2.27.2008

etsy and me



I've had an Etsy store for about 9 months now. In that time, I've sold one piece and traded two. This week, about half of my listings expire. In another month, the rest expire.

At least for now, I'm not going to renew the listings. It just hasn't worked like I wanted it to. Someone suggested that my prices were too high, but I see plenty of other stuff on there that's priced similarly. And I'm not going to lower my prices for a particular venue, that's not fair to the other places I have my work, or to me.

It seems to me like Etsy is a great idea that has run amok. There are stores with genuine original pieces of art, but there are many more selling crafty stuff made in an almost mass produced style and priced dirt cheap. I cringe at the thought of using 'bargain' in the same context at 'buying art'.

Pricing art is one of the hardest parts of the business side of art for me. I have increased my prices over time, as I got into more national shows, and as I progressed in my art. But I never undervalued my time--and like it or not, art takes time. Some of that time is spent thinking, problem solving. Some in spent in the mundane, like finishing edges and attaching hanging devices. And materials aren't cheap.

So what's the answer? Fewer sales, I guess. But that's ok. The purchase of art that you live with should involve thought and consideration, and recognition of its value by the price you pay. I'm not saying here that art must be expensive--but it must be valued, both by the artist and by the new owner.

Soon I will be adding the ability to purchase pieces directly from my website. I'm not convinced that will make any difference in sales, but it's worth a try. Just like etsy was.

So if there's something you've been eying on my store, act quickly.

7 comments:

Kim Hambric said...

Good post on Etsy. I'm always looking for others who discuss selling their work. I've been on Etsy for 6 or so months (could be longer). I have sold nothing. I have been an Ebay seller for approx. 3 years and have sold loads through them. However, nothing on Ebay has sold in the past 5-6 months. Before that it was quite steady. Can't figure out what is going on. I sell some items from my website & my website has brought me several commissions, large and small. Some people swear by Etsy. Since it is inexpensive compared to Ebay, I will stick it out on Etsy for a while & see what happens.

By the way, your prices seem quite fair to me. I have put a few smaller, simpler pieces on Etsy at lower prices, hoping some sales would give me a boost. That didn't work. Don't want to sell my stuff too cheaply. I'm not Wal-Mart!

I've thought about attaching my work to my coat and wearing it wherever I go -- and take business cards with me.

bj parady said...

Do take your cards every where, and hand them out with abandon. I've been working on just that lately--any time any one even mentions my art, they get a card. Results? None yet, but you never know what they'll do, or who they might pass it on to. It's cheap advertisement. And why have a website if you don't get people looking at it?

kathy said...

Sorry to hear about your Etsy woes, and just when I was thinking about signing up! I appreciate your thoughts about making and selling art. I have stuff in galleries that haven't sold in a year. Even with that, one gallery said not to lower my prices; they weren't too high.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for you input on Etsy. Im just now getting started in advertising my art -- I've kept an eye on Etsy thinking it may be a mechanism to display my work. I have noticed that some work looks like something a child does -- you know what I mean ? So, with that, I think I will stick to my own website ! thanks !

bj parady said...

I'm glad you all are interested in my experience with Etsy. I'm still searching for either a way to make it work, or something similar that is reserved for art, not supplies or even notecards. Not that there's anything wrong with notecards, I'm just not sure I want my originals side by side with notecards...or maybe it's fiber art--people need to see it in person to buy it? I have no answers, but maybe we'll find a way together...

teri springer said...

I thought your prices were very fair and I LOVE the piece I bought!!! It hangs on the wall in my bedroom.

I am sorry it isn't working out for you.

teri

bj parady said...

Thanks, Teri. Your purchase was why I stuck with Etsy so long.
And I'm not stopping the selling of stuff, just finding somewhere else to do it. Most of what I show on my blog is technically for sale, I just haven't bothered to set things up so someone could buy on the spur of the moment...maybe I should?