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Please Don’t Lie to Yourself!

Hi everyone. It’s Kristi.

I’ve seen a lot of talk and advice about Etsy “alternatives” that is making me concerned for people in our movement. A lot of these “alternatives” aren’t really alternatives. We’ve got to stop thinking of them that way. We’re lying to ourselves.

Etsy is a marketplace. When you join it, you get instant inclusion in a search engine with more than 90 million built-in buyers. Other marketplaces exist (to my knowledge, go-imagine is the biggest one currently) but they are all new, and none of them have buyers. You’d be building the marketplace from the ground up, just like I did with Etsy in 2007. And unless it’s specifically a coop marketplace (more on that in a future post), you will have no ownership. You can spend more than a decade of your life building that marketplace, like I did with Etsy, and have them turn on you the instant they get big, making change after change that destroys your business, with no recourse.

Other Etsy “alternatives” include things like Shopify, Big Cartel, Kofi, Squarespace and others. These are not alternatives to Etsy. It’s comparing apples to oranges. None of these are marketplaces. You get zero buyers from joining them. You have to understand that before moving forward.

Can you drive buyers to your own standalone store, with no built-in traffic?

If not, you’ll be right back on Etsy in a few months time, defeated, dejected, and quite a bit poorer for the attempt.

I’m not saying it’s impossible to leave. I’m saying we have to look at the reality of the situation. It’s a simple set of questions to ask yourself.

How many of my monthly sales come from Etsy?

How many of my monthly sales come from my own marketing and promotion?

Can I afford to lose all the sales that come from Etsy and exist on the ones that come from my own marketing and promotion for at minimum a few months, possibly up to a year’s time?

If not, then I’m afraid you’re stuck with Etsy, at least in part. It sucks. They’re rapidly proving that they give zero shits about any of us, even when we unite and make so much noise that we become impossible to ignore.

But we have news for Etsy too. We’re not done yet. This strike was never intended to be the be-all and end-all of our operation.

We have other plans.

Stay tuned.

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