Resellers are a hot topic around handmade swelling venues lately. They compete with handmade sellers and often have inferior goods for a lesser price. In the case of a seller on Etsy, she was going to have a spread in a magazine about her items. One of the magazine staff bought a purse on Etsy-from a reseller-and was so disappointed in the quality of what she thought and what should have been handmade, that the magazine cancelled the spread. The Etsy lost and ultimately, so did the rest of the sellers on Etsy.
What is a reseller? This definition varies depending on who you ask. Since this is my blog, you get my version.
To me, a reseller is somebody who goes to the website of mass produced items, say purses, and then buys 5 bags in style A, 10 bags in style B, and so on. Then, once they get the items, they either take a picture of it or use the picture from the website, find a place to sell them, and list them. The problem I have with them is when they list these items on a handmade venue and pass them off as handmade. This is a an outright lie. It is not handmade. Handmade cannot compete with mass produced price wise, either which is another sore point in the handmade community. A lot of people say that supply sellers and vintage sellers fall into this category. I don't think so. Everybody who makes handmade items needs supplies and as long as the seller is not passing their supplies off as handmade, more power to them. The same with vintage. I love vintage stuff and have some vintage books and my vintage glass. As long as they call their stuff what it is, I don't have a problem with it. Just don't try passing off that little red glass vase you bought at the dollar store off as a vintage Cranberry Glass vase.
What are the handmade venues doing about this?
Well, Etsy does not appear to be doing a whole lot about-except changing how they define the subject. They have yet to settle on a fixed definition. It's why my shop is on vacation in Etsyland. It will stay on vacation until the last item expires.
See, on Etsy, you pay .20 per listing, plus a percentage of the sale price as a commission to them-don't forget to add in the paypa fee, either. All costs to be figured in the price of your product and passed along to the consumer. Now if you make handmade purses, you pay Etsy their .20 to list your wonderful creation. If you are lucky, you will be on the front page of E with this new listing for maybe 20 or 30 seconds. If you aren't lucky, you will be buried by a reseller who has just listed 20 or 30 "handmade" purses which will push your honestly listed handmade bag to the back of the bus. All the while Etsy admin. are saying that they are working on coming up with a solution. They are going to allow resellers there-they haven't come right out and stated that yet, but it's obvious. They bring in too much money for Etsy to not allow them. As usual, Etsy does not have a plan.
Artfire has started to deal with the reseller issue by vetting their handmade artisans. I have copied and pasted the application that has to be filled out to be considered for the Certified Handmade Artifact.
Artisans must meet the following pre-requisites before an application for the Certified Handmade Artifact will be accepted:
1. Artisan must be a PRO member of ArtFire for at least 60 days.
2. Artisan must be in good standing with ArtFire.com including
a. No outstanding cases concerning non-delivery of product.
b. No outstanding cases concerning mis-representation of products for sale
c. No outstanding cases concerning other violations of the ArtFire TOU
3. 100% of the items in the Applicants studio must be listed in Handmade or Fine Art. Studios with commercially produced supplies and destash are not eligible. There are two exceptions that can be made. You may list Handmade supplies in the "Supplies >> Handmade Supplies" categories. You are also allowed to have gift certificates to YOUR studio listed in "Media >> Gift Certificates".
4. Artisan studio must be complete and contain sufficient information including:
a. An avatar
b. A banner
c. Complete Studio Policies
d. A Bio with photo
5. Product photographs must be in-focus and of a reasonably sufficient size.
If you feel you meet the above requirements and you would like to submit an application to receive the Certified Handmade Artifact, please answer the following questions in full and send your complete application and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
What is your ArtFire User name?
What is your main handmade craft, including the Main Category you list your craft in? (I.E. You make hand knit scarves so you list in the “Knitting” main category.) :
Do you list in main categories other than your main craft?
If yes to the above, what other handmade crafts do you create and list on ArtFire? Include the Main Category you list in as well.
Please explain in brief but concise detail your handmade process for each main category craft you list on ArtFire. (I.E.if you make Quilts AND Knitting work. Please explain each of your creative processes separately.)
You must include at least two pictures with your email showing your handmade process. You will need to provide:
• At least one picture of your workspace
• At least one picture of a “work in progress”. (I.E. a scarf that has been half knit but not completed).
You may submit more than two pictures. However we must see at least the two pictures detailed above to be considered for the Certified Handmade Artifact.
I have one-you can see my new widget on the side of my blog. I'm proud of it. I did have to move the Lake Superior Agate Nuggets out of this studio.
Will this cut out the resellers? Probably not. It will let customers know who is handmade and who is not and that's a start. After all, giving the customers a good feeling that they are buying what the seller says they are selling can lead to good customer satisfaction. Not all handmade sellers will have this artifact, though. Some of them want to leave their supplies they are selling off in their studios. Artfire has a monthly fee. There are no listing or final value fees (percentage of sale), so there is no real financial gain for them to have resellers on site listing 100 mass produced purses in one whack. It's a venue for handmade, supplies and cool vintage stuff.
If you want mass produced, go hit a big box store like Wal or K Mart. Be careful what you buy there, though-some of that stuff has cadmium and other dangerous stuff in it.