Streams

Open Phones: Etsy Buyers and Sellers

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

In January, Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, will start to allow sellers with approval to partner with manufacturers to produce their products. Etsy sellers and buyers: what do you think? At what point is a handmade unique item not handmade or unique? Does this policy change disrupt your idea of what the Etsy community is all about, or is this is a perfectly reasonable allowance? Call us up at 212-433-9692 or comment here. 

 

 

 

 

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Comments [66]

jill

I'm just waiting for madeurban.com to launch their new site. That's where I will be selling.

Dec. 03 2013 06:00 AM
Salty Kisses Jewelry on Etsy from Denver, CO

I've only been selling on Etsy for one year, but have been buying handmade wares there since their inception. I've been quite successful with Etsy so far, but as a precaution, I've set up shops at zibbet, artfire, and goodsmiths. I even recently started my own website to sell my HANDMADE from beginning to end jewelry. I'm so nervous about how the changes will affect my little business. I just hope that customers are able to see the difference between the true handmade artisans and the sweatshop knockoffs. Holding my breath!

Nov. 17 2013 09:43 PM
Linda from Reno

Too bad this is happening. Will find my "handmade" elsewhere.

Nov. 17 2013 08:35 PM
Sandi.G from Ohio

I'm done. I could buy anything on line. I want original.

Nov. 17 2013 10:16 AM
Just the facts from Pennsylvania

Etsy has had reseller items listed on the site from almost day one. The new guidelines can be seen as an attempt to somehow get a handle on the situation before deceptive selling practices overwhelm the venue. At least, I hope this is part of the intention with Etsy's new policies. In a way, Etsy is a victim of its own success. Along with the rapid growth in the number of legit sellers listing items handmade by them, vintage items, and crafting supplies, came a group of sellers fleeing the consequences of breaking the rules, or poor customer service they gave, on other venues such as Ebay. For example, it was pretty easy for Ebay sellers who couldn't list their replica designer brand items there to open on Etsy and claim they made their wares by hand, or that these new items were "vintage". (Etsy has an incredible array of fakes and knock offs listed for sale no longer found on any other English language selling site.) Rather than getting emotionally wound up over the new Guidelines, I have been watching Etsy's handling of reported resellers. Good news is that some of the problem sellers who migrated over from Ebay are being bounced back to their original home. Not many so far, but it is happening.

Nov. 14 2013 05:35 PM
buttonalia

I've spent 3 years and many,many hours working on my Etsy shop. Etsy has literally crashed my earnings since September. Visitors to my Etsy shop come from China, India and Pakistan.....I fear for handmade, I truly do. I will now spend all my effort in Zibbet, who, at present, represent my handmade ethos.

Nov. 14 2013 01:57 PM
Carol Babs

As a buyer-only on Etsy, I am very troubled and disappointed in Etsy's new direction. Handmade is made by hand. Designing a product, and having it manufactured, is not handmade and never will be. To redefine commonly used, and in some cases legally defined, words is wrong and deceitful. How are buyers to know that Etsy has decided to redefine words? How many buyers are going to be scammed?

It is already difficult to determine authentic handmade from the many resold items that have flooded Etsy, and this new change will only make it worse. Relying on seller honesty has not worked for Etsy, and certainly won't in the future.

I have not shopped on Etsy since this new policy was announced. Etsy's transparency policy is a joke.

Nov. 14 2013 12:50 PM

I notice that frequently those who cheer-lead for etsy are very open with their identities. Those who don't, if they sell at etsy, tend to hide their identities. If etsy was a company that was trusted to be fair, honest and transparent, why would sellers need to hide their identity?

Nov. 14 2013 12:01 PM
Rusetsy from USA

Wanted to ask Mr. Lehrer, with all due respec, was this topic suggested to you from some higher up at WNYC? Perhaps coming down from someone on the Board acquainted with the money men behind Etsy?

Nov. 14 2013 11:41 AM

I love ETSY! I will continue to sell with them. There is no other selling platform like this online. Etsy has made it possible for me to succeed in the online marketplace. The new changes will allow me to grow my business even further. My dreams of being an Entrepreneur are finally being realized because of the positive influence that Etsy has had on my business.

Nov. 14 2013 11:26 AM
Marcie Adams/Lexibags from Redding, California

I am in love with Etsy and will continue to sell on their venue. There is no other selling platform like this online. Etsy has made my dreams come true of becoming an entrepreneur. With the new changes they have allowed me the opportunity to further expand my business. This is exciting news.

Nov. 14 2013 11:04 AM
Marcie Adams/Lexibags from Redding, California

I am in love with Etsy and will continue to sell on their venue. There is no other selling platform like this online. Etsy has made my dreams come true of becoming an entrepreneur. With the new changes they have allowed me the opportunity to further expand my business. This is exciting news.

Nov. 14 2013 11:03 AM
Rusetsy from USA

There are many small business owners who use the term "handmade" as an honest representation of their products. To allow a multi-million dollar company to apply "handmade" to any and every made thing is a travesty and could effectively squash an entire small business sector comprised of independent artists and craftspeople. Just another fine example of greedy corporate gain at the expense of the little guys. And by a company with B Corp status that prides itself on social responsibility and "transparency." B Corp is "Bull" Corp.

Nov. 14 2013 09:29 AM
Dave K from Manhattan

Im so happy to read all this!
I was finally about to seriously look into setting up shop on Etsy and am glad I need not waste my time.
It's clear that zibbet in far outshining easy in the commerce/integrity market.

