Etsy has proven that there is a marketplace for handmade goods. The “eBay for homecrafts” has become a great place to purchase unique, handmade products. Now, Etsy is preparing to bring its Etsy Wholesale service, in beta since last year, to the public at large in August of this year.
The service works like this, retailers that want some authentic homemade crafts can order from an seller on Etsy in bulk. The seller gets a huge sale and the retailer isn’t stuck with cheap knock-offs or factory designed products that “look” homemade.
Etsy will collect a 3 percent transaction fee (similar to its fee on regular transactions) and sellers will need to pay a $100 one-time fee in order to join the program.
As Gizmodo points out, Etsy also recently updated its policy, to change what its definition of “handmade” is. Since October of last year, Esty sellers have been able to take advantage of the new policy that allows sellers to, among other things, hire outside help to produce their products.
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At that point, it becomes a question of how “handmade” the products are. Technically, shirts made in a sweatshop are made by the hands of someone. But Etsy has defined hand/homemade as the original idea and product being authored by the individual. “[A]uthorship, responsibility and transparency” is how they define it.
While Etsy is expanding into wholesale here in the States, it appears they are also looking to expand internationally, with recent job postings indicating an expansion into Japan.
Will Etsy be able to keep its handmade authenticity with its rapid expansion?