BRAZIL - 2021/07/12: In this photo illustration the Etsy logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo...

Here's Why Striking Etsy Sellers Want You To Boycott The Site

Here's why they want you to not buy from them right now.

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All over the United States, workers are demanding better — including those who run their own online businesses through Etsy, the popular e-commerce website. On April 11, sellers announced a strike, asking customers to not buy anything from them for seven days. Here’s what’s going on with the Etsy seller strike, and what you need to know about your favorite crafty shop.

Sellers are striking in protest of Etsy policies and new, higher transaction fees, which many say would make it more difficult for them to make a living off their business. Starting April 11, around 17,000 sellers are going on “strike” by setting their accounts to “vacation mode” until April 18, per USA Today. (Although as NPR points out, since sellers aren’t employees of Etsy it’s not technically a strike under the legal definition.) Sellers have posted a petition with a list of demands, asking the e-commerce platform to “cancel the fee increase,” “crack down on resellers,” improve the “infamously slow support system,” “end the star seller program,” and to “let all sellers opt out of offsite ads.” The strike’s organizers are also encouraging shoppers to support the strike by signing the petition, and by refraining from making purchases through Etsy.

“The zoomed-out view of the situation is just people losing their ability to make an income doing something creative,” said Kristi Cassidy, one of the Etsy Strike’s lead organizers, in an April 11 interview with USA Today.

In response to the strike, Etsy told NPR that the fee change was meant to help the company put resources towards seller issues. “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,” a spokesperson told the publication.

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In a Feb. 24 report to investors, Etsy CEO Josh Silverman announced that the site would increase its seller transaction fees from 5% to 6.5% — a 30% increase. “We're planning to invest even more in making Etsy the best place to run a creative business,” Silverman wrote. “In fact, we expect to invest most of the incremental revenue from this fee increase in marketing, seller tools, and creating world-class customer experiences.”

The fees are being introduced even as Etsy is praising their own record-high profits. According to Etsy’s own report, the company’s fourth quarter performance in 2021 showed a record-breaking 16.2% year-over-year growth in revenue. In real numbers, this translates to $717.1 million in consolidated revenue — more money than most Etsy sellers will literally ever see in their lives, no matter how many unique crafts or vintage items they sell. In fact, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (USDOL), the average “craft and fine arts” worker, like many Etsy sellers are, only makes around $49,000 a year.

So what now? Well, it looks like a lot of us will have to wait to fuel our bespoke shopping addictions until April 18 — at the least.