|Mon May 7 2012 12:42:02|
Should Etsy Sellers Close Shops in 'Protesty' over Non-Handmade?
By: Julia Wilkinson
The latest uproar in the online selling world is not on eBay this time, but on that haven of all things handmade, Etsy. Dubbed "Protesty," a group of Etsy sellers in support of keeping only handmade items on the site, is planning to put their Etsy stores on "vacation" mode on May 10 to show their disapproval of Etsy allowing non-handmade listings on the site.
They have their own Facebook group, "Handmade Solidarity," and there's a discussion thread on Etsy itself with sellers worrying about the repercussions if they do decide to put their shops on vacation. There have also been posts on the Etsy-goofing site regretsy ("Where DIY Meets WTF"), some here, in the category "Not Remotely Handmade."
But Etsy sellers seem to be of two minds on the discussion thread: one that Etsy should not be looking the other way when mass-produced or non-handmade items are allowed on the site, and others that Etsy needs to do what's best for Etsy, and that its growth helps all sellers on the site. "Abitmiller," who does create handmade items, protested that "as a business that is about to expand, I worry that all the negative feedback about hiring people to work with you would equate a limitation on how much my business can grow. I sometimes do bulk orders for businesses, and I am getting more requests for these purchases. Do I have to turn business down if I hire more than two people to work with me to keep within people's terms of what should be here?" she wrote.
And Trishia Jacobs-Carney of Etsy shop FrenchKissed felt that Etsy was not being clear in communicating about what the repercussions might be for sellers who joined in the protest by putting their shops on vacation. And other sellers worried that they would actually be on vacation May 10, and how that might be misconstrued.
The foofaraw was kicked off when Etsy featured an alleged reseller, Ecologica Malibu, on its Etsy blog. Some Etsy sellers and regretsy claimed this seller was actually reselling reclaimed wood furniture pieces imported from Malaysia, according to the dailydot.com.
Some of the brouhaha is explained in former Etsy seller Nicole Hanna's blog post about how she received an email from Etsy's Trust and Safety Team about how some of her content on Etsy was is in violation of Etsy's policies, and they were temporarily suspending her account. (Hanna had written, "Shop contents are currently unavailable while I work on re-branding and movement of merchandise. I support artisan and hand-crafted goods and, as such, believe a show of solidarity, support and praise is necessary to encourage small business owners in the continuing herculean endeavor to survive in a world of commercial mass production. I urge consumers to support the artisan marketplace and creative community in general and appreciate your interest in my work. Thank you.").
One of Etsy's policies states that "You may not use the public areas of your account to demonstrate or discuss disputes with others or with Etsy."
What do think about the protest? If you sell on Etsy, do you support it? Or would you worry if you participated in it, there would be repercussions for your shop? As a buyer, would you participate in it by not buying from Etsy on that day?
And, perhaps the biggest question in all this, should Etsy allow non-handcrafted items on the site? And where is the line between non-handcrafted and items that a handcrafter contracts out to helpers to expand her or his business? Post a comment here!