Handmade online shop comparison, part I
My Etsy shop has been open for more than a year. So far the sales have been moderate. I have a low self-esteem problem, so I thought it’s probably my stuff that sucks. Others are better, cheaper, hotter… Selling handmade jewelry is quite challenging, too. It seems that many jewelry-makers offer their pieces at the price which doesn’t even cover the cost of supplies -at least the supplies purchased in the regular Internet retail shops. Do these guys know a secret address where a 46-cm cable silver chain with clasp costs less than 5 dollars? Can they ship their costly creations around the world for less than 1 euro?
Being an economist, I calculated the cost price and concluded that some jewelry makers must subsidize the buyers for the sheer joy of having their jewelry sold. After all, it’s such a pleasure to make. I love the process and I don’t have to earn my living on it. It’s what we call in Dutch ‘liefhebberij’ and this word literally means “Loving”. So you make love for the love’s sake, not for money? But selling precious metal at the scrap price is against my principles.
Then I discovered that it’s not ‘about the pizza’, or the price doesn’t mean everything. There’re many sellers on Etsy offering their jewelry at reasonable – not too low – prices and they still have lots of views, hearts and sales. Most of these sellers are located in the US, UK or Israel – the countries where Etsy market has been well-established. Location, as well as price, is one of the main search options. Quite understandable, since buying jewelry is all about emotions and if people buy emotional stuff on the Internet, they want to have it ‘here and now’. Fast and secure. Shipment from Europe (OMG, The Netherlands… where is it, probably close to Greece??) takes weeks, so you have to start selling your Christmas stuff at Halloween. Let alone the lost (and found) shipments, the currency exchange rate and import tax problems. Last time I bought my supplies in the US I had to pay 36 euro of VAT and handling charges on my delivery with the total value (including shipment) of USD 120.
Etsy is a great site, but it’s made in the USA for the USA. The culture of wearing handmade jewelry is very well developed in this country. We don’t have the same tradition in Europe, it must grow yet. So, will Etsy go Old World or are there competitors? I searched and I found. See my next blog.