Katie De Valle’s passion is cookies. The owner of Yummy-Yummy Sugar Shop, De Valle has been selling cookies on Etsy for a few years now.
But a negative experience with the site recently inspired her to start a new venture.
In short, De Valle had a customer, who also happened to be a seller on Etsy, complain about an order. Though she says that she didn’t include gift tags in the item listings or promise them, the customer filed a claim with the site over not receiving any gift tags. And De Valle’s shop was shut down until she offered a full refund.
Though upset by this incident, it inspired her to start Artsy Central.
The site isn’t meant to be a direct competitor of Etsy. Instead, De Valle is focusing on her main passion: cookies. Users can sell any kind of baked goods or baking supplies on the site.
De Valle said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “I was initially thinking that I’d like to do something similar to Etsy. But my thing has always been all about food. So I thought it would be better to focus on things like cookies and all sorts of baked goods.”
Its not the first site to offer this type of platform for bakers and foodies. But De Valle plans to set hers apart by really focusing on creating a fair experience for both buyers and sellers. In fact, she’s already hired a team of 50 to oversee any issues that may arise.
In addition, Artsy Central only takes a 3 percent fee when users make a sale, but no listing or monthly fees on top of that.
Artsy Central also isn’t the first site to pop up offering an alternative to at least some of the sellers who would normally flock to Etsy. And De Valle doesn’t just attribute that trend to order disputes like the one she experienced.
There’s been some frustration in the handmade community as of late over some of Etsy’s changes in policy. The site that once focused exclusively on items that were completely handcrafted by artisans, or vintage or supply items, now has a bit more of an open structure.
That focus on really unique items from artists who love their work isn’t as strong. And instead, sellers can outsource production of their items or even sell products they’ve bought in a wholesale capacity.
The site isn’t exactly struggling to find shoppers or sellers, even with the changes. But it does create a new opportunity for competitors to woo those who are a bit disillusioned over the whole Etsy experience.
De Valle’s niche makes Artsy Central unique. But it’s still part of a growing trend that could see even more companies trying to get a share of the handmade marketplace.
And for now, De Valle is keeping her Etsy shop open, since she is still in the process of getting the new Artsy Central platform up and running. But she says once the site takes off, she plans to focus all of her efforts on that.
Cupcake Image via Shutterstock