Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Nov 6 2013 22:04:27

Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

By: Ina Steiner

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Anyone who witnessed the "small vs large" seller debate on eBay will be forgiven for having a feeling of deja vu upon reading some of the threads on Etsy these days. A reader sent along a link to a thread with the note, "a big multinationally-distributed manufacturer plants his foot in the Etsy forums, intimidates small sellers."

But just like on eBay many years ago, some sellers welcomed the traffic and buyers that large merchants would attract to the site. After one seller said a large merchant would flood Etsy with their products, another responded, "if they bring more people to Etsy, they will search other shops, especially other jewelry shops!"

The thread was started by the large merchant in question, QPJewellers ("Luxury handcrafted diamond and gemstone jewellery"), who wanted advice about advertising on Etsy and expressed a desire to spend more than what he supposed was a $42 limit. "Currently we spend over £350,000.00 per year on Google Adwords for our flagship store, sounds expensive but it gives a huge ROI and we're happy with that."

Many sellers responded by saying they feared such a seller would bury their own listings in search - and the debate began.

The debate may sound impossible to readers since Etsy only allows handmade goods in the handmade category - that is, if they missed the news in early October that Etsy now allows sellers to use manufacturers to make goods they themselves designed.

Another seller agreed that the large merchant might do as much good as harm. "But they are in a totally different category. They may bring customers IN that might not be able to afford their products but decide to stay and look around at the other gorgeous, more affordable offerings. It does often work both ways!"

But a seller responded, "If they flood the jewelry category, then no other jewelry will be seen. It's one thing to add a few things, but if you have pages and pages of listings, it's going to make a market that's already crowded impossible to be seen for people who are making each piece by hand, so only have a couple of pages of listings."

Another said, "I know that with the new guidelines this may be the new wave of the future. The flooding of categories and the crushing of smaller handmade shops whom cannot make hundreds of items a day. I know that life isn't a level playing field and there is competition. I guess it's a the slippery slope of how big is too big for etsy."

A former eBay user wrote, "I used to sell artisan jewelry on Ebay where there was a thriving artisan jewelry community. There were teams, private chat boards and groups of artisans - all promoted and supported by Ebay. The problem is that Ebay gave up on monitoring the listings and many of those sellers came here and brought their buyers with them. I think that started during the end of 2006 or the beginning of 2007."

She continued, "The huge, mass produced sellers were already there but segregated into their own categories and slowly but surely bled into the artisan category where they had less competition. Now the whole jewelry category is 99% mass produced 'stuff' that can be bought anywhere. There are a handful of handmade jewelers still there and some of them do well.

"I can't help but think that history is repeating itself here. Etsy, for whatever reason, has invited the big sellers/designers in and the little guy is just going to have to find another outlet because there is simply no way to compete with these large companies with huge budgets who are determined to drown out everyone else." </i>

Another seller later pointed out the importance of creating an About page where artisans could show potential shoppers that they are truly making all of the items they sell. "Fill out your about page. Once you bring buyers here, you want to make them feel confident. Most people come here looking for artisan made jewelry."

"It finally dawn on me how utterly important it will be now," a seller responded.

So what do you think? Can small sellers coexist with large sellers on an online marketplace? I'm also curious about how all this will impact Etsy's vintage sellers, if at all.




Comments (24) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 6 23:17:17 2013

With the number of sellers purged from ebay and the number fleeing ebay voluntarily, Etsy could be poised to take ebay head on. But they don't need to try to become LIKE ebay and the past few months it seems like that may be the direction in which they are heading.

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: WhoKnewIt This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 6 23:51:37 2013

No, we can't which is why the true "handmade" Artisan's are all flocking to Zibbet.com  Etsy made it very clear that they don't give a flying f**k what happens to those of us that put them where they are now.  Etsy has done the ultimate damage to it's handmade Artisans....so most people buying there now are looking for the "brand" of Etsy but searching for the "price" of Wal-Mart.

