Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Resellers and my short temper

I'm afraid I lost my temper in the etsy forums today. I've been holding on to it for quite a while but enough is enough. The plant category is full of resellers and we have been complaining for months. Now it's Spring, they are putting a serious damper on my business, which I rely on to pay the bills.
Last year I was new to selling seeds and I did not have enough saved or get photos of all my plants. Nonetheless, this time last year I could barely keep up with orders. So, all summer long every single day no matter how much I was hurting, I went out to collect seeds. I took tons of photos of everything I could think of. I had trays all over my house of seeds drying, then spent countless hours sorting them from plant material. I set up an access database to print labels, which saves me from getting writer's cramp and looks much more professional. In other words, I worked my butt off. I love gardening, but I was seriously sick of seeds. However, I am fighting to keep up with my house payments so I did it.
I spent all winter counting out and bagging up seeds in anticipation of being possibly busier than I was last year. I'm sure I overdid it on the amount of seeds I saved, but I preferred to have too many than to run out early. Well, apparently that's not something I need to worry about, because sales have been slow.
The reason they've been slow is because etsy has become overrun with resellers. Some are downright blatant about it, and state that their seeds come from China, Tibet, wherever. Others claim they grew and collected the seeds themselves, but don't have a single photo that wasn't stolen from other sites. Etsy's TOU says you cannot use copyrighted photos, but apparently they don't enforce it. Others still have commercial websites. These places are selling at Walmart prices because it's most likely leftover Walmart seed. Folks, if a deal is too good to be true, it usually is. Organic seed companies charge $3 and up per packet, but these places are selling them and claiming they are organic (except for some that are treated...) for $1.25 a pack. This one guys even has hybrid seed he claims to have collected himself. He then goes on about how these seeds are HIS LIFE, HIS LOVE, and profit means nothing!! (And yes, he caps it...)
The thing is, multiple people have been flagging these shops for months and nothing has been done. I've quit renewing items in my photo and my vintage shops, and am only doing enough to keep my shop stocked with my garden shop. I've set up on both Artfire and Winkelf for my garden items, and am on 1000Markets and am working on setting up at Shophandmade for my photography. The things I buy, I've been buying from etsy, but I will buy them from other places until these people are gone. I realize that etsy probably doesn't give 2 damns, but it's my way of protesting.
Anyway... in the forum thread today I listed the reseller shops and provided links to either their commercial operations or to where they have stolen photos from. There's been no response from etsy in the seven days the thread has been going, but it was shut down within hours of my posting the links. I also sent these links to etsycallout and have been crabby on twitter about it.
I hate being crabby. I usually don't even go in the forums, but admin was doing nothing and again, it's my livelihood we're talking about. So, while I hate to appear to be a crabby bitch, I did what I felt I needed to to try to rescue my business.

In the meantime, there is supposed to be a nifty cart feature from Artfire that I can put right on my blog and from which you can purchase without having to set up an account. As soon as I figure it out, I'll be installing it. :) Until then, please visit me at
Wise Plants on Artfire &
Green Thing on Winkelf
Or, my etsy shop is still stocked.


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