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~*~just wondering about something NOT handmade ~*~

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i think this is an excellent thread - it's been an interesting discussion, from both sides.

if etsy admin is reading this, here is my official stance. in a nutshell, i'd like the site to list all handmade items by individual artisans and/or their families.

i think allowing UNALTERED vintage and commercial supplies (even by a seller selling handmade items) is incongruous with etsy's motto "your place to buy and sell all things handmade." commercial supplies is a good example - i was shocked the first time i saw a seller list about a page's worth of the same basic item. in fact, it was a turn-off and highlights the main issue i have with anyone being able to sell items which may be procured and listed in unlimited quantities.

i too have some items listed in the commercial supplies category - the size/quality is not available commercially and i have a niche market with artists - BUT i started listing those when the commercial supplies category was created. like other sellers, i am mindful of not flooding the category by creating a second id for selling them and listing page upon page of my similar items. while i think things still are under control (ie flooding is not terrible here), it's only because the current sellers are respecting the perceived *spirit* of etsy. i gladly would stop selling my atc supplies if etsy were to limit items to only handmade. perhaps sales of unaltered vintage and other commercial supplies should be done seller to seller.

2) that eternal philosophical Q: do the ends justify the means?

like kateblack and others, i think legit fair trade sellers in theory have their hearts in the right plac, similar to the red cross. i am all for maintaining traditions, etc., but there is a real danger in a re-seller dictating/suggesting what is to be created, how and in what style. while i applaud sedentarynomad's efforts which i believe are sincere, she mentioned in a previous post she takes current mags to the artisans to give them an idea of what is in vogue and provides findings not available to them. that disturbs me a great deal because how is that preserving a traditional craft? it is catering to the "tourist" trade. if ANY endeavor is profitable, i think it is human nature people will try to maximize production ie create efficiency as long as the market responds by buying the ultimate product.

i'm with kateblack - i'd prefer to contribute to an org which purchase livestock, building materials directly (and not just a percentage of profits from selling) to assist the recipient community with creating a self-sustainable economy, not reliant on sales to the west. i understand from second-hand info (didn't watch it myself so please pipe in if you've seen it) CBS evening news ran a story about 'artist factories' in china which apparently support entire towns (economically underprivileged by western standards) by painting assembly line. van gogh painting reproductions were used as an example of such a hand-painted item and while the report mentioned low prices, it also applauded the community for creating an economically valuable cottage industry. you can call it developing economy or improving the condition of the underprivileged. outsourcing marketing to other countries also improves the economic outlook for those workers too.

so, while i agree it is an admirable cause to try to better the living conditions of underprivileged artisans and appreciate authentic indigenous arts/crafts from many places, i think that is best done by established orgs, not by individuals on etsy and certainly not if it's done at the expense of independent sellers here.

let's just agree using the underprivileged nature of their artisans as a key selling point is MARKETING. it may be true, and part of the reason for selling may stem from a genuinine desire to funnel funds to underprivileged villages, but still it is MARKETING and as a fair trader here said earlier, it's not non-profit. if it's a for-profit sale and marketing is being used - with the fair trade cachet - i don't think any other seller here should feel bad about regarding and evaluating fair trade as any other commercial selling.

3) maybe this might interest etsy more. on another site, the flood of "hand-painted original art" a la the CBS report, often including an "artist bio" have flooded the site. while the bottom-feeders (with the walmart mentality) are probably happy buying penny art, imo this has eroded the offerings and population of buyers for authentic self-representing original art.

4) my primary concern, tied to all of the above, esp. 4 - potential fraud. how can etsy ensure the legitimacy of the re-sellers but also of EACH item they list as "fair trade"? not saying there is one now, but isn't etsy concerned about fraud issues by sellers claiming fair trade? what about trademark infringement - it seems transfair (or whatever the org's name is) has registered the "fair trade" mark. part of the purpose of trademarking is to indicate to consumers certain stardards have been met. all of these may not be issues now, but i'd bet commercial sellers will soon be listing en masse if they smell a profit potential under the auspices of "hand made by the underprivileged."

5) my proposal on a way to handle this:

i suspect etsy will allow third-party selling as it has allowed unaltered vintage and commercial supplies. with that ASSUMPTION, i suggested in a previous post etsy require sellers to identify the artisan by NAME (meaning you can't proceed with the listing flow until you provide the info) and segregating the third-party sellers into their own category. i elaborated more in an email to etsy.

sorry my post is not concise or cohesive.
an example of the trademark concern-

i don't like starbuck's for a number of reasons, one being they do not have the best tasting coffee imo. BUT if i am in BFN, esp. in an airport, i am more likely to buy from them - when i get a starbuck's coffee, i know it pretty much tastes the same no matter where i bought it (even in london).
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Inactive Etsy Member 3:39pm Apr 18, 2006 EDT
Soap, I think it's a pretty darn good post. :-)
Great post soap, you said it all.
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Inactive Etsy Member 12:36pm Apr 19, 2006 EDT
Soap, that was an awesome post.
I am with Soap too.
hi, I had no idea items were meant to be handmade at all. Until you start to look into the site policy it comes across to me as some items are definitely handmade (and gorgeous) and some are mass produced. I really did think, as a a buyer, that either one was OK and Etsy was a place where either could be sold. I guess what I'm trying to say is I very much got the idea that Etsy was a place to sell stuff..either hand made or mass produced. It's isn't obvious or intuitive that it's supposed to be handmade. Some of the shops are obviously mass produced and the shops are very successful. (yes I have been looking up links as well and I have seen mass produced things from scarves to jewelry.
Wow. a grand daddy zombie thread from 2006, but it reads like it is from today.
I'm amazed they have threads archived that far back.
They must be hoarders and keep everything. lol
I was just thinking about how I read these threads here every day, then happened to glance at the date! Crazy that they've let it remain the way it has.
Judy...the problem is, they don't archive threads. Archives should be a separate forum title, and locked so that they can only be read.
Zombie thread....
I am a knitter and just made a Patriot's hat. Looking through similar hats, I noticed that there are hats on Esty that are clearly mass produced, this does not seem fair to people who assume everything on Esty is hand made. Sooner or later, this will hurt the business.

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