Created in 2005 as a place to sell home made craft products, Etsy recently changed their guidelines to expand who can sell through the online marketplace and how they can sell their goods.
According to the new policies, sellers can hire employees, outsource their shipping, and use manufacturers to produce their creations. That is, as long as they are transparent about it.
The company has been experiencing some growing pains and has come up against issues concerning sellers and the company’s policies. Last year, there were sellers who protested that a featured shop violated Etsy’s policies after it was discovered the shop had a staff creating its products. The company has also gotten feedback from sellers that their policies are confusing. The definition of what qualified as a hand made shop was unclear for some.
According to a blog post by CEO Chad Dickerson, the policy changes are long overdue and give the control back to sellers. This means the sellers can decide how they want to run their business. The new policies aim to be more flexible and open to the different methods or process that sellers take to create their original products.
This change in policy means larger sellers can now get on Etsy, but the company is also making sure that sellers are being transparent. Many businesses that start on Etsy are growing and the company doesn’t want to turn these businesses away. Etsy is asking sellers who work with a third party to create their products apply for review and approval to make sure that their products are authentic and that they aren’t simply passing off mass-produced items as hand-made goods.
Although the new guidelines are more flexible, they can also become an issue for the small shops who won’t be able to compete with larger sellers. According to a post on Bloomberg Businessweek, however, rival marketplaces are more than happy to accept the Etsy sellers who decide to jump ship.