After 12 years of selling on Etsy.com we have decided to close our shop there. Since the site went public it is a completely different venue with "profits" being the only focus for Etsy management. I get it, I really do, for many years Etsy wasn't profitable and now they have shareholders to answer to, they have to be profitable or heads will roll. I find the idea of handmade and the stock exchange to be really at odds with each other and I've known since they entered the stock exchange that Etsy as we knew it, was over. There are a lot of sellers who knew this as well but there are a shocking amount of them that still haven't figured it out and continue to stick around praying things will get better! I feel for them and it makes me sad because the Etsy they knew and loved is gone and they aren't dealing with that fact!
For us to remain on etsy we would have to raise our prices to a ridiculous level and we don't choose to do this. So many things have happened in online selling in the last 6 months. Sales tax is now being charged for all marketplace venues. States are adding themselves to the list every day. Web pages however are only required if their sales are at a certain level. So customers on marketplaces are paying taxes that they probably aren't even required to pay but because the marketplace is require to collect them the customer pays.
6 Months or so ago Etsy raised fees by about 5% across the board stating they were using it for advertising. Next month they are starting a new advertising program that requires a 12% fee on some items sold, for advertising. So in a very short period of time the Etsy marketplace has raised prices by about 25%-30% on average. I say on average because some sellers, sellers who have heavy items pay more because shipping is also being charged this fee and sellers who are in other countries have VAT taxes at a rate of around 20% tacked on as well.
Shipping costs continue to increase as well with the new calculated shipping that the post office is doing. Flat rates have also increased and international shipping is completely insane! We don't have control over any of these things but we do have control on whether or not we play along with it and we have chosen not to.
We will only be selling our items from our web sites where we have control over the cost of doing business and control over not charging our customers more money so that share holders make a better margin!
Buying from marketplaces such as Etsy or Ebay or even Amazon offer some security when purchasing online because you have a website backing your purchases. I know from experience that can be a scary thing. I've lost money purchasing from a web site before but honestly i didn't do the research on the company before I purchased and I should have so I choked it up to my own stupidity. Now I won't purchase on a marketplace venue (because it costs me more) unless it is absolutely necessary but I haven't had to do that yet and I would really question my need for an item if the only place i could find it was on a marketplace!
To protect yourself and avoid having issues when shopping online, make sure, before you purchase, you run a google search for the companies name and reviews. For instance Mystic Moon Shop reviews. Many times I have noticed when I do this I get a very different picture of customers thoughts from other sites that aren't available on the web page I am shopping on. There are several sites that I have seen just adorable clothing on and I have wanted to purchase but when I do a search for the web site and reviews I find all kinds of reviews that state the purchaser never received the item or they received something completely different than what they ordered and not just one or two like it was a possible shipping problem I find hundreds of them!
Another thing about online shopping is you have the protection you need from your payment processor. Whether its your credit card company or paypal or some other financial institution, they have you back if you have issues with online purchasing.
So in closing we have decided to not sell on marketplaces to keep our customers from paying more than is necessary when making a purchase. Our business is could suffer with a lack of traffic and purchases but we feel really strongly about not gouging our clients by charging more for an item because of fee's being charged to make some shareholders more wealthy and we think you, our customers, will agree!