An Alternative to Etsy

An Alternative to Etsy

(Originally posted as an article on our LinkedIn. Follow us there!)

I am often told I'll never make it unless I'm on Etsy. (Don't even get me started about Facebook, Instagram, etc.) But I know of a growing alternative. Do you?

"Wait, why wouldn't you want to be on Etsy?"

In 2022, 80k+ artists signed a petition protesting Etsy's 30% transaction fee increase. This is right after seeing a DOUBLING of Etsy's gross marketplace sales in 2020 and then topping that in 2021 by $3 billion+. Yet the price hike dumped onto small businesses persisted.

"Well, fee increases do happen from time to time..."

But this was the last straw for Etsy sellers. These makers had been experiencing worsening conditions on the platform for years, like increasing payment transaction fees, ad price hikes, allowing resellers on the platform (mass-producers who don't design their own products and are impossible to fairly compete with), poor customer service and legal support from Etsy, and forcing sellers into programs that don't help them at all but in fact hurt their shops.

"Eh, why does it matter?"

These actions by Etsy (and other massive corporations) result in small businesses being unable to keep employees on payroll, unable to provide locally sourced and made goods, and in the worst cases having to shut their doors. These actions destroy the very fabric of the local, state, and national maker economy. This economy is vital to a thriving society: organic and original arts, reflective and dynamic culture, DIY, self-sufficiency, and sustainability often kickstart in these micro-art-businesses while simultaneously sustain and promote long-held creative practices and traditions. It's important we ensure they are protected!

"Alright, then what's the solution?"

I look forward to having a genuine artisan marketplace, one that is owned and operated by the very community it's built for which ensures the protection and viability of fellow artists and retains the dignity of our labor.

Independent artists who only list their work on their website with average sales of ten per month have reported seeing an increase to an average of 100 per month when selling on Etsy (dubbed Amazon 2.0).

This is why a genuine artisan cooperative marketplace is so helpful for small creative businesses like mine. There's way more traffic to the site, and the buyers are all navigating there with the same thought in mind: they want genuine, handmade art and they want their money to directly support the artists. It's especially great when they can find it all in one place.

"What Are You Gonna Do About It?"

My business, East Ruin, has joined The Artisans Cooperative, a thriving community of artisans building an alternative to Etsy. As a member-owned, member-run and member-benefiting co-op, The Artisans Cooperative promotes creativity, supports artists' livelihoods, and connects people through an equitable artistic community.

The co-op recently received the support of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives! This is just the beginning of a true alternative to EtsyRead more about the momentum building at The Artisans Cooperative.

"Oh cool! What can I do to help?"

Your opportunity to support small-biz artists is about to get way easier, more transparent, more diverse, and back to the roots of what it truly means to support a creative marketplace.

  • If you're an artist or want to volunteer, join the co-op.
  • If you're a patron, support us.
  • If you're interested but have a short attention span, I'm delighted you even got this far, so thank you! Will you please share/repost this article?

(Also, don't neglect your small-business creators who are on Etsy. But please help spread the word so they can consider whether The Artisans Cooperative is a good fit for them.)


(Thank you to everyone working so hard behind the scenes at The Artisans Cooperative in making this a reality!)

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