Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nick and Kayle Sitting in a Tree C-A-R-V-I-N-G

So with the festivities of Halloween nearly upon us, I decided to invite Nick over for spaghetti dinnere so that he and Kayle could carve pumpkins at our house.  Kayle picked up a couple of big ones on her way home from schoolk and they sat ominously on the counter awaiting their fates.

notice how innocent and unsuspecting they are.  They have no clue what is in store for them.

But first, Nick had to wrestle with Lily.  Naturally, she thought he was there  for her benefit, and was not disappointed.

Loki took his usual spot on my little computer side table to watch from a safe distance.

Nick owns two rottweielers and a golden retreiver, so energetic dogs are not new to him.  Lily, however, has the energy of the energizer bunny and keeps going, and going, and going...

Loki tires of the nonsense and wishes they'd get down to carving pumpkins..........*sigh*

Pumpkin one is started and Kayle decided Bruce needs a pumpkin guts facial.

Now that's not very lady-like.

And Nick and Lily are still going at it......she's having the time of her life!

One pumpkin Nick has sufficiently tired out the dog so he can carve his.

Ok, they're finally finished!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Etsy's New Mission Statement

Being a forced observer in the Etsy forums gives me the opportunity to read threads in full, take in all points of view and ruminate on the many opinions.  Where I normally might have a knee-jerk reaction and respond one way, I now find that I often change my initial reaction because I've had time to consider.

Etsy's original mission statement was:

"Etsy is a marketplace for buying and selling all things handmade. Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things and to reconnect makers with buyers. Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice: Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade."

And with the emergence of the draft of the new Dos and Don'ts (Etsy's rules) an new mission statement has been made:

"Etsy is the world's most vibrant handmade marketplace. Etsy celebrates individual creativity in design, craftsmanship and the feel of hand by connecting unique people, stories and items in a playful and meaningful way."

I might note at this particular time, that there has been a lot of people demanding that Etsy change it's mission statement, mostly from the Vintage and Commercial Supply People because it doesn't reflect the fact that they are a part of the site.  People upset with the fact that resellers of imported merchandise are not being monitored  well, (if at all), and a place that touts itself as a place to buy all things handmade, it is a bit deceptive to potential customers who may not be aware that someone is reselling mass produced products. 

This is one of those, 'be careful what you wish for' Etsy moments.  You got the change alright, it just wasn't what you were expecting.   Reminds me of the pleas we used to make for an announcement section to keep abreast of all the goings on on the site.  There was really no place for them to disseminate any information except in random threads that had to be ferreted out and raised by the membership so that at least a smattering of people would see it at any given time.  WE waited, and pleaded and we were told that the 'new couch' was coming soon, and guess what?  We got the Storque!  Talk about killing an ant with an elephant gun.  Now they had the updates buried in all the other crap so you still had to search for it, and to let us know they made a new Storque post, they came to the forums and started a thread about it.  Only for it to get buried within a few hours.  And round and round we go.........................  So, 3 years and many headaches later, they broke down and gave us the announcement forum.

Anyway, so people are taking exception to the word 'playful' in the new statement.  And I will admit I did too, at first.  And it's easy to get caught up in the reasons people are against it and support it.  I am not on Etsy to play at selling, my items are not cute, kitschy, trendy, fun or playful.  But, is that really what they are trying to say?

There have been a couple of mall analogies presented, so I put on my buyer's hat and went to the mall.  The first mall I went to was just stores.  the center concourse was empty, except for the few mall walkers who came in every weekend to get their laps in.  This was once a pretty active mall, all the stores were full, the concourse had little kiosks, there was a foodcourt with a half dozen places to get food, a coffee place, a restaurant.  It regularly held events in their huge concourse, antique shows, craft shows, concerts, boat and car shows and one end held a small area with a merry-go-round and a popcorn vendor for the kids.  It was 'fun' to go there and spend the afternoon, shopping, window gazing, stopping for refreshment and just enjoying the outing.

When a venue makes your experience enjoyable, then you are going to spend more time and probably more money there.  You won't just walk straight to the one store on your list, get what you need and get out again.  You will meander around, wander into a couple extra stores and maybe make some small (or even big) impulse purchases.  you are more likely to stop for some sort of refreshment and after a brief rest (and if time allows) you may just go back to one of those stores you passed by the first time.

You don't do that at a barren mall.

