Giving Etsy it’s own department at the Center for Lessons Learned….

15 Apr

8 months… holy shit…. It’s been 8 months since I’ve posted anything on here!!  Dear lord, my bunnies- if I had known that time had actually sped up while I wasn’t looking I would have adjusted my life accordingly.  Let me say that the past 8 months have been a foggy blur, and I’m sorry for the dead air coming from my end, and let us move forward.  🙂

What has brought me out of the black hole I’ve been living in was an extremely shocking experience with the DIY shopping site Etsy.com.  When I’ve lectured at art schools or been asked in interviews/blogs/etc what a good way to start selling art/arty goods is, my first response has always been Etsy.  It’s a great way to get exposure because of it’s social media aspect, and it’s really cheap and easy to use.  Just as an experiment to see how many new people I could draw to my works, I decided to open an Etsy store in addition to my official webstore where I offered smaller one-of-a-kind arty things as well as my sunglasses line.  It was going great, and was cheaper than my official webstore so I decided to drop my big webstore and move everything over to Etsy.  Here’s where the problems started.

The day after I announced on my facebook fanpage that I would be moving everything over from my webstore to my Etsy store, I got an email from Etsy saying that items of mine had been flagged because they didn’t meet the Etsy requirements- and they had shut my whole store down.  I’d like to think that the timing of my posting the store move and my items being flagged were a coincidence… but there are a handful of creepers out there who don’t like me, and realistically one of them reported my store to be a dick.  Eyerolls and sighs all around.

So here is the nutso part of this… in the email from Etsy, here is a list of what I had to provide to them in order to get my entire store reopened:

  1. All shop info
  2. The names of everyone involved in any aspect of my shop from ideas to creation to shipping,etc
  3. Location of shop, identities of photographers, shipping locations, etc
  4. Photos of everyone involved in the shop
  5. Detailed description of how all items are made
  6. Length of time to make each item
  7. Every material used – and photos of raw materials of all everything involved with making the item
  8. Where materials are purchased plus proof of purchase of materials: photos or scans of receipts
  9. Photos of all tools and equiptment
  10. Photos of all work spaces
  11. Photos/graphics of all patterns used for items
  12. Photos of a step-by-step process of how everything was made

All the photos sent to them had to be shot next to a piece of paper showing your username and the date for authentication.  My shop was to remain closed until I provided answers that they felt sufficient to all of these questions.

To all my arty little sweethearts out there – THIS IS BULLSHIT.  Allow me to go, step-by-step through all the reasons WHY this is bullshit…

  1. Only ever disclose what shop info that you are comfortable disclosing to an unknown source.  You have no idea what’s on the other side of that email you’re sending out- so be careful with what you give out to protect yourself.  They have all the information that they should need when you set up an account.
  2. You are the owner of the store, and that is all they should need to know.  You shouldn’t be required to expose the identities of anyone who might have anything to do with your art.
  3. Photos of everyone involved in your art?  Come on… really?  So if I have friends who drop off my packages for me, I have to photograph them and send it to Etsy?  No way.  Too intrusive.
  4. Detailed description of how items are made… don’t provide this.  These are your trade secrets.  If you’re making something that is really unique, do not send this information to a faceless business that creates daily blogs on how to make things.  Again- you don’t know who gets these emails and you will have no idea how this information will be used.  Protect your art and it’s process.
  5. Length of time to make your items… I had clothing, jewelry, sunglasses and paintings on my store.  To be able to answer this is fully unrealistic.
  6. Photos of the raw materials- again, do not give out this information.  Unless you are selling materials, don’t give up aspects of how you make your unique items.
  7. Reciepts or proof of purchased goods?  That is information for whoever does your taxes- NOT for a faceless corporate website entity. No one but the IRS has the right to see that.
  8. Photos of tools and workspace:  The majority of the people on Etsy create out of their home,and Etsy knows this.  There is no way in hell I’m going to send photos of my house to anyone I don’t know.  That is an invasion of privacy, and just creepy for them to demand.
  9. *Photos of graphics and patterns*- this is a biggie.  Never ever ever ever ever disclose your graphics/ CAD illustrations / patterns to ANYONE except those who will be assisting you in production.  Period.  Ever.  Etsy states in their “DO’s and “DON’Ts” that: “A third-party vendor may be used for intermediary tasks in some crafts. Acceptable examples include but are not limited to: printing the seller’s original artwork, metal casting from the seller’s original mold or kiln firing the seller’s handcrafted ceramic work.”  I am in the unique position with my day job (where I design sunglasses and eyewear) that I am able to design unique sunglasses with my own CAD illustrations and have them manufactured in small quantities, and then I do the embellishments and packaging by hand.  The same goes for my clothing (which are from my own patterns), and my laser-etched necklaces. These items fall within Etsy’s guidelines.  But I will NEVER give out the original patterns, illustrations or CAD’s to a corporation.  And industry standards/ common knowledge dictates that I keep this information private for my own protection.  To hold my potential income and entire store hostage until I give up this private information breaks so many ethical rules that it’s insane.
  10. Never give anyone you’re step by step unless you want to be knocked off.  Period.

I emailed them and told them that I wasn’t about to give out such detailed and personal information, and that I wanted my store closed permanently but to remain on buyer status so that I could still shop from the artists that I loved.  They proceeded to kick me off Etsy completely.  I emailed them letting them know that it was sad that I could no longer support the artists that I shop from through Etsy since I was totally booted- but that I would just buy directly from the artists instead.  They didn’t want to loose a single penny, so they reinstated my account as just a buyer.

