Is Etsy Better than Ebay? Four Reasons Why Etsy Might Be the Better Choice for Buyers and Sellers

A stack of vintage clothing of jeans and sweaters.
If you haven’t heard of Etsy, then perhaps it’s time you have. 

Etsy is a site that sells handmade and vintage items. That’s it. It’s the boutique version of eBay. And after selling on both venues, I’m going to get specific about why Etsy is so great.

I’m also going to get a little opinionated because I can and because I have years of experience in both venues to corroborate my findings.


I’ve sold sporadically (from one to five vintage items a year) on eBay since 1999. I’ve been selling consistently (from one to five vintage items a day) on Etsy since 2010.

The good thing about eBay: You can sell everything under the sun. The bad thing about eBay: You can sell everything under the sun. 

The good thing about Etsy: You can sell only within two categories. The bad thing about Etsy: You can sell only within two categories.

Okay, so which one is best for you?

It depends on what you want. Let’s be real here - it’s awesome that you can sell whatever you feel like on eBay. But, as a consequence, that means there’s a great deal of competition and sometimes, a great deal of “nothing special.” When I can find a Target t-shirt on eBay that was just in the retail store last week, then whoop-de-do. Everyone has that shirt. It’s normal stuff; it’s everyday modern fast fashion.

EBay is like the Amazon of the used items world. 

I’m not bashing eBay as much as I’m pointing out they’re like a big box store while Etsy is a boutique.

On the flip side of the online-selling world, Etsy is a boutique-style venue that only allows you to sell vintage or handmade items. That’s it. Because of that, it’s very niche-y, and you can find specific vintage items and specific handmade items.

It’s like a giant artist colony all in one place - a place that exists right in front of you. This means you don’t have to pack your van and travel the country. You get special, unique, and often, one-of-a-kind items.

Can you find that on eBay regularly? More importantly, do you even want to?

With the click of a mouse, you can find that macrame plant holder hanger (vintage or new), candles (vintage or new), or furniture (vintage or new) all over Etsy. It’s like a giant flea market without the trash floating around the venue spaces and parking lot. 

As slow fashion goes, the quality of vintage is superior to fast fashion. The same goes with the artists who create handmade products - you know they're quality, because let’s face it, the people on Etsy aren’t on it just to make a quick buck.

And that’s the biggest key here.

Sure, Etsy folks want to make a little money, like a living perhaps; like to pay their mortgage even. But on the whole, if you think of Etsy sellers as artists, it changes the way you shop. Slow living and slow fashion embrace intentionality, authenticity, and true quality. 

Etsy is, essentially, all of that.

Here’s why, after selling vintage on Etsy for over thirteen years, I think Etsy is better than eBay particularly for those of us to sell vintage or handmade items.

Etsy is sweet. I know what you’re thinking. Sweet? Yes. Sweet. Etsy is like the toned-down version of Jack Sparrow: cute, doesn’t need makeup to look attractive, and with hair something to aspire to. Etsy doesn’t need to do anything to be the best market for your art or vintage because they’re amazing just as they are.

They’ve grown and changed over the years, and some sellers are always going to balk at the changes - like listing fees, and commissions, for example, being more than they’re used to. (Folks, they take half of what eBay takes, okay? Take your complaints elsewhere.) 

Some people will complain that things aren’t what they used to be. Used to be … before what? Before Etsy, there was only eBay. Things change! Etsy gave eBay a run for their money and has succeeded. Etsy is sweet because they have nothing to prove. They’re like the older, prettier neighbor of eBay - the one you want to date, and not have to date, because your mom’s best friend set you up with them.

Etsy is a niche marketplace. As I’ve mentioned before, Etsy only sells vintage or handmade. It's a niche market extravaganza that very few people can successfully pull off. Can you imagine Amazon only selling books and clothing? It wouldn’t be the giant it is today. But Etsy has managed to only have these general two categories and the whole world knows who they are. They are known because of these two categories and are a huge success. 

Etsy is a force to be reckoned with. Did Etsy have to make recent layoffs? Sure. What corporation doesn’t have to alter its production and personnel year after year? Things change, people change, the economy changes. But Etsy is still an incredible venue for artists and vintage lovers, who like to buy or sell, all over the world. Etsy is a viable corporation, in my opinion, and that they are a niche marketplace makes it even more impressive. 

Etsy is self-control. Have you ever heard of a company that succeeded and then proceeded to open more and more locations too fast and then (because of not monitoring their growth) self-destruct? Yeah, me too. This happens to companies over and over again. Etsy didn’t do this. They took their time to grow slowly, they hired slowly, they raised fees slowly, and it allowed them to learn and grow from mistakes or potential mistakes. And there they were smiling and waiting with open arms when folks left eBay.

Etsy is the epitome of self-control. Etsy waited ten years - ten years! - to grow their small, sweet, niche company before going public. To me, that says everything I need to know about why I sell with Etsy. 

Since Etsy’s beginnings in early 2005, it’s come a long way. There is a lot of competition (like eBay) but the competition seems different. It seems a little bit nicer. It’s a Target versus Walmart competition. I’m not saying that people who sell electronics on eBay are a Walmart variety. They’re not. I get it. If electronics are your thing, then great!

But, they’re not mixed in with the handmade pottery mugs. They’re not sitting next to the incredible jewelers and artists whose paintings, sculptures, and jewelry could be in a museum. It's competition against peers - peers you actually want to be around.

It’s like Etsy found a way to showcase the artists of the world, and they don’t feel like they have to place these artists right next door to a 1983 diesel 300D Mercedes.

Nothing wrong with selling cars on eBay. Nothing wrong with a 300D Mercedes, either. But, if I’m looking for the right diesel Mercedes, why would I want to go to a place that sells millions of other items that have nothing to do with diesel Mercedes?

Etsy may not be for everyone. Some folks may like the chaos of an everything-under-the-sun format from which to buy and sell. For me, my heart rate increases, and my blood pressure spikes when I try to sell on eBay. It's all too much, too big, too crazy.

At Etsy, it’s like a breath of fresh uncrowded air. It’s a way to feel like an artist, a way to feel like what I sell matters, and the bonus is that I’m surrounded by others who feel just like I do.

Interested in selling on Etsy? Check out their handbook and see a little about what they do, how they do it, and why you may want to give Etsy a try. Interested in shopping for truly unique items? Head on over to Etsy. You won’t be disappointed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts