Etsy, an online marketplace for artisanal goods, announced Monday that it was launching Etsy Manufacturing, a new service that will match manufacturers with Etsy sellers who need help to produce their wares. Heather Jassy, SVP of members and community at Etsy, wrote in a company blog post that the new marketplace will "make it easier for our sellers to source responsible production assistance when they need it."
The introduction of manufacturing is, however, contrary to Etsy's reputation as a market for handmade goods. Etsy prohibited its sellers from using outside manufacturing until 2013, when the company announced that sellers could apply to seek production assistance provided they could prove they would retain "authorship, responsibility, and transparency."
Jassy acknowledged the tension between the use of manufacturing and customers' expectations for handcrafted products, writing, "Ultimately, we are dedicated to helping sellers start, scale, and enjoy their creative businesses. For some sellers, manufacturing is the right choice for their business, and for some sellers it is not." She continued:
Our principles of authorship, responsibility and transparency have guided us for two years and will continue to do so. Authorship means the creation of the items begins with the seller. Responsibility means that the seller is invested and knowledgeable about the production of her items. Transparency means that the seller openly, honestly and accurately represents herself, her items and her business. When we review seller applications for manufacturing partnerships, it all comes down to these three principles. We take the review of those applications seriously, with about 60% of those applications being approved.
Etsy said it is kicking things off with manufacturing partners in the categories of apparel and textiles, machining and fabrication, printing, plus jewelry and metalwork.