I woke up this morning and my world changed all on its own. Without my input. Etsy gave me the boot today. Kicked me right out and said do not return. I'm not welcome. They are very unclear on the specifics but they are crystal clear that their decision is final. They asked me not to talk about it. I asked them to not be dumb. We are at an impasse. They are choosing to be dumb and I am choosing to talk. I like to think of it as agreeing to disagree. They probably do not agree with that statement.
Over the course of the last two years or more, they have periodically taken down listings. Like three actually. One was for these stuffed animals. The problem was that this large company apparently owns the rights to all things tag related. Even though I didn't think of these as being taggies, the big company did. I thought that the ribbons at the top were embellishments. But of course, big company won. I was notified that my items were removed and I was not allowed to contact etsy or speak publicly of the matter. That seems super fair. These were my own designs and this company doesn't even (or didn't at the time of removal) make anything similar. I didn't call them tags even. That wasn't the intention. It didn't matter though.
Next were listings that included this fabric. Which yes, is similar to Burberry. But it is not Burberry. I didn't call it Burberry. It was purchased legally- not behind some shady warehouse or out of a car trunk. The first time I listed it, I said it was "similar to Burberry." When etsy removed it, I changed it to read "NOT Burberry." When they removed it again (like a year or two later- this did not happen over a short period of time and it had been re-listed and sold many times in that gap so I thought I had fixed the problem), I took out the word Burberry and also for good measure, check, altogether. I sold it and re-listed it a few more times until it was removed yesterday. All the while, their note says not to contact etsy and not to publicly speak of the matter.
And about a year ago I switched fabrics to this- which looks even less like the Big B Word. I only sold three things in this fabric- bibs, coffee cozies and ice cream cozies.
But I had enough. So after yesterday's removal, I used etsy's search box and simply typed in "Burberry" to find handmade items. I contacted every one of those similar pattern sellers to ask if this had happened to them and what they did about it. One seller said yes it has happened to her a lot and she just re-lists right away and doesn't change a thing. Bold. I wait a week or four and change the whole damn listing. EVERY OTHER SELLER said it had never happened to them. They all also said I should just use the words "similar to Burberry" or "like Burberry" to avoid trouble. Dude, I tried that and ended up removing the "B" word altogether to save grace.
This morning I was informed that my entire site was permanently removed.
I have been a seller for a very long time with etsy. Like before people even knew what etsy was. I have a 100% feedback rating too. They could have said that I need to remove the fabric or the word or all things containing the colors tan and black and red. But they refuse to give specific info. They were supposed to be pro-little crafters. Pro-handmade. Pro-small business. Pro-personal relationships. But instead they fold to big mean companies and give zero helpful information.
If they had said it was xyz specific issue (the actual fabric or the word plaid or the colors, etc) that is causing the problem, I would have gladly removed/fixed it. I thought I had resolved this by omitting the words Burberry and check from anything I ever did. I was not trying to infringe upon them.
The thing that was so awesome for me about etsy was the ease of it all. I didn't have to think about html and layouts. I have tried the "simple" website building things and they were just too complicate and stressful for me. I am not savvy. At all. I loved how it was directly linked to Paypal, brought in traffic (I'd say 99% of my orders were from strangers) without me doing much of anything, and had search engines. I loved the price too. Honestly, it was such a great platform for me. It was a very comfortable little space.
So now I feel like I have been fired. My Bestie is amazing though. She helped me see "the light," that this is just an opportunity to make a change for the better. She sent this quote and I love her so much for knowing exactly what to say when I am in a whiny fog.
"The next time you encounter a difficult obstacle or problem, you should smile and say, 'Here's my chance to grow.' " - Zig Ziglar
I am not yet to the smiling part of this whole thing yet. But I am working on it. And I know enough to ask for help. So I am asking if y'all have any ideas or suggestions as to what I should do next. I don't think that I want to throw in the towel on a business that I have been building for about seven years now. But I don't know which direction to take things either. So if you can think of anything, please don't hesitate to share. And if this has happened to you, how did you handle it?
Note: Just to clarify. When they took down the stuffies, I let it go. When they took down my bib and coffee cozy, I waited a while and then changed the entire listing. As I was never given a reason other than "infringement", I thought I was fixing the problem. And this happened over the course of about two years. So it's not like they took it down and I put it right back up again. I really did think I fixed the problem as about a year passed without an issue.