Today, another electronics maker was kicked off Etsy when their products were rejected because Etsy decided the products weren’t handmade (enough). Upfront I want to say this post isn’t a bash on Etsy – we are huge fans of Etsy. It is a post on why selling electronics is different than traditional craft goods.
For hundreds of years craftsmen and craftswomen have been making pottery, clothing, leather goods, jewelry, painting, drawing, carving, and many other trades that are manual in process. Etsy took these markets online, thus opening local makers to the world. Absolutely brilliant.
The problem these small businesses run into is the more successful these small businesses are, the harder it is to scale because of the labor required. Therefore, Etsy tries to enforce the ‘Is this handmade enough?’ barrier which tries to level the playing field by rejecting mass-made products. Understandable for the vast majority of Etsy businesses. However electronics aren’t like the vast majority of Etsy businesses.
All electronics are mass made – it is just a question of to what degree. Is the board assembled by hand or by a pick and place machine? Is the case machined out of aircraft grade aluminum or hand-carved walnut? Is the final product assembled by the designer or workers at a factory? Because electronics aren’t made like traditional crafts, Etsy & electronics businesses will be butting heads until the end of time.
That is why we made Tindie. Electronics manufacturing is changing at lightning speed. You can get one board made or 10,000. Custom boards can be ordered as easily as custom tshirts. The distinction between ‘handmade’ and ‘mass produced’ is grey at best. Ultimately the problem boils down to who designed the product. Success & sales determine the production process.
On Tindie, we focus on the designer – did the seller ultimately design the product? If so, then we’d love to help bring that product to Tindie and 60 countries worldwide. Our community is focused on maker made electronics – almost 700 products to date. Categories range from Raspberry Pi to multirotors to synths. We understand the difference between handmade electronics and mass made products because that is our focus.
Etsy is just trying to protect their credibility. Fortunately for Tindie, it is the exact community we are building and would love to help your business.