Breaking Up (With Etsy) Is Hard To Do

Posted by on Feb 3, 2017 in Copywriting | 12 comments

Breaking Up (With Etsy) Is Hard To Do

Breaking up is hard.  Breaking up with business contacts is a special type of hard.  If you are a handmade seller, chances are you at least know who (or what) Etsy is and there’s a good chance you are in a business relationship with the giant.  Are you in love?  Is it a love/hate relationship?  Are you ready to walk out the door and never look back?  Joey Vitale, a small business attorney, posed an interesting discussion when he published his most recent article on breaking up with Etsy.  He made the argument that it is time to leave Etsy.


If you want to read the full article, take a peek here:

Why Your Business Needs To Break Up With Etsy

If you want a SparkNotes version of his argument, continue reading!

He notes that Etsy has the following issues:

1. It has a class of bullies that focus on trademarks, copyrights, and a somewhat aggressive community.

2. You are depending on a third party platform and they make the rules.

3. Etsy highlights the competition.

4. Etsy puts training wheels on selling your products.

His last argument is particularly interesting because he talks about how it limits your ability to market. The platform relies on customers shopping through Etsy as opposed to you actively engaging your customers. Now, to be clear, I like Etsy. In fact, I love Etsy. A large portion of my business is built on offering title and tag (SEO) services specific to excelling on Etsy. I think Mr. Vitale makes some fantastic points and I always encourage reading opposing viewpoints. That’s how you learn.


Etsy still has a place in the handmade marketplace. It offers you traffic and a community that, while occasionally aggressive, is also supportive and helpful. I have my website and my Etsy storefront and I am not interested in breaking up with them any time soon because it offers me a chance to connect directly with my target audience. It gives me a place to shop that is bright, colorful, and exciting. Perhaps the Etsy forums are a bit aggressive, but that’s the internet! Surf smart and take the good stuff while scrolling past the bad, in my opinion.

So, I’m really curious. Where are you in your relationship with Etsy? Are you breaking up, sticking it out, or are you considering couples therapy?

I, for one, will remain in a very happy relationship with Etsy.


  1. 2-12-2017

    I’ve been on Etsy since 2011 and there is no way I could leave because its a huge source of sales for my soap company (the little flower soap co) That said it is a very abusive dysfunctional relationship between myself as a seller and etsy… I think that Etsy fails to understand that the seller is their customer and instead treats the seller like an annoying nuisance and trys to avoid interacting with them entirely. If poor communication is a sign of a failing relationship then ours was doomed from the start. In business school they teach you to look out for SWAT strengths weaknesses opportunities and threats and most days Etsy feels like equal parts opportunity and threat …. when things are going well like they usually are its a total game change allowing me to be gainfully self employed…. but at the flip of a switch (or a code in this case) my shop could disappear or be removed and I would be suddenly scrambling to make ends meet. I’ve always found it irresponsible that etsy encourages folks to quit their day job but then takes 0 personal responsibility for the livelihood of any of those same sellers make a mistake and your done, they change the algorithm and maybe your down for 2 months hopefully you had a savings!!

  2. 2-6-2017

    I have a Love/Hate thing with Etsy. I had a shop, I pushed it, advertised, had plenty of pieces in it and all that. And nothing. Instead, it was just me spending money for listings. I was only allowed 5 photos, had to pay fees out the wazoo and it’s just over populated with people who do what I do with cheaper supplies and charging cheaper prices.

    So, I left and have my own website. Then I had a bad year personally and wasn’t able to focus on it like I want. I’m getting better, but it’s still a struggle.

    If I could, I might see myself having both, like others. Listing pieces there and then having my website for most of the things.

  3. 2-5-2017

    I have a great relationship with Etsy. I’ve been on for over 8 years and am a 6 figure store. I read his article earlier in the week and it seemed to be geared more to new shop owners who do not create or design original products and think that they are being bullied because they do not understand intellectual property, copyright and trademark law. Etsy is not Fight Club.

    Yes, it is important to eventually have a secondary shop. Everyone knows this. To do this, you will need to understand how to set up a sale funnel, create a marketing plan and direct traffic to your own site.

    Those shops who are scared of bullies can’t break the law off of Etsy either. He did himself a disservice by focusing on “bullies” and scare tactics instead of educating his clients on the basics of creating original products that are your own intellectual property. Small Business 101: Don’t be crazy and create a Disney store. What the heck?

    But then, his company is focused on being a lawyer to creatives. So, there you go. Scare them. He won’t appeal to companies that may need a lawyer that are educated and actually have the money to pay him with this article. He has been in business for less than a year and clearly doesn’t understand what kind of platform Etsy is.

    • 2-8-2017

      Pretty ignorant comment.
      There are many, MANY Etsy shops that abide by the law and get “dinged” by overzealous paralegals fighting for trademarks that don’t/shouldn’t exist.
      Not everyone who gets a notice from Etsy has ripped off Mickey. Gimme a break.

      • 2-8-2017

        This is a very good point. It’s important to remember that each case is unique.

  4. 2-4-2017

    I have been struggling with Etsy for a while now, I go back and forth on if i want to keep my store. I love Etsy and how it opens up loads of fun finds, but I struggle, it has gotten to the point of too may of the same designs and offerings on there and has turned into a rat race almost as to who can sell it cheaper, but without selling their soul just to make a buck.

  5. 2-4-2017

    I agree with the other comments. I like etsy and I shop on it too. Though I too am looking to build my own website as well this year.

  6. 2-3-2017

    Looking at my records, I realized 50% of my orders were with Etsy last year. But I’ll only offer my specialty (Jewish jewelry and women’s headcoverings) there.

    The rest goes on my website.

    I promote with social media and e-news. People are finding me on Google and on Etsy.

    I thought about leaving, but then looked at the numbers.

  7. 2-3-2017

    I’m sticking with it. My best chances (for now) of being found online and making sales online is on Etsy. I just need to put more effort into titles, tags and descriptions so I’m found! I also love to shop on Etsy. I want people to feel just as excited receiving something I made as I am when I make an Etsy purchase.

  8. 2-3-2017

    I am sticking with Etsy for awhile. I have put time and effort into creating my listings, and Etsy does its job by putting those listings out in the marketplace. I am probably going to be creating my own website (I use Etsy Pattern right now)just to get those customers who don’t shop on Etsy. For right now though I love Etsy.

  9. 2-3-2017

    Where he says ” Part of being a business owner is knowing how to sell your products. And selling your products means reaching out directly to potential customers and driving them to your stuff—not relying on people who are shopping on Etsy and hoping they stumble upon your stuff. ”

    Etsy does not stop you doing this, I advertise my products on many other platforms and in many other places, I simply direct them to a link in Etsy to purchase the item. Therefore I am getting sales directly through Etsy searches and via my own marketing.

  10. 2-3-2017

    I’m sticking it out but building an independent website shop as well. Right now I have more sales on Etsy, due to Etsy’s built-in traffic. But Etsy has its limitations and I know that it could stop working for me at any time.

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