Etsy PR in a Huff Over HuffPost Live

In this week’s Q&A, Juliet Gorman, head of Etsy PR, responded to questions about the recent HuffPost Live segment by accusing the HuffPost panel of painting a “sensationalistic” and “xenophobic” picture when suggesting items on Etsy were “pumped out in factories by the hundreds of thousands from China.”  Most would agree there is nothing sensationalistic about the truth, and saying the word “China” does not a xenophobe make.  

Ms. Gorman further admonished the editorial staff at HuffPost for “poor form” in not reaching out to Etsy PR for its point of view, and she admitted disappointment at not being invited to respond to panel criticism, even though Etsy has a reputation for declining comment on criticism.  (Rusetsy thinks the PR head is just mad because there is no way to permamute HuffPo.)

Ms. Gorman said if given the chance, she would have talked about the seller application process for outside manufacturing. To prove her point that Etsy is not being flooded with a “new kind of seller or product,” she stated that only 225 manufacturing applications have been approved thus far. Rusetsy thinks she shot herself in the foot pulling out that little statistic, considering that the new guidelines were created to accommodate those many, many, many Etsy sellers who without outside assistance would outgrow the site. 225? really?

The focus of the HuffPost panel was resellers, and on this issue Ms. Gorman referenced the Etsy blog post, A Frank Conversation About Resellers. She then took the same old  Etsy stance that there is no problem with resellers; the problem is with sellers, and their misunderstanding and frustration.  Then, in her own show of “poor form” by way of handmade snobbery, Ms. Gorman admitted understanding seller frustration at those who hand assemble items “…they construct with simple mass-manufactured trendy components…”  Yet, Ms. Gorman followed Etsy protocol and defended the “bird lariat necklace” sellers as hand-assemblers, sometimes on a “large scale.”

As one more way of side-stepping the reseller problem, the PR head issued a reminder that Etsy cannot go down the slippery slope of imposing standards of creativity on its sellers.

Good idea.  Etsy could probably not handle any more slippery slopes just now.

14 thoughts on “Etsy PR in a Huff Over HuffPost Live

  1. Well Gorman better hunker down and hone her PR skills. Because while we can be muted on Etsy forums, we can’t be silenced on the internet. The big mistake the Administrators are making … being young and tech saavy … is that Etsy artisans aren’t all little old ladies with knitting needles and rocking chairs. I did an eye-popping survey one afternoon a few months ago. I read a random assortment of profiles from the most interesting and well presented shops. And voila … what a surprise, Almost none were casual hobbyists … and most had much higher education than ordinary. Many had retired from high pressure, high salaried jobs and were pursuing what they truly loved, some for the first time in their lives.

    It was an eye-opener for me. And very reassuring. Because we’re not sitting in rocking chairs and dabbling …. many of us are professionals, some with skills we can certainly use to rock the Etsy boat a bit. Imagine what a few more well presented YouTube clips can do. Take a look at the upcoming blogs.

    The key is not to give up. To roll like a wheel gathering moss as we go. Picking up followers and readers and fellow soldiers in this oncoming battle. It can be done.

    Thanks RUSEtsy for picking up the cudgels and offering a forum and fodder for this struggle for basic fairness and integrity.

    Hold onto your panties, Gorman. We’re going to nip at your heels. And you’d better be ready.

  2. Great posts both, Rusetsy and soorkidum! Can you by any chance post a link to the HuffPost Live piece being referenced?

    Thanks also for creating this blog. I’m still kind of smarting from abruptly turning off that income stream like I did, especially at this time of year, but your posts are a constant reminder of why I left.

  3. Juliet Gorman’s post is just more spin and BS, and I’ve grown weary of both. Etsy just does not seem to be grasping the fact that the spin and BS not only are not working, but are backfiring. Badly.

    Gorman’s comments about Etsy not being invited to the panel also came across as quite whiny. More bad PR from, of all people, the head of PR! But with heavy hitters like Mike Salguero of, who represents *true* handmade, any Etsy reps, including Board Chairwoman Caterina Fake, with her ridiculous “makerware,” would have been seriously out of their league and totally outclassed on that panel.

    What’s fascinating to me, considering this piece and the Brittany’s Best post, is how FAST Etsy’s reputation as a handmade venue has crumbled.

  4. Etsy Admin, and all the kool-aid drinkers are killin’ me with this xenophobic junk! In this exceedingly small (thanks to the digital age) world we live do any of us find anything to be “foreign” or “strange” about China or any other place for that matter? NO! What I *DO* find both extremely foreign and strange is mass-produced, cheap shit flooding a HANDMADE (supplies & vintage) MARKETPLACE. So no, Hun, I’m not xenophobic, I’m apparently cheapshitophobic!

    That aside, if it’s meant in the context of maintaining the purity of what Etsy was created to be, honestly I’m not even that hung up on what Etsy is or isn’t or what it wants to become, I’d just appreciate it if they’d all stop lying, and in turn making us all liars along with them, and beating anyone who speaks up with the rainbow ban-hammer of doom.

    • Well, that’s it exactly. It is very clear this has been in the planning stages for months – years, more likely – all the while Etsy keeps saying, “There isn’t any problem on OUR end as to why your views and sales are down. Work on your tags/titles/SEO!”

      If they had just come clean about it in the first place, I wouldn’t have liked it, but lying about it and trying to Gaslight us? That just pisses us off.

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