So Long, Etsy

Welcome to 2012!  After some much needed and appreciated time off, I'm back at it!  I wanted to let you all know about a few changes happening....


I sadly ditched my Etsy store.  Seriously, I really did.  Here's how it went down.  I started my business on Etsy in 2007 after a my friend Denise told me about it.  I think it's a fantastic concept and even after I created my own webstore on my website, I kept my Etsy store open because I wanted to support the site.  Sure, I have to pay Etsy when an order comes through but again, they helped me build Mod Mom Furniture so why not keep it open.  Over the years, my Etsy sales have waned due to MMF being carried on other web stores, in brick and mortars, and on my website. But orders still come in (or did) on my Etsy store before I received this letter...


This is XXXXX from Etsy's Marketplace Integrity Team. We're glad to see your shop on Etsy!

We're writing to ensure all of your listings meet our selling guidelines. Please answer the following questions, and feel free to include any other information you'd like.

Please send your response in the next two days so that we can update your account. If you need more time, please let us know. If we do not receive any response from you in two days, we may have to deactivate your shop until we hear from you.

1. First, how many people are involved in your shop, and what role does each person play? This includes making things, creating listings, running the shop and shipping items.

2. Where are you located? From where are your items shipped?

3. Could you tell us how your products are made? Please include information about each type of item you sell in your shop.

4. Do you have any other Etsy accounts? If so, what are they?

In addition to this information, we require that you send photos of the step-by-step creation process of your items so that we can clearly see how these items are made. Please include pictures of your raw materials and work space.

If there are any concerns, we may ask you to send more information or make changes in the shop. In some cases, we do remove listings that clearly do not meet Etsy's criteria. We're always happy to work with you to get things in order.

Here is a link to our policies in the DOs and DON'Ts of Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/policy/dosdonts

Let us know if you have any questions. We're looking forward to your response!


Etsy Marketplace Integrity


Now, please know I'm all for Etsy making sure their goods are handmade but frankly, this letter irked me.  Yes, I am no longer building every piece myself.  Yes, I was up front and honest about that in my descriptions about partnering with an Amish manufacturer who is making everything by hand in Ohio.  Yes, I do think Etsy should crack down on mass manufactured, big business products that try to pass themselves off as handmade.  But I'm not one of those said companies.  From the letter above, you'd think I was, that's for sure.  You'd even think that someone at Etsy would have maybe, oh, I don't know, CLICKED A BUTTON that shows how much MMF merchandise has been sold on Etsy since 2007.  It's more than $30,000!!  Or how many press listings (28,700) they can Google by typing "Mod Mom Furniture + Etsy."  By no means am I expecting them to know who Mod Mom Furniture is, but I was disappointed that zero due diligence was done before shooting a message like that out to a seller who's been a loyal, paying seller since 2007.

Had the letter had read, "Hi Mod Mom Furniture!  Thanks for being a seller with us since 2007.  We noticed that production has changed from your garage to an outside manufacturer and we'd love to know more about that change," the outcome would have likely been different.  I decided to shut down my store on Etsy because frankly I don't have time to go through all of the steps required in the letter...oh, and my Amish manufacturer can't use cameras because, you know, they're Amish so capturing the process on film is not going to happen unless I fly myself there.  Overall, I'm just disappointed because I think Etsy does a fantastic job of promoting handmade goods.  But seller beware.  If you grow to the point of expansion, even if your goods are handmade, you'll probably get one of those handy dandy letters. 

UPDATE:  I forgot to mention I did write back letting them know I was closing my shop and why but never received a response.

Thanks to all of you who have purchased via Etsy!  I've included the Etsy feedback I received over the years below....


Esther said...

Cast off the vestiges of what WAS mod mom furniture and move ahead with what it can and will be. We all still love etsy for what it provides but I think you're better off without them at this point.

Mod Mom Furniture said...

Esther, thank you! I think you're absolutely right.

sweetpetula said...

Just to add my two cents worth, I received one of these letters as well. I think the letters are generated more by shoppers "tagging" your business as not handmade than it is Etsy Admin. I have been "tagged" quite a few times as not handmade and I think it is because my Etsy shop does well with a high volume of sales. With that being said, you absolutely should have gotten a more personalized letter or response. I also agree with what Esther wrote.....what was is behind you...congrats on your continued success.
(just don't take the letter too hard)

Mod Mom Furniture said...

Thanks, Sweetpetula! I'm gonna check out your shop and NOT tag you as not handmade. :)

Mrs. Jones' Soapbox said...

I'm with Esther, too. You've outgrown them. There was a time & place in your business for Etsy but now you're on to bigger and better things. Their loss!

