Small businesses are enraged at fee increases on Etsy: Sign the petition
Over the course of the Coronavirus pandemic, the popular e-commerce site Etsy saw new heights and extreme profit. Businesses, shopping malls, and markets had shut down for an unknown amount of time, and citizens all over the world started to learn the value of shopping local and supporting small businesses.
In 2020, Etsy more than doubled its gross marketplace sales. In 2021, The company broke its 2020 record by $3.2 billion dollars. In the summer of 2021, Etsy bought Brazilian and British websites Elo7 and Depop respectively. And yet, despite the ever-increasing profit margins, Etsy recently announced that it plans on raising its transaction fees by 30% for sellers.
Shop owners, artisans, and crafters across the nation have expressed their outrage at the news, and have been quick to take action. In an Instagram post on Monday, artist and Etsy seller Sarah Epperson called her community to action. The post asked that buyers "boycott Etsy" from April 11th to April 18th in support of independent creators.
The hope is that Etsy will see a steep decrease in transactions, due to unhappy sellers and customers. A petition has been created by Kristi Cassidy which outlines the problematic nature of the increase in more detail.
"Etsy’s last fee increase was in July 2018. If this new one goes through, our basic fees to use the platform will have more than doubled in less than four years. These basic fees do not include additional fees for Offsite ads - which started during the first wave of the pandemic.
Offsite Ads push Etsy’s advertising costs onto their sellers, by charging us an additional 12-15% fee for each item sold through the Offsite Ads program. [...]
Thanks to Offsite Ads, Etsy fees are an unpredictable expense that can take more than 20% of each transaction. We have no control over how these ads are administered, or how much of our money is spent."
- Kristi Cassidy
The petition, which you can sign HERE, makes demands that are necessary to the well-being and financial stability of its sellers.
First, it asks Etsy to cancel the 30% fee increase. It states that increasing the fees despite ever-growing profit is "pandemic profiteering" and unacceptable.
Second, it asks that the company get more serious about punishing and shutting down Etsy resellers. Essentially anyone can open a shop on Etsy, which means that some scammers have learned to abuse the system. Instead of handcrafting their products, they purchase mass-produced goods and re-sell them for a steep profit.
Thirdly, it asks that Etsy allow all sellers and artisans the option to opt out of Offsite Ads. Understandably, Etsy sellers want to have control over where they advertise, and how much they spend on such advertising.
To review the complete list of demands, visit the petition at: https://www.coworker.org/petitions/
West Island news had the chance to sit down with local Etsy seller Melyssa Aragona, to discuss her experience with the platform, and learn how the fee increases have already begun to affect her.
“What aggravates me the most is how they don’t take into consideration the small businesses. even if that’s what they claim to stand for. I went 3 months without getting paid by Etsy because they had a payment reserve put in place. They kept almost 400$ during that time. Thankfully it wasn’t my main source of income, but it was a tough time as I had to purchase more of my supplies out of pocket", said Melyssa.
Sadly, the sellers - which are the pillars upon which Etsy rests - are the ones to pay needless consequences.
"What sucks too is that a lot of small businesses start on Etsy because they don’t have the funds to go and pay 20+$ a month for their own website where they’ll also have to curate their own advertising. Etsy is great to get noticed but we as sellers get such a hit because of how much they charge us to just be there."
- Melyssa Aragona
Aragona, who sells stickers, shared her most recent transaction with West Island News. An order that cost the buyer $10.25, left just $4.09 in Melyssa's pocket once all the service fees had been deducted
"Luckily for me, my products aren't expensive so there isn't a lot taken off in percentage, but I still pay for marketing so in the end, there's not much left that comes to my bank account."
- Melyssa Aragona
2020 taught us to support small creators, and yet large corporations are still cutting themselves the biggest piece of the pie. Should you wish to sign the petition in support of artists like Melyssa, Sarah, and Kristi, visit https://www.coworker.org/petitions/.