Here’s what creeped me out the most about this… there are people who have built up their etsy store so much that it is a major source of income for them.  And all it takes is 1 person flagging their shop, and the whole thing is shut down.  Your store and source of income can get hijacked and put on hold indefinitely until you meet Etsy’s the over-the-top demands that violate industry standards and your privacy.  So if you have 1 crazy person out there who doesn’t like you, they have the power to shut you down.  And if you are able to convince Etsy to open your store again- you can just be flagged again, and again, and again.  You have no power over your own store.

After this happened to me, I got tons of emails and links from my darling bunnies to tons of other artists that this happened to.  Here are a couple:

“Etsy shop suspended!- What you need to know”

“Etsy Closes Azreal’s Accomplice”

Apparently it’s impossible to get them on the phone.  And even after you comply with everything they ask, they can still keep you shut down- just because they want to.

So here is my official retraction for any public promotion that I have ever given Etsy.  This is not a safe business step.  The control over your shop is apparently in the hands of people who want to falsely flag you and the whimsy of Etsy- and not in your hands where it should be.  This is just wrong.

To the spiteful little creeper gem who flagged my etsy store- THANK YOU SO MUCH!!  And I mean that with the most sincerity ever.  I got shut down on etsy before I moved everything off my official webstore, so this was such a blessing.  I learned so much about etsy that I needed to know, and was able to (with great ease) just move everything back onto my official webstore and not lose a penny of my DESPERATELY needed income. This was an awesome learning experience, and in the end I am super thankful for it.

So here is where I open this up to my readers…. can I get some feedback for the crafty cuties out there who want an inexpensive and reliable webstore?  Where should they go?  I’m on homestead.com- and I do love them very much, but there is a monthly fee for it (and some new artists aren’t at a place where they can afford a monthly fee).  Ideas and feedback, anyone?  Let’s all help each other out with big brainstorming!!!

Thank you for tuning in to my lengthy rambling.  In my head, I’m giving you all a gigantic hug!!

(ps… since everything is back on my webstore, you can get these new editions there right now.  Click the pic and check it out!!  xooxoxoxxo)

"Eve" apple sunglasses

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74 Responses to “Giving Etsy it’s own department at the Center for Lessons Learned….”

  1. 5sevenfive April 15, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    What a shame that someone felt they needed to stoop that low 😦

    • Kristen Ferrell April 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

      I don’t know why people feel the need to stoop to such levels, and I don’t know why it always shocks me when they do. But their stooping led to me having a new wealth of knowledge that I can share with other artists…. so in the end, it backfired and everything is now better than ever. Don’t ya love it when evil is thwarted? 😉

      • Laurie April 15, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

        That sucks!
        Thank you for the heads up. I was just about to open one myself.

        • Kristen Ferrell April 15, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

          Etsy apparently works great for lots of people… and it might work great for you. But before you open an etsy store, open a different store on another site first so that you have a back up in case things go poorly with etsy. When they shut down my store, I lost all my info for past sales and contacts- so when accounting time comes around, I have nothing to reference (which sucks). If I didn’t have my official store still in operation, etsy could have jacked up my business sales for months. Just be double prepared, and you’ll do fantastic. 😀

  2. Caitlin April 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    I use ArtFire.com and I love it. It is incredibly cheap and very user friendly. The thing I don’t like about Etsy is that your buyers have to sign up for an account with them if they want to purchase something from the site. ArtFire does not require that which makes buying things a lot easier.

    • Kristen Ferrell April 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

      Awesome!!! I’ll totally be sharing that info. An amazing artist friend of mine Aunia Kahn (www.auniakahn.com) told me that Big Cartel is great. And another dreamy artist buddy of mine, Stevil Kinevil (www.stevesmith.com) really likes Zen Cart. Keep the resources coming! I want to be able to give a huge list of non-etsy sites to people when I’m asked about it! Thanks, Caitlin!!! xooxox

      • Little Package (@littlepackage) April 29, 2012 at 9:12 am #

        Woocommerce (based off WordPress) is a nice cart option, and I’ve heard good things about Wazala (if you know some CSS it’s better). I’ve used Shopp (also based off WordPress) – avoid it.

        Good luck – this is a scary story!!!

  3. eeks April 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    I use Storenvy & have for well over a year. They’re always helpful & can answer your Qs. I’ve used etsy, goodsie & bigcartel before. Def check it out & thanks for sharing your crappy experience & dealings with etsy =]

    http://www.eeksart.storenvy.com

    • Kristen Ferrell April 15, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

      Thank YOU for sharing your knowledge! The more info artists have, the more we can all protect ourselves and grow! 😀

    • Kristen Ferrell April 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

      ps: your stuff is awesome!! 🙂

  4. Sunny April 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    I follow Regretsy.com, and stories like this are unfortunately common, both with Etsy and Paypal. I’m glad this happened before the stakes got any higher for you!

    • Kristen Ferrell April 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      This was actually the first time I jumped into a business situation without heavily investigating it first. I have so many friends on there, that I just assumed that it was safe. Finding something out the hard way just means that the lesson won’t be forgotten… but hopefully my experience can help other people not have to go through it at all. 🙂

  5. 5sevenfive April 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    …and by the way…. Way to take the high road and handle things like a classy lady. It’s so easy to fall into these traps of catty bullshit, especially when it’s attacking your passion and your livelihood. However it takes much bigger balls, I feel, to handle yourself as you did.

