In an email sent this morning, Etsy is encouraging its sellers to sew face masks to sell on its marketplace. “As Etsy sellers, you know how important it is to adjust quickly to changing buyer needs. Right now, Etsy has become a destination for fabric face masks, which is leading to skyrocketing demand,” the email stated. “While we don’t know how long this spike will last, we know that we’re on-track to exhaust available inventory.”

The email went on to state, “That’s where you come in. This is a moment for the Etsy seller community to come together, meet this unprecedented need, and help those around them. If you have the skill and materials, you can help–start making masks today.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to urge Americans to wear cloth face masks when leaving the house to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 beginning sometime in the next day or two. There’s a national shortage of surgical face masks, leading many sewists to create their own. Those who don’t sew are looking to purchase handmade masks as quickly as possible.

Esty sellers are typically left alone to create their own unique products to sell in their shops. In the 15 years that I’ve had a shop on Etsy this is the first time I’ve been encouraged to create and sell the same product as other sellers. The email links to a sewing pattern for a face mask in Tuesday’s New York Times as well as this new post in the Etsy Seller Handbook devoted to the topic.

In the email Etsy warned sellers to keep certain things in mind when making masks to sell:

Set realistic expectations: It’s critical that you meet your shipping estimates. Customers are counting on you to deliver these items on time.
• Ready to ship matters: It’s hard to predict when a sale will happen, but try to have some inventory on hand so that you can ship the same day.
• Don’t make medical claims: If a listing makes any medical claims, such as promising protection against the coronavirus, it will be taken down.

The email to sellers ends by stating: “It’s at a moment like this when we experience the true meaning of community: coming together as one to support those who need us. This is when being a community of makers makes all the difference.”

Of course, it’s a moment like this when hundreds of thousands of people may turn to Etsy to find this particular handmade product, leading to a potential surge in gross merchandise sales and happy shareholders, as well.

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