Cassidy described Etsy’s latest fee increase, which would cost her around $100 per month during peak sales periods, as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“I’ve been really upset with every recent platform change,” she said. One frustration was the spring 2020 introduction of an advertising program that Cassidy is ineligible for, but for which Etsy charges a minimum 12% fee. Because the company and not the sellers themselves operate the new advertising program, the fees come as a “complete surprise,” which Cassidy says has made it difficult to accurately price items in his store and manage a sustainable business. “Do I just charge everyone 12% more or take a pay cut on some orders?” she said. “[It] It really interferes with his work.”
Etsy has publicly said it is working on strongest police of sellers who violate it rules, which restricts sales to vintage or handmade items and craft supplies. But in July 2020, Cassidy said, Etsy introduced another new program, Star Seller, which it said rewarded sellers who could ship faster by designing original products and outsourcing production (which, according to Etsy , qualifies as “handmade”), excluding stores like yours. “In that moment, I decided, no matter what’s going on in the world or in my life, the next time Etsy does something to hurt me, I’m going to stand up for myself,” she said.
So when Etsy announced another fee increase in February, Cassidy posted on Reddit: “We need a union of Etsy sellers” and found that dozens of other Etsy sellers agreed with her. She became the de facto leader of Etsy Strike and, in coordination with other sellers via Discord, wrote this week’s petition and announced the April strike.
Cassidy said her ultimate goal is to “start a solidarity movement” and help sellers get off Etsy altogether, but there are obstacles: Her Etsy store, for example, has 11,000 followers, but the platform owns the data for the Email address. If she closes her Etsy shop and moves her entire business to her personal website, many of those fans and customers won’t know where to find her.