It's quite sad to have esty sully and soil itself so thoroughly. Disgusting really.

Nov. 14 2013 05:23 AM
I gotz the maker made blues from California

I sell and buy on several on-line venues including Etsy. I feel that this newest "announcement" almost certainly guarantees that a new small time seller starting out on Etsy will now have no chance at ever becoming big enough to find the need to grow and outsource. They will be buried amongst all of the 20 cent items from larger sellers who have the means to out list promote and undersell their wares.

Etsy encourages sweat shop drop shippers to list in the "handmade" category as they do no fit as easily into the vintage or supply categories. When buyers come to a place like Etsy they assume that if they are looking in the "hand made" category they will not be receiving a mass produced item. Etsy has been allowing things that are clearly not hand made to be sold on the venue for a long time. This new "hand made" shady definition is just another excuse for them to look away and make even more money.

Also sellers who have the attitude like the one caller who said that they make soap and now are getting loads of orders that they may not be able to "hand make" anymore. I say good for them. Way to grow your business! However.... when you start mass producing and having others make and ship your items please be honest about that. Say it is a product from a once strictly hand made item that became so popular that you are now mass producing it. Don't "lie" and keep saying that it is a hand made item if it no longer is one. ( Many will not take this "honest" road however as they and Etsy know that the "attraction" to so many of these products is that the buyer is often "duped" into believing it is hand made.)

Etsy was and is not able to police resellers and copyright violators now and they have not been able to do so with fairness and consistency for a very long time. Interesting to see how the site will look after January when they "officially" let the flood gates open.

Nov. 13 2013 10:27 PM

The moderator keeps reminding the listener that etsy is now (or will be in January) requiring people to list their manufacturer. Not really. Resellers have been on etsy, and are on etsy now - the policy says etsy "asks" that people who use manufacturers report their process. This rule will be so easy to manipulate - it is set up to manipulate. Sellers will reveal their process in the "About" section of their shop. They can do enough editing to make their shop appear to be small and handmade oriented. In fact, one of the things Chad and CTO Kellan volunteered in the Town Hall meeting is that they have visited shops (factories)in those lesser regulated (third world) countries and those shops (factories) look very much like shops (handmade co-ops) in this country. Also, Etsy is already open to these manufacturers, they don't have to show their manufacturing info until January, which is a really really good way of being unfair to those sellers who have been with Etsy for years, or year round, in slow times and busy. He is opening etsy up to the flood of resellers and manufacturers right before Christmas. A time when small handmade sellers are able to earn enough to see them through the rest of the year. It is outrageous because these sellers who have been with etsy for years have been encouraged and given a lot of instruction on how to bring traffic to etsy (instructions given by etsy) and have worked really hard to bring traffic to etsy. And now that traffic is being directed to shops that sell items of questionable make and heritage - but they can sell them much more cheaply than a handmade artist can.

Nov. 13 2013 10:23 PM
Name Changed to Protect the Innocent

Etsy, or Chad, Kellan and other Etsy employees have no respect for etsy sellers. During the town hall meeting where chad announced the new guidelines, he also promised more transparency and better communication. Since then, the weekly questions and answers with admin section of the etsy forum, something requested and anticipated by many etsy sellers, has been abandoned.Many sellers have asked in the forums when the question and answer sessions would start again. There has been no reply.
It is interesting that Amy with Sweet Olive Jewelry mentions that Etsy has B-Corp certification. I received an email from B-Corp not long ago, following a complaint I made about Etsy (before the new guidelines were announced) and recently received a reply from B-Corp telling me they were investigating Etsy's new policies.
With the influx of new (re)sellers due to the relaxation of the new guidelines, my sales have dropped by 50%. Many other handmade sellers have experienced the same thing. I think Etsy wants to tell the public it is handmade so it can retain its quaintness and personality. Etsy is treating its handmade artisans badly. Etsy is not handmade anymore. Etsy is very dishonest.

Nov. 13 2013 09:58 PM
Name Changed to Protect the Innocent

Etsy, or Chad, Kellan and other Etsy employees have no respect for etsy sellers. During the town hall meeting where chad announced the new guidelines, he also promised more transparency and better communication. Since then, the weekly questions and answers with admin section of the etsy forum, something requested and anticipated by many etsy sellers, has been abandoned.Many sellers have asked in the forums when the question and answer sessions would start again. There has been no reply.
It is interesting that Amy with Sweet Olive Jewelry mentions that Etsy has B-Corp certification. I received an email from B-Corp not long ago, following a complaint I made about Etsy (before the new guidelines were announced) and recently received a reply from B-Corp telling me they were investigating Etsy's new policies.
With the influx of new (re)sellers due to the relaxation of the new guidelines, my sales have dropped by 50%. Many other handmade sellers have experienced the same thing. I think Etsy wants to tell the public it is handmade so it can retain its quaintness and personality. Etsy is treating its handmade artisans badly. Etsy is not handmade anymore. Etsy is very dishonest.

Nov. 13 2013 09:57 PM
PulpArt on Etsy from Saratoga Springs, NY

Whatever happens with these new policies, I do hope all the publicity about manufacturers being on Etsy doesn't overshadow the fact that there are still many handmade sellers there and working hard to keep our handmade businesses afloat. I worry that it will drive customers away from the site when manufacturers are only a small part of the picture.

