Monday, October 3, 2016

#Secret #Lives of #Etsy #Shops

Many etsy shops work very hard at making a living through a platform that has changed since I began in March of 2009. At first, the process seemed user friendly and items sold quickly compared to present, puzzling SEO and lack of transparency behind etsy's murky algorithms. 

Since 2008, I extended my brick and mortar shop through etsy and all was okay at first. Over time, many etsy changes stymied the best of long time merchants. Old gave way to new and included corporate shifts as well as the premise of the site. 

Over the years, many shop owners became frustrated as etsy seemed to pass it's sales focus on to shop owners insofar as making SEO a money maker through billing shops to be seen. Those who did not partake lost rank in site visibility and google indexing tossed them off the map of search-ability. This was furthered by creating a less handmade - come - social platform (of irony) due to the numerous closed fora posts and muting calling for transparency. Compliance did not do much for sales, but it lent a cape of supremacy at will by corporate.

In the meantime - shops struggled to pay the essential bills through their place on etsy. All that glittered was hardly gold and many felt the struggle in their ability to juggle work/life balance in a sustainable way. All this without panic. Shops were shuttered without notice and lives were negatively damaged as a result. Messing with someone's ability to feed and clothe their families is an outrage and one etsy never much cared about. When the corporate end of things has a paycheck, the real world can wait it would seem. 

The lives behind etsy shops are peppered with independent life struggles including those recovering from divorce, loss of family, school and caring for elderly family.  The list goes on. The struggles these shop owners face are grace under pressure. Many cannot find work in this horrid economy. The young graduate and over 50 or divorced women find the job market in general very hostile and unwelcoming. Etsy is a way to eat at least another meal or to keep the lights on.

I recall one difficult winter in which I sold one of my beloved paintings to none other than founder, Rob Kalin, to whom I will always be grateful. His support allowed me to have heat in winter that month. He may not realize it, but his purchase gave me hope during an abysmal Christmas, post divorce. That he saw value in something I envisioned and put my heart into,  gave me strength.

I currently care for my elderly parents and visit my handicapped brother nearby. I also work as a health coach as needed for a local company which I love. I only wish this was offered as a FT position. I maintain a 4.0 while in grad school for Adult EDU. Seems as a prior business owner and hard worker plus student, I would have better luck with finding a health coaching job FT. Unfortunately, employers can skim candidates as they want based on things down to the age and hair color.

I want to know if you would like to share your story - the life behind your etsy shop and how you keep it all together. 

Love -