etsy vs. urban outfitters: the smackdown

Ah, Urban Outfitters. Treasure trove of hipster wares. Mecca of ironic graphic tees and neon plastic wayfarers. Purveyor of accessories that make you say, “Ooh, I love that!” and then, “Wait a second, that necklace is $40?” and finally, “Couldn’t I just… make that?”

Well, I can’t “just make that.” That pair of teeny-tiny jewelry pliers I own has drawn more yelps of pain from me than that one end table that seems to move a few inches to the left in the middle of the night. But that’s what Etsy’s for, right? I’m amazed when I see something so simple as, say, a peacock-feathered headband at Urban Outfitters for $30 when I know for a fact that there are gazillions on Etsy for half that. Gazillions, really. And doesn’t it just suck to spend $30 on something you think is so original, only to find that half the other “original” chicks at the trendy new restaurant are sporting the exact same thing?
At any rate, we all know Etsy’s got more creativity and individuality than a thousand shipments of glitter leggings–that’s why I love doing these Smackdowns, as we saw last week with Banana Republic. So let’s take a look at how our Etsy sellers stack up against Urban Outfitters.

(Full Disclosure: Yes, I worked at UO for a summer. Yes, I worked during that one tax-free back-to-school weekend and had to witness a thousand spoiled, rich fat girls squealing and crying for those ultra-stylish ballet flats. Yes, I might still be a little bitter from all the hours I had to spend at the Graphic Tee Table tri-folding shirts with moronic sayings like, “Gettin’ Lucky In Kentucky.” And I might be a little scarred from the weekend of the Gay Black Pride parade, wherein I had to physically help a young man into a pair of size 00 skinny jeans. But yes, despite all of this, I do still truly think Etsy is better. No, I’m not just being a bitterbottom. Enjoy.)
button bracelet, by urban outfitters, $24

czech glass button cab bracelet, by timelesstrinkets, $21

floral accordian flap checkbook by urban outfitters, $18

vintage floral bi-fold wallet by shannyann, $7.50

pins and needles floral scarf, by urban outfitters, $24

floral spring scarf by limiboutique, $15

long chain pocket watch necklace, by urban outfitters, $28

roman mini bronze pocket watch necklace, by analoguepeople, $22

ribbon-wrapped feather headband, by urban outfitters, $24

katie feather headband, by liveinstyle, $18

flying bird necklace, by urban outfitters, $20

fly away home necklace, by dreamyvintage, $16

plastic owl ring, by urban outfitters, $10

blue owl ring by littlepinkbox, $5

bicycle earrings by urban outfitters, $12
pewter bicycle earrings, by michaelandsabriney, $4

uo studded feather earrings, by urban outfitters, $24

peacock feather earrings, by tianarutledge, $15

kimchi blue beaded clutch from urban outfitters, $48

handmade beaded evening bag by hoobin, $25

destination charm necklace, by urban outfitters, $24

paris love letter, by yellowchrysanthemum, $24

rope bracelet with charms, by urban outfitters, $18
the sailor’s knot bracelet in gold, by the vamoose, $18

metal mini-purse necklace, by urban outfitters, $28

golden purse locket, by garagerose, $24

beaded applique headband by urban outfitters, $24

iris sparkling headband, by mixbaby, $22.99



Filed under retail smackdown

20 responses to “etsy vs. urban outfitters: the smackdown

  1. Ok so I’m a little partial because I am an Etsian who is selling fabulous accessories and wedding necessities, but I make headbands by hand and add personal touches to them, and sell them for half, half people of what Urban Outfitters does. Plus they are one a kind…and I love that.
    And I am not getting the buying discounts they are when purchasing so a headband that costs them probably a buck makes them a profit of $29? Am I the only one who thinks that’s crazy? I think not.

  2. Etsy rules, no contest!!!!!!

  3. Your article made me giggle… because it is true! I really enjoyed it… Kudos ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi Gray,
    Thank you sooo much for featuring my scarf in your blog! I read your blog on the smackdown vs UO and I totally agree with everything you’ve said! And I love the comparisons of all the items on Etsy, there really are some great stuff at affordable prices! Keep it up and best of success to your blog!

    Take care,

  5. Thank you for the insightful article and for featuring my button bracelet. I love Etsy.

  6. My goodness you have this down to a science! I’m voting etsy on that one.

    I do feel on several occasions that U.O. has high prices for simply made items.

    And, I’m sorry about your traumatic experiences

  7. Wonderful article! It was so fun to read and so many gorgeous Etsy finds. Thank you so much featuring my birdie necklace ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Funny how much more inexpensive the handmade items are- and how much more beautiful they are.
    Love It!

  9. Very beautiful selection. I love fly away home necklace.

  10. I love these retail smackdowns, please keep them coming!!

  11. Cool! You should do an Anthropologie smackdown next! ๐Ÿ™‚


  12. Gen, I’m totally planning on it! I’ve already found a couple pieces of Anthropologie jewelry to compare. And of course, the price difference is absolutely massive.. usually a difference of $50-$100!

    thank you ALL for making this the most popular post (so far!) on Etsyhound! more great things to come!

  13. Meg

    Great article! Everytime I enter an Urban Outfitters I leave completely bitter because I can’t afford anything…but I also take mental pictures and then go home and attempt to make my own version of the jewelry. I love the skinny jeans fiasco. They are definitely not for everyone.

  14. ;alsdkgf

    Yes, I worked during that one tax-free back-to-school weekend and had to witness a thousand spoiled, rich fat girls squealing and crying for those ultra-stylish ballet flats.

    Spoiled rich girls come in all sizes and their size has nothing to do with their annoyingness.

  15. I love the idea behind this blog! Unfortunately, two of the etsy sellers you are featuring do not make their own products. Liveinstyle and Hoobin are resellers — people who purchase wholesale, mark up their products and claim they are handmade on etsy. Just bringing this up because there are a lot of great HANDMADE products on etsy and I’d love to see them featured instead.

  16. As an employee of UO, I have to stand up for them!
    I love etsy and I love Urban.
    What it comes down to is PEOPLE.
    People are STUPID!
    Us fashionistas know that you can get the stuff cheaper elsewhere like online (etsy, ebay, etc.), but there are others who rely on places like Urban to provide their wardrobe. This is how UO succeeds, and I think we should recognize them for their success because it’s been going on since the 70s.

  17. Thank you for doing this….I haven’t read all of the comments in case someone already pointed it out, but surely the things from Urban Outfitters are not made in the US…cranked out in China somewhere…
    There is a specialness….a warmth that goes with buying something handmade on Etsy. I love being a part of it.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I’m really glad you and L Bridges pointed this out. Of course this blog exists to showcase beautiful handmade items, and the people who put so much effort and time into them. I don’t want to feature resellers on this blog! Please feel free to point out any mistakes on my part in the future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s