    • Kristen Ferrell April 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      Thank you! That’s very sweet of you to say! xoxo!
      Trust me- for about an hour or 2 after it happened, I was all about super-screamy-Hulk-SMASH-time. But I got over it, realized this was a totally blessing-in-disguise, and moved forward.
      People are gonna hate. There’s not a god damn thing I can ever do about other people. But I sure as hell am not going to let their hate drag me into their misery. It’s all about smiling and moving on to better things while armed with more smarts than before. That means I win. I’m an aries, and I’m super competitive- so it’s important to me to win. Haha!! 😀

  6. Mandy McGee April 15, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Facebook is the same way. It took one person to falsely accuse me of copyright infringement ON MY OWN PHOTOS and got them deleted. So I had to appeal it and all this bulllshit. SO yeah it takes one crazy person to fuck with you. And thanks for all the comments for good places to sell art. I had no idea there were all these other places out there.

    • Kristen Ferrell April 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

      That’s insane!! I don’t understand these crazy people who actually take time out of the little that we have on this planet and dedicate it to anonymously screwing with people. It’s so creepy and sad. Whenever I start to get frustrated about someone fucking with me, I stop and calm myself down- and then I try to imagine how neurotic and pathetic it must be inside their cracked-out head. They choose to hide in the shadows of the interweb and hyperfocus all this hate towards someone- so much so that they will try to find ways to screw with their “enemy’s” life and livelihood. Can you imagine hating yourself so much that you have to sneaky-destroy the accomplishments of others just to feel better? After reminding myself of all of this… I can’t be mad at the person anymore. I just feel very very sorry for them. It’s too pathetic to feel anything but pity. And all we can really do is clean up the mess they made for us, and move on smiling and wiser.
      But I know there are tons more art sites to sell your photos on… I’ll try to dig up more and post them on here.
      xoxoox! 🙂

  7. Susan April 16, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    Thank you SO much for posting this – I was one of the (I’m sure) many who jumped at the chance to save some hard earned cash while purchasing your particular brand of awesomeness & ordered before you made the jump (happy dances all around when my order arrived, BTW!). I started my own Etsy shop a little over a year ago & have often wondered when the too good to be true fairies would show up. Hmph. I agree with you completely – there needs to be an inexpensive way for artists to support themselves without worry of having their livelihood held hostage (just went through a similar issue with PayPal, holding funds from sales for nearly 4 weeks for no other reason than they could, since I was a good little merchant with a 100% feedback rating as a seller, but that’s another story…). Best of luck & we’ll continue to support you no matter where you are! ❤

  8. Rochelle New April 16, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    That is straight up insane. Makes me look at them a lot differently. I was tempted to delete my Etsy account since I opened my own shop on my site, and now that choice is a lot easier! It really just blows my mind that it’s just as easy to set up as a shop as it is to shut one down. And with no support from Etsy? That makes me feel like their whole indie support aura is a fat lie. That sucks. Live and learn I guess! You don’t need Etsy anyways. Your fans know where to find you 🙂
    xo

    • Jessica September 20, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

      Rochelle,

      Any suggestions for web hosting?? Adorable blog btw!!! I just got suspended on etsy for my hand-painted items and have sent more than the requested info and haven’t heard anything back..so upset and definitely ready to have my own thing so I don’t have to re-live this. Any suggestions would be amazing:).

      Jessica

      • Kristen Ferrell September 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

        Jessica- there are oodles of blogs and free website platforms that you can hook up with paypal (and put paypal “buy now” buttons in). I would check if wordpress.com or blogger.com has this, but you can go to http://www.wix.com and have a free website (and they also provide webstore services). The bummer is that the etsy site is a great traffic generator because of it’s social networking platform- but you can always just blog and tweet and facebook and pin your goodies like crazy to drive people to your site.
        🙂

      • Erin November 26, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

        There is another new marketplace called KwykPix that you I’m selling on, they are alot easier going than Etsy and less expensive.

  9. Katrin Artner April 16, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    As an Etsy seller (I think we opened our shops at the same time) I am more than shocked. Through Regretsy and also the Etsy forum itself I had also heard the horror stories about shut down shops before, but it never occurred to me that this could happen to you or any of the people I know on Etsy!

    It is just insane, instead of going after the many Chinese reseller shops they shut down independent artists. Also the list they sent to you is purely insane!

    We are trying to find other venues too, as it is just not a good idea to have all the eggs in one basket (unless maybe that basket is your own url with your own webstore). Right now we are looking into dawanda.com, which is basically the German Etsy and directed more towards German and European buyers, but they are getting more and more international. If you need any help selling there, please let me know!

    I can also absolutely recommend storenvy.com, as it is free (yes, FREE!) and has some features which are better than Etsy. We opened our store there a few months ago to gain more exposure, and now I am really happy to have another store where we can direct people to.
    The only thing is that Etsy has way more traffic than all the other sites, and even anti-socialites like us who are really bad at marketing get sales there.
    But Etsy absolutely needs competition by companies who actually know how to run a venue like this. I will buy your lovely stuff wherever you sell it 🙂
    xoxoxo, Katrin

  10. daMamma April 16, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Good grief that’s totally insane. I read that list of stuff they want and my jaw hit the floor. wtf?

    What they are asking is way too much, and nearly all of it proprietory information that noone should have but you. I am glad you weren’t all in before this happened, that could have been totally devistating in too many ways.

