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The Death of Etsy

Why are creators and handcrafters no longer using Etsy?

Let's go through a little history on Etsy, and the pros and cons of what it is today.

Etsy was founded in 2005 as on online marketplace to provide makers and hand-crafters a place to reach an international audience. A great idea in a time where Ebay and Craigslist ruled the online space and artisans didn't really fit the narrative or demographic of either.

By 2009, Etsy was averaging 10-13 million dollars in revenue each month. By 2017, Etsy had 1.7 million active sellers, but was seeing a decline in profits overall. They started to reduce their staff, and replace leadership to reinvigorate the company. With this, came the introduction of new fees, and a advertising platform that allowed sellers to appear higher on searches for a fee. Etsy also began acquiring smaller companies like and Depop. Since then, Etsy has forced raised fees on sellers in order to support a marketing platform that some sellers cannot utilize.

The marketing capabilities within Etsy geared directly toward sellers who could make one item in infinitely different variations, and created two loopholes where companies who mass-produce items for cheap could pay extra for a certain ad until the item had enough sales to rank on the first page of most relatable key searches, and listings will rank higher with an extremely cheap option (say you sell luxury cutting boards for $300, but offer a cutting board stand for $10. Your listing will show up higher on a search with the $10 "option" than someone who only sells the cutting board). These loopholes do not work well for smaller artisans, but work extremely well for large companies who are mass-producing custom items.

Today, Etsy has been overrun by these mass-production companies. They can take sub-par items, laser engrave something custom and then sell them for an absurd premium because they are not having to hand-craft anything. This forces artists hard work to go undervalued, and the real relationship of the artists to the work to be lost.

Many of the other social medias like Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok have begun working online storefronts into their platforms. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, but the vast majority of makers have flocked back to social media for sales due to the reduced fees and direct-to-maker culture that social media provides. The relationship between the buyers and the makers are stronger, the items are cheaper to list, and sellers are more able to retain their contacts with direct sales, social media marketing, and contact with their buyers.


If you are considering selling a hand-made piece of art or hand-crafted goods, make sure to do your research. Know the fees, pros, cons, and timeline of each possible avenue of revenue. Etsy has its strengths and weaknesses as does Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, and Amazon. Always do your research from first-impression, to conversion, to follow-up. But for small-time makers and crafters, Etsy just isn't as viable as it used to be.

As Always; Make Something Awesome

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