Amazon announced today (10-8-15) that their new “Handmade at Amazon” has gone live.  What does this mean for Etsy and woodworkers selling there?  Let’s back up a bit and explain what both services are.  Etsy.com rolled onto the online scene in mid 2005 as an e-commerce website focusing on handmade products.  People wanting to sell their hand crafted items would register with the site and would then create a page or “store”.  Visitors of the site could then purchase items from these stores.  Gaining in popularity, Etsy quickly became a place for shoppers to get items that were not produced in mass quantities in a factory.  It also became a place for crafters, artists and woodworkers to exhibit and sell their wares, some even making a lucrative living at it.  That is Etsy in a nutshell.  So where does Amazon come into play?  For a while now Amazon has been working on creating a competitor to Etsy.  It rolled out today and is called “Handmade at Amazon”.  It would be hard to believe that many people have not heard of the powerhouse online retailer Amazon.  But up until now, Amazon has been all about products produced by normally larger companies.  Products that were almost entirely made in big factories on a large scale.  Not anymore.  In the spirit of free market competition Etsy now has an opposing force to deal with.  It is worth noting that back in late 2013 Etsy had opened up their site to a select group of sellers offering less than hand made items.  For the diehard Etsy fans this was an unwelcome change to say the least.

Courtesy of Etsy.com

Courtesy of Etsy.com

So what does this all mean to me as a woodworker?  Not much as of right now for me personally, but for others that sell their handmade items through these means it can make a big difference.  This will allow both buyers and sellers more options with the products they make.  Most of the woodworking I do goes to friends and family members and I have never really focussed on trying to make a living on selling what I make.  I suppose time will tell which one rises to the top but if I had to put money on it, Amazon is a tough cookie to crack.

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Courtesy of Amazon.com

I would love to hear from you what your thoughts are on Amazon getting into the handmade game.  Do you buy from these sites?  Do you sell on them?  Have you considered it?  Please feel free to share this article as I want to get an idea of what others think as well.


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23 Responses

  1. Hansford Boatman

    Nick, I have spent a lot of time on etsy. It was not shopping for items to buy, but shopping for ideas of things to make myself. With Amazon starting this as an option to sell, if I were to list an item, I will put it on Amazon. I feel etsy has been more of a maker site with not as much shopping to buy.

    Reply
    • Nick

      interesting thought – I would imagine most people already have Amazon accounts so I think they will do well

      Reply
  2. hava

    I have been buying from Etsy for about 6 months solid for mostly materials to make my own handmade items. I have also set up a shop on Etsy and sold there for a bit until I got tired of getting screwed on shipping and switched to brick and mortar. I would assume I will be checking out Amazons new site. I think this only gives us more options and hopefully lower prices in the end. I don’t know how their systems differ but it also gives us options as sellers. Options are good!

    Reply
  3. Jayson Taylor

    I applied to be a seller on Amazon, but have not heard back from them yet. I guess we’ll see how it goes. I don’t expect to get rich or anything, but it would be nice to make a small profit that I can then use to buy more/better tools.

    Reply
    • Nick

      That is a good plan – my projects have been helping me upgrade my tools for a long time – makes the hobby that much nicer

      Reply
  4. Bill Hetrick

    I’ve been selling some small pet furniture on Etsy for about half a year now and so far it’s been alright. Everything I make is truly hand made but looking around there it’s easy to see that plenty of items look mass produced.

    With Amazon being worldwide and a household name, I can only imagine how much more “handmade” will be abused by mass producers.

    As for selling, I’ll read up on it more and probably give Amazon a shot.

    Reply
    • Nick

      I know that was a major flaw when Etsy opened up the site to mass produced stuff – one can only hope Amazon will be more strict on their handmade side – I would imagine they would considering they already have the “factory made” side of things

      Reply
  5. narnia456

    I shop on Etsy all the time. I’m thinking if I sold items, I’d be on both sites. I’m wondering if they will just be clones of each other. If one gives sellers a huge difference in costs, I might just stick with one (if I sold things. I just collect clamps right now!)

    Reply
    • Nick

      good thought – collecting clamps has been a sacred pass time of mine for a while now, lol

      Reply
  6. Richard

    Any ideas on what the Amazon group is looking for in a seller?…I mean, it seems like they must have got an all star roster together for the rollout. I sell woodcrafts on Etsy and have enjoyed too much success for a hobby. Had to close down for rest! However, that’s not a lot of quantity, just a lot of effort.

