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Etsy’s Reseller Debacle: Handmade Site Features Questionable Goods

"Featured Seller" has furniture sold on Overstock.com

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Etsy’s Reseller Debacle: Handmade Site Features Questionable Goods
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Since 2005, Etsy has been the place to go for handmade crafts and vintage goodies; strictly an online destination, it’s home to about 800,000 sellers who offer up everything from jewelry to children’s clothing to furniture. Anyone with handmade items to sell can open a shop on the site and become an entrepreneur, and as a seller myself, I can attest to the success one can have if the shop is carefully tended to.

Part of the site’s rules of operation, according to their homepage, is that anything sold in a shop must be either A. Handmade (by you) B. Vintage (20 years old or more) or C. Supplies. They specifically point out the things that are not allowed, which include items handmade by someone other than yourself, illegal items, or anything that doesn’t fit into the above categories. But despite these steadfast rules, there are still shops that offer goods which were made by someone else, and sometimes they slip through the cracks.

Are you an Etsy seller? Feel free to let your voice be heard in the comments section.

Because Etsy is a relatively small company compared to the amount of business they do, it’s difficult for them to police the entire site to weed out the sellers who aren’t abiding by the rules; when they do find one that’s been flagged, however, the site managers send the shop proprietor an email asking detailed questions about their processes. If they don’t get the right answers, the shop gets shut down. It happened to Lisa Jacobs of New Zealand, who has a jewelry shop on the site. She says they shut her down after learning she was using a third-party vendor to fulfill orders, and only agreed to re-open it after she amended her shipping policy, which included sending out the items directly from her home and adding a week onto shipping time.

The past year has seen a doubling of Etsy’s efforts to sniff out the sellers who are less than honest about the provenance of their items; they now have a staff of 16 who are solely dedicated to finding those shops and researching items they think are suspicious. Most of them are experts in a particular category, which makes it easier for Etsy to “ask the right questions” of the sellers, according to Kruti Patel Goyal, who is the director of Etsy’s policing groups.

But despite their efforts, there are still what some would consider to be huge oversights on the part of the craft site, such as a recent issue which was brought to my attention by a fellow seller.

Etsy has a section called “Featured Seller” which includes an in-depth interview with a particular shop’s owner and a feature about their goods on Etsy’s blog. It’s considered a big deal to be included in this group, and the site claims that only the highest standards of quality handmade wares are considered. However, they recently featured a shop called Ecologica Malibu, which offers furniture made from reclaimed wood, and the shop has been called into question regarding it’s “handmade” claim.

The woman behind the shop, Mariana Schechter, says she uses raw materials for her furniture and has a small team of people helping her put them together:

“I get my “rescued” wood from several islands in Indonesia, sourced from old houses and canoes, or ships like jangadas. I pay for the wood and hire someone to reclaim it for me. Sometimes my clients will ask for a particular traditional assembly process, like using wooden nails. In those cases we’ll hire someone in Indonesia to send us some pieces partially assembled, but we always add substantially to any finished piece, like through a refinishing process. We only do these pre-assembled custom orders for people who ask. Most of what I sell on Etsy is not made-to-order.”

This is the “Rio” chair, from Ecologica Malibu’s shop:

rio chair

And this is a chair from a store called All From Boats, a wholesaler who counts Bali Ha’i Imports as a dealer. Bali Ha’i, incidentally, has the same address as Ecologica Malibu, and this same furniture is available on sites like Overstock.com.

wood chair

There are many, many, many more examples like this one outlined on Regretsy. By all accounts, it seems like Ecologica Malibu is a reseller, which is completely against everything Etsy stands for.

Etsy sellers are smart, capable people. Once they put two and two together, a backlash ensued against Etsy and Ecologica Malibu, resulting in a stream of comments on the blog that have since been taken down. An effort to contact a representative of the site has gone unanswered thus far, but editor Juliet Gorman amended the Featured Seller blog post about Mariana to include an acknowledgement of the situation.

“At Etsy, we believe strongly in transparency, and we should have done more in this case to live up to that value. As editors, we should have ensured that relevant details about the people and processes behind Ecologica Malibu came through clearly in this interview. In that regard, we failed and we apologize.

