Its been one of those years. Its now the end of June, almost half way through 2019 and I’ve already had too many little gremlins kicking me in the shins. These are metaphorical gremlins mind you – those little things that happen to you in life or your business that come out of clear nowhere and get on your last nerve. They’re arseholes.
Its not to say that I haven’t had TONS of awesome things happen so far this year, but you know how it is – somehow you tend to focus on the negative things instead of focusing on the positive things. And one of those negative things that has been nagging at me (that gremlin’s name is Karl – he’s super annoying) is Etsy. I haven’t been happy with Etsy for a while now, but as a small business catering to the maker community you gotta start somewhere, right? There have been multiple warning signs over the past few years (I’m telling you, Karl has been at me for a while); for example, when you used to be able to find firearm components on the site, or when they adjusted their guidelines to cater to the businesses who have third parties mass produce their products. I’ve had an icky feeling that I just couldn’t shake (Karl might have needed an antibiotic) and doing something about it was in my future.
Sidenote: I’m a big podcast fan – listening to them in the car morning and afternoon makes the commute so much more productive, especially when its a small business podcast. I’m a huge fan of The Creative Women’s League podcast by Kate Tonney. Kate’s no-nonsense, tell it like-it-is episodes are so refreshing – I’m not a sugar-coat type of person and would rather be told how it is, than be fed buttered up nonsense. So when I listened to Kate’s episode 111 about “Why Craftsy closing stores was our greatest wake up call”, I had that wake up call. If you haven’t listened to the episode, check it out here. Without giving away the premise behind Kate’s business pep talk in this episode, I finally made the decision to drop Etsy as a sales channel for Sew Fine Thread Gloss.
Now lets be clear – I was doing well on Etsy. I had a regular flow of orders making my app cha-ching whenever they came in. So why would I pull my product? Does it seem ludicrous that I would do this? Here’s my reasoning.
- I have my own website that gives me control of how I present, market and sell my product. Kate’s podcast gave me the kick in the pants to realize that I shouldn’t rely on anyone but myself and what I can control when it comes to my business. Staying on Etsy was just, literally, to be on Etsy. To have a presence on Etsy. Time to put on my boss-lady hat, pull an Elsa and let it go.
- The list of amazing wholesale stockists who sell Sew Fine Thread Gloss FOR me is steadily growing. I knew when I launched that having wholesale partnerships with small shop owners was going to be one of the best ways (if not THE best way) to reach my target audience. Having these partnerships is more important than any of the sales that I do on my own website, so why did I need two other separate sales channels? Its was starting to feel like overkill. And I want to spend more time fostering the relationships that I’m building with my stockists. They are all wonderful people with the same love of sewing and making that I have and I need to focus more on them. (Sidenote: I just met Karyn from The Workroom in Toronto this week and she’s sooo lovely! And what a shop! I had never been into The Workroom before and I so wish we were closer – I could spend forever in there!)
- Because having a third sales channel, regardless of which came first, was becoming too much to manage myself. I’m still only a one-woman show and I don’t want to burn out a year and a half in. So I made the call that needed to happen for all of the above reasons.
Did you expect this post to have some scandalous story behind the title? If you did, sorry to disappoint! I felt as though this was a good opportunity to share a legit business story that might inspire or inform someone else rocking the small business/maker badge and potentially stressing out over a similar decision. And for those of you who are on Etsy and the platform is working well for you, awesome! Each business has different needs and are at different stages in their lifecycle, and this is where I find myself right now. Karl has been given his notice to vacate the premises. Now that he’s on his way out, I’ve got more room to grow.
*This post represents my personal experience on the Etsy platform and does not represent any thoughts or experiences other than my own.