This is a little soapboxy. You’ve been warned!!
This is my hand. This is my left hand. You can sort-of see the scars over by my little finger, and the indent from the yarn from where I hold it around my index finger when I crochet.
It’s fairly standard, as far as hands go. My hands are a little small, and they’re always either ice cubes or heat lamps because I have poor circulation.
I use my hands to make things. I crochet, I knit slowly and poorly, I quilt marginally well. I make tiny things out of polymer clay, and then they get covered in baby powder. I’ve suffered burns and cuts and one crochet-hook-puncture-wound all in the name of hand-making stuff.
And the stuff I sell, I make with my hands. My hands. That qualifies them as handmade.
But Etsy is trying to redefine handmade. Back in January, Etsy shut down a popular corset shop because they felt she was outsourcing too much of her work. They were her designs, her hard work, her knowledge… and a few were sewn together by her mother. So instead of trying to work with her to resolve this little policy issue, they shut her shop down.
In just the last couple of weeks, there was a seller in the “featured seller” section who turned up quite a few questions in the crafting world. It turned out that she is a wholesaler for a company in Bali. She may or may not have something vaguely to do with the design, but she imports the furniture pre-assembled from Bali and sells it on Etsy as handmade. There’s no arguing that someone’s hands made it. Or maybe someone’s hands ran the machines that made it.
Etsy removed her as the featured seller, then “researched” and reinstated her saying that it was ok because her shop was a collective- and then went as far as to change their terms of service just enough to make it ok.
It’s ok for someone to be a wholesaler for someone else’s handmade work- when they may or may not be involved in “designing” the product (and by designing, I mean picking the individual colors or color scheme that go into each piece)- but getting your mom to sew a few corsets together is not ok.
Etsy keeps saying that resellers and wholesalers are not allowed. That they just can’t catch everyone, and that Etsy is your one-stop-shop for handmade items!
Today, and again on May 10, I will have all of my Etsy listings deactivated in support of keeping Etsy handmade.