Etsy announced today that it will be shutting down Etsy Wholesale effective July 31, 2018. “While the original promise of Etsy Wholesale was exciting and some sellers have had great success on the platform, what we’ve learned over the past several years is that demand for wholesale from buyers hasn’t been as strong as we hoped,” the announcement read.
Of the nearly 2 million Etsy sellers only 5,000 are actively selling on Etsy Wholesale, and of those, only a small fraction are making more than $10,000 a year on Etsy Wholesale. Given that data, the investment of resources was too great to maintain a separate wholesale marketplace, according to today’s announcement.
This closure is one of a string of moves Etsy has made over the past year to streamline it’s business, focusing on the core marketplace.
Etsy released this video announcement about the closure of Etsy Wholesale.
Etsy launched Etsy Wholesale in August of 2014 as a marketplace to connect sellers with retailers. For the first few months, the site required sellers to pay a $100 fee to join, but this was later dropped and the fee structure then matched the main Etsy marketplace.
In its heyday, the Etsy Wholesale program included special events such as pop-up shops in Macy’s Herald Square and opportunities for sellers to have their goods for sale at Whole Foods. The platform also held annual Open Call events, partnering with major retailers interested in discovering unique, handmade products.
A Facebook group for Etsy Wholesale sellers has over 11,000 members, many of whom expressed deep disappointment at today’s announcement, although they knew it was coming. The last Open Call event was in August 2016. The Etsy Wholesale Instagram account was deleted long ago and the homepage had been stagnant for months, although new Etsy Wholesale seller applications were still being accepted as recently as last week.
“I guess I’m one of the ‘small fraction’ of people who sells more than 10k a year on Etsy Wholesale,” one seller in the Facebook group wrote. “This is just so disappointing that they won’t support us in this way even if it wasn’t a huge money maker for them.”
Another asked, “Isn’t it only a ‘small fraction’ of people who sell more than 10k on Etsy at all? Will they shut down the site with the same logic?”
Many Etsy sellers who relied on Etsy Wholesale to connect with retailers are now working to reestablish those relationships on their own platforms. Emily Kerr-Finell works with crafters every day to set up these sorts of networks through her company, Wholesale in a Box. She advises sellers get in contact with current stockists who were buying through Etsy Wholesale. “Communicate with them, and actively support them in transitioning to a new method of ordering and paying. This might take several touchpoints, so be persistent.”
Kerr-Finell says this is also a good time to consider creating your own website where wholesale buyers can connect with you and create a system to proactively connect with stores that you think will be a great fit for you. Finally, she says to remember that your wholesale strategy is going to evolve and change. “Don’t panic and do something expensive, like signing up for a trade show that you can’t afford, just because Etsy Wholesale is changing. Take some time to experiment, explore alternatives, and reflect on what you really envision a sustainable wholesale strategy being for you.”