Thursday, January 19, 2012

5 Things I Would NEVER Buy on Etsy

There's a lot of really great stuff on Etsy.  There are a lot of creative, original products, and wonderful, energetic sellers.  And then there's a lot of bad stuff on Etsy.  A LOT.  In fact, whole websites have sprung up celebrating these atrocities ( anyone?)

The truth is, there are just some things that I won't buy on Etsy.  Ever.  Not because the photos are bad or the sellers are actually re-sellers in disguise.  There are somethings I just won't buy on principle.

do your birds match your sofa?
#1 - Vinyl Wall Decals
I live in an apartment with beige walls which I can't paint.  The idea of peelable decorative vinyl wall decals appeals to me very much.  I just don't think they belong on Etsy.  These aren't handmade items.  They're clip art and vector art which someone uses a special machine to cut.  That's like selling things you've used your embroidery machine to embellish.  I just don't think it's handmade.  Besides... do I really need the silhouette of a tree plastered across my dining room wall?  Probably not.  And anyway, it takes up valuable cross-stitched art space!

dental hygiene is important!
#2 - Any Product Which Encourages Me to "Keep Calm"
Here's an example of a cool item which has gone seriously, seriously wrong.  I love the original WWII era "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster which was developed by the British government, never actually used during the war, and then rediscovered years ago in some mouldy filing cabinet somewhere.  I think it's a great campaign for a war torn country trying to keep it together.  Heck, if it weren't currently so overdone I might even buy a reproduction print of the original.  But somewhere along the line someone has decided that "keeping calm and carrying on" can be twisted into other not-so-clever maxims.  Keep calm and have a cupcake?  No thanks.  Keep calm and and drink wine?  Jeez.  And I like cupcakes.  And wine.  Go ahead and type "keep calm" into the Etsy search engine.  You'll see exactly what I mean.

yup. it's a record.
#3 - A Fascinator
I admit, I love hats.  I don't wear them well owing to my extremely large head, but I like them.  I admire women who can wear them.  I admit I watched the royal wedding almost solely because I wanted to see what sorts of hats the guests were wearing.  I may even have squealed in delight over one or two.  But that being said, I'm not going to buy one.  And I'm certainly not going to buy one on Etsy.  Have you seen some of the crap sellers are hot gluing to dollar-store headbands and calling fascinators??  It just takes away from real milliners with real talent.  And besides... where the heck would I wear one?

does anyone know CPR?
#4 - Any Product Modelled by a Naked, Sleeping Newborn
I like babies.  I don't have any, but I like them.  Newborns especially, since they're just so darn soft and smell so good and they don't talk back.  But there's something about the trend of naked baby photography that freaks me out.  Like seriously, seriously freaks me out.  Scares me a little even.   Do you really need to photograph the hat you're trying to sell on a sleeping naked infant?  Probably not.  And maybe it's morbid, but those babies always look dead to me.  Or fake.  Is there maybe a fake naked sleeping infant doll market that I don't know about?  Maybe once I actually reproduce I'll feel differently about the trend.  Maybe I'll look at those naked sleeping newborns and think "awwwww...."  but in the meantime, please do me a favour and slap some pyjamas on your kid before you take photographs of him or her.  Thanks.

#5 - Food
There really shouldn't be any explanation necessary for this one.  You don't know the conditions under which these products have been produced.  I consider myself to be a great baker, a passable cook, and a not-too-awful housekeeper.  That doesn't mean I'd sell you something I cooked in my kitchen.  You're better off finding a local bakery or farmer's market.  Then at least you don't have to wait 3-5 days for your food to arrive.

With all of that out in the open though, I must admit there's a lot I WOULD buy on Etsy.  I love letterpress and lithographs.  I love patterns and PDFs.  I adore jewelry if it doesn't look like I could have bought it at my local mall.  There's a wonderfully vibrant and ever-growing community of artists and sellers who want nothing more than to bring a little of their work into your home.  As a seller I can tell you there's nothing more special than knowing that something you made is going to be treasured by someone half-way around the world.  We've featured some of our favourite Etsy sellers in past and we're going to continue doing it - so we can share a little of things we love with the people Etsy has brought into our life.  So we can pass on a little of the luck we've had to other sellers who love the community and the lifestyle as much as we do.  Just don't expect to see me buying a fascinator any time soon.


  1. ahhh yes, regresty. And the crafters folk land of things that are not too trendy. I did by a vinyl decal of a deep sea diver, but it was for the tub not the wall...

    that food photo is atrocious. I am not ok with food on Etsy either.
    I have bought plants though.

    oh and PDF's from weelittle stitches (heeheehee)

  2. The baby is a doll made of silicon, I've seen them at doll shows as they are all sculpted by hand. I personally dislike them as they are soft but stone cold to the touch at first, the first time I saw one was right after my best friend had died, it felt exactly like touching a dead body.

  3. Yes, it is a doll as Fiona said. Loved this post (and lots of discussion about one fake baby on Pinterest where I couldn't convince people the baby wasn't being tortured, wearing a hat with a cute hat with enormous pom poms on either side, because the baby was a doll). Etsy only cheapens its brand when some of these things show up. Although, I do love the jewelry supply section :)

  4. After posting, I went to and now see your post in a whole new light (meaning it's even more funny). Thank you so much for introducing me to this fabulous site that kept me from doing any real work last night! I guess my searches on Etsy have been so focused that I never knew this other Etsy world existed.

  5. Not all babies in those photos are fake - I know a photographer who waits until the kids are sleeping "and then they're easy to position". Scary.

  6. I think those baby photos are creepy, too. Though I didn't realize that they sold dolls like that!

    But I know of photographers who pose babies just like that (and they're always wearing huge knitted hats). My least favorite is when they're propped up with their hands under their chin and look like they'd tip over if you touched them.


  7. Oh em gee, I effing love this post. :)