Minnesota business owner joins global Etsy strike over fee increase

Thousands of sellers across the country, and some here in Minnesota, are fed up with the company Etsy over a new fee increase.

Around 5.3 million people sell products, including jewelry, clothes and home décor, on the popular global online marketplace and app. But thousands of sellers are striking this week, closing down their shops temporarily, to send a message to the company.

With their edgy designs, the items in Amanda Witt's Etsy shop exploded in popularity in just a few months.

"I started getting into it kind of how a lot of people did over the pandemic," Witt told FOX 9.

The Carver resident designed the drawings herself with nods to a popular true crime podcast. Stickers are her most popular items, but she also sells tote bags, earrings and keychains.

But if users who check out her online shop "Spooky Lady Art" this week will find this notice saying she's on a break from Etsy. 

On April 11, Etsy increased its transaction fee from 5 percent to 6.5 percent, causing sellers to strike.

"It's sad that Etsy isn't there to support us," Witt said. "There are people who depend on Etsy as their main source of income because of the traffic, and so it's not fair."

Witt said the fee increase may seem minimal, but profit margins are slim for many Etsy sellers.

Thousands of sellers across the country, and some here in Minnesota, are fed up with the company Etsy over a fee increase.

"If I'm selling a sticker for $3, a 1.5 increase in fees can make me even go negative on my profits," she said.

A petition outlining concerns about the company has garnered 69,000 signatures as of Tuesday evening.

A spokesperson for Etsy sent a statement to FOX 9 saying sellers’ success is a top priority for the company.

"We are always receptive to seller feedback and, in fact, the new fee structure will enable us to increase our investments in areas outlined in the petition, including marketing, customer support, and removing listings that don't meet our policies. We are committed to providing great value for our 5.3 million sellers so they are able to grow their businesses while keeping Etsy a beloved, trusted, and thriving marketplace," the statement said.

Some sellers have also reported that in recent years, their accounts were shut down by Etsy without an explanation from the company or a way to appeal the decision. Etsy’s CEO Josh Silverman addressed those concerns in a February blog post, saying that that the fee increase will allow Etsy to grow its support team by more than 20 percent to get faster email responses and launch a new seller app to make it easier for sellers to manage orders.

During the strike, sellers are asking customers to contact them on Instagram or Facebook and buy their products off of Etsy to avoid paying the transaction fee. They’re asking Etsy to be transparent with them about where the money from the fee will go.

"I wish they would just listen. If they would listen to us, they might actually like get some good ideas," Witt said. "If (things don’t) change for the better, I may have to get off of Etsy."