Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Etsy Rant

I have been biting my tongue for so long but now I can no longer hold my tongue.

Etsy a site that promoted itself as being handmade, vintage and supplies items has totally sold out.  No big deal and no big surprise for some of the more knowledgable readers who will be saying they are after all a business (aka corporation) BUT it is a travesty for the people who signed up to sell their homemade (I prefer homecrafted btw as a label) and vintage and supples who were the people who advertised and brought customers to the site cos Etsy didn't advertise.

As one of the handcrafting people who advertised Etsy I feel ashamed I promoted the site.  Sure there are many genuine artisans on the site still  - but in their midst, and invisible to Etsy admin it seems, are the resellers.

Now let me state straight off that I have no problem with resellers per se.  What I have a problem with is when they infliltrate a handcrafted site and claim their work is handcrafted and the site admin lets them away with that.  

What's the problem you ask?  Well it's pretty simple. I for an example take my fabrics out and start mixing and matching and sewing them together for a cuff.  Sometimes I like the effect first go but a lot of the time I feel it needs re-worked and will unstitch and re-sew.  When I'm happy with the basic backdrop then I'll go get my stash of vintage buttons and beads and jewelry out and play around with what looks good. 

When the cuff is finished then I photograph it (edit it usually too cos we don't  have good natural light here a lot of the year round) and then list it. 

Now I realise much of what I've written makes homemade/homecrafted sound cumbersome and involved.  Well you know what? It is! 

I don't have any helpers to design or sew, or take photo's or list.  Thats what people are paying for - the one to one touch, the ultimate designer item. Don't get me wrong here ... I love what I do but I am trying to stress that it is what I singular do- just like so many other genuine Etsy sellers do.

But when we are on a site that promotes handmade yet blatantly promotes resellers, through it's various PR tools, then there is a problem for me the wee seller as now my truly handcrafted items are on the same page as the mass produced and that affects my credibility by association as well as the fact that I can't compete price wise to a mass produced item. 

I saw this problem with Etsy a couple of years back  ... but recent developments seem to confirm that they have truly disregarded the artisans who made the site what it is today.

And therein lies Etsys downfall - you screw the people who made you then they will go find another site to promote.  

Etsy will no doubt go on and will enjoy financial success in the short to mid term .... but their credibility is being dragged in the gutter. 

Roosters always come home to roost and if (when?) the behemoth of handcrafted falls it will only have itself to blame.


  1. etsy is so different now, from when i started there in 2006!!!

    it's a terrible thing to say, but i try not to even look too far into the site and the politics of it, because,'s depressing.

    it was great when it was smaller and it was almost like you knew everyone there!

    i guess it was bound to happen, but it's still a bummer. and it is a shame that they don't really enforce the handmade "rules"

  2. Yes it is a shame they don't enforce the rules.

    They don't owe anyone anything other than to be true to what they say they are. But for a while now it's been a case of "do what I say not what I do".

    And it's a shame too when members feel it's too depressing to get into the politics of the site.

    Anyway I just needed to vent - better out than in :) ... and I'll just keep trying to help promote the genuine artisans as and when I can.

  3. Resellers hurt us all. Good blog post.

  4. Great post, but now I'm curious...what caused this need to vent? Anything in particular? Any new policies? There have been many complaints about resellers and Etsy inaction, but are there any new developments I have missed?

  5. This needed to be said, Maura. It hasn't done anything for my motivation when I see the vast number of resellers on Etsy. So many new developments too, that I feel completely overwhelmed when I log in. I echo Purls' question-what have I missed here? Etsy cannot afford to lose excellent and talented crafters like yourself. Good blog post, and thanks:)

  6. Great blog post! Many shoppers want my prices to match the "handmade" resellers items. This would actually wind up costing me money to make and sell. I put a lot of thought, effort, love and pride into all that I create. It makes me feel good that there are others out there who still look for this in their own work and that of others. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Thanks growingupwild - great name btw! :)

    Yes some people don't realize the time that's actually spent on our work and that for one person to make something is way harder than a factory line churning out pieces ... and then having a team of peeps to photograph, catalogue, package and mail, do the books etc etc. I reckon most of us are on minimum wage at best!

    Then add in that we aren't bulk buying basic supplies like the big guys can to save money .. well you get my drift.

    And that's just the practical making the whole design, care, attention to detail is a whole other factor that rightly should be prized.

    Lol I better quit while I'm ahead! The chit chat faeries got to me tonight ;0

  8. Here, have fun:

    You're welcome...

  9. OGPhotography - I am not a fan of that site.

    And frankly I'm amazed why you would think regretsy would fit into any of what I said in my post.