Etsy: Controversial Shop Isn't A Re-Seller, But A "Collective"

Earlier this week, a number of Etsy sellers and shoppers were upset at the website — which is intended to sell only handmade items, vintage goods, or crafting materials — for featuring a shop that some claim is merely a re-seller of mass-produced furniture made from reclaimed wood. But rather than pull the plug on that shop, Etsy has allowed the owner to attempt to clarify matters — and also told its users to stop being such meanies.

One of the big questions that had been raised over the weekend when the seller was first featured on Etsy was, “How could one person possibly make the more than 230 pieces of handmade wood furniture available in their shop?”

Well, Etsy has cleared that up by saying the seller is actually “a collective shop, run on Etsy by Mariana with help from a local staff.”

The site has also amended the original interview to include this information:

I design the products and source materials; Juan M., Juan T., Zenon and Rene work on carpentry and restoration; Jorge helps with sales and customer care; David photographs our work; and Sylvia helps ship orders to customers.

But by our counting, that’s still only four carpenters cranking out a lot of furniture, which is featured not only on Etsy but on Overstock.com.

And while Etsy says it has confirmed that the “collective” builds all its own furniture from raw materials it sources from overseas vendors, Regretsy.com has a quote from the Bali-based supplier of those materials: “We have hired workers specifically to produce Mariana’s design products with Mariana’s selected materials.”

That seems to imply that the Bali company is actually building — or at least partially assembling — the seller’s furniture. Or perhaps he merely misspoke.

Regardless, with Etsy users still upset about the seller still being up-and-running, the site has decided that closing and removing all comments on the original blog post is the best route to go in this matter:

Please remember that discussing a specific member, shop or item (either by name or with identifiable hints) in a negative way is not allowed on Etsy… Some of the reaction to this feature has really crossed the line and doesn’t live up to our shared standards. For that reason, we took the rare step of removing all comments, negative and positive, from the blog post.

Etsy has, however, opened up a forum topic for users to discuss this particular issue.