greetings, Michael

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maydaylabels
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

I use Calculated Shipping and there's like a thing in shipping profiles (I just learned this last week!) where you can go to regions and then click a drop down and all the countries in that region are checkmarked and you just uncheck Germany.

If you don't use Calculated or cannot use Calculated, it's a huge nuisance.  I think you have to delete Everywhere Else and add everything manually or something.

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MichaelVermeij
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

Allright, thanks! I don't have calculated shipping indeed, some have suggested one should just cancel the order if coming from Germany. It's really a pity, but this packaging act is very poorly executed, unfortunately...

Have a good weekend!

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TheWeeShed
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

'I do not ever feel like Etsy tells me what to do.'

I feel it all the time, though it's more like they try to nudge you in certain directions or herd you like cattle. Like I've always done free shipping but get why people feel like they're being forced into it. Thanks for the thoughts! I like to come on here a couple of times a year and have whinge about something, it gives me something to do!

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maydaylabels
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

@MichaelVermeij if you get regularish sales from Germany (like more than twice a year, I'd say), I'd go to the trouble of fixing up the shipping settings.  I have read recently that Etsy does not look kindly on cancelling orders without the buyer's consent (not using "buyer and shop owner agree to cancel") and I worry that if I keep taking German orders but cancelling them Etsy will penalize my shop eventually.

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KiraGundersonArt
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

@maydaylabels what was the German packaging thing?

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maydaylabels
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

Germany has this crazy new law that says everyone who sells anything and ships it to someone in Germany has to, get this, register with both some central German authority and a private company that will recycle your packaging for you, and you have to pay a fee both to the government and of course the company that is recycling your packaging (or paying to offset the recycling?  Not sure if all of this stuff is actually getting recycled or what)

at any rate, I ignored it at first but it does seem like they're serious enough to catch at least 10% or so of packages, which is obnoxious enough for me not to deal with Germany for a while.  If they're a serious part of your sales (1% of ours) you'd probably be better off registering and paying the recycling company and all that.  For me, between this and VAT and handling fees and etc., it's just easier to not, unfortunately for our German customers.

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KiraGundersonArt
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

@maydaylabels thank you, useful to know now!

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EpiclesisConsulting
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

I think your first observation may be the most important, that you find yourself making items for the search engine rather than for people. I suspect that in the long run, that's bad for both your satisfaction and your sales.

Maybe it's time to act as if the site didn't even have a search function. If that were the case, what kind of items would you make, and how would you promote them? If you can find ways to drive your own traffic, to get your items in front of the people you can make happy, I think you may find that you are happy, too.

I wish you success in finding a strategy that works for you and your customers.

Trish O'Connor
Owner, Epiclesis Consulting LLC

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TheWeeShed
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

thanks Trish. Yes, I'm trying to get back into that way of thinking again, doing things I'm really passionate about rather than remaking things because I've sold it  few times here.
I left Facebook a few weeks ago and was looking back at some of the things I was doing 10 yrs ago, it seemed more enjoyable then as I was just doing it for myself and not trying to impress anyone

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southernmadecandle
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

My husband is the artist in the family, and the only times he gets disappointed is when something he creates doesn't sell as well as he thinks it should. So yes, sales is basically the measure of your talent in the mind of others. Myself, I'm a mindless drone who just looks at the stats and base our products on buyers trends. So we make a good team, one's head is in the clouds while the other is watching the checkbook. 

Heather

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TheWeeShed
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

Yeah, it's weird. The one thing I don't understand is that things I hate other people might like while things I thought great aren't so great to them. I guess I feel like I've become a bit of an Etsy drone over the years and don't really like that!

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southernmadecandle
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

@TheWeeShed 

Understandable, As my husband says, "I won't be a Sell Out but I can be rented on occasions" .

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SprocketsInside
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

“Like the whole thing that got me here in the first place was that it was supposed to be about handmade and things that are unique.”  Your shop is about what you decide it is about.  Individual sellers have no control over other shops or Etsy.  Make what you need to make, because the minute you try to please others you kill your art.  

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TheWeeShed
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

'Your shop is about what you decide it is about'

I honestly don't feel like it is anmore. My shop seems to be  what Google or Etsy decides about it if I'm trying to sell stuff online. I guess I sort of do want to please people as well, to make something they'll like or would mean something to it.

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PillowDetails
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

Even if you are making things "for the search engine" - you still need to describe them in a way to feed said engine.  Maybe your efforts would be better served in figuring that out.  Then make whatever you want.  

