Monday, 4 November 2013

Why We Will No Longer Sell on Etsy

I have taken the decision to stop selling on Etsy due to their recent policy changes.

I have been selling on Etsy for the last 4 years, and until today it has been the main sales platform for my small business. I liked that they championed small businesses and handmade goods. They have lots of useful resources to help you succeed as a handmade business and I really thought that they were a company with a worthwhile mission.

Don't get me wrong, Etsy hasn't been without it's problems. As the website grew, more and more non-handmade items started to appear in the search results. Mass produced items from China started to pop over everywhere, but Etsy assured us that they were bating against this and would always champion handmade goods over any other.

The term "handmade" in itself brought on its own challenges for Etsy. As the site got more popular that were faced with how to determine what "handmade" actually meant.

To me a handmade item doesn't have to be made from 100% handmade materials. A necklace can still be handmade if your using jump rings brought from a jewellery supply store, but I know some people would argue against this.

Handmade to me means being involved 100% in the process of designing and making the product from start to finish - with your own hands. Yes, I agree that as a small handmade business you can have more than one person in your shop making your items, but you should be working as a team. You should know the other person/people. Have a close relationship with them, understand their values and how they make or contribute to making the items that you sell. You should be able to work with others in order to expand your business, but the ethos behind the handmade movement should still very much remain a part of your companies core values.

For me, these other people/person that you choose to work with should not be a part of a huge factory or a company that is mass producing your items in China. To me, that's not what handmade really means.

Unfortunately though, Etsy have now chosen to disagree. They have changed their policies to enable mass produced goods from factories to be sold as handmade goods on their website.

"Etsy's new policies allow you to partner with manufacturers to produce your designs. A manufacturer is any outside business that helps make your items. For example, you can work with a foundry that casts jewelry you've designed, a studio that fires pottery you've thrown, or a factory that cuts and sews clothing you've created."

On the surface, this actually seems like a good idea to enable small businesses to grow, something which I am definitely not against, but what annoys me is that if you do a quick search of Etsy you will see that it's now just a free-for-all of mass-produced factory items selling for mere pennies and cents.

To me, the new policies just seem like complete u-turn from just a few years ago.

Etsy's mission statement from 2011 reads: "Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers.
Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice:
Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade."

Buy, Sell and Live Handmade. This was the core of what Etsy was all about.

Etsy's new mission statement reads:

"Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. Our mission is to re-imagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world."

To me, this mission statement could be from any online retailer out there.  There is absolutely no mention of HANDMADE or even anything similar. I feel as though Etsy as a business are taking a step back from the handmade community and going in a different direction and this is the reason why I have chosen to not sell with them anymore.

I joined Etsy originally to be a part of the handmade community. If they don't want to be a part of that then I don't want to be a part of them.

My shop will remain open until December 23rd at midnight in order for me to finish the holiday season and complete any remaining orders fulfilments and admin tasks.

I will continue to sell on Folksy who are a handmade marketplace for the UK. You can find my Folksy shop at:

I have also spent the day updating my website and we now have a fully integrated online shop that is histed by Shopify.

You can buy all of our handmade products online at

See you over there!

Hayley xo

  *UPDATE: After some comments from other exFolksy users, I will be reviewing Folksy policies too and will decide the outcome of my Folksy shop in the near future. I will keep you updated."

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