WHAT HAPPENED TO ETSY?
Our company, OverSoyed Fine Organic Products, has been on the Etsy platform since 2013. Over the years, as our business and customer base grew, so did the size of our Etsy Shop. Up until last week, our shop had over 2,200 individual listings representing our products. We say up until, because as you may have noticed, our shop is no longer visible on their platform.
On Friday, December 14, 2018, we received notification from Etsy’s legal department that another copyright trademark claim had been filed against us from the use of the term “Herbal Essence” in one of our listings. While we are fully in our legal right to use that term, which I will go into further detail below, Etsy made the decision that due to multiple claims, our shop would be closed immediately.
The decisions are only reviewable by email and are rarely overturned. In fact, the entire process when it comes to Etsy, is automated. The automated process is what creates the entire problem in the first place. That coupled with the expense of actually defending sellers from bogus claims, it’s much better on their bottom line to delete, close, and move on.
Their policies are extremely hypocritical. A simple search for Disney results in over 650,000 listings for products that are in fact in direct violation of the Walt Disney companies trademarks (character names, artwork, fonts) but they remain on the site because it brings in revenue for Etsy in the form of listing fees ($.20 each / 4 months) and when products sell (5% of revenue, $.20 relisting fee).
So why are some things allowed, but others aren’t? Luck? Saying a product smells like something else on the market is completely legal, so what’s the deal? Truth is… Etsy only acts on listings that violate their “policies” when it makes fiscal sense to do so. They receive a notice, typically generated automatically through the use of web spiders, Etsy pulls the listing or closes the shop, and everyone goes on with their day. The ones who get hurt are the small businesses just trying to earn an honest living…
There are currently over 58.6 million listings on their website… they aren’t going to miss us! On Etsy, the sellers are as much as the customers, as the products that are made available for sell. We truly appreciate the opportunity to reach customers we otherwise may not have. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers as we have for the past 12 years, long before Etsy was even a thought for us!
Over our 5 years on the platform, we processed over 6,500 sales, had 1,300+ 5-Star Reviews, and in turn, handed well over $50,000 in fees to Etsy. We can only wonder what or where our company would be today if we hadn’t gone on the website and directed all of our focus elsewhere.
We’ve spent the last 3 months improving product images for our Etsy shop to provide a better shopping experience for our customers. All of our listings were updated and relisted (2,200 listings at $.20/each, which of course, are non-refundable per their policy) for the beginning of our 2019 fiscal year. That is my only regret… wasted time!
Time is the one thing we don’t have an unlimited resource of. And as a small business, just my husband and I, every minute spent doing one thing takes away time from doing another. Working long days to perfect a craft and provide a quality product to our customers who we value so much. That’s what you get when you support handmade businesses like ours. That’s what we promise to continue doing in the future as we continue to grow with you!
SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
We don’t plan on going anywhere… but that is dependent on you! If you’ve enjoyed our products over the year, just shop direct. We’ll continue to handcraft all the same products and provide the best selection of fragrances available online at the most reasonable prices possible. Our website also allows us as a business to have more control over the shopping experience you have. We also have our VIP program which rewards you for your purchasing and gives you awesome deals we couldn’t offer on Etsy due to the constraints of their platform.
But most importantly, you’ll be supporting a small business who is always in a constant fight from the big guys in one form or another! Your support, especially in the upcoming weeks is the most vital to us. We will be working around the clock to ensure that orders placed prior to December 10th, 2018 will ship prior to the USPS holiday shipping deadline of December 20th, 2018 to arrive before Christmas.
As of today, we are still on schedule for our regular posted 7-10 business day shipping schedule. Please understand, we are shipping orders out in the order in which they were received. We don’t anticipate any major delays for orders placed after our December 10th cut off for holiday shipments, however, we didn’t anticipate this shakeup either, so please bear with us.
As a bonus to this chaos, the closure of our Etsy Shop has limited our access to certain features on their website, including the use of their shipping tools. Thankfully, we have our website platform and can print our shipping labels directly from there. It does require that we manually transfer all shipping information over in order to do so. With all the pending orders for the holidays, as you can imagine, it’s going to take some time. I hope to have that task completed today so we can process a bulk of our orders to ship tomorrow. If you have an order pending, please note that you may receive an order or shipping confirmation from our website.
To put a little more salt in the wound, Etsy is holding all the funds in our account until tracking and delivery confirmation is added to all pending orders. They do this so customers don’t go running to them wondering where their orders are, but don’t allow you to print shipping labels from the site, and won’t give you the money to pay for the shipping labels elsewhere… Surely someone at a company that did $450,000,000 in revenue last year can understand how that makes absolutely no sense?!
So a week before Christmas, we’ll be spending not only all of our time to deal with this mess, but every penny we have to prepay for shipping labels to ship every order out prior to the holiday, and hope that it all sorts itself out in the end. Given the horror stories we’ve read when Googling “Etsy Closed My Shop,” I don’t have any hopes in ever seeing any of the money we earned over the past week… our busiest time of the year for our business!
Rest assured, we will be shipping every single order that was placed prior to the closure of our Etsy shop, regardless of the financial outcome. We don’t want our customers to suffer for something we truly had no control over. All we ask is your patience as we get through this next week.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
First and foremost, we appreciate your support… but most importantly, your patience! We will be working hard to get orders out as soon as physically possible. If you are expecting an order, and shipment hasn’t taken place yet, please allow 1-2 additional days before contacting us. Every moment spent responding to emails requesting shipment status is one less spent packing a box. Tracking numbers will be added to online invoices the night prior to shipment. Please follow updates on shipping confirmations for tracking status.
Not waiting on an order? Make a purchase for an after Christmas gift for yourself and/or a friend or coworker. We aren’t closing our business… I REPEAT… WE AREN’T CLOSING OUR BUSINESS! If you want to make sure we’re around for years to come, providing the great products and customer service you’ve come to love, help keep us busy!
Tell a friend about us! Sure, that post about Kim Kardashian is cool… but you know what else is better? Letting someone us know about the amazing products we offer. Don’t let our amazing candles, home fragrance, and bath & beauty care products be your own personal secret… Let the world know! We have plenty to go around…
Keep coming back! Less time spent dealing with Etsy means we have more time to interact with our customers. Follow us on our social media platforms. We look forward to being even more engaged in 2019!
Lastly, don’t stop supporting small businesses like ours that continue to sell on Etsy. While our story should serve a warning to fellow entrepreneurs who choose to use that platform, they are all still entitled to have their work displayed for a large audience. It’s small businesses like ours who make our economy work… and we look forward to working it for a long time!
Tristan & David
OverSoyed Fine Organic Products
Ps. For those of you who would like to read more about the legal justification of fragrance duplication, feel free to read our blog post here.
Pss. For those of you who made it through all that jazz, we'd like to thank you for your support by offering you 25% off your next OverSoyed.com order placed through December 31st, 2018. Simply use coupon code BYEBYEETSY at checkout.