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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Etsy Who?

After being introduced the the world of eBay ten years ago, and becoming a powerseller, I found myself totally immersed with the global concept of e-commerce. However, as time passed, my good friends (yes I made friends on eBay) who also were successful sellers started to feel the squeeze of eBay's increasingly oppressive fees and regulations. I even became a part of a group looking for viable alternatives to selling online, but the eBay elephant was just too big. It was an interesting dynamic to observe.

I was one of the lucky ones, who did not rely on my eBay business for the food on our table. I had become a designer and teacher at a local scrapbooking store. In addition, I had an extremely oppressive homelife/husband - a daily struggle that took it's toll on me personally and made the weight of a home-based business unbearable. (Not to worry, both have been since replaced with the total opposite:) It made the decision to leave eBay a simple choice for me. It wasn't so simple for many others.

As I was able to find success as a teacher and designer, I also saw the number of friends selling on eBay in my genre dwindle. The ones who held to their high ethical standards and personable customer service were being pushed out by large companies and people getting away with extreme fee evasion (a practice of selling low and inflating shipping prices to avoid fees). While eBay is still a household name, and still widely used by normal people like you and I, it no longer is the same place it once was.

One day in 2006, while teaching, a local long-time customer who had actually found me first on eBay, asked me if I would ever go back to eBay. I shrugged, said maybe, since it was really the only viable site of it's kind. The next thing she said would eventually have quite an affect on my life...

"Have you ever heard of Etsy?"

I had not, and it took her 2 more times of prodding me over the next couple months for me to write it down and check it out. I am so glad I did! Because, as many of you know, it developed into my Inspirations by Faith etsy store.

I love it! If you are looking for local or international, from green-minded, upcyled and recycled, from the most beautiful art, to the loveliest of vintage- then this is the place to go. Even the fashion of both established and up-coming designers is amazing. Etsy works hard to try and make sure you are not buying from the large corporations or factories in Asia, but instead, directly from the artists and vintage collectors. The very personal nature of selling this way has created a very intimate buying/selling experience like the one you might get with a local boutique shop owner (and they might sell on Etsy too!). Sellers are invested in all that they list, and shoppers of Etsy reap the rewards of the uniquely beautiful or just mouth-droppingly unique in an incredibly friendly setting.

Despite, divorce, moving away, healing, remarriage, the economy and all the insanity that comes along with those, Etsy was always there in the back of my mind. I had purchased a few items, and found myself absolutely enamored with the site as a whole. I decided in January of 2009 to officially start with a few items and keep building on. It has been a very successful experiment and it keeps growing.

I even started using the Treasury feature to help promote other sellers by curating unique collections to feature. Here is a fun one I did today!

Recently, I received a promotion from eBay to sell items for a free listing fee. I figured, why not try? It's my old stomping grounds anyway, so I didn't see any harm in posting some of my biggest sellers. What a tremendous disappointment it was. One thing that was always a boon was the traffic and web search exposure. That no longer exists as it once did- reconfirming my loyalties and satisfaction selling and buying in the Etsy marketplace.

I encourage everyone to stop by to check it out and support your local artisans. You will be astounded by the variety. And no, I wasn't paid to post this blog :) The only perk is that I get to promote a venue that directly supports artists and collectors both local and abroad. It's a place I really believe in and hope it will stick around for many many years to come.

P.S. I know many of you buy direct from me, and that is still welcomed. My local customers never have to pay shipping on local pick-up if you see something in the store you would like to purchase. Just message me for a revised invoice.

A little more info:Wikipedia link on Etsy


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