We know you expect to see the best of Etsy in the Featured Seller series, and so our Marketplace Integrity team reviews every shop prior to selection. Based on information Mariana provided us, we were confident that Ecologica Malibu fit our criteria. Our policies on member privacy prevent us from disclosing details of Mariana’s sourcing and business relationships; each seller on Etsy benefits from this protection of privacy. However, we can assure readers that we’ve thoroughly investigated all the questions raised publicly over the last two days with Mariana, including sales on other websites and related business entities. Mariana has documented that the furniture sold on Etsy through their shop is constructed in their Malibu studio from raw materials sourced in Indonesia.”

Apparently this isn’t a lone incident; a Facebook page has been created called “Calling Out Etsy Resellers” which lists post after post of questionable shops on the site. The page has garnered some attention in recent weeks since the Ecologica Malibu incident and some Etsy shopkeepers are posting about their intent to shut down their accounts in light of the event.

The seller who contacted me about this issue says she has built a very successful online business with Etsy, and situations such as these only work to hurt her reputation and credibility; no doubt there are thousands of others who feel the same way. And while it’s only an example of one case, this brings back to mind the story of Lisa Jacobs, whose shop was swiftly shut down for a misunderstood rule about third-party shipping vendors. Is Etsy focusing on the right people for their crackdown on sellers?

Please tell us what you think in the comments section.

Etsy’s Reseller Debacle: Handmade Site Features Questionable Goods
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  • Jackson

    There will be a special place in Hell for Etsy after this one.

    To sweep this issue under the rug by declaring them a “collective” is an insult to every member of Etsy. Regretsy clearly showed documentation that these items are imported already made. The seller is listed as a “distributor” on their own website.

    Etsy is telling us bald faced lies and acting like WE are the problem for not swallowing the BS they are feeding us.

    I have already closed my shop in disgust and hope others follow suit. If everyone who is disgusted by this action sets up shop on another site, and advertisers where they moved, and why, together we can create a serious competitor for Etsy, and they can choke on their own vomit.

    • Louise

      Etsy sellers – make a stand by signing up for the May 10th Etsy boycott day:
      http://www.protesty.com/index.php

      Sign the petition:
      http://www.change.org/petitions/etsy-issue-a-public-statement-with-a-plan-to-eliminate-resellers#share

      If you are an Etsy buyer, show solidarity to sellers on Etsy by spending your money elsewhere on the protest days 1st and 10th May!

  • Selene

    I’ve been thinking of starting an Etsy shop…that’s so not happening now.

  • Bunny

    Etsy is great place to sell things. But, they are run by a “do as I say, not as I do” kind crowd. They liked this Elogica gal because she fit their green,liberal worldview. Turns out, she is a capitalist creep masquerading as sensitive, love mother earth type. It seems to me there should be a finite supply of this “wood.” I would love to see the neiborhoods it is coming from and how many people in third world countries are being duped into selling their dwelling, boat or door jams for a song! This is disheartening from Etsy and proof of an uber liberal double standard. Kinda like Google’s “Don’t be Evil” except in China where they have no human rights, approach to business. It is all about the Benjamins… Follow the money and it will lead back to Etsy’s corporate office and the Volt’s they can afford to drive…I hope this story DOES end up on This American Life.

    • http://www.captaincyberzone.com Cap’n Cyberzone

      A smart bunny you are.
      Liberals are hypocrites who covet money. And they love to take credit for good deeds they perform with other people’s money (coerced).
      Etsy, probably, at first, was run with all the good intentions and oversight necessary for success but that success led to greed and so a great idea with a great beginning will now crash and burn with one or more “honest” start-ups … maybe “Cap’n Bunny’s Handmades”

      • earthlover

        Argh. How on earth is it possible to be ECOLOGICAL or GREEN when you’re shipping from Indonesia to Los Angeles?

        Etsy’s Chad wrote some sort of explanation for keeping the shop as a result of their investigation by blowing sunshine up our skirts for several paragraphs. Some bs about how frustrating it must be for us to not understand how their investigations work.

