I have a love/hate relationship with Etsy....they have brought me exposure to a wider audience, but in some aspects they have also hindered me from gaining new customers.
The community is large and for the most part extremely helpful, but I have found that some customers are put off by having to go to Etsy and join the site just to buy my or others products. Also it stands to reason that while a customer may go on Etsy intending to buy from a particular seller, there is a strong likely hood that they will stray from the intended purchase by searching thru the site ( I have done that many times). One seller brought up a good point....when someone asks you "Where did you get that?"...do you say the store name , like" Gramkin Paper Studio" or do you just say "I got it on Etsy, or Ebay or Artfire...." More than likely you stated Etsy or the selling site as opposed to the actual name of the company who makes the item.
Now there are people who do "Quit Their Day Job" and I like others, read those featured sellers, but the majority of people who sell on etsy, have a "back up plan" in the form of a full time working partner or a job themselves. I am a big promoter of not putting all your eggs in one basket, having income from various sources and because Etsy doesn't really have the easy "social media" integration that a website gives you, it makes it difficult to cross promote your brand. You really cant add a blog, twitter or an other site that you might have that the customer might like to see. There is no mailing list for your specific store, just Etsy in general and the customer has to sign up to be part of the marketplace to purchase items from you. There are definitely customers that I have lost because of this last option.
What am I doing about it? Well, my business has expanded beyond what Etsy solely can do for me so I have decided to do a company overhaul. We now have a brand new site "Gramkin Paper Studio" and market outside of Etsy.This allows me to not only sell my merchandise, but also integrate all the other branding tools that I need. Now I still have love for Etsy, but now I love it like a mistress as opposed to my website that I love like a spouse. Etsy will now be a secondary option for those of my customers that still shop there..... basically a giant promotional tool for my business.
HAVE YOU GROWN BEYOND ETSY?
pictures courtesy of BearandRobot