Once upon a time, in the bustling world of online marketplaces, I embarked on a creative journey leading to Etsy. It was a platform that promised to connect artists like me with a wider audience, offering a platform to showcase my creations and see if they were worthwhile. After all, this newfound passion for painting happened just a few years ago, during the pandemic, and how else would I judge myself on my worthiness as an artist if it wasn't through sale on an e-commerce platform?
That last statement is a joke, by the way.
Quick reminder: Artists don't need to be on any e-commerce platform and generate sales to be considered worthy of anything. We create art because it's vital to our well-being, and whether it's enjoyed by a huge audience or just us is absolutely irrelevant.
Our art matters, and our art is important.
It's also important to remember that, as creative, we evolve in this cyberspace thinking we must tailor our art to a social media algorithm that obviously doesn't understand the human experience, and all it aims to do is to make us compare ourselves to other artists that seem to have it "figured it out." We must recognize that the current social media landscape is toxic and do what we do best: display our vulnerabilities through art and never stop creating, no matter how many views and "likes" we get.
That said, I had hoped to generate revenue from my art because, as an online entrepreneur for two decades (crazy, right? it's been forever, and I'm super grateful to have this chance), I learned that diversifying my portfolio is the way to stay afloat and live the life I love.
Ok... back to the story.
So, Etsy was my creative haven for a while, but as time passed, I began to question whether it was the right place for my art to flourish and here's why...
Let's talk about the fees.
At first glance, Etsy seemed like a dream come true for a budding artist like me. It provided a ready-made platform with a vast customer base. However, the more I delved into the platform, the more I realized that Etsy's fees were taking a significant chunk of my hard-earned revenue. Listing, transaction, and payment processing fees all added up, leaving me with less profit than I had initially anticipated.
It became clear that I needed to find an alternative if I wanted to maximize my earnings.
It's all about the traffic.
As I scrutinized my shop's performance, a startling revelation unfolded. The majority of the traffic to my Etsy shop was not the result of Etsy's marketing efforts but rather my own dedicated social media promotions.
I was driving my audience to Etsy's platform, so why would I suffer all these fees if my art wasn't even popping up in the search or barely? This made me question whether I could achieve the same results by directing that traffic to my own website instead.
The importance of branding.
As an artist and entrepreneur, I understand the importance of branding very well. Having my own shop allows me to present my creations in a more professional and cohesive manner. It allows me to design my website to reflect my artistic vision, creating an immersive customer experience.
This level of control over the user experience was something I had longed for, as Etsy's shop layout has never been optimal, and moving everything to my own platform felt like it would make a significant difference in how my art is perceived.
Confidence is key.
Alright... let's face it: I can't deny that Etsy played a crucial role in boosting my confidence as a beginner artist. It served as a stepping stone, validating the fact that there was a market for my art (because that was one of my goals, but let me remind you that you do not have to generate sales to consider yourself a good/worthy artist).
That said... the sales and positive reviews I received on Etsy instilled belief in my creative abilities. The platform gave me the encouragement I needed to leap into a more independent route.
Seeking new challenges.
Truth be told... as an entrepreneur at heart, I constantly sought new challenges and running my own online art shop presented an exciting prospect. I figured that it was a journey that would test my business acumen, marketing skills, and creativity in ways that Etsy's ready-made platform couldn't offer.
Before jumping head-first into the unknown, you never really know what you're truly made of.
Perfect for beginners.
In short, Etsy undeniably serves as a welcoming platform for beginner creatives, and I'm not mad that it was the first e-commerce space I tried because it's an economical way to dip your toes into the world of e-commerce without the overhead costs of running your own site.
This low entry barrier is ideal for artists experimenting and building a customer base, BUT let's not forget that most of your traffic will likely come from your own promotion. Building an Etsy shop isn't an answer for everything, but it's a great way to start, and I highly recommend it to anyone starting from scratch.
Today, as I navigate the challenges of running my own online store, I am grateful for the lessons learned on Etsy. It was a platform that nurtured my creativity, provided a glimpse of the possibilities, and ultimately propelled me towards this exciting new chapter.
My journey continues, and I'm excited to see where it leads as I keep building my own brand, one artistic creation at a time. The decision to leave Etsy was not just about walking away but about embracing the limitless potential of entrepreneurship and artistic expression.
Thank you to all who have invested in my artistic journey since its debut on Etsy. It boosted my confidence and pushed me to keep creating. I hope to continue having your support on this new homemade platform as I learn more about managing my own art e-commerce.
For the shop's launch, I have taken extra hours to remaster my entire collection of prints, increasing their quality for much better-looking images once printed. More custom products are in the works for 2024, and more sales of originals will be posted in the next year as well.
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Thank you for reading :)