Nov. 13 2013 07:44 PM

Having been one of the 1000's of sole proprietor or Indie shops who worked tirelessly through the years to promote Etsy, I am insulted and already am listing my new one of a kind pottery items on Zibbet!

Let's be clear....I have no issue with shops that are successful and growing or have valid *outside* procedures that finalize their products. Also, some Indie sellers do hire a few helpers to handle packing, shipping, accounting, etc that are aspects of maintaining their online business. Fine with me.

BUT! Redefining hand made now includes drop shipping cheap goods from sweatshops. There is no clear way for a buyer to know who exactly made the item. Etsy wants to keep the hand made cachet and reputation we made for them...while they rake in the fee money from these huge new *Etsylegal* factories.

This is called bait and switch.

Nov. 13 2013 06:42 PM
Ambrose from Georgia

I've been selling my art online since 2004. I've been with Etsy since the beginning. It was an incredible site when it started. I went out of my way to recruit new shops and buy from them whenever I could. I've watched them destroy everything that was good about Etsy, it makes me sick to my stomach, the greed is palpable. Now they're just giving people the opportunity to have direct access to a sweatshop - something they've actually done for years and lied about. I've left Etsy and will never go back. I'm at zibbet now with all the other artists that actually make what they sell.

Nov. 13 2013 04:21 PM

I would like to state that the seller of handmade jewelry who listed 3 items for $.20 was doing this as an experiment. There's so much competition because of the re-sellers with their fake handmade jewelry. Because they have 100 of each item listed, they sell many to the teenagers who want them. This pushes the cheap items to the top of the search so the handmade items never get seen. Why does Etsy only ask those who aren't re-sellers to remove those items? Why do the Chinese factories get to stay? They have a place for such items. It's called Ebay. Etsy is another Ebay. What a shame.

Nov. 13 2013 03:57 PM
AMZN from NYX

It's my understanding that ETSY has been undergoing major changes over the past few years, similar to the good ol' days of EBAY...EBAY used to welcome small time sellers, then Wall Street got its greedy foot in the door and well...profits always trump humans.
ETSY is showing the same sign of ebayization, or should that be, AMAZONATION.
Amazon will ultimately change the landscape of cities, shopping centers and the way we purchase everything from toothpaste(soap.com) to clothing to well, anything it feels like competing with online.
AMZN is the true threat. The other guys, ETSY and EBAY are just trying to get a small share of the AMZN PIE.
I try as much a possible NOT to shop AMZN!

Nov. 13 2013 03:55 PM
Elizabeth from Albany, NY

I understand many sellers need to hire a hand (or 2 or 3 or 4), but those "factories" are in the minority; the ones who are benefiting the most from the change of rules are from Asian sweat shops. Just look under bubble necklaces in Etsy's search (http://www.etsy.com/search?q=bubble%20necklace&view_type=gallery) and you'll see the "new Etsy": 30,114 of them, many even using the same product photography.

The front page of Etsy is just window dressing for what is really inside. Take the hand painted tote bag on the present front page and then search "hand painted tote bag" (http://www.etsy.com/search?q=hand%20painted%20tote%20bag&view_type=gallery). You get 2,132 of these painted totes. A far cry from 30,114 bubble necklaces. Or the 53,595 prom dresses (almost all of them made in Asian factories) or the 271,024 iphone covers (most with trademark infringed images -- like the 676 "Beauty and the Beast" iphone covers being just one instance).

Nov. 13 2013 03:55 PM
timberwolff

I have been a successful seller on Etsy for five years and am a web designer in my real life. Sadly, I will be closing my shop after the Christmas season and moving all of my listings to Zibbet. I cannot and do not want to compete with shops with 200 workers in Bangladesh…...

Nov. 13 2013 03:45 PM
BokBok Jewelry on Zibbet from USA

Here are my issues with the new rules:

1. Resellers and factory-made vendors have already been selling on Etsy as "handmade" for years; what's the incentive for them to announce that they're "factory handmade"?

2. I am of the opinion that if one's shop is large and successful enough to need manufacturers to keep up with the orders, they'd have outgrown the old Etsy model. Why would they continue to pay Etsy fees when there are options out there for free websites? Even the website hosts which charge a monthly fee are surely less expensive than a large, successful shop's monthly bill from Etsy.

3. With these new rules, Etsy is allowing factory-made goods to be listed under "handmade", instead of a separate category. That is deceitful and smacks of bait-and-switch tactics.

Here are three examples of what the new Etsy "handmade" can look like:

~A single shop owner pours tons of time and energy into their shop - creating items by hand, doing all the work themselves - and eventually can't keep up. This shop owner hires some help, and hires a local factory to produce parts of the finished item, though the shop owner still assembles the item by hand. The shop owner goes through Etsy's application process, is accepted, and all is well in Etsyland.

~Someone buys things wholesale and sells them, unaltered, as "handmade". With the new guidelines, the shop owner can just announce their "manufacturing agreement" with their supplier if they get caught. They can just receive the order through their Etsy shop, then place the order with their wholesale supplier with the Etsy customer's address. *Note: Etsy says that reselling like this isn't allowed, and will continue to be not allowed, but forgive me for being skeptical given that this is already a rampant problem in certain categories of Etsy, and has been for years.

~Someone with a good bit of start-up money decides that they want an Etsy shop. They research what kinds of items are selling well on Etsy (information that Etsy hands over on a silver platter, since every shop's sold items are publicly available), hire teams to design the item(s), and work with factories to make the items. The factories ship the finished product to the Etsy customer without the shop owner having even touched the item at all. This would be "handmade" under the new guidelines.