    I will be remembering this online name to avoid like the plague. One stupid complaint and they close a person’s shop without checking to see if it were valid or not? Stupid business model. But I guess they are counting on social media not catching up with them on that. Bunch of twits. [eye rolls]

    Paypal is another business that has gone off the rails. I’ve a friend that consistantly has trouble getting payments from them. It totals into the thousands every month, which in turn ends up costing her money. Have you looked into Dwolla? Its supposed to be really good and as I understand it is now available all across the U.S., supposed to be coming available up here in Canada soon (this year?).

    Transactions are instant, any amount over $10 cost 25cents, anything under $10 is free. From what I’ve been able to find, this company is very ligit, and secure. Might be worth a look see as an alturnative to being robbed by paypal.

  11. Ama de Jong April 16, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    It is a hassle, but I know some people manage to maintain several shops. Because each shopping website has their own ‘audience’. Having a “back up shop” is now an extra reason. Most adviced by other Etsy sellers was Artfire and Dawanda (a european site).

  12. Jen April 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    WOW. I cannot believe, I mean really, that they didn’t investigate this with you FIRST before shutting down your entire shop. That makes absolutely no sense to me. Some F*CKHEAD from Australia STOLE an f*ing painting from my husband THROUGH ETSY, and she didn’t get kicked off the site as a buyer. My husband PAID for this craphead to steal his painting. Paypal and Etsy screwed him over. I have had an etsy shop for a long time now, and I haven’t had any problems (yet) but this whole thing makes me want to write an angry letter to them and start a petition or something!!! AARGGGG!!!

  13. COOLER THAN YOULER May 18, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    No Offense, But This Is The Most Awesome Ever!!!

  14. COOLER THAN YOULER May 18, 2012 at 5:57 am #

    I love this!!!

    • Kristen Ferrell November 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

      Oh my god! You’re so awesome!! And your dresses are BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!! I hope that you were able to find another solid place to sell your samples, and that your experience with etsy didn’t hurt your business as much as it did mine! Thank you so much for sharing this! 😀

    • E December 14, 2012 at 12:17 am #

      April “Winchell, is the devil behind the mask of fat flaggers. If you have never heard of the “wench”, just google her name, then you will see her claim to fame and the reason for everyones unnecessary suspension.

  15. pleasant January 31, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    Thank you so much for going into detail about the bull!! I was shut down today because a woman said the picture of my bag looked blue so she bought it…but I listed it as black very clearly and she never sent an email before the purchase asking for clarification. She told Etsy I was this huge scammer with two bags and I was out tricking people and demanded a refund. She is a reseller and liar but that was never investigated. I refused to refund her and…kind flipped out on her and Etsy. I had been wanting to leave for a long time anyway so this was the push I needed. You are so smart for not giving in!!

  16. Amy April 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    Glad to hear I am not the only way who called “BS” on Etsy! I didn’t comply with their demands either, but they reopened my shop anyway. Though they have let me know that they are watching me closely. Ohhh…I am shaking in my boots! I opened my store on my own website. Etsy can shove it! Here is my blog detailing my story: http://www.blissfulmondays.com/2013/02/14/307/

    • Amy April 2, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

      I meant “the only one”. My fingers sometimes have a mind of their own!

  17. Karen Smith May 5, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    I received the same message from the Etsy Integrity team and actually submitted everything they asked for. I sent 40 pictures showing workspace, materials, step by step images, wrote step by step instructions…everything and still they suspended my shop. The item they contacted me about was actually a custom item but I went ahead and bought all the necessary materials and made it just to show them. It took me countless hours to create the item, take photos, organize everything, name the photos to correspond with each step of the process, respond to all their questions and write the step by step instructions. Despite that waste of effort and money, their response was “We do not have enough information to prove this item complies with our handmade policy”.

    Just to put things into perspective, I had hundreds of sales, 100% positive feedback, always shipped within 1 day, never had any problems with buyers and always paid my fees on time. ALL of my items were handmade by myself and I was the only one ever involved in anything relating to my shop. I did all of the work.

    To top it all off, now, I see that some of my items are now being copied and are listed on Etsy for double the price by a seller who joined Etsy five days after my shop was suspended. Coincidence? I think not. I reported the offending listings for copyright infringement and unsurprisingly got no reply. My guess is that someone from the “Integrity Team” wanted to make some extra cash by using people’s trade secrets to star their own shop.

    Etsy treats sellers like crap. You are never allowed to speak out against injustice by Etsy in the forums or they’ll delete your posts and even your account. And I heard that just last week, they sent out promotional e-mails showing the sellers’ full names instead of their shop names so no respect for anyone’s privacy there.

    If I can offer any piece of advice to anyone, it’s that you should never create an Etsy account. They will suspend your account at will, steal your listing fees and your trade secrets if you give them the photos. It sickens me to think that the hundreds of dollars I paid in fees went towards supporting these horrible people.

    • Erin November 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

      Try KwykPix, it’s a brand new marketplace that was developed to help any type of business/products. He had friends with small businesses with patented products that were trying to find a way to sell them.