    Reply
    • Nick

      I would guess from the application just about any handmade stuff worth selling is game for Amazon

      Reply
  7. nicholasgomez

    Here are my thought friends and Nick Ferry!! I have been in the eCommerce world for a fair amount of years. Whether it is in selling digital products or handmade fishing/sporting good items. Most of my selling has been either on my own websites or on eBay. Remember when eBay was friendly to those that made items or created something novel? I do like it was way – way yesterday!! So, I will get to the meat of the situation with Amazon and their Handmade Marketplace. Although it seems like a tempting alternative to sell handmade items there (Amazon) versus Etsy or even eBay. Think about where you place all you eggs. Then, decide on who is the least expensive and can give you the best exposure to your products. Well, hands down, Amazon can – But after reading in to the terms and service agreements and what other friends that sell on line say. I am bowing out of the Amazon Handmade Rodeo. Instead of writing about all the reasons why – I would like to share an article another gun ho handmade six pistol shoot had to say about why she is pulling out too. —

    Here is the article: http://www.creationsfromthehart.com/amazon-review/

    Reply
    • Phil Sale

      I thought this would be great for Buyers, because of the worldwide coverage by Amazon, however reading your comment and the linked review, I can understand why Sellers are going to be infuriated by the T&C of Amazon. Will that part of Amazon last, only if Sellers are desperate and prepared to sell their souls!

      Reply
  8. Matt Haas

    I buy from both… and on very limited occasion, sell on both.
    As a buyer… I’ll use either site.
    As a seller (if I sell more stuff in the future… which is very likely), I’ll sell on both.
    Bottom line… I’m not beholden to either platform… although I do very much like Amazon!

    Reply
  9. Anita Spero

    Hello,
    I’ve been selling on Etsy since 2012. I do very well there. I make enough to live on and more. I was invited to sell on Amazon but it is a lot more in fees etc; . I’ve done surveys with my large customer base and they just can’t get into the “handmade” thing on Amazon. They love the feel of Etsy…
    I will watch for a while and see what happens. For right now I do love Etsy. Through Etsy I have made a tremendous amount of contacts for magazine, t.v, blogs and more…
    Etsy is huge. I really like it there..
    What I wonder is this. When you go to Amazon to find something, they give you options. Will they be doing this with handmade? Giving you options to buy manufactured items as well? That is something I would not like..

    Reply
  10. knowwhatmomknows

    Hi Nick,
    I have to say, that I am VERY much the same to Richard’s comment above. I did SO WELL On Etsy, to the point that I had to actually place a sign up in my store that I was closing down for awhile, lol, that was LAST Christmas, about a year ago…I say I did so well, because even after I placed my sign up that I would be away for awhile, my customers FOLLOWED ME…lol, I could hardly keep up with my customer base on a word of mouth situation due to Ebay AND Etsy, that NOW I only list things once in a great while on Ebay. I still have a store on etsy, technically, but…life for ME has changed. Now, saying that, I have never tried selling woodworking items, I have kept woodworking as a straight hobby. Family and Friends only. I have been a Great Seller of Gourmet Temptations along with Bath and Body items like Handmade Soap. … because everyone eats :-) and everyone uses soaps and body care stuff.That is a good thing, but, like Richard expressed above, alot of work as in effort and many know I am also disabled, so, it takes MORE time than normal to get products out. Shane, my husband, he has always helped me with everything I do, so thats good. But, I have slowly gotten out of selling those items and I am trying to keep MOST of what I do on a Hobby Basis, for now.

    But, would I ever go over to Amazon? NO, I really do not think so.

    I guess its a “WHAT do you sell” situation, I can see how Amazon might do really well for a woodworker, but for what I can tell, Etsy holds that Market really well. And for the market of homemade bath and body along with Gourmet Foods, I think Etsy and Ebay will hold down that Market for a good while yet. But, handmade wood items? I just think that Etsy has really made a place now in our society for having available High End Handmade items of all sorts of Handmade industry. I believe that even tho Amazon has a very solid spot in selling mass produced items, I personally believe that it will be an up river climb for Amazon to gather and KEEP enough Handmade Artisans… Just my two cents :-)

    I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments And this Article,
    BEST DAY EVER!!
    Shelly Cole

    Reply
    • Nick

      I tend to agree that the environment of Etsy has a homemade feel – regardless of actual structure to said websites, Etsy does have the handmade image – although to play devil’s advocate, Amazon is a force to be reckon with and has the resources to have their image presented to the public as they see fit – coin toss at this point and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out

      Reply

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