Etsy was founded on the principle that small business owners – artisans – making their wares needed a better way to sell.
The challenge Etsy has now is what to do with the small artisans who outsource their manufacturing so they can meet demand.
Daymond John would have sold on Etsy years ago when he was making his clothing line in his home with his mom However, he grew Fubu into a multi-million venture, outsourced manufacturing and quickly became NOT a small artisan.
So when does a small artisan become simply the next “big company”? When should they not be allowed to sell on Etsy and move to eBay or Amazon?
The NY Times writes – But the move could fuel criticism that the site is moving away from the artisanal roots that have made it an attractive alternative to mass retailing. The company, started in a Brooklyn loft a decade ago, long prohibited its sellers from outsourcing their production, saying all goods offered on the site needed to be handmade.
Etsy loosened that policy two years ago to allow outsourcing on a case-by-case basis, a contentious move denounced by some artisan sellers and one that some analysts say has led to a rise in counterfeit or mass-manufactured goods sold on the site.