Sunday, October 18, 2009

Etsy's Vintage Faux Pas

Etsy's guidelines on vintage are that the item must be 20 years old or older. So stuff labeled 1990s should be unacceptable.

Unless you're admin and think it's cool. Etsy had a Storque article dedicated to grunge, with labels like "1990s" and "90s"...ummm that wasn't 20 years ago. Now, the items actually featured were those labeled as vintage and appear to be older than 1990 (some look like they're actually from the 70s, real good "grunge" there) or handmade grunge inspired items. So it's not about the sellers chosen, it's about admin's inability to count. Oh, and the fact that it hurts their feelings to be told so.

lisajune closed the "offending" thread with this pity party:

I apologize if you find this feature offensive. Our merchandising team works hard to draw on themes that appeal to a distinct Etsy style and showcase the items in our marketplace in such a way that buyers can't help but admire.

Oh yeah, they work so hard they forgot to learn to count to 20 and to learn the difference between mod and grunge. In fact, many of the items in the feature were mod (i.e. 60s-ish) and not grunge, so they were just using a popular label to get views. Isn't mistagging also against the TOS? Oh wait, that's right, only if you're not admin.

(Thank you to those who sent us the link to the article. You can send tips and rants to


I'm through. said...

Thank you for turning this into a separate post, bitches. This shit is WAY outta hand. What is really shocking is the way the "community" defends this feature. "It's not REALLY 90's, it's just tagged that way...". WTF? So now mistagging is A-okay?

Maybe there should be a feature on the hipness of Dial soap ("I totally remember using that! Etsy admin, you ROCK!") or drop shipping the indie way. Let's see how many artisans find that to be acceptable.

And *high five* to the valiant souls
who tried to bring this up in the forums and were shut down repeatedly.

I feel sorry for the sellers who don't have other selling venues and their own domains. It's a lot easier to walk away when you do.

The Funny One said...

Perhaps if Etsy had done things differently, it wouldn't be 50% personal-agenda blog, 90% personal picks for promotions, and 100% personal "thread locks" on a frickin' public discussion board. It might have actually been a store hosting site for hosting stores that sell 100% handmade!

Megan McGory said...

Ok, I KNEW the psychedelic mod stuff was totally not grunge. In fact, that didn't make a comeback until 1997 or so, when TEEN ran a spread on OP ART fashion with these twin models who looked suspiciously like Yokoo. I thought the spread rocked something fierce in my 13 yr. old head.

I really didn't think pairing a psychedelic mini with a flannel shirt was grunge. Nope. Where are the boots and jumpers and stuff? lol

I can't figure out what I'm pissed about more, the inaccuracy of the article itself or the fact that none of my psychedelic dresses were featured. Fuck!

handmadevintage said...

They do it ALL THE TIME. There is not vetting: check this out from the "Gardening and Horticulture" Gift Guide:

And don't tell them, because you will be muted for it.
Complete lack of a work ethic: these employees need a nanny.

handmadevintage said...

Found in a five minute browse of the GGs:

"What's old is New" GG: tagged as paper ephemera? These are old staplers.

Rustic Redux" vintage, but made from??
Rustic Redux-- this is vintage, marked as furniture and says: "Rescue a little cool junk!"

Stiflers Mom said...

Apparently "vintage" just means "used," as in: I cleaned out my closet and now I'm selling stuff I don't wear anymore by tagging it "vintage.

Jennifer said...

Etsy is just a big mess of incompetence.

Christen said...

I'm pretty much the opposite of a fashionista, but even I knew that the 60's influence in 90's clothing was very different than grunge.

WTH was their thinking? Hey, it happened in the 90's. Grunge happened in the 90's. It must be grunge! Throw Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love in there, just to be sure!

The Funny One said...

lisajune's admittance that Etsy is all about the "disinct Etsy style" puts the icing on the Etsy cupcake. Several months ago, when Etsy came out with its Merchandising Plan and told sellers what to make and list is now solidified in Etsy's latest reveal.

From the Handbook to this forum comment locking the thread, it's clear that Etsy isn't a store hosting site. It's a heavy-handed, edited, online magazine. Branding is just putting it in a convenient, easy envelope to justify that plugging their own aesthetic is superior to letting the handmade product speak for itself.

The heavy handed footnote to all listings on Etsy is you pay for what you don't get unless you toe the "distinct Etsy style" in your "made-to-order" products.

Crazy Cat Lady said...

admin couldn't find their asses with both hands and a map.

Babydoll dresses were popular in the mid-90's. Babydoll dresses with tiny flower prints. I had a few of those that I wore for "nice" things. None of the dresses that are shown in the article would fit the style.

Mod was popular for a while in the mid-80's. I remember getting some "crazy psychedelic" fabric and a pattern for a simple shift dress and my mom teaching me how to sew. Came out horrible, lol. But it was the 20yr anniversary of the "summer of love", the B-52's were popular, etc. The dresses in the article fit THAT time period.

Admin should actually have someone OLD enough to remember this shit. BUT, that would require having know...OLD. Over 23. Icky!

Max said...

"Our merchandising team works hard to draw on themes that appeal to a distinct Etsy style and showcase the items in our marketplace in such a way that buyers can't help but admire"

Yep. The problem everyone has been complaining about for years has just been perfectly clarified by lisajune.

They work hard at finding items that fit their own style and showcasing those to the buyers.

That is NOT what the handmade movement is about. That is also NOT the modus operandi of an online hosting-only venue.

lisajune has defined Etsy very clearly: Your Place to Buy & Sell All Things Hand Picked.

Now go on, ladies, and start spamming all the social shopping sites like dear daniellexo has instructed us to:

Betsy B. said...

