The Future of The Yarn Office

I know it’s been a while; I think of writing (and things to write about) and then I put it off. But today I made an important decision: I’m letting all my etsy listings expire and am closing down The Yarn Office on etsy (my studio space at home will forever be The Yarn Office). In total, I have a very modest overall profit, modest enough that given the time I put into it, I’m more in the hole to etsy than profitable. There’s also the matter of marketing, which isn’t exactly my strong suit despite buying and reading 2 books on how to turn your art/craft into a business. My takeaway that’s been festering for a while is that I’m not a good businessperson and it’s time to move on to something new.

This morning etsy sent email to all shop owners announcing some changes. Listing fees will remain $0.20 per listing, but etsy’s commission on sales is going from 3.5% of the item price to 5% of the item price and shipping. In addition, they’re creating a monthly subscription service called etsy Plus that’s supposed to help your business grow and will roll out etsy Pro for high volume sellers next year. Not subscribing to these plans supposedly won’t affect your search results or access to current tools, but I can’t help but think little vanity shops like mine will be at a disadvantage. In the end, I’ve sunk more time and money into this than I’ve gotten out and so yeah, it’s time to move on to something new.

I said on Instagram that I was going to just let my listings expire over the summer instead of shuttering the whole thing, but the fee change goes into effect July 16 – I may just put the shop on vacation mode then and leave it in case these changes end up being beneficial overall to little cheeses like me. But I doubt it – I think they’ve been catering for quite a while to high volume sellers and factories rather than artisans, and in the 3 years since they’ve gone public, they’ve shifted even more to focusing on etsy’s bottom line, to which I no longer want to contribute without getting something more back. I mean, sure – etsy is a business, but it’s a business for which I’m pretty sure I’m no longer a customer.

I might actually start my own shop here on this domain, or at least create a gallery of work that I’m most proud of and move in more of an art direction rather than a craft direction (which I’ve been sort of trying to do anyway). I also heard about FiberCrafty for the first time today, too, so I might check that out – it sounds like it’s etsy (and Amazon Handmade) but for fiber crafts only. There are lots of possibilities, I just have to figure out what I want to do and what’s going to work for me.

12 thoughts on “The Future of The Yarn Office

  1. I wish you a lot of luck in finding the perfect option for you…I know that several have started podcasts on YouTube and have gotten really successful that way (think of The Grocery Girls); however I know that’s not for everyone. A lot of people have also gotten big sales from sending stuff for free to be reviewed by successful podcasts. That might be another option. Whatever you decide, I’m sure it will be the right fit at the right time. I wish I could spin so I could buy some of your rolags; however I’ve got so much on my plate that I haven’t even had a huge amount of crafting time. I can’t wait until things slow down a little and I can breathe again. Again, good luck on whatever you decide!

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    1. Thank you, Paula! I hope you have more time for crafting soon, or at least *some* time for crafting – I know how busy life can get! I will find the right fit at the right time, and the good thing about this is that I know better what I’m good at and what I enjoy.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mandy. I’ve been a bit leery of Etsy for a while, and reading your take on the upcoming changes / reasons to part ways is useful for perspective. Business wheeling & dealing is not my forte (at all, I’m the opposite of a go-getter, lol). I think this transition is a very sound and thoughtful decision in light of what you’ve described, and I know that something new and great is just around the corner (working from this domain is a great idea!). I wish you all the luck on the next step! 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Shirley! Business wheeling & dealing isn’t my thing either – I’m a terrible salesperson. I have a friend with a weaving business who sells at several local markets; I may buddy up with another friend & try selling at one of those – I forgot to mention that. I really wish etsy was better for smaller shops & crafters & artists, but I feel like you have to go to it with an established base already, which isn’t really my forte either. At least here I’m more flexible and not necessarily putting on a salesperson hat.

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  3. I find when making decisions to leave something it’s good but not necessary to have something else to go to. Sometimes having a blank slate for a while washes away the old and allows your mind to be prepared for something quite unexpected.

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  4. For some reason I hadn’t realized you’d switched your blog to a new address. So glad I found you! I’m sorry to hear about your closing down the Etsy shop. It’s really hard right now in the fiber world and Etsy is not what it used to be, either, so there’s that, too. I hope you find a new option that works better for you!

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