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Wed Dec 23 2009 09:40:45

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

By: Ina Steiner

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Etsy's founder Rob Kalin will return as CEO, replacing Maria Thomas, who had joined the company last year. Only a day after announcing the change, Rob indicated he would change Etsy's focus away from retail and more on "social commerce." See today's AuctionBytes news story.

Etsy requires that sellers only list items they themselves have made, in keeping with the handmade focus of the site. The exceptions are in the Supplies and Vintage categories.

Many eBay sellers have set up shop on the Vintage area of Etsy and often feel frustrated that the company's marketing and message neglects their offerings. (Internally, Etsy has debated whether to do more to separate Vintage from the rest of the site.)

Rob Kalin's statements made on Tuesday reveal he will focus on the handmade culture, and eschew the business side of selling on the site. What will his approach to vintage sellers be as he focuses on the "granola" aspect of Etsy? We'll find out - it sounds like he's itching to start making changes to the site now that he has the board's approval.  

Can handmade co-exist with vintage on Etsy?




Comments (22) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Wed Dec 23 09:52:26 2009

whoa. can't believe it!he wasn't much for vintage. he was gung ho handmade. period.

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: Patricia

Wed Dec 23 10:47:44 2009

I'm still trying to figure out how one makes sales on that site!  I guess you hang around all day in the various forums, etc. and eventually someone will buy something.  I'm really down on sites that don't advertise.  Been on this one for two years - only 33 sales.  Dismal!  Lots of lookie-lou's - no sales. I've done better on Overstock...but then they do advertise.  I've always done well on auction type sites where there is a beginning, a middle and an end to your listing.

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: etsylover

Wed Dec 23 11:48:23 2009

Sounds to me as though the former CEO was very focused on profit.  Haven't we had enough of that focus from Ebay... I was just waiting for the fees to rise, as I have watched fees rise on the bay. I have found the etsy community one that is creative and always looking for new ways to reuse vintage items...  I am a vintage seller there  I have many regular customer friends and I think the social direction is a great way to go.  Over the years I have met some great friends on ebay as well, but for some reason ebay is a magnet for the dysfunctional customer... and there just seems to be too many since the feedback system changed.... Knowing your customer and what they are creating is very important to growing a business on Etsy. Way to GO!!

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: Noneya

Wed Dec 23 12:51:41 2009

Stunned! After leaving Ebay, we're Finally making a profit as sellers on Etsy and now this. A really profitable Christmas as vintage sellers followed by a shocker of a Christmas surprise.


Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: WooHoo

Wed Dec 23 16:27:58 2009

People, go check out the Etsy forums. There's major happy dancing going on! We even partied in the virtual lab today :-)

As for vintage, Rob has stated "Vintage and Supplies will both stay."
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6384687&page
=5

He's
answering questions and calming fears.
2010 could be an awesome year for Etsy :-)

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: Rob

Wed Dec 23 17:17:08 2009

As WooHoo says above, Vintage is definitely staying on Etsy.

- Rob, CEO

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: On Lies and Secrets

Wed Dec 23 18:53:23 2009

This is an interesting development. Etsy seems to be doing pretty well for itself.  I think they have produced some real innovation in searching and site design for ecommerce selling venues.  I really enjoy browsing on etsy for hours.  The focus on the social network aspect of the site is a good idea, IMO.  Many of the popular design and craft bloggers do business on etsy and they generally support etsy sellers and artists with good publicity on their sites.  

I don't know what impact the ''new'' CEO will have on vintage items.  I do look on etsy for a variety of vintage items and I think etsy is a nice complement to other vintage and antique venues such as Ruby Lane and goantiques which seem to have pricier items.  There is a market for interesting and not-so-pricey vintage items.

I think keeping supplies is a critical synergy for the site - artists buy some supplies there, add value to them by creating something unique and then sell the unique item on the site.

In terms of vintage versus handmade - I think they can coexist, but it will take some care on the part of management as the venue continues to  develop.  There probably is a way to brand etsy so that handmade and vintage co-exist peacefully - maybe calling merchandise there  ''authentic''  or ''non-retail'' or ''unique'' or ''special''.

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: Artist

Fri Dec 25 07:15:49 2009

''Vintage'' is fine, so long as it's handmade.  Old mass produced crap is still crap, and the Etsy customer base is looking for artists.

Not sure that focusing on the ''community'' makes sense.  Our local artists guild and the many artists that participate in regional shows are all wonderful people - but the universal goal is to sell enough to make a living doing what we love.  Focusing on ''ourselves'' is actually a mistake made by many guilds.

