Remember how we were afraid that Etsy was "branding" the wrong image - remember how we always call them hipsters and people laugh. Remember the shit some of you gave us for it.* Well, guess what?! We were right!
Last week, New York Magazine did a shop local feature with their fave items from Etsy, which, in the writer's own words, is about what exactly?
When Etsy, the Brooklyn-based online marketplace for all things handcrafted, launched in 2005, it sounded like another small-time, doomed-for-failure venture trying to capitalize on homespun hipsterism. Why not just sell and buy stuff on eBay, like the rest of the world? And who wants to buy other people’s crocheted pot holders, anyway? Hah. By 2008, Etsy’s sales had reached $87.5 million. And to its 2.1 million registered users, Etsy is much more than a virtual warehouse. Etsians, as regular buyers and sellers call themselves, want to live in a handmade world, from the clothes they wear to the forest-life stencils on their walls.
The Etsy lifestyle has a recognizable aesthetic, which looks remarkably like that of skinny-jeans-wearing, Slow Food–eating, bike-commuting hipsters. The site has pushed this aesthetic global; its vendors represent 150 countries.
Wow...way to ignore the majority of sellers who don't fit that aesthetic! What about all the metalsmiths and artists with years of experience and/or training? What about the potters who actually know how to make stoneware? What about the non-hipsters (which is just about everyone but admin)? Now granted, other NY hipsters like NY hipster ware - so NY mag was appealing to its own demographic. But this Etsy brand is out there - it's public knowledge - it's in stone.
This branding should piss off everyone who sells at Etsy because this makes Etsy it's own brand, attempting to attract only a certain type of buyer - they don't know who their sellers' audience or clients are. All they know is what they like - it's a fucking juried site! Only those they promote are going to benefit from being on Etsy.
My advice, and do take this as you will, but I would jump ship faster than rats when they set a cat loose. If you're going to be bringing in all your buyers anyway, might as well do it somewhere cheaper - say a free shop like ecrater or blujay, or on a handmade site like Artfire where a free shop is possible - or an outright juried site like 1000markets - there are lots of alternatives that haven't yet branded themselves into a corner!
When we told Etsy to advertise, it was to use their trademarked tagline (which is misused in the NYMag article btw) not to brand themselves. As a venue, their brand should be broad - instead they narrowed it down to themselves and their taste, 20-something delusion with a whiff of arrogance.
*Many of our regular readers did get it, but there were some doubters, some cupcakes, and some denialists - so to them: how's Etsy been with the vaseline? cause you have been taking it whether you realized it or not