  18. Helen June 25, 2013 at 4:50 am #

    Watch this video and pass it on explains the Etsy Monster to a T. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53Hwl6Y9UWs

    This is the same story I keep on hearing. Etsy has been getting away with this for years. Now this has to stop and the only way to hurt them is make the Attorney General in their state make them comply to have a real telephone customer service team. Bombard the internet and get the Attorney General in New York to make Etsy comply or shut them down. This company has no telephone service they have thousands of sellers who my law have have the rights to speak to a real person about their livelihood. This company is even acting like a bank where they have their own payment processing and still no telephone customer team where you can ask a question about YOUR business the business you grew. Something sounds very fishy all the stories from sellers Etsy has damaged without a moments thought the so called integrity team asking for the in’s and out’s of a sellers business and then still giving them the big heave ho when all the information has been given.

    I have had the unfortunate dealings with Eliza on Etsy this person is incompetent she was rude, arrogant and ignorant however the lack of customer service must be coming from the top otherwise this person would not have been allowed to address me the way she did without being reprimanded. I have a right as a customer to speak to a real person and for them to explain what is happening and how to resolve it. But all you get is a email answered whenever they feel like it and a person who is demeaning and not their to help you in any shape or form and not only that puts barriers in the way and makes it hard as possible for you.

    Bombard the Attorney General and ask him why he is letting this Multi Million company in his jurisdiction get away with such bad business practices. Name and shame that is the only way these faceless corporations ever learn by denting their pockets. Etsy your time is coming and I will laugh my arse off when you cowards have to face your customers with no more hiding behind your computer screens.

    File reports and ask others to do the same: http://www.ag.ny.gov/internet-bureau-online-complaint-form

    I can describe building a business on Etsy like building a house on sand it will eventually collapse because it’s build on a weak foundation.

    Helen

    • Jim Juris August 22, 2015 at 10:34 am #

      Helen, I just posted the video link that you provided on Twitter. I shut my Etsy and Artfire shops down at the end of last year.

  19. Robeplus June 29, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    Yeah, you are absolutely correct. Only because I am selling similar things at a lower price to some sellers in China, they just flagged one of my other products. It’s so much like when you are selling in a physical shop, and the competitor just reports to whatever authority you are illegal or non-compliance….. Realistic world…..

  20. B B September 10, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    You know what, I wanted to let you know that I really appreciated this article, because I had so many similar experiences with Etsy. Remind to three years ago. I had come up with a really unique resin jewelry design, and I was proud of it. Then, I had this crazy lady copy the idea, and start her own store. She wrote nasty things about me on the internet, which she still claims no responsibility for (Etsy of course turns a blind eye, because for them, competition just means more sales for them). I have asked for this awful stuff to be removed, and it just sits there, with no one but me the wiser. That is until a potential employer should perhaps google me.

    So I closed my shop. What used to be fun became arduous, and really, more trouble than it was worth. I couldn’t keep my day job and my Etsy account and live a normal life. I was being driven insane by something that I loved to do.

    Okay, so I buried the hatchet. Fast forward to three years later. I want to re-open my shop. I figure whattheheck, it’s extra money, the economy is terrible. I sell about thirty items, using a new shop name. I completely distance myself from the psycho who is selling knockoffs of my original idea. I figure it’s only a matter of time before she finds me, but I don’t care. She can use my photographs, my designs, my idea. I’d rather just presend she doesn’t exist.

    Then, two days ago, poof. Shop suspended. Etsy support tells me to check my email for a reason as to why it was shut down. There is no email. There is no reason.

    Here’s my suspicion: Crazy jewelry lady flags my shop. Has her friends flag my shop. The end. I didn’t use my name, because quite frankly, I don’t want customers to know it, because it’s an odd name, and it’s just personal. All of my items are handmade. I know this: I will never ever use Etsy again. That’s a shame, because I truly love the artisan silversmiths that churn out exceptional items.

    I appreciate your story. It just goes to show you how inept those working at Etsy actually are. The Account Suspension is a terrible tool. I can’t believe they listed that many conditions to get your shop back online. And let me just say this: There are shitty, asshole sellers marauding as nice people that are in fact, toxic, awful human beings who form little gangs of toxic like-minded assholes who will defend one another for no other reason than to make decent, law-abiding, kind, and unique sellers look like we’re nutso.

    And I’m off my soapbox. 🙂

  21. kristen October 1, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    I’ve had enough of Etsy and happy with Zibbet and Luulla

  22. Erin November 26, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    There is a new site called KwykPix that my friend is selling on and I’m heading for because I got kicked off Etsy from responding six times too people. Not only can I have a store on their for less than etsy, but every sale helps others through good pricing and donations. There is more than just ETSY out there.

  23. Summer January 30, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    They did the same thing to me! I hate them but I still buy on there 😒

    • Amanda February 28, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

      Just encountered this myself. Luckily I hadn’t opened my shop yet before getting an email from the “Integrity” team but I did lose out on countless hours resizing, listing and describing my items. Just the push I needed though to hop on over to my website that I’ve paid for but not “designed” quite yet. Was hoping to have some money come in while I was doing that. Thanks for this blog. Even though it’s a crappy situation, it’s nice to know you’re not alone.

  24. Raylene April 1, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

    Does anyone actually sell a lot of items on the other sites listed? I tried Artfire about a year ago and maybe sold 3 items/month vs. 130+ on Etsy. I have a few items on the Big Cartel, with zero sales. I also have my own website but only sell about 5% or less of what I sell on Etsy. When I first opened I had to go through these hoops and send photos of several items I made and go through the huge list of items noted in the blog post…BS…I COMPLETELY AGREE! Now over half our income comes from Etsy and I am scared to death they will shut me down. I have lot of haters and keep getting flagged for random stuff. They keep threatening to shut down my shop. I have paid over $2100 to Etsy in the last 3 months alone. I can’t believe they treat good sellers like crap. I am stuck though and need any advise! I can’t afford to loose my main source of income.

