Breaking Up with Etsy

Breaking Up with Etsy

Breaking Up with Etsy

Dear Etsy,

This is the hardest letter I have ever had to write.  Harder even than that time I decided to add Chinese characters to some noodle bowls and ended up with eight pieces that said "DUMPINGS".

We've been together for a really long time.  Since 2009 to be exact. (A favorite year because it brought us the "leggings as pants" trend. )  I was a young, fresh faced shop and you were a cool hipster from Brooklyn dressed in orange, well versed in the use of mustache wax. 

To be totally honest, I was already in a serious relationship before we met, with someone I will refer to as Mr. Day Job.  But Mr. DJ took me for granted, and left me feeling unappreciated.  I saw you and began to fantasize about fitting in with girls who could cut their bangs like Betty Page and dudes in pork pie hats and checkered vans.  I saw a vision of our relationship through glasses that had no lenses. 

At first, we just flirted.  Or rather, I flirted and you continued to put the same ten shops on the front page.  When I found that collection of features you did on other sellers I was hurt, but I understood- you needed space. No one could tie you down.  I fell in love with you by the second sale.  By the third we were in bed together every night- usually checking my stats.

I became obsessed.  I told everyone about you.  And everyone loved you.  Artists loved you. Engaged couples loved you.  Chickens who wore hats loved you. And you made them love things they didn't know they HAD to have- like hedgehogs and an artful bouquet of arrows. You informed my aesthetic and all of a sudden I knew: beige was beautiful.

I never wasted an opportunity to tell others about you- from teaching at the Etsy Success Workshop in Brooklyn, to a brief appearance on the Martha Stewart Show, my message was always the same: I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE YOU ETSY.

You were the bright orange sun that lit up my universe.  Years of my life were devoted to trying to get you to reciprocate my affections.  At times we came close.  There were press features, and opportunities.  After several thousand sales you did write about me on your blog finally. And I loved you all the more for it, even though you chose the fat pictures.

I'm not really sure when things started to go south.  Maybe it was when you expanded your definition of "handmade" to include print on demand and factory produced items.  One day I logged on to find I had been replaced as your #1 Mug Girl by someone wearing a shirt with horizontal stripes who held a white mug with lovely brush scrip lettering that was cheaper than mine and had never seen the inside of a kiln.

And then you started chipping away at my seller esteem.  My shipping was too high, you said.  Add ten photos, you said. You noticed me chatting with my girlfriends and decided to revamp the forums- so that  I had as much luck finding them as I did locating Kahzakstan on a map.  There were times you allowed bad people to hold a pen to my throat and threaten me with deathly feedback --even when THE SIZE WAS IN THE DESCRIPTION so there is no way they should have been 2 star surprised that it was bigger than expected.

Many times you crossed the line from controlling to abusive with your many experiments and tests.  I hoped to emerge from them with a titanium infrastructure that would make me faster, stronger and better but sadly at the end of the majority of them I just found that what you had done was reroute my customers to other shops. And so I poured more time, more energy, more resources into the hope that one day you would love me the way I loved you. 

You raised your fees and asked me to pay for promotions and seller services and then used my google links to send people into my competition's shops.  You allowed haters to flag my listings and sent dry, impersonal emails from legal with warnings about some nebulous line in the sand I was dancing dangerously close to, but which you refused to clearly define or discuss.

And then came the day I arrived home to find you had packed my bags and put them out on the sidewalk. Just like that.  All those years, all that work, all those many memories.  And you kept the cat.  I have tried writing, emailing, calling and you have NEVER REPLIED. 

More disappointing than the season 8 finale. 

I am sure it's nothing personal...just business. 

Goodbye Etsy. It's been real.  Let's try to stay friends for the sake of my friends.





  • I feel this post so much. I am having a hard time letting go of Etsy. I have been on since 2005 as a seller and shopper. Old habits die hard, I suppose. I am just not sure where to turn.

    Missy Kulik on

  • Hopefully you can see now that the signs were there from the beginning, as all abusive and manipulative relationships are. Your mistake was thinking Etsy was your boyfriend and all that into you when, in fact, “he” was just using you to get whatever he could out of you, all the while cheating on you, cavorting with cheap thrills, controlling you with veiled threats, and coming into your space and moving all the furniture and telling you it was better that way. You kept taking the bait and hoped for things to change when the writing was clearly on the wall. What you need to do from now on is use them right back, whoever “he” is.

    Kate on

  • I still buy from Etsy but not with the same delight and often with suspicion. One thing I’m thankful to them for though, is finding your shop! I love my Lenny Mud pieces and thrilled to share them as gifts. So glad I found you, your shop and beautiful here now that Etsy has gone and really mucked it up by letting you go!

    Christy on

  • I sympathize and had the same issues with etsy. They broke up with me several years ago after I kept complaining about all the items that were not hand made. Etsy started as a place for hand made items by individual artists and became a place to buy finished items from overseas. “As long as you alter it, you can call it handmade” was the new business model. It’s a shame. It was a terrific place for a long time. I found you on Instagram and am a huge fan! Love the GOT stuff! Stick it with the Pointy End~! Not Today. LOVE IT

    GoldenMom on

  • Hmmm….girl…..if you had asked me, I would have told you that they never deserved you. You gave them some of the best years of your life yet they weren’t faithful or loyal. Glad you broke up. I would check your suitcases for cooties…..

    Lori Aguirre on

  • I just went there today to find something for a friend and looked for you. So glad I kept looking and found you here. Love your products and love your stance above. Keep up the great work.

    Jenny on

  • This reminds me why I ❤️ You…your writing!! Glad y’all broke up, I never really trusted Her.

    Sheila on

  • Your girlfriends have been talking and we’re really upset with Etsy for treating you like this – we made a pact that when we inevitably run into Etsy at a bar, or at the farmer’s market, we’re going to smack Etsy.

    Sara on

  • YES! Yes to all of it, but especially your first point about the clearly factory made items! I’ve found that so frustrating anytime I’m on Etsy. When I’m shopping for things like sewing patterns from the 70s—no problem. But anything in the handmade category, those items alongside actual handmade pieces like your’s makes me mad. People always tell me to go into selling my hand-sewn clothing and items or “open a shop”. But I know I don’t stand a chance up against a $10 factory made sun hat, or people’s expectations of what handmade items should truly cost. Good on you for finding a way out of it and expanding your website shop!

    Katy Gongaware on

  • This answers a lot of longstanding questions I’ve had about Etsy, but I’m a forever Lenny Mud fan. :-) You guys rock. My Mr. Tea mug might be my most prized possession.

    Sarah on

  • You are, without a doubt, an amazing writer. All I can say is their loss. I won’t be shopping there any more, in solidarity. Even if you do want your friends to stay friends, some things just can’t be tolerated. Love ya.

    Cary on

  • Love this. Just sayin’.

    Kathy on

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