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Sun Nov 3 2019 21:08:21

Is Amazon Cracking Down on Handmade Goods?

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon Handmade sent an email to artisan sellers recently requesting information about the products and process for their handmade items. We're not sure if this is a routine request, or if Amazon is cracking down on items listed in its handmade goods marketplace. 

In its email, Amazon requested sellers provide it with the following information:

- A detailed description of your work methods.
- The number of your employees and their roles.
- The number of items produced in a week.
- 3 to 5 photos of your studio and/or workspace. (All photos should include your products and your business logo should be visible)
- Any additional details you would like us to know to better understand your business and/or craft.

Amazon gave artisans 3 business days to respond, and wrote, "If you choose not to respond, it will result in the removal of your Amazon Handmade selling privileges."

It's hard for a marketplace to even define what handmade is - if someone creates a design and has a factory in Italy manufacture socks featuring that design - are those socks considered handmade?

If so, is it fair for a marketplace to feature those socks head of socks designed and *handknit* by an artisan? 

And are handmade marketplaces even weighing these issues, or are they mostly taking into account the profitability of items when deciding which ones to allow on their sites?



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by: Lisa This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 3 23:07:14 2019

It's hard for a marketplace to even define what handmade is - if someone creates a design and has a factory in Italy manufacture socks featuring that design - are those socks considered handmade?

on etsy, that would be considered handmade, unsure about amazon.

If so, is it fair for a marketplace to feature those socks head of socks designed and *handknit* by an artisan?

Their venue, their rules.

And are handmade marketplaces even weighing these issues, or are they mostly taking into account the profitability of items when deciding which ones to allow on their sites?

They are making profitably a priority. The above vetting scenario done by amazon also is done by etsy (a variation of it.) I think it is done to make sure the seller is an actual person selling merchandise and less about being handmade.



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by: Twilight Faerie This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 01:25:36 2019

“It's hard for a marketplace to even define what handmade is - if someone creates a design and has a factory in Italy manufacture socks featuring that design - are those socks considered handmade?“

Just my opinion, if you “design” a sock and have it MANUFACTURED in a factory in Italy, that isn’t handmade. That is a manufactured good. A handmade item is made by hand. I guess Etsy “won” that one with their whole redefine the understood and common use of the word handmade. Now it’s a question if something made in a factory is handmade.  Yes it may be small batches, and yes it is designed by an individual artist or crafter, but the moment that design goes elsewhere to be manufactured it is no longer handmade. (Not dissing artist who have items mass produced, I am friends  with folks who have their designs sent off to become pins and patches, coffee mugs etc. and have tremendous respect for those friends and proud of their success.) however the introduction of factory produced items as handmade is really hurting the handmade marketplaces.  

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 01:39:54 2019

A lot of Chinese in handmade, I betcha.  Wouldn't surprise me if the Chinese are listing in handmade, the buyer buys the product, notices it's not handmade and returns it.  Probably a high rate of return in that category.

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by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 01:52:09 2019

Judging from 2 of my last 3 orders from Etsy - 'handmade' there is drop shipped from China. Glad that Amazon is at least trying. Even if it's just a 'charm on a chain' (assemblage), someone is actually making it. Drop-shipped stuff from places like Printful is not handmade - it's mass manufactured.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime

Mon Nov 4 05:22:00 2019

Except on Etsy, designing a product and then having it mass manufactured by the human hands of strangers is not considered ''handmade''.  In 2013, for example, Etsy assured its sellers that shop owners who worked as designers for companies other than their own would NOT be able to list the products they design for other brands in their Etsy shop.  That is no longer the situation, in case you don't know?  I was surprised to find a settee (small loveseat) I had viewed on WayFair for sale on Etsy.  But there it was, drop shipped from the brand's warehouse.  Not handmade, vintage, supplies, custom or unique.

With so many Etsy ''alternatives'' out there, maybe Amazon wants to stand out from them?  The demand for authentic handmade isn't huge, but it is choosy.  It would be a coup for Amazon if they could offer what Etsy cannot.

Maybe Amazon sees a potential competitor in AnytownUSA, which excludes sellers from developing countries whose items are almost always mass made by local workers for low pay.  Artyah had resellers, Baroqoo has resellers and Asian manufacturing.  Even tiny venues don't have the stomach to say ''handmade is different than made by hands''.


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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 05:35:16 2019

No such animal as HANDMADE anymore. A hundred years ago maybe but now no way. Just because you sew two pieces of material together doesn't make it hand made.

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by: SellerGirl This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 06:20:45 2019

Etsy sells more that handmade now, they sell supplies and vintage, too. Any store can sell all three, and I do.  Carefully look at listings to see if they are marked as handmade, supplies or vintage. Some drop ship shops get away with it by listing their items as supplies rather than finished products.

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by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 06:40:28 2019

Etsy sellers have been saying for years that there should be a separate section for genuine, artisan handmade items that are one of a kind or small batch.  Why is this such a problem?

They can keep selling the other crap, just don’t call it handmade.

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by: holycow This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 07:29:04 2019

The bottom line, I believe, is that the major online marketpalces......including, Etsy, Amazon and Ebay are all in competition with each other on Wall St.  All the rules that benefit buyers and sellers have been whitewashed so many times!  So the bottom line IS the bottom line for profits for the marketplaces. Every new change comes down to that fact.  Protecting buyers? Only so they will stick around.  Protecting sellers.........ha!

