Some sellers on Etsy say they’re suspending sales of their items on the site for a week to protest an increase in fees they’re being charged by the crafts e-commerce marketplace.
Starting Monday, Etsy sellers must pay a 6.5% commission on each transaction, up from 5% in place since 2018.
A protest organizer, Kristi Cassidy, said thousands of Etsy sellers — a fraction of the 5.3 million sellers on the site — have temporarily stopped selling their items. Cassidy, who has been selling gothic and punk costumes on Etsy since 2007, also started a petition that has so far garnered more than 50,000 signatures from buyers and sellers. About 20,000 are vendors. Cassidy said it’s difficult to estimate the exact number of sellers who have actually stopped selling on the site.
Cassidy and others are also challenging Etsy’s advertising policy implemented in early 2020. It requires sellers who earn at least $10,000 a year on Etsy and whose products are advertised on Etsy’s offsite social media channels. and search engine partners, to pay 12% advertising fees on sales made through ads.
Cassidy also said Etsy needs to crack down on resellers, people selling mass-produced products they didn’t design themselves.
Raina Moskowitz, chief operating officer at New York-based Etsy, said the new pricing structure will allow the company to increase spending on marketing, customer support and remove listings that violate its policies. .
“The success of our sellers is a top priority for Etsy,” she said in a statement.
Etsy, best known for selling handmade soap and jewelry, has been one of the few beneficiaries of the pandemic as more people have stayed home and either made items or sought out homemade items online.
But it is now under pressure to increase its offerings to better compete with Amazon. As part of its growth strategy, it made two acquisitions last year. It bought Depop, an app popular with young people looking to buy and sell second-hand and vintage clothing from the early 2000s. It also acquired Elo7, known as “Etsy of Brazil” for its popular market for crafty designers.
Talk about unionization
Cassidy said protesting the charges was just the start. She told The Associated Press that she actually wanted to ‘build an equivalent of a union’ for Etsy sellers and said she was inspired by union organizing activity heating up at businesses. such as Amazon and Starbucks.
“As individual artisans, makers and small entrepreneurs, it can be easy for a giant corporation like Etsy to take advantage of us,” Cassidy wrote on the online petition. “But as an organized front of people determined to use our diverse skills and boundless creativity to win a fairer deal, Etsy won’t have such a hard time jostling us.”
The Rhode Island-based mother of two young children said she saw her income drop last year to a third of what it was in 2019, in part due to some of the actions Etsy took.