The first example may hit some people's gray areas on what is or isn't handmade, but it's still handmade as I understand it. The shop owner has their hands on the item during the creation process, before it's ready to ship. I am hard-pressed to justify the second two examples as being handmade in any sense of the word, but on Etsy, they would be. *Someone* had their hands on the item at some point, after all.

Nov. 13 2013 03:42 PM
BokBok Jewelry on Zibbet from USA

Here are my issues with the new rules:

1. Resellers and factory-made vendors have already been selling on Etsy as "handmade" for years; what's the incentive for them to announce that they're "factory handmade"?

2. I am of the opinion that if one's shop is large and successful enough to need manufacturers to keep up with the orders, they'd have outgrown the old Etsy model. Why would they continue to pay Etsy fees when there are options out there for free websites? Even the website hosts which charge a monthly fee are surely less expensive than a large, successful shop's monthly bill from Etsy.

3. With these new rules, Etsy is allowing factory-made goods to be listed under "handmade", instead of a separate category. That is deceitful and smacks of bait-and-switch tactics.

Here are three examples of what the new Etsy "handmade" can look like:

~A single shop owner pours tons of time and energy into their shop - creating items by hand, doing all the work themselves - and eventually can't keep up. This shop owner hires some help, and hires a local factory to produce parts of the finished item, though the shop owner still assembles the item by hand. The shop owner goes through Etsy's application process, is accepted, and all is well in Etsyland.

~Someone buys things wholesale and sells them, unaltered, as "handmade". With the new guidelines, the shop owner can just announce their "manufacturing agreement" with their supplier if they get caught. They can just receive the order through their Etsy shop, then place the order with their wholesale supplier with the Etsy customer's address. *Note: Etsy says that reselling like this isn't allowed, and will continue to be not allowed, but forgive me for being skeptical given that this is already a rampant problem in certain categories of Etsy, and has been for years.

~Someone with a good bit of start-up money decides that they want an Etsy shop. They research what kinds of items are selling well on Etsy (information that Etsy hands over on a silver platter, since every shop's sold items are publicly available), hire teams to design the item(s), and work with factories to make the items. The factories ship the finished product to the Etsy customer without the shop owner having even touched the item at all. This would be "handmade" under the new guidelines.

The first example may hit some people's gray areas on what is or isn't handmade, but it's still handmade as I understand it. The shop owner has their hands on the item during the creation process, before it's ready to ship. I am hard-pressed to justify the second two examples as being handmade in any sense of the word, but on Etsy, they would be. *Someone* had their hands on the item at some point, after all.

Nov. 13 2013 03:40 PM
Susie Rose from North Las Vegas, NV

I will be closing both of my Etsy stores come Jan 1. I've gone to Zibbet.com and have liked the way they treat their customers and sellers. They have a free membership and a premium membership. I pay for the premium and will be saving a lot of money on fees. It makes financial sense to pay a low monthly or annual fee rather than get pecked to death with fees on the front and back end of an item that may NEVER sell because of the mass produced items coming in from China. Zibbet has promised to keep the site strictly handmade.

As a by-appointment-only OOAK clothing designer and former financial consultant (former registered representative with FINRA) I suggested several times to the admin of Etsy, if you want to make more money go IPO, Initial Public Offering. Aka sell stock in the company. But they have decided to go the way of ebay and bring in mass manufactured items.

Support small businesses this holiday season. Shop handmade. There's a lot of us at http://www.zibbet.com.

http://www.zibbet.com/SusieRoseDesigns

Nov. 13 2013 03:37 PM

Etsy has plenty of factory produced items. Just do a search on bubble necklace and you'll see thousands of the exact same item which you can buy in bulk from Alibaba for $2.50 each.

http://www.alibaba.com/trade/search?fsb=y&IndexArea=product_en&CatId=&SearchText=bubble+necklace

Etsy wants us to pretend they're handmade. If you even speak of them in the forums you're muted! It is rumored that Etsy is in negotiations to partner with Wowsai in China. This would explain the preferential treatment of the China factory shop re-sellers. One handmade seller was given a warning by Etsy because she had 3 items at $.20. She had to take them down. The shops from China have had their items up for years and not one word is said.

https://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?q=necklace&order=most_relevant&view_type=gallery&ship_to=ZZ&min=.20&max=.99

The top row is paid advertising. Look at the rest. The search was for handmade necklace with a price range $.20 to $.99. Do ANY of these look handmade to you? I now have my shop at Zibbet.com.

Nov. 13 2013 03:31 PM
KT from Iowa

I just started my Etsy shop this summer when I started to make handmade jewelry. I'd never really shopped on Etsy before but I had heard of it and knew that it was the place for handmade. I wish I had done some research before starting - my own fault for relying on Etsy's reputation - and started from day one on Zibbet. Now I've lost the momentum that was starting to build up because I'm virtually starting over, but I will not sell on a site that calls factory goods handmade. There is a place for both handmade and factory goods in our society but not under the same umbrella. Unfortunately I am still buying some supplies on Etsy as I cannot find them anywhere else. Please Etsy supply sellers - move your shops to Zibbet! You are WANTED and NEEDED, and you will make more money on each individual sale since there are no listing or FVFs on Zibbet - only $79 a year for premium shops!

Nov. 13 2013 03:18 PM
jl

Nothing stopping amazon.com from creating a "Amazon certified, hand crafted in USA" channel.

