On occasion we get something in the inbox that is more than an Aux post, tip, or rant. Recently, I received an email from a journalist who couldn't tell who she's writing for, but she had the following questions:
1) Can you give me YOUR personal view of the future of the handmade craft industry? Is it enjoying a revival at this time? Will the flailing economy help the Handmade Movement?
2) Can you give me a short list of what you consider Etsy's shortcomings? How and where it has failed its sellers? Its community?
3) What could Etsy do to improve itself as a website?
4) Your views on the Etsy alternatives. How many in your reckoning are likely to become serious contenders for Etsy?
5) Lastly, you had a magic wand, and you could create the BEST handmade buy-and-sell site in history, what are the first 10 things you would do?
My first reaction was 'Hasn't she read the blog?' Then I talked it over with the other Bitches and they thought the same thing.
For one, if you can't tell us who you're writing for, chances are we're not going to give you an exclusive interview. Second, don't ask questions that are answered in the blog. And lastly, don't haggle about on-the-record vs. off-the-record with anonymous writers.
For me (Righteous), it's about integrity and personal responsibility, as a business and an individual. Etsy just hasn't followed through.
I'm posting below my response to the journalist, because I meant what I told her about everything being on-the-record. Plus, you might have an answer for her and now comments can be open for that:
After discussing your questions, we think you will find all of the answers on the EtsyBitch blog. Everything on-the-record is out there for the public. We don't hold back what we really think. We don't mind being quoted and linked to, we stand by everything we say and retract or update as necessary when things change.
If you're having difficulty compiling our responses from the wealth of information on the blog, primarily, there is no "short-list" of what's wrong with Etsy. Over the course of the few years they've been live they have been going downhill. It's everything from hardware and infrastructure to the lack of a customer service department and knowledgable admin. Take a look at our Christmas list and the comments to it...that's the closest we can get to a short list. Nearly every post is about Etsy's shortcomings, what they can do to improve, and what we think a handmade venue needs. You'll start to see trends when you read through.
For some people, handmade never went away. It may be having a mainstream revival right now, due to trends, going green, or the economy, but that is beyond our collective effort and discussion. We have worked with some people who are promoting the handmade movement, and we appreciate it as artisans ourselves, but art and handmade have always been there, and always will be there, in some form.
We do think there will be some venues that give Etsy a run for its money, some sellers are already having better success elsewhere, others were successful before Etsy ever came to be. It'll be different for everyone and their needs. We have our favorites, but its due to our own experiences. There are many more venues and shopping carts that we'll be reviewing, but I'm sure we have not held back in the posts we've already done as to how we feel a particular venue's chances may be for surpassing Etsy.