        Way to talk down AGAIN to your customer base…

      • Ariel

        How does something like this turn to liberal bashing so quick? Can’t anything be discussed without toxic right wing bs? lol

        • earthlover

          :) Just for the record, I’m a Lib, my reply went under the wrong post. And I agree that political comments are popping up in posts on almost every website article these days – doesn’t matter if it’s a cooking article or how to bathe a cat, lol!

          • Ariel

            Seriously! lol :D

  • John Jeffries

    I’m pretty disgusted by Etsy’s response to all of this. It’s as clear as day that Ecologica Malibu is a reseller, but for Etsy to tell us that they’re a collective when they’re obviously not is just a slap in the face to all the legitimate sellers out there.
    Shame on Etsy for allowing this, and even more shame on them for trying to sweep it under the carpet.

  • JustJane

    http://www.etsy.com/people/CURIOSITYNC

    This person was selling items from that same supplier. Their site was shut down this afternoon. Double standard much?

    • http://www.sandrarussell@etsy.com sandra russell

      Hi
      I just clicked on the link you provided and it is still open for business! This is another obvious mass production item… a 5 draw chest for 395 bucks! Impossible for a real woodwork to make that item for so little. And it even looks like it could be from Target.

      • Caitlin

        I just checked the link too and they even have a desk listed as “Pottery Barn Writing Desk”. How is this not obvious reselling?

  • Dorothy

    I feel that Etsy is insulting the intelligence of its sellers by allowing this seller to assert that she is running a “collective” out of her shop in Malibu when it’s obvious that she is importing furniture from Bali and reselling it on Etsy as well as other sites.

  • Kim

    Just commenting on the post about Curiosity NC. They were shut down for fee avoidance. Some of the sellers posting in the forum threads about Ecologica did a site search for “Bali reclaimed wood”, and discovered that Curiosity was running some sort of an alternate pay site fee avoidance scam. I think several people reported them & they were shut down not long after. Of course, I’m sure that the fact that they were selling a few items also available at Ecologica (and Overstock, etc.) probably expedited matters somewhat.

  • Eileen

    Thank you for this article. There are way too many blogs out there touting the wonders of Ecologica. Fraud.

  • http://prairieprimitives.etsy.com PrairiePrimitives on Etsy

    Yeah, Etsy believes SOOO strongly in transparency that they delete 700 comments, about 2/3 of which were less than favorable towards the site. Hmmm … transparency, yeah right.

    Marianna herself said in the FS interview, “I pay for the wood and hire someone to reclaim it for me.” This obviously means she pays for the wood and hires someone to CREATE THE PRODUCTS she’s selling which, in fact, is in direct opposition to the “Production Assistance” paragraph in Etsy’s Do’s and Don’ts which states “An assistant or third-party vendor’s involvement may not comprise a majority share of a handmade item’s creation.” Yet that is exactly what is happening here. Bad Etsy.

    I’ve had an Etsy shop for 5.5 years and am staying put for the time being, in part because I have an ad coming out in about a week with a link to my shop. But this whole situation definitely leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    • http://neogami.com Onlyme

      At least we can all find the full interview with this seller with all the comments here:
      http://neogami.com/baligate.html

      I love it when people think that once you erase something online, it’s gone for ever. Here’s a hint… It’s not! ;D

  • Travelgrrl

    Etsy knows darned well they have huge re-sellers, and they don’t care because the earn a great deal of revenue from them, compared to the lower sales of stores that sell truly handcrafted items.

    Their reputation is built on the backs of the latter, but they turn a blind eye to the former.

    Featuring one of them as a Featured Seller was bold as brass, and seriously underestimated the intelligence of sentient sellers (Like myself).

  • Biglouis

    Etsy prefers to bully small sellers whose “errors” are highlighted by its Gestapo systen of spineless snitches. The quality of the staff who investigate these so called infractions highlighted by snitches leaves much to be desired.

    However Etsy quickly backs off when a shop gets their lawyer involved – or even threatens to.

    Potential snitches should consider the possibility that a court order could force Etsy to divulge the ID of one of these snitches who harmes someones business. Then the snitch might find themselves on the recieving end of someones revenge trip.

