Wednesday, January 29, 2014

HANDFACTURE ON ETSY - New Policies Are KILLING ETSY... Forum Frenzy on Etsy

Handmade to Handfactured. Etsy Promotes Manufactured Malarkey. Quality Assurance Dept could use some help but Etsy Admin have enough on their Imaginaria, Portugal plates. So, the forums are going strong....

for the shop owners.

Those who had committed an agreement for shop adherence to all of #ETSY(is now dead) original policies, I hope you aren't still listing stuff in "buy direct...GLOBAL-LAND"...

That's #thenewetsy
It's a place where some will thrive.
I dare say, the majority of shop owners on Etsy... - the ones who joined when handmade was defined by WEBSTER (as it should be),

Will lose.

Meanwhile, join the forums to see what's really going on about Etsy's policy poopie-doo-doo's. :)

Let's discuss: Clarifying Our Guidelines on Outside Manufacturing

Bonnie from bmbroeren 2:21 pm Jan 28, 2014 EST
Heather Jean from LittleHillJewelry writes:

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this today! I have a few questions that I've been super curious about:

♦ What's being done to, shall we say, *encourage* shops to apply?
♦ What's stopping shops from outsourcing (or whatever you want to call it) and just not telling anyone? Is the focus right now on people who are following the new guidelines with plans to follow up with other shops later?
♦ Is this kind of a "We have faith in the integrity of our sellers" thing, or will there be active recruitment like "Hey, you sold 10,000 t-shirts last month, and just so you know, you now have to apply to get outside help..."
♦ What are (or will be) the consequences of NOT following this new guideline.

Thanks again!


These are great questions and suggestions, Heather Jean. We will be working on a variety of ways of encouraging shops to apply over the next year. This is an iterative process, and our goal is to be as responsive as possible to our sellers’ needs. We will be continuously engaging in a dialogue with our community about this.

To answer your question about whether this is a “we have faith in the integrity of our sellers” thing or more of a proactive enforcement thing, I would say it is somewhere in between. We do want to treat our sellers with respect and we have a lot of faith in them, but we also want to protect them and preserve the integrity of our marketplace.

Thanks for your response! I'm sorry to be a pain, however I'm still curious about parts of my question that went unanswered. Perhaps they've been answered elsewhere and I'm just not seeing it, but I suppose it's also possible that there just isn't an answer to what I've asked as this is an "iterative process"--which sounds a little like throwing pasta to the wall and seeing what sticks (a totally valid business tool, no judgement here ッ)

That being the case, I imagine you really just don't know what consequences will be if a shop doesn't apply or disclose by some vague date in the future, which makes this a policy with no teeth. It's just another hoop for sellers who follow the rules to jump through while those who ignore it just...go on ignoring it with no incentive or consequence encouraging them to do otherwise. That's kind of a bummer, so hopefully I'm missing something here.
I agree Heather Jean.

Flagging doesn't work now.

There are no consequences posted for not following the new rules.

They reserve the right to not approve your manufacturing application. What does that mean? Do they close you down completely? Disallow you to sell one particular thing?

What if you have been selling prints here for years and now you have to apply and they don't approve you?
I should add that I'm not advocating ANYONE not follow the policy because there is currently no consequence. I think the policy still has some big ol' wrinkles, that need ironing out, and in order to see and fix what's broken, there has to be people actively using the process. (cont)
For example, if every photog who has their photos printed elsewhere applied at once, I bet Etsy would say "Whoa, hey, that's WAY too much to deal with right now while we bring shops with actual factory made items into compliance. Maybe we should revisit this portion of the policy."

Trial and error is how new policies get refined into policies that work, even if things are screwy to start with.
Hi Sarah, I read the article about outside manufacturers and I want to apply to be approved but when I click on the link included in your article it bring me to my own shop page, not an application form. Is this correct? My husband and I run a company that makes organic sink care products but we don't make them ourselves. My husband outsourced the manufacturing to a facility that uses our formulas. Is this allowed on Etsy? Thanks.
I just put ships bedspread in the search bar. I came up with 25 of the same ruffled mass produced chinese crap bedspreads. And laughably not one nautical themed one. I think I understand fully whats wrong on Etsy
I am one seller that supports the new policy. I have had a store inactive for a few years because I was discouraged that so many sellers obviously did not make their products or even have reasonable outside "help". I say thank you, Etsy, for trying to turn this site back into handmade! Lets give the administration credit for brains: if you make your product you belong on Etsy. If you have someone else make your design, you are a designer and you have outgrown the need for Etsy. Why not start an Etsy-like site for just that? Call it Etsy by Design. Or something. If you are somewhere in between, disclose what part you have in making your product. I am all for having us all disclose our processes if it will mean that Etsy can once again be guaranteed handmade.
Etsy will NEVER be guaranteed handmade. Sad tho that they have allowed the mass produced into Etsy. Just sayin......
Stephanie avatar Admin
Hello All,

Thanks for keeping this discussion lively! We'll be jumping in a bit more tomorrow.

A few of you have asked about communications, how we are going to get this information out to sellers and where you can find a description of the Guidelines and any changes. I wanted to take the chance to reply to that.

