Unmasking Etsy Resellers: Understanding the Rules and Standing Out

Unmasking Etsy Resellers: Understanding the Rules and Standing Out

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    1. Addressing the reseller issue
    2. Exploring the use of production partners on Etsy
  2. Resellers on Etsy
    1. Definition of resellers
    2. Allowed and prohibited categories for reselling
    3. Reporting resellers on Etsy
    4. The tension between handmade and resold items
  3. Production Partners on Etsy
    1. Definition of production partners
    2. Disclosure requirements for production partners
    3. Fuzzy line between handmade and designed items
  4. Understanding the Etsy Platform
    1. Changes in the handmade category policy
    2. Incorporating print-on-demand services
    3. Communicating as a traditional maker
  5. Dealing with Resellers and Competition
    1. Reporting resellers on Etsy and beyond
    2. Standing out on your own merits
    3. The value and uniqueness of handmade items
  6. Conclusion
    1. Emphasizing the importance of branding and customer communication

Resellers on Etsy: Understanding and Addressing the Issue

Today, we delve into a common concern among Etsy sellers: the existence of resellers on the platform. This article aims to shed light on the distinction between resellers and production partners, providing clarity on what is allowed and prohibited on the Etsy platform. We will explore the rules set by Etsy, discuss the tension between handmade and resold items, and offer suggestions for dealing with resellers and standing out in a competitive market.


Etsy, the beloved online marketplace for handmade and unique items, has faced issues with resellers who falsely claim their products to be handmade. This has caused frustration among genuine sellers and buyers alike. Additionally, the utilization of production partners on Etsy has raised concerns of misleading practices. In this article, we will address the reseller issue, examine the use of production partners, and offer insights on how to navigate these challenges with integrity.

Resellers on Etsy

Resellers, often referred to as those who sell mass-produced items while presenting them as handmade, pose a significant problem on Etsy. These sellers do not actively participate in the design process but instead source bulk items from platforms like AliExpress and resell them on Etsy. However, it's essential to note that reselling is permitted in specific categories such as craft supplies and vintage items. In contrast, the handmade category strictly prohibits reselling. To maintain the integrity of the platform, it is crucial to report resellers when identified.

While resellers remain an ongoing issue on Etsy, it is important not to confuse them with sellers who employ production partners. Resellers undermine the core values of Etsy, while production partner arrangements are permitted within the platform's policies.

Production Partners on Etsy

Production partners refer to companies or individuals not directly associated with the Etsy shop but are employed to manufacture items based on the shop owner's designs. Etsy allows the use of production partners but requires full disclosure in relevant listings. This includes mentioning the production partner's name and providing accurate descriptions. While sellers have the option to keep production partner names private, Etsy maintains access to this information to ensure compliance.

A potential concern arises when production partners are identified as generic descriptions like "apparel printer," causing ambiguity for customers. However, Etsy's internal system retains the necessary details regarding the specific production partner employed. This system allows Etsy to enforce transparency while still respecting the competitive interests of sellers.

Understanding the Etsy Platform

Over time, Etsy has adjusted its policies to accommodate sellers who work closely with production partners and expand beyond traditional handmade practices. This shift allows shop owners to outsource the manufacturing process, enabling them to focus on designing while maintaining their branding.

Etsy provides integration with various print-on-demand services, empowering sellers to create designs without physical involvement in the manufacturing process. These services handle production and shipping directly to customers, eliminating the need for in-house production. While this approach may deviate from the traditional handmade concept, it aligns with Etsy's current policies.

To thrive on Etsy as a traditional maker, it is crucial to emphasize your involvement in the creation process. Dedicate efforts to establish a strong brand identity that showcases your handcrafted items. Openly communicate with your customers through your shop's about section, personalized messages, and external marketing channels. By fostering a genuine connection with your buyers, you can differentiate yourself from resellers and win over customers who value handmade craftsmanship.

Dealing with Resellers and Competition

While encountering resellers may be disheartening, it is important to report any instances of violation. By flagging resellers on Etsy, you aid in maintaining the platform's integrity and serving the interests of genuine sellers and buyers. However, keep in mind that competing with resellers is not unique to Etsy. When selling on your own website or other platforms, you will encounter the same challenges.

To overcome competition and stand out in the market, focus on your unique selling points and brand positioning. Highlight what makes your handmade items special and valuable. Engage with your customers, emphasizing the dedication and love poured into each creation. Authenticity, quality, and personalized customer experience can help you establish a loyal customer base, even in the face of fierce competition.


In conclusion, understanding the complexities associated with resellers and production partners on Etsy is crucial for sellers looking to navigate the platform successfully. Familiarize yourself with Etsy's policies, report any violations you come across, and place emphasis on your handmade craftsmanship to attract customers who appreciate the value of artisanal products. By staying true to your brand and effectively communicating your story, you can overcome the challenges posed by resellers and forge a path to success on Etsy.