I finally closed my two Etsy shops. Neither of them were even remotely successful.
Partly because I never had enough inventory to make it a "real" shop. And partly because I lost motivation. There are billions of items on Etsy and it was impossible for my products to be found on even the most sophisticated searches.
These days, the craft supplies and manufactured items have taken over. Its no longer a place for handmade.
I opened one shop back in 2013 and I had about a dozen quilts and tote bags offered for sale. I sold 1 quilt through the site and I got one commission. The other shop was opened about 18 months ago to sell my handbags. That was slightly more useful and I sold several purses, but it was a struggle to get noticed.
One of the things I find really interesting about Etsy now (versus what I saw 4 years ago), is it seems most people use Etsy the same way they use Pinterest. They "like" your product and collect images in their "favorites" list. Each time a user "liked" one of my products, I would get a notification.... a little ping on my phone ... a little suggestion that someone is interested and might actually buy something. So curious and hopeful, I would click to see which item they liked. What I found was that most users had hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of "favorites." They might like one of my clutches, but they also liked about 200 other clutches. Clearly, these are not buyers.
Another interesting thing I tried is the Etsy wholesale offering. After reading about it, I was very interested to see if I could find an independent boutique would be interested in carrying my handmade leather bags. I took all their suggestions about how to set up a wholesale account, I had great photography, about 20 products, good mix of large and small items, and I lowered the price by 50% as required for wholesale. I went live and waited. The first week I got about 10 views. After that, next to nothing.
So, at this point, Etsy is nothing but a distraction for me. The fees are not high, so its not a $ thing. Its just simply not worth the time. I have been meaning to shut them down for a while, but just never took the step. Now its done.
For my handbag business, I have found success. But it wasn't through any kind of online channel --- rather my new business connection came through the old fashioned channel: face to face. Last year, I went to Taos, New Mexico to present a lecture to the Taos Quilting and Needlecraft Guild. While I was in town, I scoped out a couple of the women's boutiques and went in and introduced myself. I struck up a conversation with one highly energetic owner and she loved my leather and cowhide handbags. We immediately made an arrangement for her to carry my bags and they are selling! This store has a nice offering of unique clothing and accessories and the customers and tourists appreciate something handmade that you won't find at the store down the street. The store is Michelle's. Stop by and say hi if you're ever in Taos.
The internet is an amazing and wonderful thing. But nothing beats face to face communication.