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: Garcia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 00:06:12 2013

You are kidding of course. This is not about the large vs small handmade manufactured sellers. It is about the resellers of which this was obviously one of them. If you can't see that then you are not looking.  He has multiple sites with the same items selling for a variety of prices.  Who do you think hand makes these items or designs them, not the person who started that thread, no way no how.  This is not about true handmade and mass produced handmade, but out Etsy opening up to resellers.  Please print it as it is not as Etsy wants it to appear to be.

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: RealHandmadeGal This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 00:30:44 2013

Once again - missing the point. Artists are not intimidated - they're pissed off. The large jewelry seller mentioned is a jewelry RESELLER posing as a handmade jeweler. We can only hope that someday one person will report these stories correctly and do some actual investigating before blogging.

www.google.com/search?q=qp+jewellers+david+adams
u
k108207268.fm.alibaba.com/
uk108207268.fm.alibaba.com/company_profile.html

QP
Jewellers, Gemzngold, Galaxy Gold Products, and probably more - all selling thousands of the same items. Not unique, not artisan crafted. All mass produced in a factory in China. They can pretend to be a fancy jeweler in England and maintain office space in the jewelry district in Los Angeles, but we know who they really are.

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: Aunt Onery This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 02:57:31 2013

Intimidated???? You've got to be kidding!

QPJewelries....another HUGE worldwide re-seller doing a PR stunt isn't what we honest sellers call an intimidation. It's just another disgusting but ho hum wake up call that proves once more what etsy has had in the works for more than a couple years. QP and etsy are on the same page....to make money by flooding the established etsy marketplace with mass produced goods but keep the cachet of *handmade*. Pure bait and switch.

As said by many, it's an insult to unsuspecting buyers. They're already figuring it out though and either googling their favorite sellers or contacting them privately to find out where the favorite sellers they know and trust can be found.

Got news for ya etsy...your new definition of handmade may not work out the way you'd hoped. We're steadily taking our loyal customers who prefer *ethical* with us. I'm already making sales in my new shop at www.zibbet.com and it makes me smile. Life is once more good.

 

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 04:16:13 2013

Isn't competition great.

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 06:31:50 2013

Growth & diversification are inevitable. I wish Etsy had the good sense to break out the artisan, antique & vintage, and new stuff to different sites. They will suffer if they change their brand drastically and stifle the businesses that built the Etsy name.  

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 06:33:38 2013

PS Competition is healthy for the buyer--but if it isn't fair, it kills the "venue".

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 07:33:27 2013

Etsy has become ebay wannabe.
Large retailers spend and get preferential treatment. The small artist will no longer get any exposure. Maybe on page 20????
Then like ebay '' if we feel like showing your items we will-maybe''
Etsy has also decided to kill themselves before they really got started.
I guess etsy hasn't learned from ebay. When small sellers leave, so do buyers. Etsy will be known as a large chinese junk site.

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: beverly This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 07:50:24 2013

I used to make artisan jewelry about 3 years ago and listed the items on Etsy

then I saw all the chinese items and started speaking up in the community section

An esty ''adminstrator" came online and said that I could no longer speak about these sellers and stopped the conversation

..and sellers think
Ebay is Bad..nothing like the Etsy police stopping discussion

I stopped listing on Etsy knowing that Etsy no longer was a site for artisan jewelry

Etsy does not care about artists,, they want to make money just like ebay

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

This user has validated their user name. by: NirvanaCreations
Web Site

Thu Nov 7 09:21:54 2013

I've been making handcrafted jewelry and other crafts and traveling the craft show circuit for years and just last year opened an online store on eCrater. I had no delusions that selling online would replace the craft show, just another way to supplement my income.

At least I know people go to craft shows because they want handcrafted items.  I thought Etsy was supposed to be the online version of the craft show where craftspeople can showcase their creations. But they seem no different than eBay or any other selling venue.

