One year after making a radical change to its policy around what constitutes “handmade” on craft-and-vintage goods website Etsy, its CEO discussed the changes on the Etsy blog.
In October 2013, Etsy broadened its Handmade category to include sellers who used employees and manufacturing partners. The policy was controversial, since many one-person shops were already reporting they faced competition from mass-producers and resellers who violated Etsy’s policies, and who feared the new policy might result in buyers being turned off from the site.
On Wednesday, Dickerson wrote, “When we made these changes, we knew that not everyone would embrace them, but we believed they were essential for Etsy to continue to thrive as a community and platform. The changes sparked a lively dialogue – we are grateful to have such open and spirited exchanges with our community – and we responded with additional clarity about our decisions.”
He went on to share some examples of sellers who took advantage of the new policies. And he revealed, “86 percent of manufacturing relationships we’ve approved are with partners in the same country as the designer.”
Dickerson also talked about the “Etsy Economy,” which he said was “synonymous with an economy that values and honors the people who design and make goods, is transparent about the way they are made, and connects the people who make, sell and buy them. It is an economy in which creative entrepreneurs find meaningful work and both global and local markets for their goods.”
Etsy created the Responsible Seller Growth team to help sellers scale, composed of Maker Specialists who are experts in and passionate about making processes, as well as a sociologist who has studied responsible, community-based economies, he said. “This gives us continued hope for the impact that Etsy sellers can have on the manufacturing industry, the economy and our culture – not just in the U.S., but around the world.”
Resold items are not allowed on Etsy, and Dickerson said the company continued to strengthen methods for tracking and removing unqualified goods.
“We know our plans are ambitious, and the past year has shown us that it’s possible. This is just the beginning of our work. We’re thrilled by the ways this vision has come to life this year, and excited to continue to help creative business owners flourish on Etsy.”