New Etsy Policy on Mass Produced Goods: “Be Honest”

new etsy policy

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From now on, Etsy merchants using more than one crafts person to create a product or using manufacturing in their process will have just one Etsy policy to follow: be honest.

The policy change is an attempt to address gray areas some users say have allowed “resellers” to market essentially mass produced materials on the handmade goods site.

Up until now, three kinds of items have been allowed on Etsy: Vintage items 20 years or older, craft supplies and handmade items.

But changes to Etsy’s policy in the handmade category in 2011 allowed use of third party vendors to complete some tasks. The changes also allowed multiple craftspeople to collaborate on products in collective shops.

Critics say the policies were vague enough to allow outsourcing of production and the emergence of merchants that were essentially resellers of mass produced items on Etsy. And some users began strongly protesting in forums and with a mass shut down of Etsy shops in spring 2012.

New Etsy Policy Change Addresses Outside Manufacturing

But a new policy recently introduced addresses both issues and is more specific about what constitutes an item appropriate for Etsy listing.

The “New Guidelines for Etsy Shops” specify that such collaboration must be transparent:

Hire help if you need it or collaborate, even from different locations. Everyone who helps you make handmade items should be listed on your shop’s About page.

The guidelines further explain:

Sellers create their handmade items in many different ways. Partnering with an outside business is okay, but we’ll require you to be honest about how your items are made.

Etsy will also require an “Outside Manufacturing Form” to be filled out before such items can be listed on Etsy.

New Outside Manufacturing Review Process

Etsy’s “integrity team” will review all submissions and ask each applicant questions about their business and about the outside manufacturers with whom they are working.

The company wants to be sure the merchant is the creator, designer and maker of each item listed even if some outside manufacturing has been done.

But it’s clear under the new guidelines that merchants who simply sell items mass produced by others do not fit the criteria.

Do you think Etsy’s new guidelines will solve the controversy over reselling in the handmade goods community?

Meanwhile check out some other places for selling handmade goods including 20 more places to sell handmade crafts.

Handmade Pottery Photo via Shutterstock

Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 17 years. He is a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.