Nov. 13 2013 03:12 PM

I've moved my shop to a company with integrity, ZIBBET! A venue for true handmade, vintage, fine arts and supplies. Jonathan (CEO) and Andrew (Co-founder) of Zibbet truly understand the concept of handmade and are very proactive in ensuring that the website stay clean of resellers. There are countless shops and stories out there of how Etsy has muted shopkeepers for voicing their opinions on bad decisions. Is this not based in the USA? I recommend that every shopkeeper who doesn't agree with this outrage to contact all their customers and move their shop to Zibbet so that Etsy realizes that WE shopkeeper made Etsy successful and not the other way around. With the large movement of shops to Zibbet, Zibbet is now advertising for the shopkeepers.

Nov. 13 2013 02:45 PM
Lisa Flanders from Brattleboro VT

After selling on Etsy for 4 years, I closed my shop on October 2nd, the day after the announcement, because, by allowing mass-produced, factory-made items, Etsy is no longer a handmade venue and thus it is not appropriate for my handmade artisan jewelry. Also, with its dishonest and deceptive business practices, its egregiously disrespectful treatment of sellers, and its heavy-handed censorship in the Forum, Etsy is profoundly lacking in integrity.

Lisa Flanders
LisaFlanders.com

Nov. 13 2013 02:36 PM
Becky from Somerset, NJ

In response to Kathie Weise: "If you are so successful as to need help producing your product then I think that you could have your own website and not rely on a site like Etsy to sell your product. For the amount of time and money required on Etsy to sell anything you could have a pretty nice site of your own."

Yes, I could set up my own website (and I have). But Etsy provides an automatic audience and traffic that would never be directed to my singular website. And I started and grew my entire business on Etsy, why should I have to leave simply because I've been successful? (And let me add here that I do not even use a third party manufacturer yet, but I could see it happening at some point in the future, although there will always be some handmade aspect to my goods and I would never drop-ship).

I also think you shouldn't assume you know "the amount of time and money required" for me to sell on Etsy. Smart shop owners have figured out ways to reduce the time and money spent on Etsy and increase the their sales and profit. It's a great marketplace. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and I certainly understand why people are upset, but I also don't think it should be a crime for me to publicly state that I love Etsy and appreciate them creating a space for an independent designer like me to continue to grow my business and share my designs.

Nov. 13 2013 02:36 PM

I closed my shop prior to this outrageous change in their policies and move to ZIBBET where there is plenty of INTEGRITY; something Etsy lacks. Etsy is notorious for permanently muting their sellers and customers of sellers when they don't agree with the changes. If you point out the shops of Chinese goods, Etsy immediately calls you racist and mutes you for pointing out the obvious resellers on the website. How is it racist when you're pointing out that Chinese factories are flooding the website with factory resold goods?

Additionally, once they mute an individual, they mute every account whether or not the account in question has a dispute with them. Case in point, they muted a customer of mine; a local customer who came by my home and paid via Etsy because they didn't have cash on them. I closed my shop because I refuse to give funds to a company when I as their customer have no voice. Just this past week I went back to my account to activate it after seeing a really good treasury done by another shopkeeper showing the outrage that we all have been feeling over this announcement. I discovered that for no valid or communicated reason, they permanently deactivated my account. So not only can I not reopen my shop, I wouldn't be able to give any small business on that venue my business as a shopper. This is why many customers are starting to steer clear of Etsy.

Nov. 13 2013 02:31 PM
Travesty from USA

Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson is so full of hot air I'm surprised he doesn't float away. It's wonderful there are a group of folks 'just like you' who are banding together in NY and starting to manufacture, but unfortunately Chad, everyone knows where to go for cheap manufacturing, and it's not NY or in the US. Get real dude. How dumb does this guy think we are? Hold up one rare example that represents a statistical zero, to pave the way for manufacturers anywhere in the world? Chad's a tyrant who turned the Etsy maker community into a commodity he thinks he can replace with something cheaper and more efficient.

Nov. 13 2013 02:15 PM
Hellbender from USA

Etsy is not a place for crafters or people who make things by hand. It's a place where large slave labor factories can sell mass-produced garbage. They like to pretend it's handmade or ethical but really, that's just ad language/propaganda, so they can charge a tiny bit more than if you buy the same damn thing from alibaba.

Nov. 13 2013 01:46 PM
Lucia Jade from Florida

I closed my Etsy shop after the whole BaliGate scandal. Now with Etsy changing the way they do business, they are opening the door for more people like Marina and her imported furniture. I'm glad I made the move to Shop Delighted when I saw the writing on the wall. To me, it's all about integrity.

I understand that there comes a time when your shop gets so big that you need help. Once that time comes, you have built your brand! That is a great thing, but it means you've outgrown the small time platform that Etsy is supposed to be. At that point, it's best to get your own website. Your customers WILL follow you.

Nov. 13 2013 01:38 PM
Travesty from USA

Allowing manufacturers on Etsy has been nothing short of a hostile takeover by crony capitalists. Etsy was once heralded as sacred ground for micro businesses and artisans/independent makers/designers seeking differentiation/shelter from our often mass-produced world. Etsy has released data that reveals the demographic of who and why 'WE' sell on Etsy, and in spite of that data, Etsy has done ZERO to support that demographic. Etsy seems dead set on steamrolling our community and building a Walmart in its place. The deception and doublespeak are everywhere. Etsy is dancing around the truth and trying to control the narrative at every level. We know better, we live and breath Etsy. There is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Etsy rules with an iron fist, the public forums where we communicate and organize as a 'community' to express our views have been hollowed out of thousands of voices of dissent. Etsy is swift to stomp out opposition on their territory. They don't want the world to know they have turned their backs on the core of their founding base and sold us out to overseas manufacturing.