The Funny One says:
it's clear that Etsy isn't a store hosting site. It's a heavy-handed, edited, online magazine. Branding is just putting it in a convenient, easy envelope to justify that plugging their own aesthetic is superior to letting the handmade product speak for itself.

YES,and we all saw it coming.

WindysDesigns said...

"distinct Etsy style", "distinct Etsy style", "distinct Etsy style",

Those words should be ringing in everyone's ears, they sure are in mine. No 3 words ever spoken by an admin have ever clarified so succinctly their main objective.

Etsy's style is supposed to be handmade, with the addition of vintage and supplies, of course. But Etsy was founded on the tagline 'your place to buy and sell all things handmade', ALL THINGS HANDMADE....not selected Etsy favorites that fit our narrow criteria for a specific demographic.

But folks, we've been saying this for a long, long time now. We're just screaming into the wind. Our cries are drowned out by the sound of the cha-ching of the cash register.

life-during-wartime said...

OMFG. Whether or not it was intended, a feature like that is an invitation for sellers to offer 1990s items in their shops. And not only grunge fashion and music related stuff. It looks like Etsy wants to compete with Ebay for buyers, but without taking care to revise the D-n-Ds and TOU. It's great to update and refine a site's policies to offer more opportunities for sellers and buyers. But this has to be planned and executed openly and fairly, so interested sellers can get on board with any revisions in the rules, and shoppers can buy with confidence.

I guess this is why Etsy never followed thru with their plan to separate vintage from handmade. Right now 'vintage' on Etsy can be anything and everything, so the word means nothing.

rolling my eyes (again) said...

Fecking dipshits, they are. Etsy admin is like a team of dysfunctional, hypocritical parents. The kind that you end up needing lots of therapy to deal with.

Buttercup Soup said...

Whenever Etsy talks about so-called vintage, I think of this quote by Eddie Izzard directed to an American audience:

Yes, and I grew up in Europe, where the history comes from. Oh, yeah. You tear your history down, man! “30 years old, let's smash it to the floor and put a car park here!" I have seen it in stories. I saw something in a program on something in Miami, and they were saying, "We've redecorated this building to how it looked over 50 years ago!" And people were going, "No, surely not, no. No one was alive then!"

unpowl said...

i just wish they'd get over themselves and hire an OLD person, someone with experience in vintage & a definite level of competency when writing about such. i love the whole DIY magazine and throw it all together & stuff, but upon introspection it will be hard for them to make any breakthroughs that will yield more of a market share unless they can get it together and publish accurate and thoughtful stories.

WindysDesigns said...

Max said: Now go on, ladies, and start spamming all the social shopping sites like dear daniellexo has instructed us to:

I'm guessing they put Daniellexo in charge of marketing for christmas. How like Etsy to push off the advertising on the sellers, once again.

You know, when another seller mentions a social shopping site, I don't have a problem with it. But when an admin starts a forum thread and lists a half dozen shops it smacks of "ok fools, get off your butts and do our job for us, cuz we know you will. *titter*"

monkeybuttpowder said...

i just threw up a little in my mouth. now it smells and tastes just like teen spirit.

wtf etsy? a half baked twatmuffin can tell the difference between 60s brit mod and 90s subpop. for gawds sake, get a grip on yourself.

Angel said...

Every thread I read that is remotely negative about Etsy, the same soapmaker appears with the Etsy fucking pom-poms. And pom-poms are currency in the land of "Unique Etsy Style".

RRobin said...

Vintage on Etsy is defined by a 14-year-old mind deciding, "This looks old."

Old Hippie Bitch said...

Distinct...Etsy...Style... That is sad, ridiculous and offensive all at the same time.

And "nostalgia" for the 1990s shows just how childish the entire place has become.

Come on! It's a f#cking flannel shirt! They were made in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and they're still available--unchanged--at your local Sears today.

People who dig vintage clothing appreciate the style, fabrics, workmanship, adornments, colors, etc. Flannel shirts don't fit the bill, regardless of when they were made.

And don't get me started on the rest of that passive aggressive response from the admin in the thread...

Anonymous said...

The Etsy soaper who used the forums to promote his crap into the remotest of Etsy's buttholes.

whyohwhy said...

!!??? WTF? I'm am 40+ and a serious vintage collector (plus I successfully sell on Etsy - over 5000 sales) and I have a 23 year old daughter who would never think grunge is vintage. She knows what vintage is because she was raised with it, collects it and wears it. She doesn't even think the 80's is vintage. Her knowledge would put all the Etsy staff to shame.

The Etsy dipshits just don't know anything??? They live in their own bubble heads worlds. By luck they happen to land a cool job without any credibility or accountability.

Yes! Please Etsy - hire some cool staff that have over 20+ years of experience. We do exist. I'll do it! I have the marketing and art/design education and experience. I'll teach you or parent you so you know what the fuck you are doing. Or I know handfuls of people in your City with the same background. Start shopping for some decent staff rather than shop for doodads on Etsy.

Good grief.

Baffled said...

It's a shame whoever picks the "distinct Etsy style" gets Kurt Cobain confused with Austin Powers.

Is it even legal to staff your site with 12 year olds?

Dennis Anderson said...

rah. rah.

RRobin said...

There's all------any on the front page AGAIN, with a pair of shoes modelled in that same old tired pose, shot from that same old tired angle.

You'd think they were the only vintage seller on Etsy.

Anti-Etsy said...

What a bunch of retards. I swear every time I see their building from the highway, I imagine them looking through a telescope and seeing me give them the finger.

They're nothing but a bunch of idiotic hipster yuppies who moved here thinking they know it all and are the best thing since sliced bread. I'd rather give my business over to vendors at flea markets and street fairs than their excuse for a site. (At least it's safe to say I'll see real jewelry and not clay "pendants" of genitalia.)