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by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 08:36:03 2019

I want to see the photos of the knitters and crochet people of their work space.
Hmmm pictures of the living room couch, in a doctor's office ….   (just kidding )

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by: Etsy Seller This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Nov 4 08:49:19 2019

I would hope that someone cracks down on dropshippers passing off their wares as ''handmades''.
I have complained to both Amazon and Etsy regarding obvious dropshippers items, never getting a response. On Amazon, it was very obvious a seller was a dropshippers when her SUPPLIER also sold the exact same group of items (right down to the photos!) FOR LESS on the same page (scrolled down 5 shops). Yes the items are handmade, but not by the seller - not even her her own pattern, fps!
My items are handmade, by me, myself and I as chief cook and bottle-washer. My technique cannot be done by machine and they are made to fit, ''bespoke'' to the buyer.
I sell on Etsy, even with it's quirks and glitches because it STILL has the TRULY handmade things, even if they have forgotten their roots.
Shalom!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime

Mon Nov 4 10:10:39 2019

SellerGirl sez:  ''Etsy sells more that handmade now, they sell supplies and vintage, too. Any store can sell all three, and I do.  Carefully look at listings to see if they are marked as handmade, supplies or vintage''

That might have been good advice back in 2007-2008, but by 2009 reseller presence on Etsy started to increase,  At this point, the number of shops reselling brand name, mass manufactured, products (unaltered, not embellished) as their own handmade outnumbers the shops selling their own art and crafts.  Drop shipping may, or may not, be involved.  Concerning Vintage, at least 25% of the listings aren't 20+ years old (much newer),  As for Supplies, there are plenty of things listed that are ready to wear or use as sold, and need no crafting by the purchaser.  

I am guessing that Amazon sees Etsy similar to the way I see them, and realizes that the deceptive listing practices on a large venue like Etsy will not be confined to just Etsy -- but will spread to wherever else Etsy sellers try to open shops.  It happened on Artyah, Baroqoo, ArtFire, and Zibbet.  Amazon ain't got time for that!

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by: moonmyst This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 10:42:11 2019

Hmmm. Okay Amazon -- I create my own jewelry, by myself, at my dining room table. Would I need to have someone take 3-5 photos of that?

Amazon already allows Chinese sellers to hawk their mass produced rubbish as "handmade". So, I wouldn't even consider selling my unique jewelry on Amazon.

And no one at Etsy monitors whether items are handmade OR vintage. That's a slap in the face for us honest sellers who are truly making our own items or selling truly vintage pieces. Why are we even bothering to follow Etsy rules if they don't enforce them??

I think ALL marketplaces should better define the word "handmade". Maybe there should be a category called
"Custom-made" or "Unique Design". All I know is that it's frustrating for those of use who curate our own findings, design our own jewelry, crochet or knit time-consuming clothing, or create many other of the hand CRAFTED pieces we're trying to sell.

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by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 20:12:54 2019

Handmade in China. Cheaper than using machines.

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by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 20:37:52 2019

When I was considering starting my own product line and Etsy had proven itself to be unworthy of my business, I looked into Amazon handmade, reading their TOS. I was shocked to read that just by selling on Amazon, artisans are giving up their trademark and copyright protections.

That leaves the door open for Amazon to copy best-sellers and sell them for way less than those they stole from. With all the problems we have with the Chinese doing this, we sure as heck don't need an American marketplace doing the same.

This is why I always say that I don't care what's in a site's TOS. Just because it's there doesn't mean it's legal.

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by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 22:57:14 2019

"A lot of Chinese in handmade, I betcha.  Wouldn't surprise me if the Chinese are listing in handmade, the buyer buys the product, notices it's not handmade and returns it.  Probably a high rate of return in that category."

Absolutely which is why Amazon's "Handmade" is not thriving.  I was personally shocked to see so much Chinese mass produced product on there but their a corporation (Amazon) right? It's their job to make money. Corporations have no soul - no morals - no integrity. They just don't care. Their simply revenue driven no matter what the consequences.  When Ina wrote that article about a free store until the end of Dec I thought what the heck and dove in there.

My items are made by hand by me - sometimes I can repeat a pattern sometimes not. I opened up because  Amazon jewelry is a gated category and I have always refused to bribe someone over there to let me in. Not when it was just $500 or now when it's $8,000.

It truly is not a handmade venue - perhaps as someone else mentioned the returns are chewing them up. I'd like to think they started out sincerely but got off track and nobody was watching the hen house. But as usual corporate America allowed the Chinese to chew up another good idea because the cash was flowing.

When I first started listing (and yes selling) my number was somewhere around 13,000ish - I check yesterday and just a month later I'm sitting at 200,000ish. That just can't happen unless every single crafter in the USA is sitting at the kitchen table downing gallons of coffee and foregoing any personal relationships with hubby and the kids never mind cleaning the house.  It's clear the Chinese have taken over.  I won't be sticking around in January when their store fees kick in - I just got lost in the Chinese shuffle.

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by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 4 23:00:27 2019

Just one more thing - if Amazon truly wanted to clean up Handmade it's pretty simple - just gate the Chinese sellers. Opps too unAmerican for you Amazon?

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by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 5 15:15:31 2019

China! China! China! (said in my best Trump voice) LOL



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