There Once Was a Seller…

There was a seller… person…. who opened an Etsy shop back in 2008 and fell instantly in love with the site and its’ community. Going “to work” each day was a joy – she carefully sewed each sweet creation for her customers – and shared love of craft with other kind and creative souls. At craft fairs and elsewhere, she spread the word of the wonderful place that was Etsy and suggested others put their creations in care of the site. She pulled friends, family, neighbors and coworkers to the computer screen so they too could discover unique art and lovingly-crafted handmades; she encouraged each to buy from the independent business folk so well-represented on Etsy.  She shouted “Etsy” from the rooftops! If there was any major strife on Etsy at that time, this seller was blissfully unaware. Etsy took deep root and won this person over – heart, mind and soul.

Sadly, the seller had to give her up shop as she tended the pressing needs of a sick child, but held hope in the back of her mind that one day circumstances would allow her to go back to her beloved Etsy. On some bleak days, it was the thought of that future that kept her going. In 2012, as life allowed, the seller once again oh joy! opened up shop and was back with the Etsy community. She was almost giddy each time she pushed the list button. As she built up her shop, she began to notice the changes in the Etsy landscape. Where had all the artists gone? Why all the sameness? were some thoughts, thoughts pushed aside as she delved into learning relevancy, seo, photography, marketing… and determination set in that she would learn all the new features and do all that was recommended to give her new shop its best chance for success. As her love for Etsy and its handmade ethos grew, so did her shop.

Then. Oh, then. Baligate stepped onto the Etsy stage, with the accompanying restlessness and dissent and hate and vitrol and community division… and oh, oh, oh, this could not be happening on her Etsy. Not on the handmade haven. Not on the site that loves and respects its creative sellers. No. It can’t be happening.

But it was.

And it did.

And it was the first cold knife stab into the warm heart of one seller. And many, many others like her.

Refusing to give in to the negativity surrounding her, she chose to rise above it, take a positive approach, and create a new team. A team that would be a haven for the real handmade artists – those seemingly lost in this new Etsy landscape. And so it went, as she birthed, loved and nurtured her new team, building beautiful friendships along the way. It was with her dear friends she weathered the continuing storm of Etsy changes and with whom she shared the widening crack in her heart. Yet, as the crack continued to widen, so did her determination that she and her team would survive and thrive on this new, and unfamiliar Etsy.

This seller was prepared to hunker down after the introduction of the new guidelines, lead her team to success, and resellers be damned. But then. Then. The redefining of handmade, and another cold, cold stab, stab, stab from Etsy.  It was pain to the core of her being, and it hurt dammit. It hurthurthurt. Going to work each day became an emotional roller coaster – pain to grief, grief to anger, anger back to pain, over and over again, all while witnessing the same from other poor lost souls. Lost souls she could not offer comfort, as none was to be had. And new creations? Who could create when their soul was dying? Lead a team? How could you lead a team when you no longer held belief, or faith? When all you have to give is negativity and anger?

So the first small step toward Etsy independence was to step down as her team’s leader, and oh! what a devastating, hole-in-the-heart loss felt by this seller. The second step was to loudly voice opinions about Etsy changes. She wanted them to know, by God, what they were doing to her and others. They needed to know and she needed them to know and they were going to know! As she took to the forum in protest and continued to witness Etsy’s callous behavior and remarks toward her beloved community, her love for the site took on another form.

They say there is a fine line… and she crossed it… over into hate. Hate for a big company so profit-driven, it would turn its back on those who had helped build it, view by view, sale by sale. Hate for a company that knows so little about its community to expect acceptance for dishonesty, betrayal, and deceit. Hate for a company that would so cold-heartedly use its members to further its own means with no thought to its devastation to so many.

And that is where that Seller is today. Trying to overcome the self-wounding hatred and get back to a positive path, while hoping to spare others the heartbreak that is Etsy.

Please bear with her as she makes that transition.

For she is

me, dear reader.


9 thoughts on “There Once Was a Seller…

  1. Thank you for sharing this very personal story. I remember the thousands of posts last year during Baligate where people wrote passionately about loving Etsy. I made a comment in the Forum back then to the effect that being truly loved in the way Etsy was was loved was something few, if any, other companies could claim, and that they were squandering something incredibly precious and valuable. But, alas, despite the many heartfelt outpourings from sellers, they forged ahead on their destructive course.

    People who were not part of the old days days of Etsy – new sellers and the general public – probably cannot understand the unique and very special relationship that existed between Etsy and its sellers. But the decline of Etsy’s founding principles and its departure from handmade have been a truly painful thing for many,many people.

  2. Lisa- thanks for your perceptive remarks. I’m glad that I’m a relative newcomer, because I would have found this situation unbearable and traumatic. We all know what it’s like to lose someone you love.

  3. It’s really just so tragic what this Board has done to this company. They’ve destroyed everything that made it unique and special. Etsy was a brilliant stroke of genius on Rob Kalin’s part. Etsy could have *owned* the handmade niche. Etsy *did* own the handmade niche. But just as Etsy was at the top of its game, with incredible momentum, they just wrecked it. It’s impossible to comprehend how a Board comprised of otherwise intelligent and successful entrepreneurs could make such an astoundingly foolish and short-sighted move. It is also impossible to comprehend how these people could just kick the handmade sellers on whose backs the company was built to the side of the curb with such utter disregard.

  4. I think what is so terribly disturbiing about the whole Etsy debacle is that the company began with such idealistic and positive aims. And that so many sincere people joined to found a group of enthusiastic people working by themselves and creating truly “hand-made” products. The betrayal is doubly painful because it hits somewhere in the region of the heart, rather than the pocketbook. And make no mistake… there is a huge difference. WHy otherwise would thousands of people genuinely rejoice in earning such paltry sums? A few hundred dollars a month was the average.

    Etsy’s roots were in the hands of those people content to make so little and invest so much of their skills and hearts. THAT is what is so morally indefensible.

    Cheating and embezzling have been with us since we crawled out of the primordial ooze and tried to stand up.. Bankers and politicians, pharmaceutical industries and lawyers. The list is endless. But when a scam involves wounding the best parts of the human spirit, then it becomes truly evil.

    Recently A young woman wrote a blog on Huffington in which she pretended to be a poverty-stricken mother … but her slick use of the language gave her away. But not before she collected over $60,000 on a “fundme” site she set up. Then she admitted she’d fudged her article a bit with other people’s stories mixed in with her own. Meanwhile she’s $60,000 ahead., And what is truly evil about this scam is that she got the money from people who gave it to her from their HEARTS. This is unforgiveable.

    So is Etsy’s total disregard and contempt for the people who are its root, it very beginnings. It is truly wrong. Dickerson and his henchmen could have worked an alternative route by dividing Etsy into two separate divisions. WHy he did not consider this is very puzzling. As Etsy stands now, it is a monument to greed and indifference to those who created it … particularly Ron Kalin, the original founder pof Etsy.

    I searched for Rob Kalin today online and all contacts and connections have been erased from Google searches. Not evwn Kalin’s ghost remains.

      • “Etsy’s roots were in the hands of those people content to make so little and invest so much of their skills and hearts. THAT is what is so morally indefensible.” yes, yes, yes, yes

    • Soork- as I write this I am listening to an NPR interview with Rob Kalin from September 13, 2013. He just said that Adderall was prescribed for him when he was a kid. Fascinating.
      There are also any number of articles about him and pictures if you do a Google search. He seems very much alive and kickin’ to me.

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