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Why I Left Etsy

Updated: Apr 2

So, I don't know if you noticed, but I left Etsy. I know. It might be a mistake. It might be the best thing I've ever done. Who knows at the moment? But, one thing I can tell you is that I feel quite relieved. I can also tell you why I left Etsy, in the hopes that it might be of use for other creatives out there.

I started my Etsy store in around 2015. I had almost no products and they were never seen by anyone. It took me a long time to build up a decent stock, and an even longer time to get to grips with what Etsy wanted from me in order to be seen. In fact, I found it so hard, that I published my top 5 tips for selling on Etsy on this blog, hoping it would help others out there (now deleted).

Etsy want a lot from you to get seen.

Over 100 products, excellent photography, excellent SE0, excellent use of Etsy tags, free postage, new products as often as possible, to reply to customers within one day, a million photographs and even video of each product, clear wording, 5 star reviews only . . . I could go on. And there are literally millions of people selling on Etsy - you're competing with all of them. It results in hours and hours and hours of work each week, so that making new products to put on there becomes almost impossible, because you're spending all of your time trying to get seen. You become a slave to the algorithm. And if there's one thing I hate, it's anyone else trying to control what I do.

And then there's the cost. I detailed the true cost of Etsy in this blog, so I won't go into the full detail, but suffice to say that:

Etsy end up taking around 50% of your listing price.

And they keep raising their prices. 'Add the raises onto your own products!' they say. But they also say to roll in the postage cost. Oh yes, and they want tracked postage to give you a 'star seller' badge. In the UK, for a small parcel, that's approximately £7. So, I have a £12 letter set. I add in £7 for postage, and then all Etsy's fees, and suddenly I'm at £20 for you to buy one of my letter sets. Quite apart from the fact no one will pay that, I also don't want to charge you that. So, as you can see, they're not only expensive for me, they're usually expensive for you.

Which leads into my next point: by far, my most popular product on there was cards. My card are £2.50 each at a market. On Etsy they were up at £3.30, but in the end, Etsy and postage were taking so much, that I still made almost nothing from them. There was no longer any point.

Here's another struggle I had: On Etsy, if you put your shop into holiday mode, your listings are no longer put at the top, but hidden. So, if you have a two week holiday for example, you will find that the algorithm drops your listings.

So you've done all those hours and hours of work, all those days and weeks and months, you take your 2 weeks of well earned holiday, and then you come back, only to find your listings have sunk into nothing - you have to start all over again.

Now, imagine taking 9 months of maternity leave, which I just did. Yeah. I was back at the start. I'd rather put the time into my own website, and my products.

Finally, I very rarely asked Etsy for help, I think once or twice. I can't remember what it was for, but on both occasions I remember them being massively and so resolutely unhelpful and, dare I say it, so completely useless, that I can tell you, in my experience, if you're having trouble on Etsy, there is no one who will support you, or even take the time to understand your point. So, another strike.

Over time, I've found these annoyances have built up. With every price rise at a time they were making record profits, with every dismissal when asking for help, with every attempt to force the seller into their box . . . I got more annoyed. Until: bam.

I've left Etsy.

It may be the biggest mistake I've made yet. But the relief of not having to deal with the algorithm any more is incredible.

So, if you want to support small business, go to their website, not their Etsy store. It's better for them, and cheaper for you. Those are the lessons I've learned.

As always, thanks for reading!


40 views2 comments


Jan 05

Thank you so much for writing this post, and your other one, The True Cost of Etsy.

Speaking as someone who's been buying on Etsy for 15 years, in the last few years the site has become absolutely dreadful in many different ways—especially when trying to search for products. The accuracy of the results is terrible and the quality of what's being sold is much lower than it used to be. (Now I know why! They're not giving me what I actually asked for, just boosting the people who are currently jumping through the ridiculous hoops.)

And yeah, even on the buying side, it is very nearly impossible to speak to an actual human to get help about something. As…

Replying to

Thanks for leaving these comments Rachael - I'm so pleased you found the posts useful. It's also really good to know about these things from the point of view of the buyer, especially one who has been shopping on Etsy for so long.

There are a lot of amazing sellers on Etsy, but I find the same thing as you - only the people who are jumping through the hoops make it to the top. Plus the algorithm is super changeable. I also think a lot of these marketplaces get too flooded after a while, so finding what you want can be a task.

Thanks so much again for commenting, I really appreciate the feedback and the points you've made!

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