That said, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with 'playful' as part of the mission statement. defines mission statement as follows:

Written declaration of a firm's core purpose and focus which normally remain unchanged, whereas business strategies and practices may frequently be altered to adapt to the changing circumstances. Properly crafted mission statements (1) serve as filters to separate what is important from what is not, (2) clearly state which markets will be served and how, and (3) communicate a sense of intended direction to the entire organization. A mission is different from a vision in that the former is the cause and the latter is the effect; a mission is something to be accomplished whereas a vision is something to be pursued for that accomplishment. Also called company mission, corporate mission, or corporate purpose.

This is their company's mission statement, not ours.  It's a reminder to their employees why they are in business, they are providing a fun and playful venue in which to shop.  It is no more a slap in the face to their vendors than the mall with the carousel in the concourse across from their front windows.  The shop knows the benefit of having entertainment for the children, moms can promise a ride on the horsey if junior behaves while she finds a pair of shoes, or dad can keep little princess occupied while mom shops for a dress unencumbered.

As the definition above shows, though, Etsy's mission statement is pretty clear in where they are putting their efforts.  They are still standing by the handmade initial vision, they developed a more 'free-spirit' approach to it and they've put emphasis on an aspect that has always been a part of Etsy and their vision, but now they are making it an official part of their mission.  As far as I can see, nothing has really changed.

I guess this is one bandwagon I'll watch, rather than ride on.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Hibiscus Moon on Etsy

I just have to laugh.  This gal came to the forums to complain about her being overwhelmed by sales.  Poor dear.  Just what the other 170,000 shops who aren't selling squat want to read.

Upon perusing her shop, to see what was so hot about her items to put her in such a pickle, I guessed it, mass produced items and non handmade things in the everything else category.

Those crystal clusters, at the very least should be in supplies, the everything else category (as are all the categories with the exception of vintage and supplies, are for handmade items, so she's listed them ALL in the wrong category. Same with the crystal skull.  I bought one on ebay from someone who was selling a ton of them, definitely not handmade by the seller.

Her box of gemstone chip jars are for sale on Gemstone Factory where you can buy them wholesale, along with her rose quartz puffy hearts (her shop)and Gemstone Factory  and pendulums (her shop) and Gemstone Factory Definitely not handmade, vintage or a supply.

Can't flag her items since her shop is on vacation, but I can send an email to support to point out the violations.

People think that we go looking for stuff, why would we need to?  Most of them practically wave their arms saying 'look at me', and it's hard to avoid.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Calling Out On Etsy

Ok, I don't really want to use my blog to call people out, or denigrate others, there are plenty of blogs out there that do this already,  However, I have a perfect example of why the flagging system is flawed.

On 9/21/02  I flagged this shop: for listing mass produced mood rings in her shop:

Which you can find here:
Note the pricing, for goodness' sake, if you're going to buy a mass produced mood ring, buy it directly from the wholesaler and save yourself the markup.
Now, you don't find the exact same mood rings here, but I think it's enough proof that the shop owner did not make the rings.  Period.  So they don't belong on Etsy.  I don't see what the hold up is.
I found an ebay shop selling the same bracelet:
and a website that carries them:

She even started her own thread, calling herself out here:
And though the thread was closed, still nothing has changed.

And that's not all I flagged.  There's plenty wrong in this shop,  for example:  she says its vintage (is it really?)  and yet it's in housewares.
This is in dolls and miniatures.  Really?  She made this out of hard plastic?  how talented.  We all know it's not handmade, it's not a supply and she doesn't mention that it's vintage so it just plain doesn't belong on Etsy.  ok, so these are in woodworking.  Did she handcarve them?  I'm guessing not, she does not mention making them herself.  They are not a crafting supply, they are not vintage...they don't belong.

I'm sure there are more violations, but honestly, these are the ones I flagged, gave proof of and the tag abuse is blatant, why the hell can't Etsy do something about this?

I also came across this ring:  and flagged it with a link to the same exact one sold at target:
If you look at her rings category, there are 4 others I flagged, though I don't have proof that she is reselling, judging by the jewelry she handmakes, she doesn't have the skills to make these.  It gives me the impression she went through her jewelry box and is 'destashing' stuff she doesn't want.  Still, flagged early in september, and even the one with proof of not being handmade, it still remains.

This is all stuff I came upon by chance.  I don't make a habit of looking for violations because, quite frankly, even if I did purposely look, I wouldn't have to look hard, they're everywhere.  Some blatant resellers, some not so noticeable.  In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter whether I purposely go looking or happen upon them by accident, they're there and I flagged with enough proof to prove they either don't belong or are in the wrong category but nothing is done.  I'm getting pretty sick and tired of i t.

Friday, October 02, 2009

ArtFire versus Etsy.....The saga continues...................

So.  Not being able to post on the Etsy forums gets frustrating from time to time, but after 3+ years, not much is new. 
Same gripes, the whiners may change but they're pretty much the same issues.  Ad infinitum in the ideas section and yadda-yadda-yadda.  Among one of the discussions was a "I am closing my shops on Artfire" declaration, followed by the usual supporters, naysayers and a slew of people content to use someone elses reasons, rather than their own judgement, to either close or not even open an Artfire shop,

So I meandered over to Artfire and perused their forums.  I have had a basic shop for over a year now, made a few sales and just basically let it sit.  I wanted to spread out my eggs a bit, but I wasn't ready to fork over the cash just yet.  There seems to be a new promotion going on, The Free For All, where all basic shops can list as many items as they want, and they've even provided a tool that transfers all your Etsy listings to your Artfire shop, rather than having to do it all at once. Pretty neat, huh?  Here is the link to the Artfire thread.

As expected, there was an outcry against this, some Artfire members feel that they are being shortchanged by basics being 'given' one of their sacred tools they pay for.  I can see that.  AF staff says that the point is to generate as many listings as possible and flood google with all the products so shoppers are lead to AF.  The thing is, What do you do with a shop full of items you can't organize or categorize, you can't get a facebook kiosk to sell your products there, and you do not get preferential treatment when it comes to the internal search.  Their search is based on relevancy with dash of random thrown in to give everyone an equal chance.  Except, they will pull verified members items first in a search.  So if your category is overly saturated by verified members, the liklihood of you being seen is much much less.

As I ruminate over this some more, it starts sounding a lot like Etsy and their method of advertising.  Etsy constantly appeals to crafters to generate sellers, but not really to help the current sellers improve their sales by advertising to buyers.

Artfire makes it sound pretty that they are doing everyone a big favor by the unlimited listing whoo-haww.....but it smacks of the sellers being used, and appealing to the bandwagon mentality that exists on Etsy that if someone says something is awesome, the lemmings storm over the cliff to get a piece of the pie.  Ok, so I mixed my metaphors, but you get what I mean.

So for my first post, here, I decided to make a suggestion to give all basic members 2 months of free verified services.  And if they could swing it, give the verified memberships a break on fees for the month, to make it equitible.  My reasoning was/is based on my own feelings about this unlimited listings offer.  What am I going to do with a mish mosh of 100+ items that I can't put into categories?  My shop will be a mess.  If anyone does come to my shop, they can search for things, if they use the search box, but categories are much more convenient and buyer friendly.  What if a new buyer comes upon a few of these basic shops with no bells and whistles and thinks the whole site is that messy?  Buh-bye.

If I upload all my stuff from my Etsy shop into Artfire and there they sit for the next 3 months and I don't sell a thing, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to sign up for the verified account, hell, I have no proof of viability.  And if I did make reasonable sales during that time, what is my incentive to upgrade then?  I can do it without all the bells and whistles.

This is when I discovered that Artfire isn't really doing it for anything but the numbers.  They want to have a full site with lots to choose from for shoppers and the only way to do this is to encourage as many of the shops on Etsy as they can to open or add to their basic shops.  It was mentioned that Artfire's finances are based on only 10% membership, they expect that 90% will use the basic shops and if any of them upgrade, it's just icing on the cake.  Or it makes up for the verifieds that close up for one reason or another.

My suggestion for the 2 months of free verified status for basic shops was actually based on making Artfire more money.  IF a basic shop has no clue what the perks and tools are or how they could work for them, they don't miss them.  But give them a taste of it and let them get used to having them for a period of time, they won't be so easy to give up.

A few people saw the wisdom of my suggestion but thought maybe the timing wasn't so great because some people were upset with the recent unlimited listing thing.  Others implied that I was just being greedy and that I was given an inch, but wanted a mile and some people are never satisfied no matter how much they are given.  oooooooooookay.

And now there are grumblings that Artfire is turning into Etsy (wished I would have taken bets on that one) and they are not as transparent as they used to be, and artfire's view of things may not always coincide with sellers views.  Big surprise.

So, will I upgrade to verified for the Christmas Shopping season?  Probably not.  And I won't be uploading 100 things I can't keep in a neat shop, and I definitely won't be upgrading afterwards.  Why?   because I don't like being used,  And I need to see some benefit to me for handing over my money.

Etsy and Artfire have their strong and weak points, but honestly, I may be jaded, but I feel that their first responsibility is to their business and will try to put the spin on anything they do to make it appear to be to sellers benefit.