etsy has too many and high fees, and i lose more money than i make

Etsy – My way or the highway

As you might already know, I’m selling my handmade jewelry on Etsy, and have done so since August. I found it to be a bit tedious to upload photos and write descriptions and tags every time, when most of the text is basically the same, but that’s part of it, so I’ll not complain about that. What I’d like to complain about is the price I’ve had to pay up until now, almost five months later. I’ve made two sales, and of course had to pay the listing fees, as well as the commission fees for them. Some of my listings have now updated, meaning that I had to pay their listing fees for another four months.

That’s all fine and well, but to be honest, I think Etsy is screwing me over with their prices. Up until now, I’ve paid $15 in fees and commissions, for the above mentioned sales and listings. Most of my listings have not been up for four months yet, and thus haven’t updated, so we’re not talking about all my stuff. I don’t know how it has become so expensive, as I can’t find any billing information on Etsy, other than the total of what I have to pay them. I don’t make many sales, as you can probably see, because I’m an idiot when it comes to marketing, my photos aren’t that great (yet), and I’ve had no time nor motivation because of us moving into a house that needs more attention right now.

Looking forward, I don’t see it changing anytime soon. Etsy will keep throwing bills at me for things I can’t seem to figure out, and as I’ve already lost half of my profits to them, I don’t feel very comfortable using their services anymore. Yes, I’ll quit Etsy when my current listings have expired. Some expire in January, others just got updated and will expire in April. By then, I’ll have to find out what else I can do, to keep myself on the market, and hopefully make a profit with my crafting, so that I can keep buying materials.

Since yesterday afternoon, I’ve been looking into various platforms that only require me to pay a commission for every sale made. That means no listing fees, which I would have to pay even if I don’t sell anything, like right now with my very few sales, and little to no time for marketing. A friend is totally into Storenvy (you now who you are), and keeps mentioning it every time we have a conversation about selling platforms, so I looked a bit more into it than last time I was looking for a place to sell.

The thing about Storenvy is, that you can create a shop there, without having to pay anything at all. No listing fees, and no commission fees. Of course, there are the PayPal fees, but they are not part of the shop, as it’s a third party site with their own fees. But – and there is always a ‘but’ when it’s free – it would mean no exposure for my items on their site. To get exposure, I’d need to pay a 10% commission fee per item sold, which is quite a lot of money. To cover the 10% fee, I’d need to raise my prices by the amount lost, as well as PayPal fees of course, which can be up to 3.4%. Let’s do some math!

Selling a regular bottle charm directly with only materials and work time included would make it cost $10, so that will be the base price for my item in this example. Let’s say I put it up on Storenvy, and decide to be included in their marketplace, that’s + 10% = $11. I get my payment for it via PayPal, so we need to include their highest fee as well, that’s $11 + 3.4% = $11.37. I also need to buy something to put it in for shipping, and for a bottle charm, I’d need a small box for $0.70 to put the bottle in, and a bigger box for $1.40 when shipping. $11.37 + $0.70 + $1.40 = $13.47. That’s the amount the customer would have to pay, in order for me to cover all my costs, and still make a profit.

Compared to other people selling similar items as me, that’s actually a very fair price. But then again, if I cost the same as the others, will the customer pick me? Maybe, maybe not. Of course, that’s also the risk on Etsy, where the customer gets the wares of other shops thrown in their faces when they browse mine. It can’t be helped on an open platform that hosts many shops, and the creators of the sites want a profit too, which is very understandable. Having that in mind, a 10% commission fee is still a lot of money, as I do everything myself, from creating the item, to selling and shipping it. But then again, I could get some much needed exposure, support the platform with sales only (no listing fees), and it would still be easier than hosting a shop myself.

Yes, I’ve been thinking a lot about starting my own eCommerce business, as I’d be able to sell for cheaper prices when doing so. The thing is though, that I don’t have the customer base to start off on my own. No one would find me, as I’m still an idiot when it comes to marketing, don’t know that much about SEO, and the whole internet with tons of shops would work against me. I’m neither big or good enough for that right now, and maybe never will be. But I’d really like to learn how to create a shop someday, if just for giggles.

Well anyway, I found out, that Storenvy has a counterpart called Tictail. They basically offer the same services for the same fees, with small differences of course. Are those differences relevant to me? Not really, at least not at this point. So to me, it’s only a matter of which one of those offers more for my money, a.k.a. the 10% sales commission. Storenvy has a wider audience than Tictail, which means more exposure. Also, customers would want to buy from a platform they know and trust already. They both support PayPal, which is very important to me, as it’s been bothering me that Etsy accepts PayPal for MY payments to THEM, but when THEY pay ME, it goes directly on to my bank account, and I have a hard time distinguishing my profits from my grocery money.

Let’s boil it down. Etsy keeps eating my funds, and thus I want to leave them. The best alternative would seem to be Storenvy. I’d have to raise my prices a bit, but not enough for my items to become too expensive to sell. So yeah, I’m probably gonna move to Storenvy over the next four months, and see how that goes. At least I can’t lose money there while not selling anything, which is the biggest plus for me right now.

Also a bit on topic: I’ll be changing my Instagram account @colorpieces as soon as I have more time. Right now, it only includes my Etsy listings, but I would like for it to become a creative sales account. This means, that I’ll include listings as usual, but also other stuff I have up for sale, like for example my patterns and designs on sites like Redbubble and Society6. I’m also thinking about continuing with my adoptables on DA, although it was my plan to close down that account. I don’t know about that one yet, but if I continue, I would like to include my adoptables on Instagram. Ghosty might also move there, as I have four accounts right now, and Instagram seems to freak out after three. I haven’t updated Ghosty in a few weeks, which I’m sorry for, but I simply don’t have the time to do everything I planned, and as he’s not a popular (dead) guy, he’s not on the top of my list right now.

I’m sorry for this long post, but deciding what to do after Etsy felt easier to me, having my thoughts black on white. I’m aware that probably no one is gonna read this anyway, as I can see in my Google Analytics, that my anime reviews seem to drag more visitors on here than my personal life does, which is understandable, knowing that I’m quite the boring shit. But no worries, I’ll keep writing reviews… and boring shit like this post 😀

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