New mask on Zibbet

Now selling at Zibbet:

click on image to go to my Zibbet shop

click on image to go to my Zibbet shop

This is Saladin, my first item for sale at Zibbet. I’ve actually had an account with Zibbet for some time as an alternative venue to Etsy, I just haven’t used it until now.

You can pledge handmade too!

Zibbet, in case you don’t know, is an online marketplace for individual sellers of handmade items. It sounds a lot like Etsy, and it is – or at least it’s a lot like Etsy used to be.

I’ve been selling on Etsy for a few years now and frankly, I have no complaints. They make transactions very simple and efficient and they offer great visibility and customer service. But I’ve noticed a shift in their fundamental philosophy over the years that is a little troubling. Etsy started small, as a kind of a co-op for artists and artisans to make their work more accessible to a broader market. But as Etsy got bigger and more popular, they changed leadership and they changed policy to make the site more about sales and less about the seller. They seem to want to be a hipster Amazon now, providing as much boho swag to as many buyers as possible. While they claim to prohibit re-selling – purchasing new products wholesale that the seller had no hand in creating and selling it on Etsy as your own, their latest policies have left the door open for some less-than-forthright sellers to do just that. Sellers can pass off factory or sweat-shop made items as one-of-a-kind crafts with a minimum of effort, or get away with outright trafficking of mass-produced, low cost goods if they are willing to pretend to be involved in the creation of those goods.

I’ve been on the fence about all this for a while. Although I’ve been disappointed in the shift in priorities at Etsy, they are still maintaining good consistent service to buyers and in some ways it could be said that they are just providing online shoppers what they want and more of it. But then again, they are increasingly misrepresenting themselves – one might go so far as to say duping the public – by continuing to project an image of artsy, bohemian individualism when they are making a good chunk of their revenue from mass-produced tchochkes from China.

It’s a shame because Etsy still has some really excellent artists. They have some of the best handmade goods you can find online. I’ve stayed with Etsy because of this and because of the ease of doing business there. I haven’t personally felt the pressure of competing with mass-produced and under-priced goods because the stuff that I do is rather far afield of all that. But just because this change hasn’t affected me directly doesn’t mean that i can ignore it. So for a while at least, I’ll continue to have some items posted on Etsy because I appreciate the community there. But I will also be posting items on Zibbet and seeing how it goes there.

A lot of Etsy sellers have migrated to Zibbet lately. Zibbet has been around for a while now, began as a low-cost, less flashy alternative to Etsy but remaining true to the same ethos that Etsy has seemed to abandon. In response to the latest changes at Etsy, Zibbet has set up the website, as you see in the link above, to reiterate their commitment to the handmade community.


7 thoughts on “New mask on Zibbet

  1. Hey Joel. Thanks for such a comprehensive comparison of the two eStores and especially for pointing out some of the etsy deficiencies. I’ll check Zibbet out. But I also know one of the prime investors of etsy who lives here in yvr and will pass on your comments if you allow…


    • Thanks Jamie. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get into all if this business, but I thought I should explain why I’m putting some of my work in Zibbet when I already have an Etsy store. As I said, it was a tough decision because Etsy has really been good to me, but some of their decisions have left me a bit uncomfortable. What I’ve said here isn’t new – I’m sure the folks at Etsy have been hearing similar complaints for some time now. The troubling thing to me is that while they do go out of their way to please buyers, they do very little to assuage concerned sellers. Etsy really should work for the sellers, not the other way around.
      Anyway, I’m still in a wait-and-see-how-this-goes stage.


  2. Completely agree with you, Joel.
    I can say that I am a bit disappointed with the recent changes at Etsy and I do not know how it will affect my shop.
    How does this new website work? How much do they charge setting items? Thank you!


  3. Pingback: What is Etsy? | origamijoel

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