  • Normita

    I wonder what would happen if we do a one week strike on Etsy will they then agree to follow their own rules? will they then kick re-sellers out? I for one am more than willing to close shop for one whole week.
    I feel they should be sued for breach of contract, I used to think that it would get better, I don’t live in la-la land anymore,thanks etsy

  • She Who Governs Herself

    There’s an updated post at Regretsy with even more proof that Ecologica’s furniture is not handmade, but rather purchased wholesale —

    http://www.regretsy.com/wp-comments-post.php

    Etsy’s CEO, Chad Dickerson, has turned out to be a star at screwing up communications. He may well single-handedly crash and burn Etsy’s brand.

    If I weren’t observing this debacle with my own eyes, I would never believe that the CEO of sizable company like Etsy would abandon his responsibility to communicate a strong, clear message that aims to limit damage and rebuild trust. Instead, he’s making low-level forum moderators do the dirty work of telling critics to pipe down, or get lost.

    Since when does a CEO force lowly thread moderators to be the public face of a company in crisis? I mean, who does this – besides Chad Dickerson?

  • She Who Governs Herself

    Sorry – gave the wrong link for the Regretsy update. Here’s the correct one:

    http://www.regretsy.com/2012/04/24/update-ecologica-malibu/

  • http://www.christian-louboutins.co.uk/ vannyxin

    http://www.christian-louboutins.co.uk/
    But despite their efforts, there are still what some would consider to be huge oversights on the part of the craft site, such as a recent issue which was brought to my attention by a fellow seller.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/heathersonrisa Heather Sonrisa

    I love Etsy. I am a milliner and I absolutely 100% create everything myself and this is really distressing to me. Although this speaks to the issue that sometimes I feel that Etsy has too many sellers and that is the reason things fall through the cracks. Etsy is a great way for unknown talent and entrepreneurs to seek out their customers and dreams. However, maybe a good idea to Etsy is creating another site so that they can better manage their business. Another issue is that because there are soooooooo many sellers those of us who are truly designers do not stand a chance at getting noticed by any in coming customers because there are far to many listings. And to think some are listings things that are not 100% handmade by them is disheartening.

    Heather Sonrisa

  • Onlyme

    If you’d like to see the full Featured Seller article with all the comments that Etsy has tried to delete, just visit: http://neogami.com/baligate.html

    Don’t let Etsy sweep this one under the rug. Let them know that this is the internet, and here you can’t just delete what you don’t want others reading about you. Spread the word on Twitter with #ScumbagEtsy

    • Watching the Wheels

      BRAVO!!!!

      I was thoroughly impressed with the screenshot manuever.

      POINT — SELLERS

  • http://www.webpronews.com/ Amanda Crum

    Just out of curiosity, how many of you who have commented here would be willing to shut down your shops in an effort to get Etsy to pay attention? Also, as an update, I have not heard back from the people I’ve contacted at Etsy regarding this matter, nor did I expect to. They seem to have closed the book on the whole matter–which is baffling– and the Ecologica Malibu “feature” is still listed on their blog.

    • earthlover

      Yes, same thing happened with Coralgate… they deleted all comments and requests for information transparency and swept that under the rug, too.

  • Eva

    This is bad. I love Etsy but the silence and then the spin from the top is just horrible.
    They have enough proof now that this person is a reseller.
    More then enough.
    And yet they have dug in their heels and pretend everything is just fine.
    This will not go away.

  • I have eyes

    hmmmmmmmm I have looked at both chairs …… they are DIFFERENT … noticed the top one has a space in the back piece? Noticed the bottom one the seat comes out further than the legs and is notched? The bottom one has a hand crip hole in the back the top one doesn’t. They are not finished at all alike …….. be sure to check what your publish ….. next thing you will say a cup cake is the same as a cake cause they both use flour and have icing. LOL

    • Boolsheet

      They are different. The point is that the same company makes both chairs, and that company is not the Etsy seller.

      There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being an importer; the seller is using a venue that is not intended for importers.

      And btw, that blog article on Etsy was rewritten by Etsy to legitimize the seller after all hell broke loose.