  25. ditchingmycomfortzone May 1, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    Thank you for this post! I could not be more thrilled at finding it. I am currently selling my crocheted items out of my home and was wanting to venture into the online world and Etsy was my first thought. I don’t have any experience selling items online so it seemed like the easiest place to start but after this informative post I will definitely be looking for a different option.

  26. Qwistie May 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    Thanks for the warning! I was just about to open an etsy shop, but hearing about what happened to you has made me think twice. I’ll be giving Artfire and Storeenvy a shot instead.

  27. bronzemaniac June 17, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    Etsy just closed down my shop – which had over $11,000 in sales in it’s first and only 2 months, along with all 5 star reviews and many happy customers wishing to return. Why did they do it? I’m still trying to figure that out as they keep changing their story, and are ignoring my attempts to provide legal proof and documentation refuting the ASSUMPTIONS of a member of their “integrity team”. They claim that they will not shut down your store if you are not in compliance, but that they will help you to conform. That was a blatant LIE as they made no such attempt, and repeatedly denied my attempts to to get them to live up to their word. Sellers: STAY AWAY FROM ETSY. If this company had any brains, they would not run their business in such a careless way. I am literally still in shock at the fact that my highly successful Etsy business was shut down based on the assumptions of a single member of their staff, without any attempt to allow resolution. What kind of company shoots itself in the foot like that? I had not a single complaint or case filed against me, they can even review my tons of messages from nothing but happy customers. Shame on you Etsy for treating your sellers this way. This site wants to remain an amateurs-only marketplace and apparently has a problem with successful sellers – I say this because I was singled out among other sellers of the same type of art, whom I had more sales and more reviews than (every single review being 5 stars). I hope their miserable company goes bankrupt for their stupidity. Several artists depend on me to make their living and Etsy just put it to them for no clear reason. Also, the fact that they repeatedly refuse to make contact over the telephone and keep their communications limited to emails shows the extent of their customer service capabilities. I would be interested to hear where other former Etsy sellers have taken their business instead. I would be glad to join.

  28. Kat August 12, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    I see this original post was a long time ago, so I’m sure you’ve done other things since, but regarding your comment on it being cheaper to use Etsy than your own site: have you heard of storenvy? I started using that mainly because it was free (aside from the fee Paypal charges, but not SE’s fault) and still ends up way cheaper than Etsy credit card, listing fees, and commissions. plus you can customize your shop and even use your own domain.

  29. Mustafa August 31, 2014 at 2:33 am #

    Hello to all,

    I have started an online petition again Etsy Marketplace Integrity team to change their ways they determine whether an item is vintage/handmade or not.

    Please raise your voice and sign here: https://www.change.org/p/etsy-marketplace-integrity-team-to-change-the-way-they-determine-the-age-of-a-vintage-item-sold-in-their-marketplace-by-etsy-shop-owners-even-items-without-written-date-label-tag-should-be-considered-vintage

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  32. Shelley @ Leatherly Yours December 29, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    Sorry to hear about this. I’m in the exact same situation. They are demanding all the same proof of my handmade business. It’s taken me 1 month (with no sales since there’s no etsy anymore) and still don’t have enough stuff put together yet.

    I heard of all the alternative sites to Etsy but heard they bring little to no sales. Anyone with different experience?

  33. Jim Juris January 6, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    Why do so many people depend on Etsy? I started selling on Etsy back in 2002. I learned by buying and reading ebooks and courses about SEO and marketing. I also learned how to create my own website. I learned everything by trial and error, with a big emphasis on the word ERROR.

    I am not afraid to fail, that is how I learn best. If I fail I simply pick myself back up again and try something else.

    Just because Etsy has a lot of internal traffic does not mean that Etsy is the only game in town.

    Why should you pay a listing, relisting and a 3.5% final value fee? Get real. There are other places to sell besides Etsy, but, it takes WORK.

    If you are making a lot of sales you are paying lots of money to Etsy, but, what do you get for that money? You get buried in the internal Etsy search results, get to compete with RESELLERS, can’t promote your products in their forums, etc.

    One day things are going well on Etsy and the next thing you know you wake up and discover that Etsy shut your shop down in the middle of the night and you did not do anything wrong. Don’t let them treat you like a number. Etsy only cares about Etsy, not you.

    When you sell on someone else’s website THEY are in complete control. When you sell on your own website YOU are in complete control.

  34. Briel January 10, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    Hello there!

    Long story short, my Etsy.com shop was shut down due to a few shipping issues with clients. I custom restore and rehab vintage furniture and do professional upholstery. While we are not new in our trade, we are beginners at shipping large furniture and have had some issues with clients and damaged goods during shipment. Although we have made good on all issues with clients and cases – Etsy.com has shut down my store for good. This is my ONLY source of income and although my store is on various other online markeplace platforms, 80% of my business comes from Etsy.com
    I have tried using other personal information of my assistant and husband (last names and credit cards, etc are all different) however Etsy.com seems to know that these new shops I am attempting to create are somehow linked to my old shop – although ALL of the information is different. Even used different computers as to be assured they weren’t tracking the IP address. Anyone had this issue and were you able to create a new shop? My business is going under every second I am not live on Etsy.com!!! Thank you.

    • Jim Juris January 10, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

      Why are you so dependent on Etsy? Etsy is not the only venue in the world to sell your products and/or services. I started selling online back in 2002 way before Etsy started. I basically figured everything on my own, with the help of a thousand dollars in ebooks and courses that I purchased to learn how to sell online. It was a fantastic investment in time and money.

      Forget Etsy. Many sellers come to Etsy because they want the built in traffic. Unfortunately, they never learn how to optimize their Etsy product listings for the search engines (SEO), they basically just list and sit back waiting for the sales to come in. BAD IDEA, you are the perfect example of what I am talking about.

      For many sellers, you included, you are like a fish out of water because you never learned how to optimize your product listings for the search engines. If you had, you would simply go to another venue and start where you left off.

      Until the end of last year, I was a seller on Handmade Artists, which is a much smaller version of Artfire and Etsy. They do not charge a listing or final value fee. NO RESELLERS. Their monthly membership fee is a whopping FIVE DOLLARS!

      Of course you have to know how to optimize your product listings for the search engines to bring traffic to your Handmade Artists shop because unlike Etsy, Handmade Artists has NO internal traffic that you can depend on. YOU have to bring with you your own traffic to that selling venue.

      I was also a seller on Indie Made.com, which is basically like having your own website, again with no internal traffic except for what you bring in yourself. They do have areas within the product listing page that you can fill in to get your product listings optimized for the search engines provided that you do so correctly.

      During the short time that I was on Indie Made, I only had a few products listed there (17 when I shut it down about a month ago to do other things) and I was getting traffic every day to my shop.

      Indie Made has four plans to choose from. They do not charge a listing or final value fee.

      Another possibility is Shopify.com. I have never sold on that selling venue, and it is more expensive than the other two. It may be a better venue than Handmade Artists and IndieMade because I believe that they give you more options with your product listings.

      Check them out and if you need my help let me know.

      • Briel January 10, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

        It’s not that I am “so dependent” on Etsy.com it is the simple fact 85% of my business comes from Etsy.com. We are on about 8+ other websites for product sales, none of which have had the impact in sales or traffic Etsy.com has. Would just like to keep that business coming while we wait for the other sites to become more popular or or shop get a bigger impact from them. Thanks.

        • Jim Juris January 10, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

          You are welcome.

          What are you doing to promote your products? Are your product listings on those 8+ venues optimized for the search engines (SEO)? Do you have DUPLICATE CONTENT on each of those venues for each product? If you do, that will hurt your product listings on Google and the other search engines. Google hates duplicate content.

          If your product listings are not found somewhere on the first TWO pages of the search engines they are probably not going to be seen by most people searching for products that are similar to yours on Google or one of the other search engines.

  35. Kathleen January 10, 2015 at 7:49 pm #

    I don’t understand how Etsy works on such double standards. They let some companies wholesale, some companies use manufacturers and so many people do not hand make but it’s ok for some and not others. They make up different rules for each company and that is so wrong. Etsy should be shut down or Sued in my eyes.

    • Jim Juris January 10, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

      I think that it is a simple matter that money talks. Etsy is probably willing to bend the rules for resellers that are paying a lot of money to Etsy in listing and final value fees.

      That is why it is not a good idea to be dependent on Etsy for your sales. Why compete with resellers when you can sell on a venue like Indie Made or Shopify and basically be in complete control? It may be even cheaper to use those other venues compared to Etsy if your Etsy bill is over $60 or $70 per month.

    • K W S March 17, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

      I could not have said it any better!!!! Why have they not been sued? Most companies can’t run on double standards. Most companies have to treat all as equals. But NOT Etsy…

  36. Sean February 15, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    Good to read this Kristen, thanks. I just got closed down, willy-nilly & the more i read, the more i believe, it is indeed a competitor of mine who has helped to do this. I am presently distraught about it but hey, my product is cool, screw Etsy, right? 😉

    • cameramanjim February 15, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

      You don’t need Etsy. A big mistake that many sellers make is DEPENDING ON ETSY! Etsy is not the only place to sell your products online. Remember this. When you sell on someone else’s venue, THEY are in control. When you sell on your own website, YOU are in control.

  37. Noam March 12, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    This is one ofThis post describes one of the reasons we (SigalfJewelry and her significant other) developed Backtsy (www.backtsy.com).
    Backtsy is an automatic backup service for Etsy shops. so you will always have access to recent versions of your shop

  38. Jill December 3, 2015 at 9:49 am #

    The same thing happened to me just before Thanksgiving, a huge selling time for me. Someone named Melissa closed down my store and my husbands store, stating the reason was the we were not handmade, what a crock. Our copper mugs are handmade from start to finish by our shop. My husband created the entire shop, the tools used to create the mugs and all the ideas and designs around them.
    This is now a publicly traded company that is just randomly “it seems” kicking of profit centers for them. It’s beyond comprehension and just bad business. Thankfully I do not solely rely on them, but it was a huge profit center for us and the timing was bull….
    Anyway, sorry to see that it’s not only me. We did discover another site called Art Fire and revamped our own site http://www.hammeredmules.com, so all is not lost.
    I too was an Etsy cheerleader, but NOT anymore.

    • Jim Juris December 3, 2015 at 11:09 am #

      In addition to selling on Etsy and Artfire, up until the end of 2014, I also sold products on HandMade Artists. It is a very small venue, but the owners of Handmade Artists are artisans, which is a benefit.

