Thursday, May 06, 2010

When You Let Everyone Play...Nobody Wins


As if the reseller problems aren't bad enough, Etsy's claim that 'hand assembled' equals 'handmade' has hit an all time low.

I understand the reasoning behind allowing the assemblage of commercially made products under the definition of handmade, but it is my belief that in doing so, it has opened the doors to so much abuse, that when looking at Etsy, it's difficult for the truly handmade to stand out.

Every time I see that Ladders commercial, with everyone running out of the stands onto the tennis court, I automatically think of Etsy.  "If everyone is allowed to play then nobody wins".

By Etsy lowering the bar on what constitutes handmade,  they have diluted (and polluted) the pool.

When someone who buys mass produced knitted or crocheted hats and clips or glues on a mass produced embellishment is considered to be just as handmade as someone's hand knitted or crocheted hat with handmade embellishments, then something is seriously wrong.

Just today I ran across commercial Pandora Beads on commercial Pandora Bracelets listed under handmade jewelry.  Apparently, because someone put those beads on that bracelet  with their hands, it is now deemed handmade according to Etsy standards.  Pretty low standards if you ask me.

I've been saying since the tagline 'Your Place to Buy and Sell All Things Handmade' was removed (under the guise of it not being inclusive of Vintage and commercial supplies) that it was a bad omen.  Etsy is no longer the place for handmade, and though it has never been officially noted, it appears that it's new tag line is more along the lines of a 'global marketplace'.

It was once argued that handmade was not in competition with big box companies.  That we are not Walmart, but guess again because big box is selling right along side you now with Etsy's blessings.

Many will argue that it's difficult to draw the line.  I say hogwash.  If integrity and handmade ethos were important enough to Etsy, they would draw that line and enforce it.  It's much easier to change the tag line to be all inclusive of what now is on Etsy than it would be to raise their standards and weed out what does not belong.

Too bad, so sad for those of us that joined years ago believing that Etsy was the Holy Grail for handmade artisans and crafters.

I could rant on forever, but the Ladders commercial really says it all.

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