LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Thousands of Etsy shops are on strike, shutting down shop in protest of recent changes to the online marketplace.
In February, Etsy reported an all-time high in sales and revenue. However, starting Monday Etsy rates are hiking from 5% to 6.5%.
“It doesn’t sound like a lot until you’re selling more and more,” said Ashley Bilbro, owner of Lexington-based Novella Design & Co. on Etsy. “It’s like you’re not making as much as you should for a product. It’s kind of hard to want to list on Etsy”
Bilbro is new to Etsy, but may stop selling her clay earrings on the site. The online marketplace requires sellers to pay a fee per listing, and the company is now raising that price.
Etsy said the change comes directly from seller feedback and that sellers aren’t upset about the fee increase because it will benefit them. It said the extra money will be invested in marketing, technology, and customer support tools.
“Our sellers’ success is a top priority for Etsy. We are always receptive to seller feedback and, in fact, the new fee structure will enable us to increase our investments in areas outlined in the petition, including marketing, customer support, and removing listings that don’t meet our policies. We are committed to proving great value for our 5.3 million sellers so they are able to grow their businesses while keeping Etsy a beloved, trusted, and thriving marketplace.”Statement for an Etsy spokesperson
However, Bilbro and more than 5,000 other Etsy sellers don’t feel supported.
“There’s a long list of ways Etsy isn’t helping the creators on the platform that they would really like to change as sellers,” said Bilbro.
Also starting Monday, they are protesting the price hike by putting their shops on vacation mode and halting sales of their products. They’re also asking shoppers to stop buying on the site until April 18.
As for Bilbro, she isn’t letting this get in the way of expanding her business. She wants to sell more of her earrings at craft fairs, and she also wants to launch her own website so she doesn’t have to deal with so many fees.