I recently reopened my Etsy store and… I’m not happy. I’m not getting the traffic I want, I don’t like a lot of the stuff I see around me, and overall, I’m just not happy.
But this is what makes me most not-happy.
I’ve been thinking of it as The Regretsy Effect. There seems to be this thing going around on Etsy where the site is trying to show off its absolute best taste, almost as a way to ward off any criticism or jokes made at its expense. Here are two screenshots from the site taken from yesterday morning, just an hour or so apart from each other. They depict two “registries” – curated (by the staff of the website, one assumes) collections of objects for sale on Etsy, and they appeared right on the front page so that it’s the very first thing you get when you type in etsy.com:
Huh. Everything’s very… white. Tasteful. Safe. And super boring. It looks like a page from Martha Stewart Living or an Anthropologie catalog. Which you know, is fine and all… but what the hell happened to handmade? I shop on Etsy because I don’t want to buy something from Anthropologie. I want something unique and different, one-of-a-kind, funky, edgy, maybe even a little weird. And I know there’s thousands of sellers on Etsy and there’s something for everyone, but when was the last time you went to the front page and saw a treasury that reflected that handmade, funky, inventive aesthetic that made Etsy such a great place just a few years ago?
I shop at Etsy because I want to support some cool punk rock girl making t-shirts out of her mother’s basement in Pennsylvania. And that’s the kind of person I want to show my own wares alongside of. As soon as Etsy becomes like every other lifestyle website, I lose interest.
And yes, I know there are other issues too, but this one really irks me because it’s one that the site could easily fix. I hate to see a site run away from the exact thing that really makes them special. I love Etsy, but increasingly, I feel really unwelcome there.
ps… I made my own treasury. It’s not perfect, but I quickly put it together to show the kinds of things I love to see on etsy. Click on the pic to go to it: