Selling you those vintage earrings or that swimsuit you were eying for your next vacation is about to get a little more expensive for your favorite Etsy shops. On Thursday, the shopping platform announced its plan to raise its seller fees from 3.5% to 5%. The transaction fee will apply to the cost of shipping and, according to the company’s blog, will allow Etsy to provide “increased marketing, better customer support, and an enhanced the product experience,” for buyers. The change goes into effect July 16 — but not all sellers are sold on it.
“Etsy began as a way for people with a little extra time and a lot of extra skill could make a couple extra bucks while juggling everyday jobs and responsibilities,” Olatiwa Karade, the designer behind Splendid Rain Co., an Etsy shop that sells “pro-Black, anti-bullshit” clothing, tells Refinery29. Karade says that while some sellers have managed to develop large businesses, at its core, Etsy is not meant for big brands. “There are hundreds [of sellers] who use the profits from their Etsy shops to offset a bill or pay for a child’s lunch,” she continues. “Not to mention the growing pro-Black community using Etsy to sell art and merchandise."
The problem, Karade says, is Etsy isn’t doing anything to offset the transaction fees. “It’s up to you to churn a profit,” she says, noting that Sse’s leaving Etsy at the end of July to sell her products on her own website. Artist Christene Knopp is also migrating her business to her own site. “So @Etsy increased their fees to 5% and announced some dubious pay to play subscription service where you get better service and customization and likely clout,” Knopp Tweeted. “I drive 90% of my traffic so I don't see a reason to idly sit through this.”
Additional changes also include two subscription-based packages that will start at $10 a month, but Etsy sellers aren’t sure whether any of this is necessary to do business. “Burnt out on @Etsy. They're raising transaction fees from 3.5% to 5% + charging for seller tools when the community is already hurting from years of plummeting sales/traffic,” Michelle Christina Larson wrote on Twitter. “Etsy’s answer = raise rates + BS copy about evolution? We need a new small biz marketplace.”
In a blog post announcing the news, however, Kruti Patlel Goyal, Etsy’s general manager of seller services, maintained that the platform’s “commitment to investing in seller success has never been stronger.” And as a spokesperson for the company told Refinery29: “Etsy is only successful when our sellers are successful, and we are constantly listening to how we can better help them reach their goals. Sellers have been vocal about their desire for us to bring them more buyers and tools to run their businesses effectively. Our new subscription packages will better guide sellers through various stages of business growth. Additionally, our revised fee structure will enable us to make meaningful investments in key areas while remaining the best overall value for creative entrepreneurs.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that its sellers feel the same way.