A familiar story.. much like the rest of 'big business" in the USA, this will amount to tens of thousands of job "losses" in the U.S. We are makers, we are independently making things again, and it was working for us. Working brilliantly. That is why this story is so sad and such a huge loss for regular folks trying to make a living. Etsy started as a revolution which is now being stopped dead in its tracks by crony capitalists. The 1% can't leave their filthy hands off of anything. A complete travesty on so many levels.

Nov. 13 2013 01:27 PM
Cindy

I own a shop on Etsy, but because Etsy likes to "mute" (or silence) those who disagree openly with their policies, I will not mention the name of my shop. Etsy is shooting itself in the foot daily with each and every change they make. They have forgotten that shop owners are their customers, and it's their job to keep us happy so that we stay and continue to make money for both them and us. It would seem they feel the "little people" --- the individual, handmade artisans who built this business for them -- aren't raking in enough cash to satisfy their greed, so they have opened the doors to the bigger fish, who can sell a lot of junk, cheaply, and thereby collect millions in listing fees and "commissions". They couldn't care less what it's doing to the rest of us. Etsy sellers are leaving en masse; more will leave after the holidays, and are setting up shop on places like Zibbet, which has committed itself to the handmade, vintage, and fine art community. Meantime, Etsy is desperately seeking out any public venue it can possibly influence, in order to effect damage control. But there's a leak in the dam, and pretty soon it's going to bust wide open. I just wish there were news outlets and reporters with the guts to really look within the system and report with frank honesty what REALLY goes on at Etsy, instead of just interviewing Chad Dickerson and taking his word for everything. Whatever happened to investigative reporting? Is anybody out there listening???????????

Nov. 13 2013 01:11 PM
jen from Ex: Brooklyn now Mass

I have two etsy shops. I have been an etsy seller since 2008 and have been able to grow and make this my fulltime job. I have been "etsy legal" since day one as I illustrate and design pieces that I have lasercut by another company (based here in the usa). By these new guidelines - I have to disclose my manufacturing help, but I have always been allowed to have this help - even under the old rules. Not everyone is going to hire... as Katherine from georgia says..."Outsourced manufacturing could include handmade but made by underpaid workers in sweatshops and factories."

Sometimes it is about having some help from another local Small Business who pays its workers fairly and in turn my small business is able to help support other small businesses as well.

I think people hear the word "manufacturing" and they jump to china and india and sweatshops etc. I can say that the approval process was time consuming, thorough and wasn't "easy". Not all sellers and makers on etsy who have to disclose these "partners" are not "handmade".

Nov. 13 2013 12:59 PM
wendyshandmade at etsy from New Jersey

As an artist, quilter and crafter, I have had very modest success at Etsy. For the amount of promotion and marketing I have to do to sell anything on the site, it's harder to see the difference in the amount of promotional work I have to do if I was running my own site.

Etsy wants to build their business, I get that. I feel that we, the handmade community have been used. WE built that site for them and now they're forgetting us and cashing in on our promotional work.

Nov. 13 2013 12:53 PM
Frau

Etsy is a great place to get handmade items. Unfortunately, it is also a place to get counterfeit items like Cartier, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors. Copyright infringement runs rampant becuase of their rules, you can report an item that is copyrighteduncut yo cannot have it removed unless, the copyright holder contacts Etsy themselves.
Oh, and resellers. There was a woman who had claimed to make all the "unique" repurposed Bali bfishing boats into furniture.
She was on Etsy's featured seller page. But no matter how much she was shown to be a fraud, etsy kept back pedaling and changing the article so that it would not show that they had not vetted a shop and had promoted a reseller.
Their own Chad, had made a treasury with an item from a resellers shop.

Nov. 13 2013 12:42 PM
Maxie

Etsy is losing tons of money on resellers who list hundreds of mass-produced,non-designer items for the selling price of $.20 and then make a bundle on shipping rates of $8-$10. Etsy doesn't charge Final Value Fees for shipping so, the resellers Etsy seems to be courting, are involved in fee avoidance. Are Etsy admininistrators Dumb or Dumber? It means that all of us legitimate Etsy artisans, artists and curators will end up paying more in fees when Etsy finally catches on to the scammers.

Shades of eBay!

Nov. 13 2013 12:31 PM
Rose Tursi /Tursiart from Fort Irwin NTC, California

Lets learn from history and make a big comparison...
Once upon a time, Ebay was also a great place to sell vintage, collectable and handmade items. Then they started catering to big sellers, pushing out the collectable dealers and small-timey people that made them the unique marketplace that they were. Today, all you will find there is a bunch of new cheap junk. The key here is that Ebay lost it's magic when they changed the very core of what they were all about - They were the best at being an online antique store, and online art gallery, an online garage sale of wonderful treasures. Then they decided they wanted to be another amazon. Why change what worked so well for them? I dunno... What I do know is that there is zero incentive for me to shop or sell on ebay these days. Anything I can find there is also available on amazon, and amazon is still a better site for such things.

