Unfond Farewell

4 Oct

It took me four years to wise up, but I’m smarter now and Etsy won’t be getting any more of my money.  I’ve finally removed all of my inventory from Etsy.  I moved to a new venue, Storenvy.  You can find my new boutique here.

The fatal push was this chummy letter:

Dear Kat,

Over the past eight years, Etsy sellers have astounded us with their creativity, ingenuity and ambition. This is a marketplace we make together; we lay the foundation and you build on it. You’ve grown Etsy in ways we never predicted, but part of our foundation hasn’t kept up.

Sellers tell us that our policies for shops with handmade items have become confusing, intrusive and restrictive. It’s time to give those policies a renovation.

We believe Etsy’s foundation should be empowering to you. You should be able to run your shop in a way that works for you. We want to be clear about what handmade means on Etsy. It’s about having an idea for an item, taking responsibility for how it’s made, and being honest about it.

In our new, simpler guidelines:

  • You are welcome to hire people and collaborate from different locations.
  • If it makes things easier, you can use shipping or fulfillment services. You remain responsible for your buyer’s experience.
  • You can work with outside manufacturers to help produce your designs. We’ll ask a few questions about why you chose them and how you work together.
  • 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 manufacturers and any shop members who help make your handmade items should be listed on your About page, to foster trust with buyers.

We believe this is the most clear, fair way to help you succeed and preserve the values that make Etsy special. I know these are substantial and important changes, so I invite you to share your thoughts or questions with us at guidelines@etsy.com.




CEO, Etsy

Well, since he asked so nicely…

Dear Chad

I’m writing to say good-bye. Your latest move is too little, too late.

The top ten sellers on Etsy are all “Craft Supplies” suppliers. This means your highest revenue source for listing and renewing is “Craft Supplies,” not “Handmade” goods, and this means to me that Etsy has completely failed to establish itself as a marketplace for quality, handmade items. I have seen very few items offered in the “Craft Supplies” category that were made by the seller, and I know the difference; Etsy, apparently, does not.

A lapidarist is a fine example of a hand-maker of a craft supply; ribbon hand-dyed by the seller is another great example. Gemstones (precious or otherwise) machine-cut in mass production and commercially available hand-dyed ribbon are excellent examples of the “Craft Supplies” you allow to be sold on Etsy.

The hard step, and the right step, is to remove “Craft Supplies” and “Vintage” completely from Etsy. A lapidarist selling their hand-cut stones currently fits under both “Craft Supplies” and “Handmade”; a person who uses vintage materials to create something that didn’t previously exist is both “Vintage” and “Handmade”; these sellers would not be affected. However, an old ashtray, broken watch or Halston broach, machine stamped brass, or a strand of freshwater pearls will never fit under “Handmade” and should not be sold on Etsy. Why, if re-selling is not allowed, is there any category other than “Handmade”? Why are re-sellers not shut down? Why does Etsy not enforce its own policies, instead relying on its CUSTOMERS to do their policing? Just what is it that am I paying you to do?

As my “employee,” you’ve failed miserably.

Over and over your policy and decision to allow “Craft Supplies” to be sold on Etsy is defended. I understand completely; who wants to lose the lion’s share of their revenue by allowing only HANDMADE items to be sold on Etsy. Very short-sighted when what you need to be is visionary.

I won’t even bother to go into your restrictive shop template (one size does not fit all) or debauched rating system, or your super secret formula for “relevance” or the repetitive favoring demonstrated by your “first page”. Not even the gaming of the treasury system. At this point, I can’t think of anything positive to say about your company.

I (as one of many) have grown sick of Etsy pandering to its own greed and making self-serving decisions that frustrate users and complicate your platform. You really don’t know who your “customers” are, do you?

So you’ll get no more of my money, either as a seller or as a buyer; I’ve already transferred 100% of my stock to another venue. In a few days, Etsy will be only a bad, sad memory.

RIP, Etsy.


2 Responses to “Unfond Farewell”

  1. gt281 October 7, 2013 at 12:09 AM #

    Kat, don’t hold back, tell us what you really think…


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