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Why this Chicago creator is joining the Etsy strike

By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_


Artists, crafters, and small business owners launched a strike against Etsy this week after the online marketplace unveiled new policies, sparking outrage from creators who’ve long been frustrated with the platform. 

The Verge reported 5,000 of Etsy’s 5.3 million sellers pledged to close their online shops in solidarity — including Chicago creators. 

Rogers Park resident Nicola McCafferty has been running vvitchroom as a side hustle on Etsy since 2019, selling horror–themed pins, stickers, and more. The Northwestern Ph.D. student told City Cast that she got about 250 orders last year. 

McCafferty heard about the strike in her small business owner circle, and went dark this week.

Vvitchroom’s away message on Etsy for the week. (Nicola McCafferty / Etsy)

What are sellers striking over? According to the petition

▪️ Lack of fee transparency. McCafferty said figuring out what she makes on a $3.50 sticker after fees and material costs is confusing, and the new transfer fee will only cut profits more — especially on bigger-ticket items. 

▪️ Star Sellers program. Rolled out last year, the program rewards shops that offer quick shipping, respond within 24 hours, and earn five-star ratings, which can be hard for sellers who are hand-making items. 

▪️ Regulating resellers. Some creators want Etsy to rid the platform of shops that mass-produce goods that they don’t design. 

Still, not all creators are participating. Some can’t afford to take the week off while others think it’s on the sellers to cut costs and work within Etsy’s changing parameters. 

In a statement to City Cast, a spokesperson for Etsy said the company was receptive to the feedback and the new fee structure would go toward addressing and investing sellers’ concerns in the petition. 

👉 If you support the sellers’ strike, here’s what you can do: Sign the petition. Check out alternatives to Etsy.


A new report analyzes alder attendance at 526 City Council and committee meetings between May 2019 and December 2021, charting each alder’s attendance. So how’d they do? 

  • The highest attendance rate was 93% with four of the top attendees only serving on the council for three years.
  • The lowest rate was 54% with four of the bottom five ranging from 19–53 years in office. 

🎧 The Daily Line’s Erin Hegarty and WBEZ’s Claudia Morell break down the report and discuss what impact it’ll have on next year’s election cycle.


▪️ President Joe Biden nominated two individuals to federal judicial positions in Chicago. U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee could be the first Asian American to serve on the appellate court, and Nancy L. Maldonado could be the first Latinx woman to be a federal district judge in Illinois. [Chicago Tribune]

▪️ Applications for the city’s basic income pilot program open April 25, giving 5,000 low-income families $500 a month over a year.

▪️ Potbelly’s is expanding its franchise stores in an effort to rebound from a $23.6 million revenue loss last year. The Chicago-based sandwich chain aims to have more than 2,000 locations, with 85% of those owned by franchisees, in the next decade. [Crain’s Chicago]

▪️ This Oscar-winning director will film the “Justified” reboot in Chicago through August. [Chicago Sun-Times]

▪️ Finished filing your 2021 taxes? Ladder Up can help before Monday, aka Tax Day.

▪️ South Siders in grades 6–12 can enter South Side Weekly’s essay contest for a chance to win up to $500.

▪️ The Bulls will play the Bucks, the defending NBA champions, in the first round of playoffs Sunday in Milwaukee. Hope it goes better than the regular-season series when the Bucks won 4-0 🤞 [WGN]


We often turn to Block Club Chicago to explore neighborhood stories, break down ward gossip, and share joy from across the city. 

So we’re very excited for the launch of their new show, “On the Block!” 

Hosted by frequent City Cast guest Brandon Pope, the news show follows Block Club reporters and podcast host Jon Hansen sharing their brand of hyperlocal journalism with the critical eye we have come to expect.

👉 Catch the show at 7 p.m. on WCIU and Saturday at 10 a.m. on CW26.

Head to Schubas in Lakeview for stories and songs Sunday at the Karaoke Storytellers event hosted by City Cast’s own Jacoby Cochran!

Not subscribed yet? Fix that 👇

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