Lots of buzz on the Etsy forums this past week on one of the usual suspect themes: resellers, assemblers, and mistaggers; this week the assemblers got the slings and arrows thrown at them. First, some terminology: Reseller in Etsy parlance is a shop that buys something (perhaps handmade, perhaps not, but usually not) and sells it to the unsuspecting public through Etsy labeled as "handmade." These folks are usually deceptive, and serve Etsians, buyers and sellers alike, no good in the long run. Resellers are usually given the boot fairly quickly by Etsy admins, though not quickly enough if you read the forums. Forum posters are particularly piqued when a reseller makes the FP (front page), the Storque blog, or some other pedestal of Etsy fame. Assembler is the term used for someone who buys pre-fab supplies and puts minimal effort, time, or artistic design into assembling aforementioned supplies into some crafty goodness. Assemblers are not as deceptive, except to themselves, perhaps. They may say they handcrafted the items, when you look objectively at it, the item was just put together, the way you'd put together a bookshelf from IKEA. Some of these folks may knowingly deceive the public, but some are also truly thinking they are hand-making objet d'art because they don't know any better. Mistaggers are those who do not properly or appropriately tag their items for sale at Etsy. "Tagging" essentially is a keyword search system. A seller is alloted 14 tags for each item. It's up to the seller to describe the item the best way, with the end goal of views and sales. For example, if I had a metal clay and aventurine pendant/necklace in the shape of a pea pod, I would tag it with descriptors such as "sterling silver," pea," "pea pod," "green," "necklace," "metal clay," "fine silver," aventurine," etc. Appropriatley tagging includes materials used, methods used, shapes, objects, themes, etc. You are not supposed to tag a necklace with "earrings" in the hope that someone looking for earrings will suddenly spot your gorgeous necklace and say "Wow, I hadn't thought about a necklace, but that one looks great, I'll buy it!" Nor are you supposed to tag an item with what it could be used for, like labelling earrings with "wedding."
Most Etsians are in agreement that the resellers simply have no place in Etsy (eBay is more welcoming I'm sure), and mistaggers are either misinformed or plain dumb, but the view on assemblers is a potpourri of potshots, sob stories, and seller envy. Can any trained monkey can take some prefab chain, add a jump ring, clasp, and a charm and call it handmade? Is there any skill to this? Of course there is, but let's face it, the skills needed to assemble a necklace like this are rudimentary. Artistic? No, I wouldn't say so. Demanding? Only if you do 100 a day! Design oriented? Possibly, because the assembler would need some semblance of proportion, color, and balance to create a necklace. Should I feel sorry for an assembler on Etsy who was "called out" on a blog for being an assembler ( a SUCCESSFUL assembler I might add)? No, probably not. A. She's making the bucks and I am not. B. She needs to realize "denial" is not just a river in Egypt. But then again, should I, or anyone else on Etsy, lambaste her for her work? No, I think not, because many of these assemblers make what the sheeple want and if the sheeple want cute little chains with butterflies (or insert whatever cutesy item) on them, so be it. These assemblers also do what most sheeple CANNOT do which is create something with their hands. At least the assemblers give it the ole' college try. So why is there vehemence and vituperous venom? IMHO, I think it really comes down to envy, plain and simple. If an assembler is spending very little time, effort, and artistic endeavor per item and making a really nice profit on it, while an artisan is slaving away in her garret studio, soldering and sawing and setting, and fewer buy her stuff, well, I can see the resentment boiling over in the pickle pot!
What do you think?