I sell on eCrater at the moment but am starting to think that running and promoting my own website is the way to go.  Etsy, eBay, etc. have the money to get high visibility in the search engines but what good is that if your handcrafted items are buried on page 50 of their site behind all the big resellers?  I might not be able to compete financially with them in search rankings but there are many ways to market and promote.  I'd still have to compete with the big guys and everyone else on the web, but at least once I get someone to my store I have control over what they see -- my stuff.

Good luck to all wherever you sell.  Hope everyone has a great holiday selling season.

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: Rusetsy This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Nov 7 09:28:12 2013

Still amazed that any made thing is labeled ''handmade'' on the site. Even more amazed at Etsy's blatant encouragement of sellers to employ ''bait and switch'' tactics, while relieving itself from any liability for their doing so.

On Etsy, it is not only ''Buyer Beware,'' it is also ''Seller Beware.''  

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 09:35:51 2013

Etsy has had a pretty strong vintage category since the get-go...although it's getting a lot harder to find the vintage stuff there, it's still a good chunk of traffic I bet.

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: Lisa Flanders This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Nov 7 10:12:16 2013

Ina, you wrote, ''Etsy now allows sellers to use manufacturers to make goods they themselves designed.''

But during that infamous October 1st Town Hall, one of the panel members specifically stated that designers could be hired.  So with the new policy changes, sellers do not even have to design the items themselves.  They can hire designers and have the items produced in factories and drop shipped.  

The reality is that Etsy is no longer a handmade marketplace - which is why I closed my shop on October 2nd, the day after the Town Hall, because with this change of direction Etsy is no longer an appropriate venue for work.  

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: Lisa Flanders This user has validated their user name.
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Thu Nov 7 11:02:52 2013

I found the quote to substantiate what I wrote above.  During the Etsy Town Hall broadcast, at 1:02 in the video, Marketplace Integrity leader Sarah Abramson directly stated that sellers can hire designers.  

https://www.etsy.com/townhall/2013/10/01

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: Trishna This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 12:13:55 2013

There is not one thing lately about any change they roll out which is good for their customers -- that is, the sellers that built them.  They don't see us as customers and o not see they had a contract with us.  If you are married in a normal ceremony, and then decide to move 10 other wives in with you, covering up the break in contract by trying to redefine monogamy, then likely you will get a divorce.  You'll make some new friends who like your nine wives, but you will lose a lot of your old crowd who doesn't buy the attempt to change the language.  This is what etsy is doing.  they never intended to try a new improved "handmade."  They intended to try to pass sweatshop hands in 3d world countries as handmade.  They need to drop their "B" Crop status and move on into the walmart world, and the folks that built it need to give their attention to a different site.

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: tmooreseller This user has validated their user name.
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Thu Nov 7 13:37:10 2013

I joined Etsy sometime ago and watched my work languish in obscurity for months. Then one day I found that Etsy started to allow resellers and mass produced items onto the site, further pushing me back into the shadows. Basically, it wanted my money for listings but did not care to protect my ability to sell my handiwork to anyone for their final value fee. That is backward economic thinking, and I joined Etsy solely because of its initial stance on handmade items. When I found out about the new tack, I closed my account promptly and moved everything over to Zibbet. In addition to that, I already had my own site in place so that I am covered in both venues.

By the way, a brick and mortar store in my town called "Handmade" closed recently due to a hike in lease fees and lack of sales. Why should I expect Etsy to be any different? It has become another flooded campground for squatters.

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 7 19:59:03 2013

....and so it begins.  Say good bye to Etsy as we knew it....

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Fri Nov 8 08:12:24 2013

Important point about the hiring of designers, thanks for reminding me!

Perminate Link for Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler   Small Sellers on Etsy Intimidated by Large Jeweler

by: Ecommerce Guru This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 8 08:37:05 2013

I just checked and QPJewellers is no longer on Etsy! This was their profile: https://www.etsy.com/people/qpjewellers.  

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