Instructables

A better version of Etsy without the resellers

Etsy has made it pretty clear that they don't plan on closing down the high volume resellers that list cheap imports as "handmade."  Helen Killer (April Winchell) of Regretsy wrote an excellent explanation of why this amounts to bait and switch on Etsy's account.

http://www.regretsy.com/?s=bait+and+switch

Most people go to the site thinking the majority of what they'll find is handmade.  Real makers, crafters, and artists post their items at a reasonable price considering how long it took to make the items.  Customers go to the site to find a specific item, search for it, and find a bunch of cheaper options listed with the handmade ones.  The cheaper items are often listed as handmade, and customers don't often do the extensive research to find out 1. how long a handmade version would actually take 2. the cheaper options were made in a factory overseas.  Considering that handmade was Etsy's big selling point, they have no reason to believe they're being duped by a reseller.


Etsy also prohibits "calling out" in their forums, and often ignore the private reports of resellers.  Even if you have proof that the exact "handmade, unique" items in a seller's shop can be purchased for next to nothing elsewhere online (and in huge quantities), you're not allowed to mention it in Etsy's forums in order to warn others about what they're really buying.


So far, shopdelighted.com is very small and new, but I like the clean interface and their promise to never allow reselling except in the case of crafting supplies.  I might be a naive idealist, but for now I believe that this site will actually keep their promise.





Picture of A better version of Etsy without the resellers
powerman6662 years ago
That new site is cool!

"What can you sell on Delighted?

Independent Design

Items that you designed and are produced in small quantities."


Sounds pretty vague to me.

Would that include the 71 products listed by "halo soap" All professionally packaged and labeled? I know you can do a lot with a printer these days but I doubt that this is some housewife mixing vats of Neem Cream, Neroli Carrot Rhassoul clay Mask, and men's after shave lotion in her bathroom.

And I don't think that "myevilfriend" is building those jewelery boxes in their garage either.

And maybe  ElectronicGirl will do an instructable on how she builds those "color changing LED based artworks" she sells in her shop.

That was about 5 mins of poking around. I hate to be the one to break it to you but I don't think this site is going to be what you want them to be.
supersoftdrink (author)  ArtisanEclectic2 years ago
The woman who runs Halo Soap has been making soap and other body products for years. She has a small brick and mortar shop in Wisconsin.

The "Independent Design" category is for items you haven't actually made yourself. She makes her soap etc. She's not a housewife; she's a small business owner. (who also donates product to charities like April's Army - and is a sweetheart)

Making something by hand doesn't mean it's done in one's own garage while the kids are napping. Altering the small boxes that myevilfriend sells is her version of art, and considering she takes custom orders, I doubt she's having them decorated in a factory.

I don't know if ElectronicGirl knows about instructables, but I can make an instructable about those pixels if you want. It takes an RGB LED and a couple other things that I could easily pick up at an electronics supply place. She recently left her job and intends to also focus on her small business full time.

There's plenty of information on the forums there if you're unsure about the policies. :) Independent Design is a category that helps out a new inventor that has made a few prototypes and doesn't yet have the funding to have their products made in massive quantities yet. Once they do, they wouldn't need a store like ShopDelighted.
I guess it all comes down to how you define "handmade". A debate that has been going on since the beginning of the industrial Revolution.  

If you feel that "design and farm out" is handmade then I don't understand your problem with etsy.

What is considered a "small quantity"? If it's furniture, 10 might be considered a large quantity. But if it's plastic dinosaurs you may not find anyone that will do less than 10,000.

You may feel that buying boxes and painting them, or Modpodging copyrighted artwork onto ceramic tiles from HD is Handmade. Or Hot gluing plastic dinosaurs onto the tops of manufactured containers and then spray painting them. I'm sure they are very nice people but that is irrelevant in this discussion.

I consider THIS to be handmade. Because it is.

As to reporting on the forums, They have over 800,000 shops and 17 Million members. They probably don't have time to chase down every accusation that they receive. Especially if it's from another shop owner who may just be jealous of a competitor.

What if YOU were accused by someone or many someones of selling manufactured items? What if they arbitrarily closed your store until you could prove otherwise? That wouldn't be right.

