|Mon Apr 25 2011 15:12:49|
Etsy Culture Clash: Vintage versus Handmade
By: Ina Steiner
Etsy is best known for handmade items even though it has a thriving marketplace of vintage goods, and a clash of cultures occasionally erupts on Etsy between the two types of sellers. Sellers of vintage goods feel the site needs to do more to promote them, while sellers of handmade goods say they fear Etsy will be seen as a "flea market" similar to eBay.
Mitzi Swisher of Vintage Goodness, who sells on eBay, Etsy and her own website, was reminded of the culture clash last week when she wrote a message on the Etsy forums that she'd like to see Etsy add a Best Offer feature.
"I have the Best Offer option on almost all my listings on eBay, and it works very well for me and my vintage items, I would LOVE for Etsy to add a make an offer feature, where the seller can choose if they would like to add that option to their listings."
But sellers of handmade goods vehemently opposed her suggestion. The thread spanned seven pages before a moderator reminded participants to be respectful when posting and closed the discussion.
Many of the comments from sellers revealed concerns over pricing as well as having to deal with an increase in messages from buyers making offers.
Michael of Transit Design wrote, "Although I understand the OP's motivation, I would definitely NOT care to see a "Best Offer" option. I don't want Etsy to become an auction site. It might work for vintage, but not for handmade goods. Too many sellers already under-value and under-price their items. And I would not like responding to emails with low-ball offers all day."
I checked in with eBay spokesperson Adam Brown to see if Etsy has ever considered launching category-specific features. Adam said Etsy is very interested in the different needs of Etsy's different types of sellers and it takes note of forum conversations.
"We are not currently planning a "make an offer" type of feature. But as you know, we are always making slight changes and improvements, so down the road we may explore the idea of category-specific tools in an effort to create a more sophisticated marketplace."
I checked in with Mitzi, who also publishes the Vintage List Online Directory. She said she didn't see Etsy implementing different features for the different categories anytime soon, "though it probably wouldn't be a bad idea. Each segment does have different needs, and improvements could definitely be made for all three areas."
Another interesting discussion started on Wednesday about Vintage versus Handmade on this forum post. Let us know what you think - can vintage and handmade items coexist side-by-side on Etsy?