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Etsy, the largest online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, recently expanded the number of people allowed to work in a business and still be considered crafters, and disseminated a new task-force for policing the change. It's latest policy adjustment allows its sellers to partner with manufacturers so businesses won't grow out of the site's perimeters.
They've defined manufacturer as "any outside business that helps make your items" and offered a "foundry that casts jewelry you've designed" and "a factory that cuts and sews clothing you've created" as examples. Basically, Etsy is now open for designers.
The company requires an application process filled out and submitted to the "integrity team" in 2014. While a specific rubric for what works and what doesn't hasn't been specified in the policy rundown, they do mention that most importantly, they're looking to see that sellers know their manufacturers very well.
While the company outlines ethical guidelines for factory conditions and labor standards, they do not vet third-parties. The site also will not, "require sellers to demonstrate that the materials incorporated into their products comply with the laws in the country or countries in which such suppliers do business."
Other changes include lifting the limit on a vendor's staff, someone besides the seller can ship goods, and sellers can hire staff in other locations besides their own.
On one hand, we could see how the new rules would prove advantageous for successful start-up crafters whose businesses have outgrown their homes. On the other, this model seems to move away from what Etsy is (or was) all about. What do you think, Etsy shoppers?
· Warning to Fake Crafters: Etsy's Got a New Task Force, and They're Not Afraid To Use It [Racked]
· Etsy's New Mission to Help Struggling Communities: Good, Evil? [Racked]