What Happened to Etsy - Have they Forgotten About Their Handmade Artisans?

I began selling my Leather Art on Etsy in 2007. I was inspired by my passion for riding my Harley. I had a need for leather clothing that was sensual and classy, and less biker-chick style than what I was seeing on the market at that time. I began designing and handcrafting leather and suede halter tops that I would feel comfortable wearing while riding my motorcycle and that I could wear to biker events and rallies. After being stopped many times to be asked where I got what I was wearing, I decided to list some of my designs on Etsy, opening my shop under the username, Sexy Skins Leather.

Model, Bethany Youseff, on the cover photo for Lisa Cantalupo's first website and Etsy Shop as Sexy Skins Leather
My shop on Etsy grew steadily over the years and I later expanded my line to include leather jewelry and accessories. I also established a custom design service designing for both women and men; leather jackets tops and vest, leather shorts and pants, and all kinds of leather accessories. I've had the opportunity to create for many including a few well known celebrities. In 2017, I moved my business out of my basement to a commercial property located on busy Route 108 in Somersworth, New Hampshire. I was now working full-time at honing my craft  while continuing to grow my business, and I loved it. 
Designer and Leather Artisan Lisa Cantalupo in front of her shop on Route 108 in Somersworth, New Hampshire

Right around the time I had made that big move, things on Etsy began to change for me. That is also when Etsy's Rob Kalin stepped down and Ebay's Josh Silverman stepped in as CEO.  Under his leadership came higher seller fees and more of them. Etsy's advertising policies were also changed removing a seller's ability to control the cost per click, and a 12% commission was taken on all sales which Etsy paid to advertise and without a seller's ability to opt-out of that program. He also implemented a "Free Shipping Guarantee" which places the shops whom offer it on the top of searches, and the "Star Seller" program which is supposed to encourage shops to exemplify integrity in all areas of business. The cost to do business on Etsy rose significantly which resulted in a significant loss in profits. I was working long hours for little pay, and I was enjoying it less and less.

screenshot image sexy skins leather on etsy

Over the last couple of years, my views and sales on Etsy have dropped to the level they once were many years prior to Covid. I have researched, read, and made a lot of the recommended changes to my shop in hopes of turning things around. I have jumped through hoops to serve my customers and abide to all of Etsy's rules, and their Star Seller criteria, with little to no success. Instead of getting supported by Etsy and rewarded for my customer service hoop jumping, I received the opposite with a side of empathy. I lost my star seller's badge which negatively affects a shop's search ratings and sales. The bottom line is this....it has become more difficult for an Etsy handmade artisan to be seen, appreciated and supported on the Etsy platform. And it is very discouraging.



The reason for this blog post is not to whine and complain. It is to share with you my experiences and, this YouTube Video that helped me to realize that I'm not the only one out there and the struggle is real If you're an Etsy seller and can relate to any of the above then you need to watch this CNBC report on "What Happened to Etsy?". And, please share your thoughts and concerns with me in the comments below. The knowing that we are in this together does make a difference. 



Lastly, I cannot thank my new and repeat customers for your continued support!!! Creating for you brings much joy to my life. For that I am forever grateful!!


Share this post

Leave a comment

Note, comments must be approved before they are published