Artists have the toughest time describing their work.  Nearly impossible to distance yourself.  Your work is meaning ful to you, and hopefully, will be to your buyers too, but in order to draw them in you have to simply describe it so that it gets found.  You need to have a party, with many good drinks, and ask your friends to describe what they are SEEING when they look at one of your pieces.  No wrong answers, write it all down.  

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Hectanooga
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here


@PillowDetails wrote:

Even if you are making things "for the search engine" - you still need to describe them in a way to feed said engine.  Maybe your efforts would be better served in figuring that out.  Then make whatever you want.  

Artists have the toughest time describing their work.  Nearly impossible to distance yourself.  Your work is meaning ful to you, and hopefully, will be to your buyers too, but in order to draw them in you have to simply describe it so that it gets found.  You need to have a party, with many good drinks, and ask your friends to describe what they are SEEING when they look at one of your pieces.  No wrong answers, write it all down.  

 

Or post in shop critiques, and

ask for everyone to give a suggested 

tag (or title) for a listing.


 

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TheWeeShed
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

Yes, I find it hard describing stuff. I sometimes have fights with my wife as I don't really like describing myself as 'an artist'. I don't really like having pressure. Or maybe it's a way to lower peoples expectations of what to expect if they see something I've made. 
A party with many good drinks sound like a good idea. Or in Ireland you can just go to the pub which is the same sort of thing!

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OddsOrnaments
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

I think that you have to decide if you are a business or an artist. Can you afford to just be an artist if so the go for it!

I have always found that original ideas that are well thought out sell best.  Better than copies or commodity sales. Dont get wrapped up in the nonsense it shouldn't matter what site you are on.

 

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TheWeeShed
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

yes, I think I was having this moan as I feel like I'm  bit wrapped up in the nonsense...being on Etsy (and online with stuff like Instagram or Facebook or Google) you just get sucked in a nonsense.  You end up feeling more like a robot than anything.

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Hertfordweaver
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

It's a struggle but you need to keep trying to find a way to make it all work for you. I worked for a large corporation for most of my working life and even they hired an efficiency expert. I need one of those

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TheWeeShed
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

yes, I need to find a solution...I think you need a bit of inefficiency to do art. Like sitting around looking at stuff or dreaming mightn't be very efficient and corporations don't really go for that sort of thing, but then maybe artists do? 

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JDCreativeHands
Community Member

Re: Some reasons why I find it uninspiring on here

1) Depends.  Only artists or artisans who have a following can do what they want and that usually comes after a long struggle.  They rest of us have to market to buyers and sometimes that means doing things that are outside what we really want to do.  As some successful artists have said to me, part of success is doing what I want to do and the other part is doing what is wanted by buyers so that I can do what I really want to do.

2) Is the nature of business.  Where do dress designers get their money from?  Not from the one of a kind items they show that very few can purchase but to the knockoffs they permit that they can do in hundreds that makes them their money.

3) Sorry but my thoughts are that artists should do the business end of their business.  It's not that onerous.  Artists need to learn what it costs to be successful.  The days of art patronage is long over.  If you don't know the business it makes one vulnerable to being fleeced.

4) Well in business there has to be structure.  There has to be rules and guidelines.  Buyers have to be protected.  Etsy offers me the tools.  I do what I need to do and while I may chafe at times by what is required, they are usually better at helping me with the business end than I would be on my own.  If you want to make a living, you have to run as a business.  Otherwise your art would need to take a backseat to working for someone else to make that living.

5) Etsy was never only about handmade.  It was vintage and supplies as well.  Etsy expanded out their definition of handmade.  If you have not read the legal side then I suggest doing so.  Their interpretation of handmade does not agree with mine but as a seller here I accept their version and I work with it.  And their definition of what is OOAK is not mine either.  To them it is personalization. 

6) Of course being an artist can be a lonely pursuit.  As a crafter there are times when I would like more contact but I wait and it goes away.  In speaking of getting bored well chances are that is not because you are an artist.  Chances are you get bored with anything after a time.  School, games, reading, philosophy, etc.  In some respects I hear echoed the same thing in my sister.  Her focus is broader and larger and she hop skips all over in what she wants to do.  Her mind is more agile seeing things others don't.  This agility makes it hard to settle.  Her frustration comes out as being bored.  But I see it as her really needing a new challenge to excite her.  She hasn't found one yet.  She's trying though.

 

 

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