  • Boolsheet

    All of this is nonsense. Thanks to the web, anyone can contact the owner and designer of All From Boats, and many have. He freely states that Mariana designs some of her items and he makes them for her. He also makes the items she sells but doesn’t design, and doesn’t care that she takes credit for this.

    Good Loord! What else needs to happen before Etsy admits that this woman is an importer and reseller?

    Meanwhile, Etsy bullies random small sellers over trivial things. They actually have a group of people, the questionably named Integrity Team, who interrogate sellers without giving any reason for the actions. They must provide pics of their work areas, receipts and sources for their supplies, explain how they make their items, and provide pics of themselves and those who may be working with them…mug shots! Then some Grand Poobah dipwad at Etsy decides if the hsop can stay open or not, without ever providing any info about the investigation to the seller.

    Personally, I think half the people who are put thru this process get the attention of Etsy employees because someone in Brooklynn wants to make the same items as the seller in question. But I’m suspicious by nature.

    Why aren’t the featured shops going thru the same vetting process before they’re features? This isn’t the first time the children at Etsy have ticked people off with their too often pithy, tacky and/or misinformed blog articles; maybe Etsy should just stop with the lifestyle crap and conentrate on managing the business side of things?

    • Boolsheet

      Yeeps…featured, not features.

  • http://www.facebook.com/darbynwoods darbynwoods

    as a woodworker who has a shop on etsy i think that if you do not make it then you should not sell it as handmade. But that is due to the time i take to make my work.

    2nd issue, i would never want to buy something made in a foreign country with old paint on it. I would be afraid of led paint coming in contact with my children. but that is just me.

  • http://www.allisoneastmanbritt.com Allison

    I just wanted to point out that it is possible to be a micro business and sell handmade on Overstock. Whether or not she is conforming to their TOU’s I don’t know, but being on Overstock is not a smoking gun. They have a program that works with small businesses. They have actually been very supportive of my handmade business, and many others.

  • paperwork

    I don’t sell on Etsy so I don’t have the same ire as sellers do over seeing Etsy market other shops that blatantly break the rules. However as a buyer, I plan to avoid shopping there in the future because the company shows no respect to its users when they delete any comment or treasury that they feel is “negative” instead of allowing the arguments to stand and people to come to their own judgements. Time and again when their policies are questioned or when they receive criticisms, they don’t ever ask themselves if the criticisms are just and they silence their users as though they were just overtired children having temper tantrums. They care about saving face, not costumer service. Unlike sellers who have a difficult choice as to whether they can afford to give up the Etsy venue, as a buyer I can spend my money elsewhere with no hardship whatsoever. And when people ask me about shopping there I can say, “Oh there is some nice stuff, but you’ll never find it unless you really sift through a lot of overpriced crap you could get anywhere else.”

  • http://bezjewelry.com Gale

    Amanda…..I’ve already deactivated all items in both of my stores.

    http://tatteredrouge.etsy.com
    http://ateliermaji.etsy.com

    I will NOT allow Etsy to use my designed and handmade (by me) items to deceptively promote their website, while using the word “handmade” as a cover for mass production re-sellers!

    I encourage sellers to unite and deactivate their Etsy items in protest.

    Gale @ bezarts

  • KK

    @Amanda, I closed my shop last year after this went down http://www.glamour.com/weddings/blogs/save-the-date/2011/02/6-wedding-dresses-from-etsy3-a.html My comment is #7, w/the chicken reference. Here is April’s coverage http://www.regretsy.com/2011/03/02/boy-is-my-face-red/ There are numerous blogs dedicated to calling out Etsy, here is one http://etsycallout.wordpress.com/ As a shop owner it became impossible to compete with sellers who would sell their oriental trading company bracelets by the hundreds while it can take me hours to wire wrap one bracelet! I would sometimes be so frustrated by the front page that I would take the time to report shops, complete with links to alibaba, ebay, etc. So many good artists are being overlooked for the all mighty dollar.

    • http://www.sandrarussell@etsy.com sandra russell

      very good comment. It is obvious that a handmade bracelet can take hours and can not compete with mass produced low paid factory workers. Martha Stewart use to push etsy years ago … I wonder what she would think of it now.