      The fee for selling on Handmade Artists the last time that I checked was only $5 per month and no listing or final value fee.

      They try to keep resellers off of their venue.

    • Jennifer February 6, 2016 at 11:12 am #

      Jill, were you able to access your order history and customer information after your shop was closed, or did all that disappear in one fell swoop?

  39. Jennifer February 6, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    I’m so sorry this happened to you! I’m currently in the same situation, and feel absolutely sick. I create original artwork that I have sold on Etsy for the past two years, and in the past month, a competitor has come to light that has systematically been trying to shut me down. I’m not imagining this – they’ve emailed me multiple times telling me they are trying to do so. The final “attack” came yesterday when I received nine copyright infringement notices, all on original artwork that looked nothing like what it was supposedly infringing on. I wrote Etsy to ask why they would even process such notices, and they replied saying it was their “legal obligation” to process every form that was filled out correctly, regardless of the legal merit. I was shocked. I was sick. I still am.

    That said, I am scrambling, trying to figure out how to complete the 50+ custom orders I have lined up over the next two weeks, and know that my time is precious and limited. Does anyone know if we still have access to our conversation history, or even our order history? I feel terrible thinking I might leave my customers in the lurch, particularly since the custom work is pre-paid.

    • Jim Juris February 6, 2016 at 11:27 am #

      Jennifer, the competitor probably wants you to panic, and it seems to be working for them. Panicking is the worse thing that you can do.

      You probably don’t have anything to worry about, but I am not a lawyer. Try and pretend that they don’t exist. Otherwise they win.

      Hold your head up high and keep on working on creating great products.

      Also, if your designs came out online before theirs then they probably can’t do squat to you.

      • Ashley March 5, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

        This is hilarious because what Jennifer doesn’t mention is that she had the “competitor” thrown off etsy by filing 3 false copyright infringement claims. Even though those claims were all successfully countered Etsy refused to reopen the competitor’s shop resulting in the loss of income for a single mother, her parents, and her 78 year old grandmother (all because the shops were linked). The “original artwork” in question was clip art that had been copied directly from the Internet and Jennifer neither was the original artist nor did she own the copyright as she falsely claimed to Etsy.

        • Susan March 5, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

          I agree with Ashley. Having been on the other side of Jennifer, she is a mean vicious person who goes around trying to shut other shops down. Etsy has refused to shut her down, obviously she has an inside contact. She is a liar and does nothing original.She is a pro at copying other work and has few if any original ideas. Sad thing is, is what she does, hurts many innocent people and families. Please DO NOT deal with this terrible person.

  40. Denise June 1, 2016 at 8:14 am #

    Etsy closed my shop without giving me a notice to what they wanted fixed. They are stating I have products that can be found and bought on other websites. It’s crazy because I get ideas online and recreate them with a tweak. Many people do this and the crazy part of it all is I see other shops with the same pictures as me and they have tons of sales and there shop isn’t closed. So what is etsy really doing??? Are they the owners of these stores??? I see so many products that have same pictures as other websites that you can purchase wholesale products online and they remain active. At the end of the day they cannot say you bought or made a product when it is all online. There not even seeing the product and comparing it to the other product. So this is just an assumption and there out of line. I am moving all my products to STOREENVY a new company that I can sell from. All etsy shop owners beware you are spending your hard work time and any day etsy will close your shop. My personal opinion is get your products out of that company and sell it somewhere else where you actually have a say and control over your products. If you are accused of something you don’t even have an opportunity to state your case. Good luck

  41. Angela June 24, 2016 at 5:57 am #

    At least you got a reply! Etsy suspended my shop without bothering to let me know and my repeated mails were met with silence. No reasons given, no refund of my listing fees nothing. I now sell with itshandicraft.com and I am very satisfied. Steady business and the absolutely free listings for the first two months of joining. No harm in trying it out.

  42. Jhenny September 29, 2016 at 2:10 am #

    Hi Kristen and everyone here!

    I have also emailed you, as I can see this seems to be a hot and never ending topic!

    I have also beed kicked off lol!

    I read your blog and all the comments, and some others as well about Etsy account suspension and termination, I am also aware same things happen on Ebay.

    I think these marketplaces lack a sense of humanity, they don’t know that the people behind strive and work hard to make a living and when selling can be their only source of living then the consequences can be disastrous.

    I regret these marketplaces are not taking into account the human dimension, and too many people have now been victims.

    There is a way we can help by taking care of the social aspects and have more respect for sellers specially single moms making a living online.

    The sad things is joining these marketplaces is as easy as being kicked off!

    Things can always been explained and I believe there is a solution to any problem.

    With a friend we came up with an idea to put up a “humanized” diy marketplace with a NO KICK OFF policy, in case of infringement we would rather work on putting back the seller on track rather than permanently terminating the seller’s account.

    We would not charge any listing fees, only a lifetime very cheap commission only for the first sellers to join and have a dedicated team and live support to help our members better understand our policies in case of infringement.

    How would you go about joining if ever we would put up this project?

    Any suggestions from everyone would also be greatly appreciated 🙂

    Kind regards,

    Jhenny

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ending the Confusion: E-Commerce (Final Thoughts) – Shop Talk - February 17, 2016

    […] My all time favorite was when Etsy shut down a shop and then required the shop owner to provide them with her personal patterns and schematics, photos of her process, and even personal photos and addresses of everyone that helps her with her shop to get it reinstated. You can read that one here. […]

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