As a buyer, why should you look outside of Etsy? Options. Etsy doesn't have a monopoly on quality products. You can find that perfect one of a kind birthday present without searching through 10,000 items.
As a seller, why should you bother with XYZ handmade site instead of Etsy? Well how about sheer numbers? As of February 2011, Etsy had over 29,000 registered sellers (I'm sure this has increased since then). You have to work very, very hard to make yourself stand out in the crowd. With other sites, who have significantly less sellers, you have a greater chance of benefiting from their internal marketing programs. Case in point - I joined LilyShop less than a week ago and today one of my coaster sets is on the front page. I have been selling on Etsy for over two years and never had an item featured on the front page. Of course, wherever you sell, the larger responsibility for marketing is on you, but it does help when the numbers aren't so incredibly lopsided.
For myself, I am experimenting with shops on Zibbet, ShopHandmade and LilyShop. In future posts I will share my impressions of each sites. I'm certainly not advocating abandoning Etsy. I love it. But I don't think it could hurt to have everyone on both sides of the handmade table expand their horizons.
|On the front page of LilyShop! Upcycled Coasters, Repurposed Vinyl with White Hearts|