So, I bring that cautious attitude toward Etsy, trying to keep it at an arm's length, not wrapping up my income within it- because after all, we rely on each other- locally, despite the illusion of a global market. (Or at least we ought to rely local). I haven't done much with my Etsy account and instead focus my attentions on Alpenglow Apparel and building a real life social network with like-minded Missoulians.
Here are some things I love about Etsy:
It makes owning a small business attainable even with an extremely limited budget. You needn't save to put on huge advertising campaigns to reach your community, you don't need to know anything about business. All one needs is a basic sense of responsibility and to be computer literate.
Etsy has given artists a real place on the internet and is devoted to the business education of its members. There are great resources on their website! It really is a game changer for the artist community.
Here are some things I can't stand about Etsy:
Many never "grow out of" Etsy and form real brick-and-mortar businesses that America needs right now. It allows these business owners to go under the radar and never fully participate in their local economies. Etsy can steal our sense of legitimacy, making it easy to disregard what we're doing by not taking it seriously. In this way it can hurt our confidence and make us afraid of leaving its cushy environment.
I am concerned that many who make money off of Etsy do not have the business sense to get a business license and pay taxes on their income. This strips money from communities and puts those individuals in a dangerous legal position. That being said... it is very profitable for the individual, and for them- that's great.
What do you think? Maybe I'm way off base with my criticisms of the site? Or maybe you agree. Regardless, I will continue to highlight Esty on my blog and show how it has transformed local women's lives, because it's certainly worth talking about!