I first discovered etsy when ebay was going downhill. At the time, I was thrilled to have found an alternative site to sell my art and collectibles and my sales were quite good. Now suddenly etsy wants to be another amazon. This time it's arguably worse, since they are doing it under thinly veiled terms as, "collectives" and attempting to change the definition of "handmade". It's useless to try and sell an OOAK (one of a kind) item, because it just can't compete with mass produced listings that can constantly be renewed with each sale. The issue is further compounded with mass produced items being incorrectly listed as OOAK. So even using OOAK as a search term is a waste of time.

Etsy is going the same route as ebay. What a shame. Really, a damn shame.

I'll be investigating zibbet as an alternative.

Nov. 13 2013 12:19 PM

I'm a successful, full time seller on Etsy that makes and ships every item myself. I am utterly disgusted by Etsy's attempt to redefine the word handmade in a way that means handmade to absolutely no one. It's all about the money and investors at this point, and they will continue to use the idea of handmade to promote cute, trendy items made in factories and sweatshops around the world. We truly handmade artisans are buried under a flood of cheap, disposable items that belong on ebay, not a site that is supposed to be handmade. Etsy will continue to try to spin these changes as positive and beneficial, but the truth is you've been able to have employees for quite some time now, so the whole "successful sellers need to be able to grow" line really doesn't fly. I used to love Etsy and helped a number of people set up successful shops there, but I cannot, in good conscience, recommend Etsy to my artist friends any longer. I will finally be setting up my own website after the holidays and will be distancing myself from the Etsy brand as much as I can.

Nov. 13 2013 12:09 PM
Etsy Seller from Southwest

Bef from Brooklyn wants a list of people responding to this post? Why? Brooklyn is where Etsy is located. No way Jose!

Nov. 13 2013 12:06 PM
Blown Away in Chicago

Long before the Town Hall meeting, Etsy has allowed resellers, mass producers and private label sellers. Private label sellers are those that buy their items already made (such as bath and body products) in bulk, then just slap their own label on them. That already made it hard for us true handmade artisans to be found in Searches. Before, my items could be found on the first pages of searches. Now with the introduction of factory made items, I'm lucky if my items are found on the first 10 pages of a search.

Etsy hasn't waited until January 1. The mass influx has already begun. They also aren't vetting the shops like they stated they'd do. Shops with nothing on their "about" pages as to the amount of people working for them. Not stating where they are located. You can report them all you want, and they won't be closed down.

I'm another one who is going to have to leave Etsy to survive. I'm not a hobby seller. I rely on my income from my sales to pay my bills. Nice that Etsy is concerned about workers in China, but could care less about those of us right here in the US.

Nov. 13 2013 12:03 PM
Bef from Brooklyn, NY

Would it be possible to get a list of the stores of the people who called in?

Nov. 13 2013 11:59 AM
mm

Just take a look at Regretsy, there's a whole category items that are being sold as handmade or vintage, but are in fact factory items that can be bought in bulk, are sold on Amazon, etc.

Nov. 13 2013 11:52 AM
Katherine from Georgia

Katherine/TheSassyGal

i just posted this on my blog concerning Etsy and Zibbet http://ruralandprogressive.org/when-handmade-isnt-handmade-and-a-sale-on-gen-u-ine-handmade/

Nov. 13 2013 11:50 AM
mm

Etsy already has tons of fake sellers that are manufacturers in China, and other places.

Nov. 13 2013 11:47 AM

Etsy's new policy encourages sellers of manufactured goods to list them as handmade. Trying to convince buyers and sellers that factory made goods and handmade goods are the same because both use tools to create them is deceptive at best. Buyers expect and deserve handmade goods that are *handmade by the artisan*.

Many real handmade artisans are distancing themselves from this practice by opening shops on zibbet.com (a much smaller venue still dedicated to handmade, vintage, and supplies) or their own sites. Given etsy's new manufactured = handmade policy, buyers who truly want to support handmade artists will want to shop elsewhere.

Nov. 13 2013 11:42 AM
LovelySquid from New Hampshire

As a small, one person Etsy shop, making one of a kind items, Etsy has made it virtually impossible for me to be found through their search function. Trending, multiply reproduced items are weighted more heavily in Etsy search, pushing us little guys out of reach. With no more category search available to the customer, Etsy can funnel traffic to the vendors that make it the most money on listing fees and sales commissions. Those vendors that can make mass produce and list the fastest are winning. Just do a search on Etsy for "Bubble Necklace" and see the unique, handmade items they have in store for you.

I'll be closing my Etsy shop after the holidays and focusing on my new Zibbet shop. Zibbet shares my values and understanding of what handmade means. Zibbet made a commitment to its sellers and treats them with the respect and dignity they deserve, as hard working artisans. The difference between the two venues is palpable from a sellers perspective.

Nov. 13 2013 11:39 AM
Kathie Weise

If you are so successful as to need help producing your product then I think that you could have your own website and not rely on a site like Etsy to sell your product. For the amount of time and money required on Etsy to sell anything you could have a pretty nice site of your own.

Nov. 13 2013 11:36 AM

Etsy has redefined the word "handmade" to include mass produced and drop shipoped items - "if" you had a say-so in the design aspect. Factory made items are produced every day by designers - around the world. Yes, someone's hands were involved, but it is the "makers" hands that constitute "handmade"

There are so many knock off designer bags, factory produced bags and alibaba products on Etsy now that any of the legitimate bag makers are already being buried!

Etsy seller for OVER 6 years!

