3D Printing Makes Online Marketplace Etsy Change Its Handmade Policy
Founded in 2005, online marketplace Etsy has become a popular destination for handmade goods. From art to clothing to jewelry to toys, Etsy sellers create it all, and many sellers are quite sensitive about the definition of handmade.
As Etsy has scaled its business to now hosting over 18 million items for sale and attracting more than 60 million visitors per month, the company has had to consider how it can support sellers who are also achieving scale. And in that vein, Etsy has made a dramatic change to its policy about how goods are sourced.
No longer are items required to be handmade, but instead must have authorship with the seller. 3D printing is one of the factors influencing this decision.
“We have jewelers, for example, on Etsy who are using 3D printing to make parts for their jewelry. Those are hand-made, I think in spirit, even though they are designed on a computer and printed on a 3D printer,” said Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy, in an interview with NPR.
In fact, when you search Etsy for 3D printed goods, you find quite a selection. Approximately 750 items are listed in a 3D printing market on Etsy at this time.
While artisans who specialize in handmade goods are not happy with Etsy’s policy change, it will be interesting to watch the diversity of new items that are listed on Etsy as a result of the company embracing 3D printing.
Perhaps Etsy will even start to compete with Shapeways and other 3D printing marketplaces as it finds profits and popularity in 3D printed goods.