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The Blog

Artist Corinne Galla writes about the world of the working artist.

Etsy and the Not-So-New Deal

Corinne Galla

Recently, an art friend of mine sent me an email with a question: "Have you seen this?  What do you think?  Hope all is well and Happy New Year!!!" What she was referring to was a petition circulating on change.org asking Etsy's administration to form a special group, an artists' colony, and requesting a jury-in process and specific price points.

Take a moment and read the petition (I'll wait - it's no problem!)

Here is my reply via our email:

I don't want to sound jaded, but I have seen it all before, many times,  in my 7 years on Etsy.

The game changed considerably, though, in 2013 when plans were made to re-define "handmade," and again in 2014 when those plans were fully in effect. (My stats, BTW, have fallen considerably over the last 2 years, and by May of 2015, I was down over 65% from the previous year. Thanks, Etsy.)

Anyway, a petition like this sounds wonderful on the surface, but I know it's waaaaay too late in the game for Etsy to ever consider this. It's as simple as following the money. Etsy makes more in fees from Chinese resellers with $3.00 watches for sale than on true handmade goods that you or I produce. It would never be worth it or cost-effective for Etsy to create a panel to jury in work that would generate such infrequent sales. Besides, Etsy's never gonna be the platform to educate the public, or to teach them what is "good" art or art that's a good "investment."

We are all better off embracing social media in as personal a way as possible (and that's much easier said than done for us introverts!), drawing back the curtain, telling our story, letting folks in on the "who we are" and the "why we do what we do." [Name withheld] is my social media cruise director,  and after 3 years, she's still dragging me, kicking and screaming, into my own spotlight. EEEEP!

I guess what I'm trying to say here without getting too far afield is this: Etsy has become a place where I now direct traffic from Facebook or other places (like my business cards), while I build other venues. That thing about us not putting our eggs in one basket is true: galleries, Facebook, Instagram (Instagram is big - if you're not there, you should be, 'cause it's all photos, and you don't have to say a whole lot if your photos are really good and your hashtags are there!) are all fabulous places to be!

Keep you Etsy shop, and keep it full. You're in a very, very saturated market, (she is a jewelry artist) as you know, but you "can't sell out of an empty cart," as one very good merchant told me many years ago.

Ignore the petition - it would be just spinning your wheels.