Etsy to let sellers hire staff, use manufacturers

Published on NewsOK Modified: October 1, 2013 at 11:58 am •  Published: October 1, 2013
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NEW YORK (AP) — Etsy, the popular online marketplace for vintage and handmade goods, is updating its policies to allow sellers to hire staff, use shipping services and apply to have their products made by manufacturers.

The New York-based company known for everything from crocheted Halloween pumpkins to vintage engagement rings held a webcast on Tuesday for its 1 million active sellers to answer questions. One question Etsy expected was whether it is "selling out," or would start to allow large corporations like Ikea to sell items on the site. With a fiercely loyal and vocal fan base, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson is bracing for some backlash.

But he stands behind the changes and says Etsy often heard from sellers that the site's previous policies were confusing. Some sellers, he said in a blog post, worked long hours to maintain a one-person shop, while others began to bend the rules. For example, Etsy previously prohibited sellers from hiring employees not in their physical location — that is no longer the case.

With the exception of vintage items and crafting supplies, Etsy had required people to sell things that were "handmade" by them. But Dickerson said the definition was murky from the start.

"Many of us felt we knew handmade when we saw it, but that was hard to put into enforceable policy. What kind of tools could you use? How many hands could shape the product? Could you use mass-produced components to put together something original?" he wrote.