I have a gem for you all today!
But it begins with some bad news.
As most of you know, Etsy is an e-commerce marketplace that was begun with small sellers in mind. It used to be the best possible thing for individuals looking to market their vintage or handmade products to a broad audience and get their small businesses off the ground for nominal listing fees.
Recently, Etsy has changed their policies and become a publicly traded company. In a nutshell, what this means is that Etsy is attempting to become a retail giant along the lines of Amazon… And in the process, small business owners are getting hammered with additional fees as Etsy attempts to profit from marketing, external links, and so forth.
I had the privilege of dealing with one such small business owner, Jodi Dominick. Jodi runs a fiber crafting shop called The Spinnery Store. I had happened upon her Etsy shop by searching “drop spindles and niddy noddies.” I was super pleased with her listings as they’re solid wood, and come in a variety of finishes. I was looking forward to receiving my new spinning tools as my husband and I seek to expand our angora rabbitry; much of the processing is being done by hand using makeshift tools- which while they function, they are not efficient. And before investing in larger equipment, I wanted to build my spinning skills and techniques. Anyway, I placed my order in May or June, and then waited.
If you were following the blog at that time, you already know that May-July was a tumultuous and very difficult time for our family; my grandmother passed away, we suffered a miscarriage, our breeding buck Fonso died, our 5 new chickens all died of illness/mink attacks, and my husband changed jobs and churches in an act of obedience to what we discerned God to be calling us to do.
We suffered a lot of loss and change during that time and quite frankly, I had forgotten all about my exciting fiber tools purchase.
Fast forward to this fine early August morning. I was having my morning coffee and reading my emails before we got started with homeschooling, and I noticed an email from Jodi regarding the forgotten spinning tool order. Apparently, not only had Etsy not logged my order, purchase, payment, or correspondence with Jodi in my Etsy account, but the biggest issue was that because I had arrived at Jodi’s items via search engine, they were placing a 24% fee on her sale for the sale being generated by a search result. Talk about highway robbery! Even the good Lord only asks for a tithe (10%)! So not only were they making a percentage from the listings themselves, they were taking a 24% cut of Jodi’s profits, causing her to lose rather than make money on the sale, all disguised as benevolent “marketing fees.”
That’s the heart of dishonest gain, right there. It’s appalling to me to think first off that we spent an entire election cycle hearing Bernie Sanders talk about how miniscule 1% is when it comes to population and economics. Yet there are companies who tout giving back 1% of their profits as being incredibly generous and ground-breaking!
So which is it? Let me tell you a secret about the reason government and big business like to speak in terms of percentages… It’s because they’re vague, obscure, and percentages are based on a sum total, which they typically like to keep intentionally secret so that they can better push whatever narratives they choose.
Econ Lesson in Perspective:
Bernie’s 1% was 1% of 331,449,281 people as of April 2020. That means 1% is about 1.4 million people who have a net worth of at least $4.4 million. Net worth is not annual income- it is overall wealth including assets, income, investments, etc. Less total liabilities (or expenses/debts). To regular Joe’s, that a lot of cash, and a lot of people, albeit a small percentage of our nation’s population.
Let’s say Etsy decided to side with the little guy and only take a 1% cut of sales that were generated by search engine clicks. For this specific purchase, it would’ve been roughly about $.44 (fourty-four cents) before tax/shipping. Reasonable, for the link that generated the sale, right? Instead, they imposed a 24% fee, which would come to roughly $10.64. Now, after that fee alone, Jodi’s profit margin shrinks considerably, leaving her with only 76% of the total sale, not even including her business expenses and costs to produce, the labor, website host fees, payment processing fees, listing fees, packaging, and shipping and handling.
This is crippling to small business owners. Not to mention unsustainable. And I have my own opinions as to why the retail “Giants” are intentionally doing these things. That’s a post for another time.
What I wish to do for Jodi, and other sbo’s like her is to generate traffic, however small, to her impressive shop without cutting into her profits, keeping her business an asset rather than a liability.
That said, and without further adieu, here is a Small Business Spotlight for The Spinnery Store!
As I mentioned earlier, I was in the market to invest in some new hand spinning tools for processing our English angora fiber. The Spinnery Store had exactly what I was looking for, and then some!
I decided on one of these beautiful maple drop spindles which compliments my maple yarn bowl.
As well as a Kromski niddy noddy.
I was able to work with Jodi and complete the transaction directly from her online store powered by Shopify, rather than through Etsy’s marketplace, and it not only saved her money in fees, but actually and rightly resulted in a profit to her business.
Additionally, The Spinnery also has everything from floor to electric spinning wheels…
to various beautiful wool, silk, linen cotton and natural fiber rovings and yarns…
looms, and virtually any other fiber crafting tool you can imagine.
Not to mention, she offers these well-known brands (Kromski and Ashford for example) and products at probably the best prices I have yet to encounter online. Additionally, her customer service is exquisite as you can tell she has a heart and passion not only for her business and all things fiber crafting, but also for her customers.
I love the wool side of the business. My fingers get their “fix” as I pull orders and live vicariously through my customers:-)Jodi Dominick, owner/proprietor of The Spinnery Store.com
Why do I bother with all this information on economics of small businesses and the hosts who used to propel and sustain small business proprietors? Because that world ended with COVID-19. The international shut-downs negatively impacted small business owners like Jodi, and bolstered the giants such as Walmart and Amazon, and now, Etsy is looking for their cut of the pie, and they are taking it off the table of the small business entrepreneurs and creators which they used to support and sustain.
The big e-commerce retailers are looking to dominate the market place, and close out the “Little Guys.”
But we can all do our part to sustain and support small businesses by voting with our wallets- in choosing to spend our dollars with small or locally owned businesses, we put money back in their pockets, food on their tables, and the livelihood back in our individual communities, and ultimately, our nation.
Am I idealistic? You betcha. But you better believe I will do all I can to maintain my ideals and uphold the good, the true, and the beautiful, until Jesus returns, or calls me Home.
And The Spinnery Store? One more small business which promotes the good, the true, and the beautiful world of fiber crafting and artistry.
Thank you, Jodi, and may God richly bless you and your business.
I encourage you all to check out all Jodi has to offer at her website, here at thespinnerystore.com
… and let’s encourage her as she transitions away from Etsy. 😀