If you're here, you've probably already read the blog post we just published

The Guidelines and application are linked from there but you can also find them here: (Guidelines) and here (application, in section “complete the application”)

As far as other communications, we have this in the works. If you subscribe to the Etsy Success newsletter, there was a link to the blog post there. We’ll also be emailing all sellers.

Hope this is informative in addressing some of these concerns!
I think we have to keep in mind that transparency is not a bad thing, and that having to apply through Etsy for outside manufacturing is not a punishment for sellers that don't have the equipment, time or knowledge to do part of the work themselves. The way I understand the new guidelines are so buyers know where the product comes from and in what way the products are made. I want my buyers to know that my item is sincerely unique. And I think the transparency part of the new guidelines actually encourages buyers to get that information.

What makes Etsy so special is you get the feeling that you know who you are buying from. It is a personal relationship between the buyer and the seller. I as a seller can tell people about my story, and the story behind the product and shop, that is why Etsy is such an amazing platform.

A shop owner that designs there own fabric should be proud of offering there own design witch make there product more unique and personal. Why wouldn't you want to shout that out, and let everyone that comes to you shop know about this limited fabric design used in your shop?

Handmade is a difficult word, I think a lot of people have different Ideas on what handmade is. We also know that Etsys policies where quite blurry before the new guidelines.
And what is truly handmade? Is the women next door that knits pullover from a pattern she buys in a magazine and sells it on Etsy more handmade than my friend that designs and knits her own pullovers but when there is a lot going on in her shop, she some times gets outside help from local knitters?

Or say I'm good at sewing, but I don't have much pattern skills. I have a design in mind that I want to make, but do to the lack of pattern skills, I know the item will not be to the buyers satisfaction. By searching around I find a experienced patternmaker in a nearby town, that is willing to make the pattern for me for a reasonable price. She makes the pattern and I sew the finished garment. Why is it wrong to outsource to give the costumer the best product available? I would of course inform buyers about this in the product description and on my about page.

We all have different skill levels, why not get help with the things you are not so good at, and help others with things you are good at?

Etsy is trying to give us sellers a tool to be open and let buyers know what they are really buying. I think transparency like this is the future of handmade and small businesses. I hope that with talking about transparency will also encourage buyers to be more aware of what they are buying. I think it will make us makers think more about where we buy our supplies and make us think how we make the products in our shops (because that could be a selling point when you have informed costumers) And hopefully Etsy will give us better tools to let buyers know about where we get our supplies. This is al part of the story that makes the shopping and selling experience on Etsy so great!
I want to purchase handmade items that are actually made by hand by the shop owner.

I don't want them to design a piece and have it made by other people and call it handmade.

and I don't see anything wrong with what I want.
If I want manufactured stuff I go to ebay.
I completely agree with Bergdís. Handmade has a long history of outsourcing. Etsy is using the word manufacturing in place of outsourcing. But in many jewelry shops you have jewelers that specialize in one part of production. Like you might make the setting and have a master stone setter set the stone. This may be one person that works in their own shop. Under Etsy's new rules this falls under ...
manufacturing, but it is clearly quite different than something made in a factory. It is still handmade, just not by one set of hands. And Zoie under the new guidelines it allows you to know if the items in the shop are being made by one person's hands or more than one.
I guess Etsy seller reactions have been mostly one of these (or both):
--I've been disclosing my materials and sources in my shop as transparently as I can without encouraging copycatters to undercut my prices. Now Etsy's saying I need approval for something I've been doing since day one--and if I don't have their approval on certain items, I need to stop selling those or close my shop? (cont'd)
--What's to prevent people who obviously lie about handmaking or creating their items from lying about their resources or production chain when Etsy comes a-knockin?
I've had a store that's been inactive for a couple of years because I've been trying to figure out how to best promote myself and what of the many things I do to put in there. Now I want to put art in the store - but I'd be selling prints - not originals. I don't currently have a "manufacturing" relationship with anyone and frankly there's not a place I feel good about going to have my art printed anyway - I'm going to have to search for that relationship to find an affordable/ethical option. In the meantime, I'm at a dead end... technically I can't sell without being approved (I don't think) but I'm not going to have things made for a shop that I can't open. This really feels like a chicken or the egg question, and I didn't see it addressed in the opening of this discussion. (Admittedly I didn't read through 25 pages of comments.)

To sum it up: I'm a new shop without established history or products - how do I go about "proving" myself in your application process?
Yup, I have the same concern!
I have a couple of new products in mind, but to have them made I'll have to invest a lot of money up front.
I can't afford to invest money like that to then be told NO you can't sell it on Etsy!

So whats the options?
The only thing I see that can be done is to forget all my new ideas if I want to sell on Etsy. That really makes me sad.

LIFELOOKLENS has closed on Etsy. Hate to say goodbye to a great experience that ended because of #etsygoesglobal policy-switch-a-roo-nonsense... Anyway, I had fun and even though my application for manufacturing partnership didn't receive a response from Etsy Admin..., I laughed SO HARD when I found Imaginaria in the tab-down... :) :) giggles... love and unicorns to all of you. See ya outside Etsy. ~ Regina Hodge @Lifelooklens

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