Etsy made a pretty groundbreaking announcement last week. Beginning in January of 2014 sellers on the site will be allowed to hire staff, have someone else ship their goods, and sell items they produce with manufacturing partners.

After watching the press conference I wrote a blog post explaining the new policies and questioning what the word handmade really means. The post was widely shared and generated a heated discussion in the comments. Is Etsy selling out? Will truly handmade goods get beat out by the competition when they can’t compete on price? Or is Etsy just allowing creative businesses to be profitable and remain on the platform? What is the true motivation behind this shift?

A few hours after the post went up, I was contacted by Etsy to discuss these ideas further and that led to today’s podcast. In this 35 minute conversation, I talk with Vanessa Bertozzi, the Director of Etsy Wholesale, about the impetus for the policy change, what Etsy is hoping to achieve, and where Etsy sees itself headed. Vanessa has worked at Etsy since its inception. Prior to her current position she was the Director of Community and Education at Etsy and the Editorial Director responsible for launching the Etsy blog. She’s been there since the early days and has a lot to share about the site’s new direction.

The ideas presented in this conversation are relevant to all makers and small business owners as well as to customers of artisan-made goods. I hope you enjoy the interview and I encourage you to come back to this post and leave questions or comments for Vanessa or myself. Let’s keep the discussion going.

Thank you and enjoy the show:

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