Mod Mom Furniture said...

THanks Mrs. Jones. You're right and I've known I'm now to a different level but I guess it is just disheartening that the "huggy, lovey, feel-y handmade culture of Etsy" isn't really all that lovey, huggy. Or loyal. Onward and upward!

tammy@smallerthanaredwood.com said...

I agree wholeheartedly with what everyone has said. Etsy is awesome for what it is, but it has its limitations and you've moved past what it can offer. Consider yourself a success! You really do inspire with all that you've accomplished...

Karia said...

Congrats on your success. I received a similarity nasty letter although in my case it was because etsy did not think that people wear black to weddings and told me under no uncertain terms I could tag my set of 5 pairs of white gloves as wedding items, but not my indentical set of five black gloves.

Only in my case they said I had 2 days to comply or else they would close my shop down.

I am still new and growing and I need the traffic etsy brings to my shop. But I think of them as a burden that I have to bear for now.

C.Bennett said...

I got a copyright thing from them the other day...and what I draw/and sale is in a bit of grey area of that is ok to draw and not draw(they were Caricatures or Characters), that I can understand both sides of the argument...And be ok with it. But what I didn't like about my email was it asked me not to discuss it with others....BULL$#!+

Anyhow I was thinking of exiting my account too, I don't get any sales from etsy......its mostly used because I'm Lazy it is easier to make a shop in it and post it on my blog, which is were i get the sales.

I am really surprised that a website that prides itself on handcrafted things, can't itself handcraft a email to use.

Pamela Bates of Mercantile Muse said...

Dear ModMom, just found you via handmadeology.

Wow, isn't that a shame that they lost a loyal customer because of a severe lack of due diligence and unawareness of the tone of their letter.

I do find that there is often a disconnect between etsy and their shop owners, and it only impacts them negatively. I had hoped when they announced their new head of pr, that they would begin listening to people on the forums and actually address their concerns.

Congrats to you on your growth and success. Keep up the good work though it bums me out that etsy lost you. You're a great sucess -- too bad etsy didn't take the time to see that.

One door closes, another opens. Who knows what the change will bring!

Anonymous said...

I received one, too, last year,pretty much word for word, up to where they asked you for pictures. I felt the same way-on the defensive. It turns out some vintage china had a tag of ceramic (that was an automatic tag on their part); which made it sound handmade, rather than vintage. Once I changed that, there were no problems.

So it appears to be somewhat of a form letter; but it should be reworded somehow, to avoid the reader being made to feel defensive.

But as the others have said, you now have graduated out into the world of great success! I am so happy for you! I normally watch Shark Tank, but didn't this time, so I'm going to watch now!

Congratulations on all your hard work; and making your dreams come true! You are a great encouragement for the rest of us to know that nothing is impossible!

Anonymous said...

Just saw you on Shark Tank. Congrats to you!!! So happy for your success. I wondered why your name sounded familiar and then I saw your prototypes on the show. I recognized them from Etsy. I'm pleased your production is being contracted to Amish craftspeople who have a reputation for quality woodworking. I don't understand Etsy at times. They continue to allow people who are running large scale production, people who are sourcing out to third parties all the time (for example, the "design" firms that are clearly using machinery to create laser produced items or items that were cast by third parties) and yet you get a warning even though you've disclosed your production? I would say you are the sort of business Etsy would want to trumpet as an Etsy success! Don't sweat the Etsy lettter. Meh. Your story put a smile on my face. Best of luck to you and your family.

MegansBeadedDesigns said...

Using a separate manufacturer who you are not directly supervising is against Etsy's rules, whether they be in China or an Amish community that much really doesn't matter. You have grown out of Etsy and that is a GOOD THING! Celebrate the success and growth of your business. You are obviously doing well, and hopefully things will continue to blossom.

You have handled the situation diligently enough, and closed your shop without trying to fight them on it (they would have just closed it for you in the long run, so it was better you did it on your own terms.)

Good luck with your business as it continued to grow!

Lori Anderson said...

Enjoy your success -- it sounds like you had outgrown Etsy but I hate a form letter. Not a good thing to get. I wonder if they do ANY research before firing one out? Half the questions don't even seem to apply to what they really want to ask.

Daily Dose of Handmade said...

I just had the same experience as you yesterday! I receive an audit notice on Friday, took my photos, wrote my descriptions, sent my receipts as requested. Then BAM! Closed! I received a cold form letter with zero explanation as to what policy I am violating. My shop had grown significantly in success with 100% positive feedback and almost 1300 sales. What did I do wrong? They still have not answered. I am devastated! So much effort erased in a blink. I bawled my eyes out yesterday like I had been fired.