I've just been reviewing the results of the latest Etsy treasury contest I entered and, as usual, I came up short.
Here was my entry:
I'm not actually surprised. I had a pretty good idea which treasury would win before the voting even took place. Just like last month. And the month before that. And the month before that. I'm rarely mistaken. It's always the monochrome neutral one.
What is a treasury, you ask? For those of you not familiar with the world of Etsy, a treasury is a sort of virtual scrapbook page. The maker ("curator") chooses items to group together, and then shares the collection with others. The collection can be anything chosen from the myriad of items offered for sale on Etsy, and the purpose is to showcase the many different kinds of wares available and to boost sales. Anyone with an Etsy account is free to comment upon or mark as a "favorite" any treasury they happen to admire.
Supposedly, the best (or at least, the most intriguing) of these collections is chosen to appear on Etsy's storefront page for its fifteen minutes of fame. Getting picked to appear on the front page is a coveted achievement and most of us have resigned ourselves that the odds are not in our favor--there are simply so many treasuries for the Etsy administrators to choose from. So people like me settle for trying to win smaller contests or "challenges" put on by various Etsy "teams", which are rather like social clubs.
There is a certain tacit formula that must be followed if one wants to achieve recognition when making a treasury for Etsy. I've been analyzing it for a while now, and here are my conclusions.
How to Make a Front-Page Etsy Treasury
1. First of all, it must be predominantly white. Or dull gray. Or ivory. Or blah beige.
2. Choose photographs that skillfully obscure recognition of the item featured. Think iceberg, and then find photos that show only a tiny fragment of the whole item being offered for sale.
3. Make sure the photos are also vastly overexposed, so that what you do see is little more than a misty, nebulous haze.
4. Bonus points are given for items that are of no earthly use whatsoever. Triple bonus points are awarded if the specified useless item has a ridiculously outrageous price tag.
5. Be sure to include a handful of predictable ubiquitous items that have been featured ad nauseum in all other front page treasuries. I suggest a sprinkling of fingerless mitts, signs exhorting readers to remain calm, tutus for non-dancing adults, stacks of vintage suitcases, and photographs of crumbling concrete.
6. Models may only include attractive youthful individuals, preferably looking disheveled and moody; or chilled, naked, defenseless newborns wearing preposterous crocheted hats.
7. Don't cross the color barrier. Bright color is for classless philistines*. It will be tolerated occasionally and given token appearances on the front page, but serious curators must avoid it like the plague. (Not, however, like the Black Death, which would be singularly appropriate.)
I've also been considering ways to boost my own shops' cachet and increase sales. I've been researching for some time now and I think I've found the secret.
I've concluded my stuff is just not appealing to the savvy, upmarket buyers. Change is mandated if I want to command the truly Big Bucks. I've got to start offering wedding veils made of musty burlap. Empty my kitchen junk drawer onto a glue-covered automobile floor mat and call it fine art. Swirl Pepto-Bismol around in an old mayonnaise jar and market it as "cottage chic" decor. Hack a hole through a worn, sagging sofa cushion, ring it around someone's neck like a doughnut and proclaim it an "infinity scarf". You get the idea.
And it isn't that I mind things being outrageous and absurd. I rather like that sort of thing, in fact. What I object to is the items that are patently silly but being passed off as elite sophistication, with price tags commensurate. It's like The Emperor's New Clothes for adults.
If you think I'm exaggerating, just watch those front page treasuries for a while as they change throughout the day. Only this morning I saw a stack of seven flat pebbles such as I might pick up in my gravel driveway, with a price tag of--wait for it---$17.00. I kid you not. And this is only one example.
Feeling adventurous? Here are some searches you may find amusing:
stacking stones (everything else)
fruit cozies (handmade)
found objects rust (craft supplies)
www.etsy.com/listing/118981434/burlap-linen-and-lace-rag-tie-garland A steal at $30!
www.etsy.com/listing/43942053/crocheted-plastic-bag-market-bag $52-- the price for being "green"
Who knew children's school crafts could command such prices?
www.etsy.com/listing/71088500/broken-glass-color-photo The only trouble with this listing is the price should be $150, not $15. Then it would be "fine art".
Okay, I've got to stop. I'm getting quite nasty. Take it with a great boulder of salt, everyone... But I would love to see your idea of outrageous Etsy listings. Wanna share?
*See an example of a no-no treasury here: