Saturday, July 6, 2013

Etsy, This is just stupid

Boneheaded, too

 [Please note: I am not saying "Etsy is stupid." I am saying that this decision is stupid. Big difference.]

For those of you not spending your Friday night prowling the Etsy forums (and why weren't you - something better to do...?), Etsy PTB (Powers that Be) have just decided that undrilled rocks, minerals, crystals, shells, driftwood, etc (with the exception of flat-backed cabochons) are NOT supplies. Period.

And therefore, cannot be sold on Etsy.

You jewelry designers that are using these items in your designs? You must be doing it wrong, because, according to Etsy, these items are intended for tabletop display.

Think I'm kidding?

Here is the thread where Etsy Admin Sarah A. clarified their decision (scroll down a bit):

Etsy Senior VP Marc Hedlund doesn't want to weigh in - he refers all users back to Sarah A, who doesn't seem to want a public discussion amongst sellers and Admin; she requests private e-mails be sent to her.

One of the original forum posts, discussing the contacting of individual Etsy sellers by Admin, demanding the removal of these items from their shops

Here is another thread about the topic: This thread starts off with a lot of misinformation, but ultimately gets to the point.

And another thread has just started up. I'm sure there will be scores more. I wish Admin would really monitor the forums (not just for this) - and close duplicate threads, no matter what the topic, and in their closure, direct users to the "consolidated" thread. But that will never happen, because:
a) Etsy doesn't monitor the forums
b) I believe (Etsy Admin) Sarah A. made it pretty clear that she doesn't want this topic discussed openly - she wants all queries directed to Etsy, privately.

Which is, jewelry designers AND other artists use these items all the time.

Look at this ring, for instance:
Undrilled stones like this are not supplies, according to Etsy. You'll have to buy 'em somewhere else.

Ever wire-wrapped a crystal point, like this gorgeous one from Etsy seller mandalarain?

Well, that crystal point is not a supply, according to Etsy. Can't be bought on Etsy. Sorry.

How about wire-wrapping fossils, like this ammonite?
That's my own piece, sold back in 2008. Good thing I own a B&M Bead Shop, because I can no longer buy pieces like this on Etsy. Because they are for display purposes - not for making into jewelry. (What was I thinking?)

And it isn't just wire work - I have seen thousands of pieces of jewelry with beadwoven rocks, crystals, and fossils. And metalsmiths use them all the time...

And it isn't just jewelry - Many artists in a large variety of media buy unpolished, uncut rough specifically because they want to cut it themselves to achieve a particular look for their designs.

And there are many, many more examples of ways artists use these items. More than I could ever enumerate here. I could go on, and on. But I won't.

Check out the threads on Etsy. Participate! This is absolutely ridiculous!

Share this post on Facebook, or Tweet! Get the word out! These items are definitely supplies, and this decision is just wrong-headed. And crippling to many sellers who have been providing these valuable supplies to the Etsy community.

You know, rocks, minerals, crystals - these are all millions of years old, right? Are they Etsy-legal if listed as vintage?

Just a thought.

{Edited to add: at approximately 5 PM EDT today, Etsy Admin Sarah A returned to Marc's thread to thanks users for their respectful commentary, and to advise that the matter will be re-examined and discussed internally at Etsy in the near future. No promises, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. I encourage all of you to visit this particular thread and leave more respectful opinions on your use of these materials in your artistic endeavors. Thanks!}

11 comments:

Sonora Kay said...

I have not read the threads yet, I try to stay away from the forums for the most part as I end up just getting pissed off, write something based on emotion and then get a friendly email from an Etsy admin warning me to back down.
I absolutely prefer UNDRILLED stones for my wire wrapping, they are definitely SUPPLIES in my mind, and my accountant would agree with me as well.

Sonora Kay said...

I have not read the threads yet, I try to stay away from the forums for the most part as I end up just getting pissed off, write something based on emotion and then get a friendly email from an Etsy admin warning me to back down.
I absolutely prefer UNDRILLED stones for my wire wrapping, they are definitely SUPPLIES in my mind, and my accountant would agree with me as well.

Sonora Kay said...

I have not read the threads yet, I try to stay away from the forums for the most part as I end up just getting pissed off, write something based on emotion and then get a friendly email from an Etsy admin warning me to back down.
I absolutely prefer UNDRILLED stones for my wire wrapping, they are definitely SUPPLIES in my mind, and my accountant would agree with me as well.

Sweet Freedom said...

I know what you mean about the forums, Kay, and I hope this decision is re-thought, because of course these undrilled stones are an integral part of our work! Good to hear from you!

In My Dreams said...

I am in complete agreement! Sometimes I like to drill my own to achieve a certain look. Do you have any idea if there is a hidden agenda here? I am smelling one. Wonder what it is?

Robert Eaton said...

Great post Kay! All of this started over our shop. We were asked to remove our crystal listings July 3rd, just before our big 4th of July sale. We tried to get clarification from the Integrity Team since the response we got was very vague and didn't make any sense to us.

Meantime, we sat there all day on the 4th during our big sale with our listings down... waiting for Etsy to get done with their BBQ and give us an answer. Meantime my business couldn't wait for them to explain, and honestly I knew they were going to say what they said. So we went ahead and built our shop at http://www.aurazencrystals.com and celebrated our independence day on the 4th.

As I was waiting for a response, I just knew it was going to change the dynamic of etsy if the choice was made to not allow our listings. I am blown away from all of the support and kind words from all of the members and shop owners.

However, I live with the guilt of being the straw that broke etsy's back.

The trickle effect of knocking out our listings and keeping etsy shops from finding the supplies they need within the community was like hitting 2 birds with 1 stone... no pun intended. ;)

Robert Eaton said...

Great post Kay! All of this started over our shop. We were asked to remove our crystal listings July 3rd, just before our big 4th of July sale. We tried to get clarification from the Integrity Team since the response we got was very vague and didn't make any sense to us.

Meantime, we sat there all day on the 4th during our big sale with our listings down... waiting for Etsy to get done with their BBQ and give us an answer. Meantime my business couldn't wait for them to explain, and honestly I knew they were going to say what they said. So we went ahead and built our shop at http://www.aurazencrystals.com and celebrated our independence day on the 4th.

As I was waiting for a response, I just knew it was going to change the dynamic of etsy if the choice was made to not allow our listings. I am blown away from all of the support and kind words from all of the members and shop owners.

However, I live with the guilt of being the straw that broke etsy's back.

The trickle effect of knocking out our listings and keeping etsy shops from finding the supplies they need within the community was like hitting 2 birds with 1 stone... no pun intended. ;)

Robert Eaton said...

Here are the 2 threads I posted before it all went down, these threads were quickly locked by admins.

https://www.etsy.com/teams/7718/questions/discuss/12624936/page/1/

https://www.etsy.com/teams/7718/questions/discuss/12621029/page/1/

Sweet Freedom said...

Thank you Bob - although, I am not Kay! Asking for clarification on a vague policy does NOT put you at fault for this. I wish you well in your new endeavor.

heartofmaui said...

We were banned from Etsy because they said our goods were not handmade. Yes, we did place them in a wooden box, with original materials. We went to great expense to document this, but could never get answers to any of our questions for a 'living entity', only a series of computer generated request for more info and finally a disappoval. Ironically, I searched offerings of other vendors and found two similar products purchased directly from India with NO original content. Within 20 minutes, I found over 40 items that were simply bangles purchased from manufacturers with a bead or two added. We suspect that another vendor with a similar item, that is actually considered 'fake' by many had made a complaint, as we received positive comments from all we had sold to. Our own web sales are significant enough that we decided to let it go. We deal with crystals and minerals and also prefer to offer them unwrapped, so the artisan can decided what it best. As anyone working with crystals knows 'the crystal chooses you' and were delighted that many sales resulted from Etsy exposure. Biggest disappointment was that this so called 'Etsy Integrity Team' passed judgement without due cause. I hope that you find a favorable resolution to this as Etsy and all consumers deserve better integrity than what we were offered.

Maneki said...

I just heard about that and didn't know what to think. If I hadn't heard crazy stuff about Etsy that turned out to be true before, I'd thought it was a huge misunderstanding or perhaps even a joke. Feels like a decision that shows a lack of understanding of jewellery making and other types of arts/crafts where such supplies are often used. They talk about handmade, but doesn't understand it.

Not a seller, but a buyer that enjoys looking for stones, sea glass, sea pottery, sea urchins, shells etc of the kind I can't find out in nature myself. They're just great things to include in all sorts of projects. I love the raw look of untreated natural supplies sometimes and the possibilies an unaltered stone have.

Thing is, I've often felt like not wanting to buy on Etsy due to things that has happened to sellers (or not happened in the case of blatant resellers and copyright violators) and silly policies, but many seller I find seem to only sell via Etsy so you have to go that route (or contact them privately for an "off-Etsy" transaction, which they might not be interested in or which I might not feel like I have time to do).