Etsy demands proof to reopen our shops then rejects it – Our handmade is not “handmade” enough for them

After having made Etsy our home for 4 years and following all the rules, they shut down for good both our shops. Here we are sharing our story with you, providing all pertinent details and letting you judge for yourself.

The making of the cuff you see in the pictures was required as proof by Etsy, these cuffs were made at the beginning of last year, listed and relisted (the same one, as not a single piece sold there) on Etsy since May last year, and as most of our jewelry, these were limited edition (10 pieces total made in the only batch we produced). Note that each cuff is unique, the elements are free form and placed randomly, therefore no cuff is the exact same.

Etsy has been closing down stores unjustly, arbitrarily and indiscriminately for a while now, we didn’t know until it happened to us. In a lot of cases this happens due to reports sent by nameless and faceless members, who without any evidence and knowing nothing about you, report your store and make you a target.

The first time we had our shops suddenly “suspended” (that’s how Etsy calls a temporarily or definite shut down) was October last year, we were closed for a total of 7 days while asked to provide all sort of documents, images and other confidential information showing that our jewelry was handmade by us, we supplied all they asked for with extensive detail, including step-by-step process documented with photographs of us producing one of our gold plated brass rings, the one they chose.

After their review both our shops got reinstated (second shop was a supplies only store and got closed down by association) with the following message: “Thank you so much for taking the time to send us these pictures and information. We’re happy that you’re a member of our community and glad to learn that your items are handmade!”

The experience left us scarred, though, as your shops represent your livelihood and you consider them your home, waking up one day and finding yourself locked out is a huge shock, you feel lost, confused and so worried about the implications this will have with your costumers and your reputation.

But we hadn’t even recovered from this traumatic experience when just four months later, this past February, Oh surprise! out of the blue we found our shops suspended again and this time they wanted us to show them the process we used to manufacture one of our cuffs (obviously it had to be the most intricate piece we had in the shop), documenting all the process with pictures, just the same way we had done it before, but this time no other written statements or any other documents were required, only pictures.

We did request that they let us produce this cuff partially as it is a very time consuming piece and since it is a repetition of soldered pieces, making half of it would have showed amply the process we use and prove we made this piece ourselves, well, they refused and demanded we made the whole thing, so we did…but after having sent them all the images  (see slide show in this blog), even more detailed than what we are showing here. This time our shops didn’t get reopened, instead we got the following message: “We’ve looked over the materials you submitted, but unfortunately, this does not confirm that your account complies with our policies”

So we wondered, what was the point of asking us to submit this proof if it doesn’t prove anything according to them, we requested a more specific reason as to why they thought this wasn’t good enough, and got this:

”Thank you for your email. Our team has reviewed this matter, and we have determined that we will not be able to reopen your shop at this time.

Upon close review of the documentation that was presented about how your items are made, we have determined that the items in your shop do not qualify to be sold on Etsy.

We wish you the best in your future endeavors..”

This vague answer was all we got, not even the decency of a concrete explanation or what policy were we violating. But wait a second, what??? did you hear that, the way we make our items do not qualify us??  Nothing in their polices determine how craftsmen/sellers should make their wares, when it comes to the tools or methods used or how many pieces of an item should be produced at one time, nor can they dictate that (or can they?). Our items are designed and produced by us, with our own hands in our small NY studio, and do not infringe on any of their policies and/or rules, so we’ll never know what they meant by “how your items are made..”

We think the fact that we sent a communication to Etsy’s CEO and to the Integrity Team after this second closing, pointing out the fact they that are doing nothing about big resellers but instead harassing and hurting little people, didn’t help our cause, Etsy is notorious for retaliating against people that criticize them.

So that’s the status, both our Etsy stores closed and erased from the face of the earth, when they do this they take all your feedbacks, files and commercial history with the click of a button. Our Accessorability jewelry shop was 2 years old and managed only about 150 sales, we had about 170 items listed when it got closed down (don’t think for a second that the shutting down of our stores is improving the sales of the person(s) who reported us).  While our Gemarama shop was a supplies only store, it was up and running for 4 years, had close to 4000 transactions, 0 negatives and 3 neutrals. We first started Gemarama on eBay in 2007, selling only excellent quality, hand-picked gemstone beads and few findings, we moved from eBay to Etsy in Feb.2009, bringing with us many of our customers.

