I am a little late in getting the news that Heartsy is closing at the end of this month. And in all honestly, I am not too surprised. I ran a deal in early February, and overall had a bit of a bad taste in my mouth afterward.
As a buyer, I’ve always been a fan of the site and purchased a few deals over the last couple years. As a seller, I had mixed feelings. While the new exposure the sale brought my shop was wonderful and I am grateful for it, I found that thanks to their VIP deals especially (72% off!) that it was a loosing deal for the seller. When I decided to sign up, I thought that the volume alone would make up for the deep discounts–especially because Heartsy pushed me to have 50 items in my shop minimum (I think I had 20-something when I was accepted, so I busted my rear to meet their goal in time, only to be met with lackluster sales.)
When my sale came about, Heartsy didn’t post it to their Facebook fans, tweet it, blog it or promote it in any other way to their network (I of course did all those things), so while their individual communication was good before and during the sale, I felt really unsupported as a seller by their lack of utilizing their network. Their complete lack of support should have been the tip-off that something was amiss.
Additionally and oddly, a large percentage of the handful of sales messaged me wanting custom orders for their vouchers. I had it all on my site that I couldn’t accept any coupons on custom orders, but it still put me in a somewhat awkward situation as a seller. To Heartsy’s credit, they quickly added the caveat I asked for to my Heartsy page, but the prospect of custom orders at 50% to 75% off was frightening (ordering new supplies, designing and making brand new items) and completely non-sustainable. I’d never even thought to expect it beforehand! Luckily I escaped relatively unscathed and had a really successful month and large amount of page views during my brief time on Heartsy.
There is also the debate looming now that these discount sites, like Heartsy and Tophatter (the same company) devalue handmade goods, and stories of sellers being put out of business by the former. I am glad my experience was nowhere near that negative. I’ll write more about my experience with Tophatter soon, another one full of mixed feelings! I have been selling there since it debuted in December 2011 and have recently had a difficult time being as successful with the site as I was initially due to Tophatter’s frequently changing policies.
How about you? Have you sold handmade goods on Heartsy or Tophatter? How was your experience? Are you sad to see Heartsy go? Is there a new site for promoting handmade that you love? Let me know in the comments.
Update March 15th: Tophatter wants your opinion, too…