Douglas small business encourages people to continue shopping during Etsy strike

Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 7:28 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Across the world, thousands of small businesses are closing their Etsy shops to protest a 30 percent increase in seller transaction fees.

Etsy has given shoppers the power to buy directly from small businesses since 2008. On Monday, April 11, the platform increased the fees it charges sellers from 5 percent to 6.5 percent. In response, sellers have joined forces and put their shops into vacation mode in protest and have encouraged their customers to avoid shopping through the platform for the next week.

“In following the different feeds and groups that I belong to, you know, it’s split fifty-fifty. Some people it’s impacting their store, others it’s not, in fact, it might have been an uptick for their stores because people are still buying,” said Lasso and Poppy Designs Owner Terri Sherman.

Sherman has been using Etsy to reach customers outside of Douglas and Wyoming since January of 2020. She says that she understands both perspectives of the strike, but other economic impacts have affected her business more than Etsy’s fee increase.

“I think if they were raising their fees because of inflation I might have a little bit of heartburn because I’m feeling inflation with prices are crazy,” said Sherman.

Sherman made a post on her Lasso and Poppy Facebook account encouraging customers to continue shopping despite the strike.

“I have been selling on Etsy since 2020 and love the platform. It’s not perfect, but it has improved drastically over the years. So many things we’ve asked for they have given us… Many of us who sell on Etsy rely on the income generated to support our families. The shops who are putting their store on vacation mode are not hurting Etsy... They are hurting the majority of us by telling customers to NOT shop Etsy,” said Sherman’s post.

Protest organizers have made an online petition. According to them, the strike is not just about the increase in fees, but also about company policies that went into effect over the course of the pandemic.

“Etsy made bank over the pandemic. In 2020, they more than doubled their gross marketplace sales. In 2021, they kept those pandemic sales gains and broke their 2020 record by $3.2 billion dollars... They followed up these record pandemic gains by turning around and sticking it to their sellers,” said the petition.

According to Sherman, there are plenty of other online host options for small businesses, but many have higher fees and are not as popular as Etsy. She says the fee increase is tolerable because the company is planning to make improvements for users across the board.

“They’re actually making technological advances for not only the customer to have a better customer experience but for the seller to have a better seller experience,” said Sherman.

The petition states that after a fee increase in 2018, the latest increase will make seller fees more than double in four years. Sellers that are participating in the strike are demanding five changes: canceling the fee increase, a crackdown on resellers, “golden” support tickets, an end to the Star Seller Program, and an opt-out option for off-site ads.

Sherman is encouraging people to follow their conscience when choosing whether to shop during the strike but pointed out that many sellers rely on the income and are keeping their stores open.

“If they’ve chosen not to join that strike, there’s a reason for it, and with as many sellers as we have on Etsy, you can’t bulk everything into one little neat tight package,” said Sherman.

As of Wednesday, April 13, the petition has over 74,000 signatures. The strike is planned to last until April 18.

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