I have been selling my jewelry items on Etsy since 2009; I don’t talk much about it here because it is not art, but craft, as I am working with beaded items and pendants from Nepal and Thai silver.
If you follow my other blog you know that I have been involved in healthy sustainable movement for half my life. It effects choices I make in my jewelry and paintings as well — what beads I buy, who I buy from, non-toxic paints, etc. Granted sometimes there are not viable alternatives and/or I don’t have all the info, but I keep working on it.
I chose Etsy because it was a certified B Corp business. From their site:
“B Corp certification is to sustainable business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.
B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
Today, there is a growing community of more than 760 Certified B Corps from 27 countries and 60 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business.”
Now Etsy has decided to change its rules, allowing large sweatshop manufacturers to qualify as handmade. I disagree. The notion of handmade is not a bunch of children sitting in a factory sweatshop under unhealthy conditions. I have no bone to pick with family businesses where children are being raised to work in the business (Thai silver, or more specifically, Hill Tribe silver is an example), but the huge abuses in the jewelry industry (and others) are not something I want to be involved with. This is how I chose my pendants.
On top of which, under the new CEO’s guidance, sellers like me are “permamuted” (this is what the seller subculture calls it) or silenced from speaking out when you politely but forcefully argue that something is not right business. I’ve been warned. If you keep it up, eventually you get booted off Etsy altogether. Not for screwing your customers, not for falsifying information, but for disagreeing with policy in an appropriate forum for said purposes.
So, at great expense, I am moving my jewelry business to zibbet, as a starting place, and then my art print site to zibbet as well. It will take a few months for everything to be transferred over. I interviewed the zibbet owners, and they answered my questions quickly (from Down Under), and shared most of my values. They were open handed about the issues they face, and seem open to listening to their customers — the sellers — something etsy won’t do!