Does anybody remember the seller, Three Bird Nest, who was featured on Huffington Post last year, with a story coined as the unbelievable journey of a stay-at-home mother who made almost one million dollars selling her handcrafted leg warmers and headbands on Etsy... "on a whim" ? And do you remember when we all found her boot cuffs on Zulilly for $14 or American flag scarves on Alibaba, sold by the case? And then, do you remember that time Etsy sellers totally flipped out because of the "handcrafted goods" press Etsy was receiving on the backs of these deceptive sales, encouraging the presence of mass-marketed goods on the platform?
Well, Three Bird Nest is back in the news with a tragic tail of woe.... Etsy has suspended thr shop for being "unable to demonstrate sufficient compliance with our policies.” Woah woah woah! Etsy addressed the issue of reselling on their site? And the world didn't come to an end?
Now, I must admit that I'm hesitant to believe this wasn't a publicity stunt from Three Bird Nest to generate interest in its stand-alone website and their "exploration of marketplaces that fit more in line with their core values", and the announcement of the split did, indeed, generate a bit of buzz online. Nor would I be surprised if Etsy didn't cut ties with this high-profile seller because of pressure placed on them by the community, as a whole, during a time when their new IPO seems to be drawing attention to their hypocrisy, and their image as a legitimate "handcrafted" marketplace has soured for many.
But I have to say this is a win for the micro business. Though the Three Bird Nest founder, Alicia Shaffer, states to Yahoo Makers in this recent article, that Etsy "has done little to defend her or Three Bird Nest" and support her company's growth and need to outsource production, the micro business community might be applauding Etsy's actions.
I hope, some day, every store is as successful as Shaffer's and grows beyond the confines of the Etsy platform. I hope Three Bird Nest continues to grow... but am encouraged that it wont be as part of the Etsy family. A platform founded on the (if not illusion then) nature of handmade, should support and protect the interests of the micro business owner who simply can't compete with companies who (allegedly) resell their products.
Let's be clear, the fault does not lie with Three Bird Nest. They sold what Etsy allowed them to sell. Etsy cheated the purists when it altered its policies to excuse the mass production already prevalent on their platform. But does this decision to cut ties, between Etsy and Three Bird Nest, signal a return to Etsy's original values, or was this move just the placating poster-child to win back alienated sellers? What do you think?
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