Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Etsy's New Rules to Allow Bigger Sellers Spark Identity Crisis

The handmade market’s new rules make room for bigger sellers
Etsy's New Rules to Allow Bigger Sellers Spark Identity Crisis
Photo illustration by Alis Atwell; Photographs by Alamy (8)

Allison Faunce started selling her handmade children’s capes and superhero costumes on Etsy, the online marketplace for homespun crafts, in 2006. Six years later, the Somerset (Mass.)-based designer expanded with the help of a nearby factory in Fall River that manufactures the capes she sells to retailers. Faunce continued to offer items on Etsy, remaining loyal to the site that launched her business, but its rules required items to be handmade. “I was pulling all-nighters to keep up with the capes and turning down orders,” she says.

Faunce won’t have to turn down orders anymore. In October, Etsy introduced guidelines letting sellers hire employees, outsource shipping and fulfillment, and use manufacturers to produce their designs. In exchange, merchants are required to be more transparent about their businesses. The changes, says Etsy Chief Executive Officer Chad Dickerson, will accommodate growth for the site’s sellers. “We wanted to create a set of policies that were expansive and inclusive in such a way that would allow for new technologies, new ways of working together,” he says.