PARTICIPATORY SPORT FOR CRAFT ARTISTS
Under online marketplace Etsy's new policies, vendors can now use an outside manufacturer to help make their goods.
That is not going down well with some longtime sellers, who are calling the new policies a turnaround from the site's original mission.
"Their moniker is, you know, a place to buy handmade. It doesn't say a place to buy factory-made," says Rae Padulo, a potter who began selling dishes and ornaments on Etsy in 2009.
"There's nothing wrong with factory-made; it's just, that's not what Etsy started out to be," she says. "It started out to be a place where you could get something special, something one-of-a-kind, something made by a human being."
Padulo says Etsy is abandoning makers of handcrafted goods, who, like her, have only one pair of hands.
Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson says the company is still behind lone artisans — they make up most of its 1 million sellers. Still, it wants to support those whose businesses are growing, and under the old rules, that was difficult. Successful vendors were frustrated that they couldn't get enough help with their work.
"We heard from a wedding seller, for example, who said that when wedding season came around she was in a state of mild panic attack because she just reached her limit and was working, you know, 18 hours a day," Dickerson says.
Under the new policy, anyone who wants to work with an outside manufacturer has to apply and be vetted by Etsy, which makes sure the arrangement meets its ethical guidelines.