The American platform Etsy, specializing in the sale of handmade and vintage objects, is facing the sling of its independent sellers.
Less famous in France than its counterparts Amazon, Veepee or Vinted, the Etsy e-commerce platform is still one of the busiest in the world. The American company’s latest activity report indicates that 96.3 million buyers and 7.5 million sellers traded last year on this marketplace specializing in handmade and vintage items, decorative objects. arts and crafts. Gross merchandise sales for Etsy were $13.5 billion for the year; an amount that allows it to record a consolidated turnover of 2.3 billion dollars in 2021.
But the freelancers who work on the platform, or even live off it for some, ended up stepping up to denounce their working conditions. Sellers have thus created in recent days a non-profit association which should allow “ promote their interests » vis-à-vis the directors of the company. The group called itself Indie Sellers Guild, or the guild of independent sellers in French.
« Empower sellers »
« We draw inspiration from a union as much as possible, with the same objectives as a more traditional union and other organized labor movements “, explained to the american media The Verge Chiarra Lohr, founding member of the organization. Like a wink, the formalization of the movement will be on September 5, Labor Day in North America. The statutes of the organization set the tone. “ To accomplish our mission, we work to support the creation of a cooperative alternative market to empower artists and sellers, not to enrich CEOs and investors. “, can we read for example on the site of the Indie Sellers Guild.
In detail, the sellers are attacking the commission that the platform recovers for each transaction. It recently went from 5% to 6.5%, representing a 30% increase in fees for sellers. “ For many of us, this increase is the final straw. “, testified last April on the American site Mashable designer and salesperson Kristi Cassidy. Last spring, a strike had already broken out. Twelve thousand vendors had closed shop on the platform for a week in protest.
« A juggernaut »
Also in the sights of the sling: the massification on the platform of products that are neither artisanal, nor artistic, nor even vintage. The Indie Sellers Guild regrets that the strict rules supposed to preserve the handmade spirit of Etsy are less and less applied by the leaders of the platform. “ You must have achieved something for the item to be, in some way, yours “recalls Chiarra Lohr, reviling the drop shippersthose users who resell manufactured products purchased at a discount.
For now, the organization has 2,000 active members and nearly 30,000 supporters, according to an internal count. A drop of water compared to the 7.5 million sellers listed in total by Etsy. Not enough to disarm these angry independents, who harbor ambition for their movement. “ For now, it’s only Etsy, but this movement needs to become a juggernaut “, declared last April, to the American media Mashable, a seller of the platform. It is true that this episode is reminiscent of the anger of the drivers of the Uber platform, or even, all things considered, the unionization of Amazon employees last spring.