The joy of handcrafted goods: why we are leaving Etsy

This post was originally shared in a slightly different form on October, 2022 under our earlier name The Bower Studio.

A photo taken at Small Victories showing hands folding monarch and calendula cards looking down at a wooden table

Making cards—by hand—in our studio in Easthampton, Massachusetts

Small Victories believes—deeply—in handcrafted goods. Our illustrator and co-founder Vincent Frano draws inspiration from our natural surroundings in his beautiful art; we adore selecting handcrafted seed paper to sprout beautiful plants in your spaces. Most of the items we sell are made by hand, like the seed cards we carefully print, score and fold in-house in Easthampton, MA.

Handcrafting encourages us to slow down to a livable pace—both as consumers, and as workers and business owners. We believe in handmade goods. And when we joined Etsy, back in 2011, they believed in handmade goods as well.

But these days, a shopper is more likely to log on to Etsy and see mass-produced, low-quality goods with images stolen from the original artist. So we have chosen to leave the marketplace.

Like Abby Glassenberg of While She Naps and the president of Craft Industry Alliance said in 2021:

“The more I look around when I’m on Etsy, the more uneasy I feel. The way I see it, Etsy is marching steadily towards a future in which it resembles every other marketplace out there (think Amazon, eBay, and Wal-Mart.) .... It’s not unique, special items buyers can’t find anywhere else. It’s mass-produced products that are being bought and resold.”
This isn’t a new issue. Back in 2015, Wired published an article entitled How Etsy Alienated Its Crafters and Lost Its Soul. This year, we took part in the groundbreaking Etsy Strike of 2022, which has now evolved into the Indie Sellers Guild. They’re fighting to organize indie sellers to advocate collectively for fair and transparent policies in online marketplaces like Etsy.
A photo of the shipping station at Small Victories with a worn wooden counter with a scale and USPS box, many rolls of tape and sheets of stamps, and a board on the wall with a tape dispenser and scissors. There is a framed Morris quote on the wall.

The shipping area in our Easthampton, MA studio.

We know you’ve often used our Etsy shop to buy seed paper cards, pins, and prints. Purchasing directly from our website instead is one of the best ways to support our studio and our mission. You can also add to your favorites, sign up for our newsletter, and follow us on social media, including Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube.

We don’t have the marketing power and billions of dollars as the now-behemoth marketplace we’re leaving behind. But we do have the passion, and the dedication, to a handmade intentionally crafted life. And we hope our shared passions encourage you to support our store.

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This article is copyright 2022 Small Victories.
All images are under copyright and may not be used without written permission from Small Victories.