  • http://glennfurniture.com Glenn Madden

    If you really want custom hand made furniture then visit http://glennfurniture.com

    Glenn will even help you custom design your own creations to match your homes decor.

  • Arlene

    This is disgusting, but I’m not surprised that etsy cares more about the bottom dollar. I remember years ago when I did trade shows, I would see several women come in and buy some of the cash and carry items from other vendors and then several weeks later find them at local craft shows, displaying these very same items with their own “handmade tags”! It was out and out BS! I called them on it but they said the customer didn’t care. More BS.

    It seems each time a company becomes big, they care very little for the people who helped them to grow, (in this case the original, legitimate artists and crafters) and they only care to make even more money from people who obviously do not fit into their own set of rules. Etsy has become a joke. If they had any class and respect for the true designers on their site, they would address this situation head on. Best wishes to all the legitimate people out there.

  • http://www.vintagebaubles.com Anne

    Etsy is so full of themselves and full of “carp” on this! I’m a seller of vintage apparel and accessories, and have an Etsy shop. Etsy is loaded with sellers who misdate their vintage clothing to make them appear older than they are, misrepresent contemporary items as vintage, and, in extreme cases, fraudulently represent items as big-name designer pieces. It’s full of 1960s’ polyester dresses described as 1940s, 1980s dresses called 1920s, etc. In many cases (especially those 60s’ poly dresses as 40s) the items carry have no construction or detailing that would lead a knowledgeable buyer to think they are from the era the seller claims. However, the cunning Etsy sellers know they are dealing with certain percentage of buyers who are largely uneducated about vintage and will buy their descriptions. And, guess what? Etsy does NOTHING about these sellers. I know people who flag misrepresented vintage on Etsy constantly, yet if the sellers bring in enough $$$$ to Etsy’s coffers, they are allowed to continue defrauding buyers. Etsy’s concern is not the integrity of sellers and items on its site, its concern is its own deep pocketbook. They clearly either do not have an expert in vintage on staff, or they clearly do not care if their large sellers blatantly misrepresent vintage items.

    This has brought the price of good vintage down. Buyers think if 1920s thru 1950s dresses in wonderful condition are ubiquitous and can be had for dirt cheap prices, why would they pay what the authentic items are priced at?

    As soon as I can get my private site rebuilt with its new page design, I will only list my less-desirable, cheap items on Etsy.

  • http://www.vintagebaubles.com Anne

    I don’t see why Etsy doesn’t just do what the site ArtFire has done. ArtFire was originally like Etsy, allowing only items from artisans who handmake their items and vintage items. They now allow resellers, but they have a separate category called “commercial,” which is for resellers. So buyers know exactly what they are getting–no deceptions.

    But Etsy probably doesn’t want to “ruin” their “handmade cachet” reputation. LOL.

    • Lindsay

      They already have.

  • http://www.SouthernSeamsKids.etsy.com Mary Ann

    Etsy has really disappointed both their sellers and buyers. This is just one of many shops that are resellers on Etsy. I agree with Anne regarding Vintage as well. They are abusing all categories of Etsy. I have a shop making Handmade Children’s Clothing and every stitch is done by me. I turned down a sale on well known venue because I felt I couldn’t make the amount of items by ‘MY’ hands that they wanted. It is about our commitment to our shops and customers, either handmade, supplies or vintage, that Etsy seems to have lost site of. I, for one, am appalled that this shop who is clearly a reseller of mass produced products, is still open. I will continue to run my shop with my own values until another venue can be found but I will not run any of their search ads or pretend that their integrity has not been tarnished. I will join the boycott of Etsy on May 10 and close my shop in protest.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Amanda Crum

      Hi Mary Ann,
      Would you be willing/available for a brief email interview later this afternoon? You can contact me at amanda.crum@ientryinc.com if so.
      Thanks,
      Amanda

  • http://www.mariesboutique.co.uk Maries Boutique

    Interesting story about responsible selling and potential lawsuits for misrepresentation.

  • http://diymomblog.blogspot.com/ Susan

    Obviously the shop in question is making Etsy owners so much money that they’re willing to look the other way. Another sell-out! What a shame.

