For craft entrepreneurs who sell their goods on Etsy, the site's guidelines have been crystal clear for the past eight years: All handmade items sold in an Etsy shop must have been created solely by the seller. On Oct. 1, the e-commerce platform announced that it has revised its policies to accommodate sellers that use outside help to manufacture their goods.
In an email to its sellers and on its website, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson explained that users found the current policies for shops selling handmade items to be confusing, intrusive and restrictive. In an effort to update those policies, Etsy has revised and expanded its definition of "handmade."
"We believe Etsy's foundation should be empowering to you," Dickerson wrote. "You should be able to run your shop in a way that works for you. We want to be clear about what handmade means on Etsy. It's about having an idea for an item, taking responsibility for how it's made, and being honest about it."
According to Etsy's website, "handmade" is about three principles: authorship, responsibility and transparency. Under the new, simpler seller guidelines, shops selling handmade items can do the following:
- Hire people and collaborate from different locations
- Use shipping or fulfillment services
- Work with outside manufacturers to produce their designs
In return, Etsy asks that any outside assistance be clearly listed in a shop's "About" page to foster trust with buyers. In accordance with its previous guidelines, shop owners are still not allowed to sell new items that they had no part in producing, but can sell vintage items (at least 20 years old) that are clearly labeled as such.
"We believe this is the most clear, fair way to help you succeed and preserve the values that make Etsy special," Dickerson said.
This major policy change could open the door for entrepreneurs who want to turn their Etsy shop into a full-time job. If sellers collaborate with other individuals and manufacturers, production could potentially skyrocket and allow shop owners to produce and sell items more quickly than ever before. If you've ever thought about opening an Etsy shop, now might be the perfect time to do it.
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