Nov. 13 2013 11:36 AM

Etsy has redefined the word "handmade" to include mass produced and drop shipoped items - "if" you had a say-so in the design aspect. Factory made items are produced every day by designers - around the world. Yes, someone's hands were involved, but it is the "makers" hands that constitute "handmade"

There are so many knock off designer bags, factory produced bags and alibaba products on Etsy now that any legitimate bag makers is already being buried!

Etsy seller for OVER 6 years!

Nov. 13 2013 11:35 AM

Etsy has redefined the word "handmade" to include mass produced and drop shipoped items - "if" you had a say-so in the design aspect. Factory made items are produced every day by designers - around the world. Yes, someone's hands were involved, but it is the "makers" hands that constitute "handmade"

There are so many knock off designer bags, factory produced bags and alibaba products on Etsy now that any legitimate bag makers is already being buried!

Etsy seller for OVER 6 years!

Nov. 13 2013 11:34 AM
white cat from USA

Etsy is in the process of replacing it's Artist and Craftsmen with Imported factory goods. We all know this. Etsy knows this but prefers to redefine the words in the dictionary to make it seem otherwise. Handmade is now to them, a big huge mechanical machine that has an on and off button switch. the real hand of one of the thousands of factory workers in a certain country in SE Asia - pushes the button.

Nov. 13 2013 11:34 AM
Etsy Seller from Southwest

Etsy is no longer the home of handmade. It has mishandled resellers and others that should not be on the site for years. It shuts down any dialogue that is meaningful to the majority of the sellers and punishes anyone that speaks out. The new changes to allow manufactured items on the site will further dilute the brand and make it Ebay Lite, at which point it may be purchased by Ebay. There is also a lot of conversation about opening a duplicate site in China, thus the reason for not upsetting China/Chinese sellers on the site now even tho many of them are resellers.
Anyone considering a purchase of something on the site will want to make sure that their choices are truly handmade.
It is also interesting that the NY AG has not looked into fraudulent business practices for this company as many buyers are not getting "real" handmade items.

Nov. 13 2013 11:30 AM
Becky from Somerset, NJ

My Etsy shop is my full time job and the sole source of income for my household (I live alone). Owning a successful small business has changed my life, and I'm incredibly thankful to Etsy and always will be. I understand the outcry about the changes, but as a successful and continually growing shop I also understand the need to allow for some help in production. The quality and standards of my products will not change, and I will still largely be making the majority of items by hand, but if I want my business to continue to grow I will need to have some help with production in the near future.

Etsy was founded as a handmade marketplace, and many people do know it as such, but I have found that many of my customers also aren't aware that the items are handmade and don't necessarily care either way. For those that are afraid customers will be upset at the loss of handmade, perhaps the solution would be for Etsy to clearly designate products that are entirely handmade versus those that have had third-party production help.

Nov. 13 2013 11:26 AM
Sara from Bushwick

I imagine that Etsy is going to have to back-pedal on these new guidelines over the coming year - the definition of handmade is arguable a blurry line, but it's pretty obvious that anything that is drop-shipped is not handmade. So there's a great starting point for Etsy.

Nov. 13 2013 11:24 AM
khmetalwork

Etsy has totally minimized and marginalized the very handmade sellers that made the site what it is today. The sellers that promoted Etsy via word of mouth, added the Etsy url to their business cards, linked their Etsy shops to their personal websites, hung banners in their Craft Fair booths with Etsy's url have been made out as fools.

Nov. 13 2013 11:18 AM
Katherine from Georgia

Katherine/The Sassy Gal

Handmade is handmade. Outsourced manufacturing could include handmade but made by underpaid workers in sweatshops and factories. I can go to a Big Box store to buy that kind of "handmade.'

All I can say is "buyer beware" on Etsy. If you don't want to work that hard, just go to Zibbet, where, at least for now, handmade means handmade in the old fashioned sense. Ask questions and get to know the shop owner if you want to be confident your purchase was made by hand under good working conditions.

Nov. 13 2013 11:16 AM
TinaC from West Coast

As a seller on Etsy, the most frustrating part is that the Administration and Board of Directors make wholesale changes without thinking of the consequences and then permanently silencing those who disagree. By allowing mass produced, factory made low quality products from China, there is already daily threads in the forums of customers not getting their orders. So the smaller sellers get squeezed out and are leaving, the buyers get scammed and ripped off and they are leaving, and eventually the Board of Directors will have a site like Alibaba that no longer resembles anything that was Etsy.

When you change your mission statement to cover your actions, you started down the path to eventual destruction of your company.

Nov. 13 2013 11:05 AM
Amy/Sweet Olive Jewelry from Brooklyn

I am a full-time Etsy seller with two busy shops, so I have thought about these new changes quite a bit. My Etsy businesses are doing better than ever, so I can't complain, but I am wary about what the future of Etsy landscape may look like.

The new policies open up the Etsy marketplace to a range of sellers who would not have qualified for "handmade" status before. It is going to make it more difficult for smaller, one-person businesses to stand out, but will likely be beneficial for businesses that can scale up and outsource labor. I do worry about customers' expectations though; many come to Etsy because they want something handmade and they don't seem to be very informed about the recent changes yet.

I also worry about Etsy's ability to enforce the new policies. The distinction between items manufactured to a designer's specifications and items that are simply manufactured for resale by a third-party is pretty fine. And what about ethical workplace conditions and production standards? Etsy has B Corp certification and commits itself to sustainable business practices, so I would hope that its new policies don't encourage its shops to go in the other direction.

Nov. 13 2013 10:48 AM

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