  • Old Fartsy

    That is some seriously ugly, totally impractical furniture, even for the yard. Some people must have more money than brains.

  • http://resellonetsy.wordpress.com/ Naruemon Kongmee

    This is pretty normal behavior for Etsy. Etsy is presented with evidence over and over again about people reselling on etsy. I think they take a few people off just to throw a few to the dogs. Just look at the Bali earrings being sold on Etsy. People tell etsy that they cut them and put in earring posts, but you can order then that way directly from Bali. One shop on Etsy, Tribalstyle, sold 25,000 pairs of earrings and is in fact a corporation. They are hauling in $200,000 a year. On Ebay they claim they are spreading a little light and love. Before they even had photos from their website but Etsy removed them and punished them for a short time. Now they are back full strength selling from the USA on Etsy. Look at Tribalstyle. If you google resellonetsy, you will find all kinds of information about this company reselling and other similar resellers on Etsy. Why does etsy not just make commercial section. Then there would be a place for people claiming to be real artists and people that are just reselling. It appears that Etsy has a system that in fact supports and protects their resellers. Look at all the clothing on Etsy, almost all of it is made in China, or selling from Thailand. These countries have tons of sweat shops producing these goods for little or nothing. Perhaps people should get more angry and join together to fight this kind of deception. Its not just a matter of a few people cheating and making extra money on etsy doing this. Cheating has become big business, and made legal by the very sites promoting honesty. If you believe this, join in and let Etsy know what you think and feel!

  • http://www.cattailswoodwork.com Brenda

    I have an Etsy store selling woodwork and had read the feature on this shop..I am shocked that the owner so blatantly commented about the design and each piece being made one at a time…..Etsy does wonderful things for handmade, it is really too bad that unscrupulous people take advantage of not only the Etsy site but in turn independent artisans whose fantastic handmade work brings in the vast amount of buyers. Shame on that shop and shame on Etsy for doing a feature without research first..

  • http://www.rwrinnovations.com Ron Nixon

    The ETSY concept is a great idea and should be supported. (I have never been an ETSY seller.)

    I make and sell over 100 different personalized books. Unfortunately they do not meet ETSY’s criteria so I haven’t listed them.

    I did a search on ETSY and found other dealers selling the same books that I wanted to sell.

    I contacted ETSY about this and listed several sellers since I assumed they did not know what books I was talking about. They were courteous and explained why I could not list my items.

    That was a few weeks ago and personalized books that I sell along with other dealers are still on ETSY.

    I’m assuming it is because they are short staffed and can’t police every dealer or product line.

  • SarasotaLife

    Well done article…. I too sell my Vintage/Retro Wallpaper on Etsy…. The site has come a longggg way from when I first joined and am “pleased as punch” to be part of the growing group. I thank them greatly for all of their efforts in keeping the site “true to it’s customers”.

  • http://www.sandrarussell@etsy.com sandra russell

    I have been a professional artist for 30 years. I participated in art festivals across the country showing my work most of that time. I also have a degree in art and taught just about every medium that etsy offers.
    A couple of years ago I decided to try out etsy with my original photography. I started noticing that many of the “photographers” work looked just a like and used the same subjects. I am also a graphic artist and use clip art for commercial work and I started noticing some of the images I found in clip art sites were also images I had seen by “photographers” on etsy.
    I challanged them on this and they said that an etsy “photographer” can get an image from anyone or any place and all they had to do was change it in photoshop and that was considered an “original photograph”. I was shocked and disapointed by a their criteria for the catagory of photography.
    This would never fly in an art show atmospher where a person has to actually take the PHOTOGRAPH!
    I also used their “report violations” option while searching products to make “treasuries” and I was also shocked to see so many obvious by sell items. Now I know that etsy is world wide but mass produced items no matter what country they come from… are mass produced items.
    I am not impressed with etsy as they are not interested in the integrity of their site.
    If some one has thousands of items of painted wood and those items cost 6 bucks each.. then they are from a factory.
    It is not hard to recognize these many, many mass produced items but the way I see it… etsy doesn’t give a damn.
    Eventually, patrons will realize this and stop using etsy for shopping for original arts and crafts.
    Bottom line is alway money… Etsy is no different.

