When Etsy opened its doors a few years back, I was one of the first to give it a try (I joined in July of 2005.) Not only was I an early adopter, I was a champion for the site. It was an innovative marketplace. It was easy to find new shops, indie crafters and track down great handmade items. As cool as it was, they had problems keeping up with their own success. As the site grew bigger, new listings were harder to find. The fun features for discovering new talent became less and less useful and more just showy coding. As more sellers join, it's harder to get noticed and more challenging to find quality products. The pure volume of sellers means an item listed right now will be buried fifty pages back within hours.
As a buyer, I find myself repeatedly going to the same shops that I found when I first joined. Unless it's a direct link from someone's blog, a Ravelry ad or a mention somewhere online, I don't go looking for new sellers. I tried searching for hair barrettes the other day and other than the frustration with spelling errors and out of focus pictures in shops, I came away with nothing.
Now that I'm making and selling full-time, I've been thinking about hosting my own shop as a subdomain of splityarn.com. The challenges are finding someone to design the shop for me and then selecting a suitable shopping cart that won’t drive me batty. It’s a giant headache. During an email conversation with Ms. Soto Softies this afternoon, she mentioned bigcartel. I had never heard of it before, but it might just be the solution I'm looking for.
I poked around the shop setup and it's incredibly easy to use. There are a few features that are deliciously tempting, like 'coming soon' listings, stats for the shop and of course, the ability to assign my own domain. The only thing keeping me from moving everything over rightthisverysecond is the fear of losing folks who have me in their faves over on Etsy. I'm certain the number of ‘walk-in’ customers for the Splityarn Etsy shop are few, so here are my questions: As a buyer, how do you find Etsy shops? Is there security for you in buying from a shop with feedback ratings and Etsy arbitration if something goes wrong? How are you finding new shops on Etsy? Finally, if you’re a seller, have you jumped from the Etsy ship? Have you tried bigcartel or another site?
I have to order some new business cards this week and it's time for me to make a decision. I’d love to hear your opinions and suggestions.