I don’t know if many of my readers or visitors know this, but I have a shop on Etsy. For those who are not aware of ETSY, it is a website where you can sell handmade, vintage and supplies (especially for arts & crafts, DIY activities). It is very popular with crafters and artisans, and generally for anyone who take pride and are passionate about making and selling their own products. Customers who shop on Etsy, are unique in the sense that they love to purchase one of a kind, made to order, custom and handmade items. In fact the concept of Etsy was so unique that shop owners as well as customers saw it as a welcome change in this world filled with mass produced goods.
I too have a shop titled “BabsBoutiquee” on Etsy. I personally love fabrics, and sewing for me is a huge stress buster. I currently design and sew aprons and cushion covers for my shop and was planning more additions. Let me be frank, I am not making a lot of money from it but I love that I have a venue to sell my creations which is like a hobby to me. I take great pride in the things I make, and I have a steady stream of satisfied customers.
Recently I received an email from Etsy team informing me of their new guidelines. Below I have posted their new guidelines which you can check it out for yourselves
“We’ve decided it’s time for a change. Our new guidelines put your business back in your hands, giving you room to focus on your passion. In place of the DO’s and DON’Ts, which had grown to 14,000 words, you’ll now see four concise sets of guidelines: Etsy Guidelines, Seller Guidelines, Buyer Guidelines, and Community Guidelines.
In our new, simpler policies:
- You can hire people and collaborate from different locations.
- You can use shipping or fulfillment services, but you’re responsible for the customer experience.
- With approval, you can work with outside manufacturers to help produce your designs.
- If you work with other people or manufacturers to create your items, you need to share that information on your About page.
- Re-selling — purchasing a new, finished product you had no role in creating and selling it to someone else unchanged — is still not allowed”.
All of a sudden Etsy decided to change it policies. As per the new Etsy guidelines they now allow products made by others in different locations to be counted as handmade as long as the design was thought up by the shop owner. I am appalled at this new change. I think it is totally unfair. I am not alone. In the Etsy forums a lot of shop owners have voiced their opinions and criticized these the new policies. Many of them feel they have to compete against big shop owners who may or may not be ethical, and who may have the benefit of an overseas manufacturer.
Right now to stock up my shop I am the one who is doing everything. I am shopping for fabrics, making patterns, cutting fabrics, spending money on sewing supplies and sewing. When I receive an order, I am personally packing and shipping. As per the new Etsy guidelines I only have to think of the design and I can literally have it made overseas or some other locations and sell it on Etsy as handmade. How is this fair? How is this different from any of the big stores like Walmart and Target?
My suggestion to Etsy is to set up another website which will be solely for handmade and nothing else. Do not pair it up with other categories. This way the creatives can continue to have a place to indulge in their obsession with a bonus of making money. As for those people who set up shop on Etsy solely for the reason of business and profit, Etsy can keep this current website for them. I think it will solve both problems. Let the customers decide what they want to buy.
I apologize for rant, but it was much need. If think I may have to look at the other options for selling my handmade products or may be close shop forever. It will be a sad day if that happened. What do you think? Do you know of some other places where people like me can make and sell handmade stuff?