Friday, December 30, 2011

Etsy Shop Suspended?!


Three days before Christmas, Sarah (an Etsy admin) decided to suspend my second shop on Etsy which I opened it on October 15, 2011. It was a shoe-shop, hosting products from our family business. She considered that my shop "does not appear to qualify for the Etsy marketplace". And therefore "As my items do not appear to meet the criteria to sell on Etsy, my shop has been deactivated".

At this moment, while reading the mail she sent me I was like:

Are you kidding me?! I was so frustrated so I decided to reply to this mail asking for the reason. These shoes are designed and manufactured by my father. If this is not handmade, then what handmade is?

And of course they never gave me a clear answer to my question: Why is my shop suspended? But they sent me a response, actually Sarah herself did, a 15 questionnaire, which of course will take ages to answer.
So here are the questionnaire:


Thank you for getting back to us about this. 
Etsy is a venue for independent artists to sell their own handmade items. We take the integrity of our marketplace very seriously and work hard to ensure that all items qualify to be sold here. We reserve the right to investigate any and all items sold on the Etsy Marketplace. Any shop that is unable or unwilling to comply with the inquiry may be subject to suspension.

Please answer the questions that follow. This information is for internal use only, we value your privacy and will never share your responses. Please keep in mind that this inquiry is used to verify that your items are handmade. Incomplete, incorrect or false information may result in your selling rights being revoked.

This inquiry has 3 parts:
Step 1- Information about your shop
Step 2- Information about your Handmade Process
Step 3- Specific Item inquiry

Step 1 - About your shop:

1. How many people are involved in your shop?
2. Write out the name of each person and their role in the shop.
This includes making things, creating listings, running the shop, and shipping items.

3. Where are you located?
4. Where are the items shipped from?
5. Who takes the photographs for the listings?
6. Do you have any other Etsy accounts? If yes, what are the usernames?

+ Please upload pictures of yourself and members of your shop.

Step 2 - About the Handmade Process:

7. How are your items made? Please be as specific as possible.
8. Are the items made from scratch, or do you alter/assemble them?
9. How long does it take to make your item?
10. What materials are used?
11. Where do you purchase the materials?
12. What tools or equipment do you use?
13. Do you receive any production assistance, or do you outsource any of the production?
14. Are your items made to order or ready to ship?

+ Upload Pictures of work space
+ Upload Pictures of raw materials
+ Upload Proof of purchase for materials (receipts or links)
+ Upload pictures of equipment/tools
+ Made to order items - show pattern and materials

Step 3 - Specific Item Inquiry

15. In detail, please outline the steps used to make this item. Include as much information as possible.

In all of the photographs, please include a piece of paper with the words "ETSY ORANGE". This will show us that the photographs are current and taken by you.

+ Upload pictures of the raw materials used
+ Upload step by step photographs of your handmade process
+ Upload picture of finished product

Thank you for helping us maintain Etsy's integrity as a site for handmade goods. We look forward to hearing from you!
Etsy Marketplace Integrity

This message is a private conversation between you and Etsy. Please respect this confidentiality and refrain from distributing this communication without permission from Etsy. [Well you didn't ask my permission for closing my shop!] If you feel this message was sent to you in error, please delete it and let us know. Thank you."

Do you need my colonoscopy too? Bra size? Panties color?

So, I decided that it doesn't worth the trouble to deal with my shop anymore. I asked them to give me back the money I have already paid for the listings but since then I haven't heard from them. This is Etsy.

I opened my first shop on January 23, 2009 and I have only 2 sales. For almost 3 years the Etsy fees cost me about 29 USD for both my shops. Someone will think: "It's not a big deal for 3 years.." Yes, it might not be a big deal but I opened the shops to earn some money too but instead of that I'm only paying. The actual money I earned was about 13 USD. So this for me is a big deal.

After that happened I decided to sell my items through my blog and Facebook page. I might think about eBay too. Anywhere else than Etsy, where the admins will respect my work and efforts. And not only the money that I'm giving to them.

That's all for now,


  1. Here's a list of all of Etsy's Integrity Secret Agents:

  2. Sorry that you went through this as well. I received the same message from the Etsy Integrity team and actually submitted everything they asked for. I sent 40 pictures showing workspace, materials, step by step images, wrote step by step instructions...everything and still they suspended my shop. The item they contacted me about was actually a custom item but I went ahead and bought all the necessary materials and made it just to show them. It took me countless hours to create the item, take photos, organize everything, name the photos to correspond with each step of the process, respond to all their questions and write the step by step instructions. Despite that waste of effort and money, their response was "We do not have enough information to prove this item complies with our handmade policy".

    Now, they have all my trade secrets and I know that they care nothing for anyone's privacy. I heard that just last week, they sent out promotional e-mails showing the sellers' full names instead of their shop names.

    If I can offer any piece of advice to anyone, it's that you should never create an Etsy account. There is nothing that you can do to prove that your items are handmade and they suspend people's accounts at will and steal your listing fees. You are also not allowed to ever speak out against anything in the forums or they'll delete your posts and even your account. It sickens me to think that the hundreds of dollars I paid in fees went towards supporting these horrible people.

    1. There is a saying that we use here in Greece; "I won't prove to anyone that I'm not an elephant"

      I got so frustrated while reading your comment that I'm going to post right now an update to my story. It will blow your mind.

      Support to all users that Etsy suspended their shop without a reason!

  3. Heads up! An update just came!

  4. Hello to all,

    I have started an online petition againt Etsy Marketplace Integrity team to change the ways they determine whether an item is vintage/handmade or not. They are doing this quietly and we must make our voices heard.

    Please raise your voice and sign here:

  5. Hello to all,

    I have started an online petition againt Etsy Marketplace Integrity team to change the ways they determine whether an item is vintage/handmade or not. They are doing this quietly and we must make our voices heard.

    Please raise your voice and sign here: Sign Petition Here

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. I remember when Etsy send me a message telling me that my account was suspended about 3 years ago. And send them a lot of messages telling them that was a big mistake all my items where handmade by me and my wife. The way they handle support is not the way to go.
    Since then my mission was to get back on etsy and until now i have help more than 3000 people open shops again on etsy. Here is my website for does of you who wants to get in again.

    1. Dear Richard,
      Your are very helping person. Because you really helped me at time when i was in much intense pressure give by etsy. But you helped me. Now, am trying to reopen my account. I believe i am not alone, i will be soon on etsy again.

  8. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work. women jewelry