    • http://betweentheweeds.com LRStudio

      Hey Sandra,
      I am stunned but more to the point is this not a copyright issue? I am an artist who has studied and worked for many many years and we had it drilled into our heads to be original and to be true to the medium. It is a different world now and not for the better if stealing artists work is OK. Makes you think about what is being lifted that you have no idea is?
      Thanks for the heads up.

  • Yellshe

    I actually shut down my shop about a week before this went down. I sold stuffed animals from my own handmade pattern, drawings , and a few vintage items. The breaking point for me was seeing how many people were selling items thrifted or used and calling them vintage. A specific store that was peeving me was selling a 2007 Lego set for $895 and $40 shipping http://www.etsy.com/listing/95885681/misb-lego-star-wars-10179-ucs-millennium?ref=v1_other_1 and he sold all 4.

    Etsy has no excuse. Google can find all sorts of things for them, like when companies were founded, when items were originally sold, and even the origins of the products their sellers are being allowed to resell. Why have a flagging system if they are going to ignore the flags?

  • http://betweentheweeds.com LRStudio

    I am so out of it and had thought it was me being to critical. Etsy wants the money from shops who sell and that is the bottom line. Etsy is not interested in maintaining credibility with buyers or shop owners. There are so many shops doing this on Etsy it is becoming bogged down with mass produced items and the true artist making handmade is being forgotten. I wonder if the founder of this one time great site even cares?

  • Jed Jahn

    Hi, I am a seller on etsy and believe that to ask for a boycott is to punish the people who are pouring solid effort into their shops and creating the best hand made products they can for their customers. No one is perfect and I am sure etsy is not and niether am I. If you think you can find a better site remember, meet the new boss, same as the old boss, Thank you

  • Robert

    Ran out of fodder on Google quirks ?

  • http://www.rhymemeasmile.blogspot.com rachel

    Wow. I didn’t know it was so corrupt. I’ve been selling hand made candles on etsy for years and often wonder how some of my competitors do it so much cheaper.

  • http://star-of-the-east.blogspot.com Star of the East

    We are having a protest about all the things that are happening on Etsy, you can see the details here already 3000 signed up within 2 days, hope to see more:
    www.protesty.com

  • http://luauking.com Newton Miller

    800,000 shops / 16 investigators

    Do the math! How the heck are 16 people going to monitor 800,000 vendors 24/7? You want more investigators? Then be prepared to pay more for Etsy or any shopping site.

    Just focus on what you do people. Trust that people interested in your items will find you and appreciate you. We’re all in this for the money so why act like Etsy is the greedy one here.

    I’m giving Etsy the benefit of the doubt that they are embarrassed of what happened and learning to do damage control.

    Like I tell my kids – if you think you can do a better job: DO IT!

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  • http://www.MysticKnotwork.com Matt

    Please don’t let the decisions of Etsy reflect on the rest of us on the marketplace. Some of us work hour upon hour to make our own products and don’t hire or participate in cooperatives. I ask you to continue to support handmade, but use a discerning eye.

    Every venue has its warts; its just happenstance that two of Etsy’s warts have risen at the same time. Hiding the artisans that support weddings while showcasing a brand new category of seller on Etsy.

  • http://www.susanhaywardoflondon.com Susan Hayward

    I looked at Etsy as a place to sell my handbags but the competition was so high as there are thousands of handbag makers out there. However, I really want to encourage people to create things and sell them so please look at my other websites, www.universal-can.org.uk, www.residentsassociations.co.uk and the soon to be up and running website www.goodservices.co.uk. I would appreciate hearing from anyone would like to join my sites and promote their creations. I want there to be honest, integrity and transparency. All the best

  • http://www.LisasCraftiques.etsy.com Lisa @ Lisascraftiques

    I am an Etsy seller and I think Etsy needs to hire more staff to sniff out and deal with these resellers. Its hard enough for us crafters to compete against all the big box mega online stores. We need a platform that stays true to its roots. Let the resellers stay on Amazon, Ebay, etc! Get out of Etsy!