Thursday, May 03, 2012

Full time $8.00 an hour, 40hrs a week, 50 weeks a year, 2 weeks unpaid leave, no benefits and you pay for your supplies and marketing-

Trust me after two years Mickey Dee’s starts to look good!  It's what many Artist, Designers and "crafters" settle for. However if McDonalds asked "workers' to find supplies, design and fullfill demand at this point,  there would be a loud outcry!

Welcome to the world of the Independent designer- Even experience designers sometimes make me wonder- what the hell are you doing! By the way- some then take on a second career- Know any Real Estate agents… more time, more output to make ends meet”

In the last two weeks I had the fortune of  looking on as a  mature artist recommended Etsy to another artist as a professional advice.

I could Not help.. it I "Butt in" 

BS- Do YOU know designers on Etsy who are making money

Him - I know designers who are selling

BS- That is NOT what I asked… Do You Know designers on Etsy who are making Money … making a profit!

HIM- She’s an Artist stay at home mom do  any  bit helps…

Bs So how Much  does she "make"

him... "I Don't Know"... 

Bs..."and you're recommending it?"

Him.. So what would You  Do.."  

He’s a gentle soul and I almost felt sorry… almost  - he was giving a friend I cared about  advice, Without thinking  it through!  This ‘friend”  I knew valued his opinion  I  could keep quiet and see someone get into  deeper trouble or  I could put the issue on the table ! Yes he was giving advice  without  truly investigating as many are doing online!  Then again If designers would discuss their problems and concerns,  we'd be in a different position. I have not sold on Etsy. Teh quality of product  turned me off!  I  beleived the hype till designers started wispering, But it was watching designers at our live sales events that   brought a different understanding as to where the "holes were".

It's strategy-  

It's experience

It's understanding  why teh consumer is buying!

I've asked why are you posting your product images on Facebook;-  Are you actually getting sales- I asked several designers that over the last  couple years. the response always amazes me... now with "Occupy  Fashion"  I'm  seeing an exchange of questions from designers.

“Occupy Fashion" put’s the issues of earning an income on the table. One discussion we will have is Tools, Venues for Sales and Marketing!” So many  young designers are caught up in the “Sex in the City” “Project Runway”  Unreality and Glam. They have a dream and anything less crushes it! 

It’s tough telling someone that there is something drastically wrong with their concept or tsrategy… especially  when they  seem to be or are financially doing well. The question is are you achieving you  goals and objectives.

 It’s not just Etsy… Facebook Commerce, Senseoffashion, UStrendy, Facebook… they all have their value… but I’m not sure How honest or on target the “experts’ are! At least Etsy seems to be concerned fro their artist and crafters.

However there is little anyone can do, not even Etsy,  till those crafters admit they have a problem! so Where are designers really selling…. Why and how. It really has not changed… It takes a couple of times to build brand recognition and trust. You need to meet the consumer, hence pop up shops artisan markets and offline venues. 

Consistency is important in quality of product and availability!

If your Product needs to be fitted… you need to build in the logistics for fitting!

Indies need to forget Virtual Fitting solutions,  there is no other way.

So It’s NOT solely Etsy’s (or any of the other platforms) Fault… In Stores,  you  do not blame the racks and cash register when you’ve NOT make a sale! You may change or paint them, or throw them out … but you do not blame them!

First Let me explain how,  I evaluate Etsy…   

Etsy is a Platform to help artist and creatives sell handcrafted products… Etsy  offers itself as a

  • ·         Tools
  • ·         Venue
  • ·         Marketing vehicle

So Let’s take a look at its success of each component

As a Tool…

They are the among, if not the  best…  by the way the Offer an API… but technology  does Not  sell it creates engines for sale! In a boutique or store my cash register and shelves, does not sell clothing they simply make my  job easier!

As a Venue…

·         There are trade venues and  consumer venues… It's hard to offer both on teh same platform!  After seven years exploring online I I thing there needs to be a separation of the two! Unfortunately Etsy seeks to attract both and is heavily skewed with makers- Trade.  

·         The Product does not fit the “Venue” or rather the  perception…  There is a misconception that handmade is cheaper … and the brand "Etsy" not counteracted that misconception. By the way most fashion and art are “handcrafted” in 3rd world countries by the “poor”, often very skilled.. but "made by hand"… we simply value one set of hand above another..

·         If You want to make six figures Say $120, 000 a year working a 40 Hr  week  with two weeks off (2000 Hrs) You need to  be making $60 an Hour! If You want to  make six figures say $120, 000 a year  working a 40 Hr  week  with two weeks off (2000 Hrs) You need to  be making $60 an Hour! Of  course we do Not expect to value $60  for an artist or crafter’s time or Ideas…  and this is just a rough estimate we have not added in Overheads and marketing, taxes!  Now If you want to make a $120, 000 profit …  You see the problem. NY State sets the Poverty line at around $28, 000 That 14 dollars an hour as a Living wage!  A direct to  consumer venue Etsy  artist should be able to sell at a 100-120% markup and make a comfortable profit. However many do not correctly price their product! Often not counting all their cost! Including times for sales and marketing collateral creation and execution! A designer once confessed she made $16000  a year on Etsy which  works out  to be $8.00 an hour , full time, unpaid leave and no benefits AND-  you pay for your supplies and marketing out of your take home salary!


·         The  right  venue can  cut  or increase your marketing  dollars!  Many go to Etsy to be found But with over 200,000 (last figures I  could find) vendors it’s like finding a needle in a haystack!  So many  spend time in consumer acquisition! At an average of $40-80 per “visitor” wasted, because of course Etsy captures the lead Yes you have circles.. but by then I've wondered. (Facebook wont’t even allow you to  communicate or message your “Fans’ directly!)  Sure Etsy encourages “Teams” and give “advice” but in the end the Artist do the work!  So whether it’s $14 or $60 an hour it adds up.  Hence the “No Profit dilemma”

Finally it’s about a lot more… Product and priceing , positioning, personas, even sales technique and simply being able to fulfill orders…  then again remember it takes as much effort to sell one item as it  does a dozen.

So In the end understanding what you are doing is vital and experience is the greatest teacher ... hence "Occupy  Fashion"


Shop first we work on build product and ensuring supplies but  then we want to  make sure designers sell register to shop at  Http://  


Etsy annual income and no of artist crafter, 2011 - Google Search