The way we see it is that we, along with many other shops fell victims to Etsy’s double standards and lack of professionalism, not to mention the lack of respect and consideration for the human beings that use their site.

So you guys decide for yourselves. Just imagine this happening to you!

93 responses

  1. Same thing happened to me. I was infuriated and insulted. I gave up everything that I was doing to give 100% of my time to fashion designing. I did not start my business with a lot of money so when they asked to see pictures of how I made a particular dress, I was annoyed because I had to spend money on fabric and make more hours in a day to sew it together. I sent pictures of every step, my work area, how I take pictures and everything and still, my documents were not “adequate”. Etsy practices unfair business policies with unprofessional, staff members that are too “educated” to carry common judgement. You can’t ALWAYS look at something and determine whether it’s handmade or not. Just because a dress is not taken on an obvious FLOOR surface but rather, against a white wall with perfect lighting, it shouldn’t go under the assumption that it’s a copied or drop shipped item.

    1. They only keep those people that are generating good revenue for them. Others with less listing or low sales are removed under the pretext of unethical practice.

  2. They only keep people who are generating enough revenue for them. So if you have too less listing and or not making enough sales per listing… Which costs em more to have you on their listing service,they purge you under the pretext of unethical business practice.

  3. Hello fellow Artisans!

    Started a blog call http://www.forgetsy.com to help other learn about online sales techiniques etc. Or just for those who wish to tell their story and reach out to others whom have been shunned by Etsy.com. Hopefully a a helpful community of artisans and online seller will grow and help one another!

    http://www.forgetsy.com

  4. Etsy also suspended my shop about 1 year ago.. i sell hats and i customize the brims.. had a solid customer base and perfect feedback from all my repeat customers.. i always shipped the same or next day and never had an issue… it was the worst possible timing because i had just moved out on my own and needed all the income i could get… to re-open the shop they asked for a bunch of things to be done.. i did everything they asked.. put the story of how i got into the business.. provided step by step instructions with pictures of how i customize the hats but the integrity team said it was not enough… i dont think it matters how much proof i gave, once they close you down your done for good… i tried reopening under different names and emails but they caught me because of the same social and bank account i guess… the only alternative is probably to use a different person and bank account but its never a good idea to get another person involved with your business/money … opened another store 3 days ago, thought i was going to get away with it but when i made my first sale they got me suspended my new shop and still charged me the $11.00 for my listings

    FUCK ETSY THEIR SUPPORT TEAM ARE MEAN ASSHOLES THAT DO NOT WANT TO HELP YOU OUT.. THEIR JOB IS TO MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU TO GET YOUR SHOP BACK EVEN IF YOUR IN THE RIGHT

  5. Etsy will catch you if you use the same iSP or IP address as before. You also need completely different product pictures as they can track those as well and if you were setting the same stock as before snitches may have turned you in. All these sites have their snitches and tell tales but they raise it to a fine art on Etsy and operate in groups. Weak spineless people who make themselves big at another’s expense.

    Its not enough to use a different name, address, bank credit card etc. You need to use a different internet provider from the one you use everyday. Get a dongle which will give you a new IP address every time you log on. And use Firefox with a setting that deletes all cookies at the end of each session. Or use a VPNS.

    1. Your competitor(s) will routinely search for you and try to drive you out of the market. Etsy doesn’t have to lift a finger, if any of their favorite sellers don’t like you, then you will be OUT, no matter what.

  6. Have you ever thought of why they are asking for assembly pictures, material suppliers and exact process on how to make your art? I wonder if they use all your info and give it to thier friends or other “favourite” shops to copy or nearly copy your art to sell. It feels like there is more going on then them just trying to get you to prove that it’s handmade.

  7. For vintage sellers they demand that you “prove” that the item is 20 years old or more by reference to a “reference book”. Now what are the chances that your exact item is going to be illustrated ina reference book unless its something of museum quality (an overworked term if ever there was one). Instead they should ba making the pathetic snitches prove that the item is a new one straight from Alibaba or similar.

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