Today on the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about Etsy with my guests Stephanie Schacht and Heather Jassy.
This episode is a little bit different from past episodes of the podcast. I’ve been an Etsy seller since July of 2005 when Etsy was still in its infancy. Over the past 10 years, I’ve ridden each wave of change to the site and experienced how those changes have affected the seller community.
There’s an ongoing tension as an Etsy seller between the individual and the marketplace. What do we give up and what do we gain by being part of Etsy?
Over the last few years, a significant portion of the seller community has really come to question some of Etsy’s decisions including allowing sellers to work with manufacturing partners and handling intellectual property violations, among other issues. There have been mistakes. There have been misunderstandings. To me, one way to work on resolving some of the mistrust that now exists is to sit down together and talk and that is my goal with this podcast.
My first guest, Heather Jassy, is the Senior Vice President of Members and Community at Etsy. She came to Etsy in 2010. She grew up in south Georgia and has an undergraduate degree in English and a master’s degree in psychology. She had a therapy and consulting practice before shifting to working in the tech world, first at Lockerz and then Etsy. Heather is an avid reader of the Etsy forums and of blogs that talk about Etsy. She lives with her husband and daughter in Hudson, New York.
And my second guest is Stephanie Schacht. Stephanie is the Head of Responsible Seller Growth which means she oversees the vetting of Etsy sellers who want to work with manufacturing partners. She is a sociologist with a Ph.D. from Princeton. Prior to Etsy she worked in the local food movement and has a keen interest in community and sustainability. She lives in Brooklyn.
A few weeks ago I asked for your questions for Stephanie and Heather. I received a long list (thank you!) and read and considered every question carefully. I did my best to represent you in this conversation and to bring up the questions that appeared most frequently and seemed to be most pressing. I’m sure I didn’t do a perfect job, but I hope that after listening you feel like I brought up at least some of the issues you care about.
In this conversation we talk about:
- Why there aren’t separate categories on Etsy for handmade goods and manufactured goods.
- How Etsy defines the line between handmade and manufactured and the danger in trying to be the “creativity police.”
- The process by which a seller’s manufacturing partners are reviewed.
- How dissent in the Etsy forums was handled in the past, and how it’s being handled now.
- How Etsy handles intellectual property violations and the struggles of having an open marketplace.
Heather also reveals a forthcoming change regarding hyperlinking your blog or website from your Etsy shop. Exciting!
My hope is that this is the beginning of more open conversations with leaders at Etsy. The more we talk to each other, and the more we listen to one another, the better off we all are.
Today’s episode is sponsored by ImagineGnats.
At Imagine Gnats you’ll find modern sewing patterns that include clever details and practical techniques, plus fabrics for your garment sewing needs. Check the Imagine Gnats blog daily for creative inspiration. Find it all at imaginegnats.com.