Retail is NOT a dirty word.  Just because we make our own products doesn't mean that merchandising unimportant.  quite the contrary.  How our items are presented and percieved is everything.  We don't have TV and magazine ads promoting our ''brands'' - it's just us and our wares, and there must be a perception of value.

I have seen the same exact items sell for $20 and $200.  Value is in the eye of the beholder.

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: vintagetsy

Sat Dec 26 14:58:37 2009

Patricia..what are you selling? I sell vintage, over 500 sales in 2 years

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: Patricia

Sat Dec 26 16:03:01 2009

vintage - I sell tatting pattern books (these are my own patterns) handmade jewelry and my artwork.  I have a range from a few dollars on up.  The jewelry should have sold for Christmas - I did a booming business with them on Ebay.  Get LOTS of lookers on Etsy - very very few sales....so I don't put much on there these days.  I can't afford to keep paying - even their tiny fee if nothing sells.

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: summer in the city

Sat Dec 26 18:50:12 2009

@ Artist who says ''Etsy customer base is looking for artists.''

Are you sure about that?

http://www.etsywiki.com/index.php?title=Top_Sellers

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: Patricia

Sat Dec 26 20:17:56 2009

@summer - that list is quite an eye opener.  I know I'm not alone in my complaint.  Many other artists have the same complaint.

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: EEK

Sun Dec 27 14:40:14 2009

I think that vintage is important for people who are repurposing items. General vintage I am not so sure about. It is not easy to see the big picture of how unrestricted vintage listings helps the site.

The link I saw here somewhere shows the top 100 Etsy sellers, most of whom are large supply sellers. The handmade items themselves seem to have a much lower sell through rate. I like what we've heard about Rob Kalin returning as the CEO of Etsy. His apparent focus on the creators of the handmade items is important to the success of the site. There has to be a balance between what is sold there in supplies/vintage versus what the sellers buying those supplies to create their artisan items can successfully sell at Etsy. I for one am glad to see this radical change at Etsy back to the Founder's vision for the site.

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: fruity

Mon Dec 28 04:31:51 2009

I think they need to make some agreements on giving these sellers their own bargaining unit so they dont get looted with future FEES and surcharges, etc.

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: fruity

Mon Dec 28 04:32:21 2009

and I would totally hang out in an etys social site, it would be the prettiest social site EVER!

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: ma

Tue Dec 29 01:17:18 2009

I can see what the new/old CEO is trying to do. I have never sold on Etsy but have understood it to be Artist & handmade oriented with some other cats mixed in. I sell on ebay now not because they advertise but because I use social media to promote my items. Its made a big difference in my holiday and after sales. And I enjoy the opportunity to meet new people and exchange ideas so it is good on more than one level. I can see what he wants for the site.

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: just another etsian

Tue Dec 29 02:40:04 2009

I do a fair business on etsy and my roi is greater than on ebay but honestly, I don't have the time required to be social.

Some of these folks spend hours every day tweeting, facebooking, blogging, and posting every five minutes in the forums. If I did that I'd never get into the studio to create.

I appreciate what rob is trying to do but if my success depends on being a virtual extrovert then I'm gonna crash and burn.

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: Yum Cupcakery

Wed Dec 30 10:39:40 2009

From a non-artist’s perspective Etsy needs to advertise what type of site they are in general a bit more. I've stumbled onto Etsy once in a while, and I knew they sold items. Yet I had no idea what the site really was till I just read this small article about the possibility of vintage items being removed.

The social premise of the site sounds lovely, but if people don't intuitively know how a site works they are not likely to use it. Such as myself, I simply navigated away from Etsy since I previously didn’t understand it. I happen to be a big fan of handmade art and vintage items, so technically I would be purchasing plenty of products from the site if I used it. Which… happily I may now begin to do.

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Thu Dec 31 02:08:31 2009

One Etsian told me today, on Twitter, that  Twitter made all the difference to her business.. she tweets her listings, and advertises that way..links her shop to her twitter home page, etc. Well I do the same with my home page to Go Antiques, we all do..

Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?   Bad News for Etsy Vintage Sellers?

by: Mimi

Sat Jan 2 21:19:01 2010

I retired last year and at my daughter's urging started a shop in May on etsy to sell vintage jewelry and collectibles.  I haven't yet learned about Twitter, Facebook, etc., but I am thrilled with the customer base and have had 526 sales since May.  I am trying to keep over 300 posted and do find that new listings everyday gives me more and more customers.  I must learn more about linking to my shop and blogs, etc., but I have only good things to say about Etsy.  My daughter has both a design shop and a vintage shop and she, too, is very pleased!  Mimi

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