So many business come about because the creator sees a problem, and can’t find a solution… so they create it themselves.
Soak Society is one such business. It’s founder, Natalie Thorogood, started the business a few years ago when she wanted to use bath salts without any artificial colours or fragrances. She couldn’t find what she was looking for, so she created it.
Over the next few years, Soak Society has blossomed into a boutique bath product company that is stocked all over Australia and overseas, including in a huge range of stores in Tokyo.
Natalie is a brilliant example of a young woman who saw and opportunity and jumped on it. I loved chatting with her – she’s a Sunshine Coast local, so just down the road from me, and she exhibits a wonderful down-to-earth perspective on work and life.
P.S. Are you ready for the #MakingItPodcourse? It’s a FREE 30-day course for makers in business, and I’m publishing a lesson a day on the podcast. It kicks off on July 1st!
Head over to MakingItPodcourse.com to register now for email reminders and updates throughout the course.
So – Etsy are putting their fees up for the first time in 13 years. And a lot of people are unhappy about it.
I’ve shared my brief thoughts on this already on social, but I thought it would be helpful to put together an episode outlining my thoughts – as well as some financial comparisons so you can make an informed choice on this change.
I’ve researched and compared the fees of Etsy, Shopify, Amazon Handmade, Bigcartel, Ebay, and your own website (using wordpress and woocommerce) to give you a feel for where Etsy stands in the marketplace after these fee changes. (I’ve shared the maths below for you, as well as some comparisons of old/new fees).
In short: I don’t think this is a big deal. Considering Etsy has NEVER put their fees up in 13 years of business, and the fact that it’s a minor increase hasn’t got me worried, personally. I know that’s different for some folks (especially those who sell inexpensive items or supplies) but I share my detailed thoughts on this in the episode below.
My main point for you to take away from this episode: if your price is so low, or your margin is so tight, that this small fee increase will break your business – you need to review your pricing!
If you have feedback or thoughts to share, please do so over on Instagram (look for my post about this @createandthrive) or on Facebook. And if you find this episode useful, please do share it so other people can listen in, as well. Pin an image from the page, or take a screenshot of this post or your podcast app and share it on your IG story.
1. I am not overly bothered by the fee increase – it’s small, and still very affordable compared to other venues. It will ALWAYS cost money to do business, it’s about finding the best value for money. Etsy brings me customers. Most of my sales there come from Etsy search, so the work they do to advertise the platform and bring shoppers in works for me, and I’m happy to pay for that. Let’s do a comparison…
Etsy: 20c listing fee. 5% transaction fee. Plans – Plus starting at $10 (going up to $20) (CORRECTION – I believe I may have referred to the Plus plan as the Standard plan in this episode. Etsy will have Standard (free) Plus (as costed here) and Premium (as yet uncosted) plans.)
Amazon Handmade: 12% transaction fee – this may be 15% for some (or min $1 referral fee)? I found details a bit conflicted and hard to come by. $39.99 pm as of Jan 1 2019.
Ebay: 50c listing fee. Up to 9.5% transaction fee. $24.95 pm biz seller (This is Australian and in AUD, all others fees here are in USD)
Shopify: Basic plan is $29 pm (up to 100 listings). CC and other payment gateways like PayPal range from 1.75% to 2.9% and a 30c transaction fee (free if using Shopify payments with stripe).
Bigcartel: Up to 100 products $19.99 pm
Own Website: $12 domain OR included with hosting. $8 pm with Dreamhost. Security $200 ($17 pm). Backup $5 pm.
DON’T COMPETE ON PRICE. Be a brand, not a commodity. Competitive doesn’t mean cheapest! (Anecdote about $20 sterling rings).
2. Fees on shipping has made me decide to offer free domestic (and maybe international, still working that out) shipping storewide, and just put the shipping cost into my product price. I always avoided this in the past because Etsy didn’t take a percentage of shipping.
I can do this as my shipping is pretty low already, so it’s been the kick in the pants I needed to make this change. If I’m paying a fee on shipping now, I may as well gain the psychological benefit of shoppers seeing ‘free shipping’. They’re still paying for it, just not in the shipping section.
If you can move your domestic fee into the item price, that then lowers your international fee, too!
3. I will be putting my prices up a little to compensate. I am lucky enough to have the margin to be able to do this, but I understand some folks with lower-priced items may find this challenging. Remember though – it’s a percentage, so you may only need to add a small amount to make up for it on the lower priced items.
Some example cost comparisons:
$5 item with $5 shipping
3.5% product only fee: 17c
5% product & shipping fee: 50c
$50 item with $10 shipping
3.5% product only fee: $1.75
5% product & shipping fee: $3
$100 item with $10 shipping
3.5% produce only fee: $3.50
5% product & shipping fee: $5.50
4. I don’t yet see any benefit to any of the ‘packages’ for me. I’ve been experimenting with promoted listings, and will keep trying that for a while. So I’m glad they aren’t (yet!) taking away any of those tools. I have – and will always have – my own website, so the .com etc. doesn’t do anything for me. I am curious as to what the premium package will offer, though!
5. One concern I heard mentioned: they are making it easier for ‘big brands’ to use the platform, so I hope they don’t go too far in that direction.
6. Overall – if this means Etsy continues to focus back on their core offering (being THE place to shop for handmade, vintage, and supplies online) and grow the platform by doing more advertising, then that will only benefit me and other people in those niches in the long term. They have never put their prices up in 13 years of business, so if it pays off, I do believe we, as sellers, will benefit. But yes, always do remember – they are a for-profit, public company, and they have to always now be thinking of their shareholders and profits, too.
This month’s member-exclusive episode was inspired by a question asked on our last Thriver Circle monthly call.
“How do I get more of my customers to leave reviews?”
I had a pretty lengthy answer on the call, and I realised… I have quite a few strategies that I use to improve the quality and quantity of customer reviews – no matter whether you sell on Etsy, your own site, or elsewhere.
In this episode, I share 7 strategies you can implement to improve the number and positivity of your customer reviews – without bugging your customers.
To get immediate access to this premium episode, become a member of my private membership community for makers – The Thriver Circle.
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