Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My shop and the new Etsy policy update

I normally post a Wordless Wednesday post featuring a single image from my photography. But this Wednesday in lieu I require words. I need to stress how the recent Etsy policy changes are affecting myself and many other Etsy sellers. While I only speak for myself I know many of us that sell handmade bath & body product, herbs/herbal, cosmetics, teas even jewelry/stone sellers, have been contacted recently from Etsy. And what do they have to say to little old me and others that want to spread a little all natural love to the world, you wonder? Well the private email they sent me is all hush hush since it ends by stating that it is private conversation and  to respect this confidentiality and refrain from distributing this communication without permission from them. So I will not directly share it but it is no secret, not really. 

Basically it is telling me any of my listings that make medical claims have to be removed or I need go through and remove any wording that they count as a medical claim. Just to make it common knowledge I will share this with all of you. 

  • I have never claimed to heal or cure anyone.
  • My product are intended to aid well being
  • I always post a disclaimer
  • I always share all ingredients and there uses in my products

Here is the policy change on Etsy that is effect me

Drugs, medical drug claims about an item, drug paraphernalia: We have clarified the previous language from “drug-like substances” to now be “medical drug claims about an item.” A medical drug claim makes a correlation between a product and the cure or relief of a health condition or illness. In many cases, an item itself is not problematic, but the way it is presented with certain language is against this policy. With this update, we’re also reinforcing our standards regarding drug paraphernalia. This includes, but is not limited to, items such as pipes with carburetors, water pipes, bubblers, oil domes, hash skillets, vaporizers, and ash catchers. (Note: Tobacco pipes that do not have carburetors are still allowed, as long as they otherwise meet Etsy’s marketplace criteria.)

Quoted from my forum post on Etsy "So the product is fine I just can't say what it is used for, lol. I know that is not exactly what it says but it is feeling that way to me. So now I need to change near a quarter of my listings or remove them. And will I get reimburse for the 55 listings if I remove them.... it looks like a big fat NO. So yes it is only 10 or 11 bucks but still it burns me. 
This is really frustrating because how am I going explain the use of a salve or even an aromatherapy eye pillow with out making the claim that it aids in healing wounds(for the salve) or it helps relax and helps relieve from migraines(the aromatherapy eye pillows)? " 

Even things like stress relieving lavender, anti-aging products(since when did aging become a medical condition?), historical references of herbs and stones will be braking this new policy change. You would think that listing all the ingredients and supplying a disclaimer would be enough.... no no no. With this new policy they are wiping out tons of listing because how are sellers going to describe an aromatherapy bunny that is made to gently soothing your baby at nap time? if you can not post in your listing that it naturally relaxes and helps to calm stress? And the presents of a disclaimer means nothing to them. 

So here is a break down

  • No medical claims but most of the product are fine to sell
  • you can not list traditional or historical uses 
  • anti-aging products are not allowed
  • and yes they are lumping drug paraphernalia along side with salve, lotions, creams and other healing and/or traditional herbal remedies.

I am at a loss, Etsy sprang this upon us so quickly that I have had to do a 360 back around all the info or lack of info. They gave us no time to prepare and then expect us to do the changes immediately.  They have been so vague that I feel as though I need to ask them if this word is OK or can I write this statement or that. I feel like the kid in the front of the class that doesn't know the right answer and Etsy is the Teacher staring at me with that you should know the answer look even though the class never covered the subject.

Product that I have in my shop that will mostly be either removed or need a big overhaul in it's description. 

  • Aromatherapy products like my solid perfumes and eye pillows.
  • All my healing salve Comfrey & Tea Tree Salve, Tea Tree Salve and Nail & Cuticle Salve
  • My eye and face cream since both are intended not only to moisturize but to aid in anti aging.
  • My flex seed heat packs for both hot and cold therapy.
  • My blemish free balm
  • My mineral soaks
  • My foot & body powders 
I am sure that there is a few I am missing. I have spent years research and testing these items, I have countless hours involved in product branding, product listing, product and label design etc... Just so without notice it has to be undone or done over. Yes I sell at other venues and very successfully for a small batch seller that is fairly new. But I have made Etsy my home store directing traffic to my shop there. I feel let down by this handmade venue that seems to be discouraging handmade bath & body and basic well being products. So please do not hold it against me if I sound a tad bit spiteful. Understand that this is my day job. It is like being hired for a full time position but then only getting part time hours. But that is just my view on this issue.


Jewelry _Gal said...

Yes, this new policy change is a big pain in the bum, but look at it from Etsy's POV--could they be held liable if "medical claims" are false, inaccurate, or misleading? As a platform for sellers, I'm sure they don't have the resources to vet and verify everyone who makes products like yours--while you may have spent years creating and testing your products, others may not have. And as much as it creates difficulties for you, it's not really Etsy's fault, it's the bad apples.

I'm sure there are ways to work around the policy to still get the information to your potential buyers. How about describing what YOU use the product for...something like "I use this salve to treat minor burns." or an anecdote like "I'm a clumsy baker and wind up with lots of little burns; this salve helps take the sting away."

Besides, from what you've said, you direct a lot of your Etsy traffic in from outside sources, so you could absolutely describe your product any way you want on an external site. It might be a great way to create more back links and what have could direct potential buyers to check out your blog for more information on the product. Just be sure to include a link BACK to your product so customers can purchase it.

Yes it's more work, but in the long run the policies changes protect Etsy, which is a good thing for all of us using Etsy as a platform.

Grace Note Gifts said...

Man that sucks, I'm sorry! If etsy is coming down on you and other sellers it's only because someone else is coming down on them...isn't it sad that is has to come to always protecting your rear?! Sorry for all the extra work/missed listings this will cause you...:-(

Blessings, Grace

Kindred said...

Thank you both for coming by and commenting. I have been going though my listings and have deactivated many until i can do the changes. I have also gone through the FDA guidelines to insure that my products are all properly labeled. It will be a lot of work since I will be needing to redesign most of my labels, descriptions and then adding all other info that Etsy does not allow to my website.

It is the way it was sprang upon us that I think is the biggest issue for me now that I have had time to go over all the info.

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