I think people that specifically seek out handmade items will be able to discern what is really handmade and what isn't. I don't see other shops on etsy as my "competitors". My work sells (or not) by it's own merits and how much effort I put into my Store.
supersoftdrink (author)  ArtisanEclectic2 years ago
I think that Etsy made their stance on importers very clear with the whole Ecologica Malibu fiasco. I don't consider the "independent design" category handmade, and the vague definition on the shop delighted site is a concern, but we'll see how that plays out.

Etsy has "arbitrarily" closed stores of people who do make their own items (who had expressed dismay over some of Etsy's new policies) while ignoring and censoring reports of larger scale resellers. I think that double standard and catering to the large volume importers is what is upsetting a lot of former Etsy fans.

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

If I was personally accused of having stuff manufactured, it wouldn't really have an impact, since I just make things for fun (and my stuff is too weird and unprofessional for anyone to think it came from a factory). I do like to support makers and small businesses, though (and I don't mean ones based in China).


Your stuff is absolutely gorgeous, by the way. Are you going to enter the wood contest?
dampflames2 years ago
Maybe not unique... but the items made in China probably are 'handmade', as even if it's a factory, it's often people making them by hand.
supersoftdrink (author)  dampflames2 years ago
which is also... depressing when one considers the probable working conditions of those.


Stores like Etsy (in the beginning, not what it's morphed into) and ShopDelighted are for people to sell things that they have handmade, not things that people in their factories have made by hand.

I don't believe things like this pervasive octopus charm are handmade:


(nor are they vintage, which many of the octopus charm sellers claim on Etsy) I'm glad that ShopDelighted doesn't have a vintage section. Tons of resellers have been listing mass produced things as "vintage" to skirt the rules on places like Etsy.

octopus.jpeg
This could easily fall under Supplies. So it could also be sold on Delighted. I did a search on etsy and the only ones I saw were made into jewelry or sold as supplies. If they are sold as Vintage, They are mis-categorized, but still legal to sell.

This is a popular item for Steampunk.
supersoftdrink (author)  ArtisanEclectic2 years ago
I wouldn't care if it was listed as a supply. The Etsy listing that I stole the image from claimed that it was vintage and hand tooled.


I don't make jewelry to sell, but I know a lot of jewelry sold on Etsy isn't handmade by the person listing it, and that can undercut the artists who make their own stuff. The same is true for things like clothing and bags. "Supplies" is a small enough category that it's not going to crowd out the handmade stuff when a customer comes looking for an item.


Also... People should probably learn that octopi aren't automatically Steampunk simply because they have tentacles. ;)
I know what you are saying about the working conditions. When I first started making jewelry, I was looking at buying "handmade" charms from nina designs. I am sure the charms were handmade. And that was the problem. I know how much work was going into these items and for the price they were selling for, (cheep cheep) I could just imagine the conditions of the workers and how little they were being paid for their skill. Now, I may have been totally wrong but I decided not to buy from that company.
lemonie2 years ago
These things cost money; hence (money-things).
Sites that are very small and new usually do nothing or end up like the sites that you don't like.
Do you prefer real-shops or the internet?

L
Well that's good and i agree with you :)

The same is happening on facebook sales groups. People say stuff like original handmade vinage earrings but then I use the image they post in google and find them to be easily half price in china.

That sort of stuff really ruins it for me. I report them alot but keep getting banned from groups (although some groups ban the seller and thank me) which pisses me off since they lie about their product and I get banned for calling it out!

Must check out that site, etsy is really dumb for ignoring their key aspect for visitors...
supersoftdrink (author)  MichelMoermans2 years ago
That stuff is so frustrating.


Link your store if you create one... I'd love to see some of the stuff you make. :)
sonderbust2 years ago
I agree.
Ninzerbean2 years ago
Great, thanks for the info.
for anyone that has signed up. Does paypal charge a fee along with the shop delight fee for selling?
Paypal charges you when you use it, regardless of which site you are are or what you're doing on that site when you click "pay". For specifics, check your Paypal site, as it differs with location and types of accounts and such.
I've been looking around and I decided to sign up! Posting a few things won't hurt, especially since the listing fee is waived at the moment. :D And I admit that etsy is a bit of a let down at times. I hate that my hand drawn and embroidered items are buried amongst terrible machine embroidered things. :P

They look like they've got some really solid sellers already! And I like that they show additional thumbnails. :)

Thank you for posting this!