Thursday , 17 June 2021
In the last two years, my Energy Shop on Etsy has evolved from a hobby into a second income for my family. However, last week and without warning, my shop was suspended by Etsy’s administration.

Etsy Shop Suspended! What You Need to Know

Sardonyx Yoga Bracelet with Evil Eye Protective Charm

Etsy Shop Suspended! What You Need to Know

In the last two years, my Energy Shop on Etsy has evolved from a hobby into a second income for my family. It’s been a great success, and because it’s an important part of my livelihood I have always been careful to honor Etsy’s terms of use. However, last week and without warning, my shop was suspended by Etsy’s administration.

This is how it happened: About one week before my shop was deactivated, Etsy’s integrity department sent me a questionnaire which included 3 parts and about 15 questions. The person who wrote it thanked me for my time and for being part of the community. The email went on to explain that they had reason to believe I wasn’t complying with their rules. It was made clear that I needed to defend myself, but they did not state what they were accusing me of.

At the Energy Shop, my jewelry is handmade by me in my home, and I have one person working for the shop who does all of my shipping and handling from their home. I thought I was complying with all of the rules on Etsy, so I was very confident in filling out and returning the integrity report. They required receipts for my supplies, pictures of my workspace, and photos of myself and the person who works with me. I had the entire questionnaire filled out and returned practically upon receipt. The day after I returned the investigative report, I received a reply that thanked me for my response. Case closed, or so I thought.

One week later and without notice, Etsy deactivated the Energy Shop. The email stated:

“Unfortunately, your shop does not appear to qualify for the Etsy marketplace. We are a venue for independent artists to sell their own handmade goods as well as Vintage items and Craft Supplies.

As your items do not appear to meet the criteria to sell on Etsy, your shop has been deactivated.”

And that was that. I’m not going to lie, I actually wept. I had invested two years of dedicated work and tens of thousands of dollars. All of that vanished in an instant, and my site was replaced with this message on

“Uh oh! A stitch has gone awry. This page is temporarily down. Please check back later.”

I replied to the suspension email as calmly as I could, begging for them to tell me what had happened. I still had no idea what I had done wrong! I frantically started searching for a phone number that I could call; I wanted to square things away as fast as possible. I found a corporate listing for Etsy’s Brooklyn office through an internet search, but it went straight to voicemail stating that they don’t respond to phone calls.

Stunned, I was forced to sit down, wait for their reply, and let sink in what had happened. To be honest, I felt betrayed! Not only had I built this successful shop on Etsy, I had brought hundreds of customers to the community. I’ve paid thousands of dollars in fees. I have ruthlessly promoted the site and the promise of success to its sellers on my blog. And with a single click of the mouse, they erased me.

Over the next 24 hours, Etsy admin replied to me, sending one excruciatingly vague piece of information at a time. They were accusing me of “drop shipping” because my shop announcement stated, “Handmade in New Zealand, shipping out of Pittsburgh.” In my integrity report, I verified that I was outside of the country at a military address, and I did make everything by hand in New Zealand and ship stock packages to Pittsburgh.

Etsy’s Do’s and Don’ts are 29 pages long and made up of 10,918 words. About halfway through those 29 pages, I found this bullet point: “Drop shipping is not permitted. All items must be shipped under the direct supervision of the seller.”

From Wikipedia: “Drop shipping is a supply chain management technique in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock, but instead transfers customer orders and shipment details to either the manufacturer or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer. As in retail businesses, the majority of retailers make their profit on the difference between the wholesale and retail price but some retailers earn an agreed percentage of the sales in commission, paid by the wholesaler to the retailer.”

Technically, I feel the accusation they have made against the Energy Shop could be argued–there is no outside manufacturer or wholesaler involved. However, I don’t care to ever discuss my operation with Etsy admin again, so I have decided to comply with their request and ship the stock I sell on Etsy myself. After about 24 hours down, the Energy Shop was reactivated on

The point of this story is not to bash Etsy as a selling platform. This was a wake-up call for me, and I wanted to turn it into a friendly warning for you. I thought I owned my small business, but by having my only presence on Etsy, it turns out that I didn’t. Etsy owns the shops they host, and they reserve the right to manage them however they choose.

Think about it, if your shop was suddenly closed on you right now–without warning or explanation, what would you lose? How many hours invested in your listings? How many positive reviews? How much of your hard-earned credibility?

If you’re serious about your small business, you might want to see Etsy as your starter house, not your permanent home. Here are some things to consider:

Buy a Domain Name. In January, I received some advice to purchase the domain for my name and my business’ name. I took it to heart, and for $9.90, I purchased When my Etsy shop was closed, I was Thankful (with a capital T) that I had a domain name handy. You can browse and buy domain names at the website, United Domains.

Keep a copy of your testimonials. If you only sell on Etsy and your site is removed, how much credibility would you lose? For the time my site was down, I had nothing to prove that I have repeatedly exceeded the expectations of thousands of customers. In fact, I looked really suspicious to the community! Where had I gone? What act of integrity had I violated?! You have worked hard to build your credibility, so keep a hard copy of your testimonials on file.

Keep a folder of item pictures. I restock (renew) previous listings often, and each time I do, I appreciate that I don’t have to take pictures and build descriptions. Those tasks take up a solid chunk of my valuable time! I’ve spent hundreds of hours on my listings and photography, when suddenly, they vanished. I shudder to think what would have happened to all of my work had Etsy admin reviewed my case differently.

Have an emergency exit strategy. Have a back-up plan, just in case. Because I want my business to expand, I had the feeling I might outgrow Etsy. I’m always willing to have a look at e-commerce sites to see what they have to offer, and I love to check out other sellers’ independently-owned websites.

The day I was suspended, I chose to set up a shop with the e-commerce host, Retailr. I signed up for a free trial and started building listings immediately.

I’m new at Retailr, but I think I’m in love. Everything I’ve been wishing for on Etsy (size and color drop-downs, more coupon options, the ability to accept credit cards, etc.) seems to be available. I was able to easily transfer my pre-purchased domain name to the new site. Not only that, I like that they keep shop owners up-to-date with new developments on their Features & Roadmap page.

For the record, I’ve always been happy to pay the Etsy fees for hosting my shop, just as I’ve always been happy to pay the Paypal fees for collecting my money. However, the more you sell on Etsy, the more you pay. Like I said, I’ve been sending them hundreds of dollars every month, but as I’m reviewing my new business plan, my hosting fees are about to be drastically reduced.

On Retailr, I pay a flat-rate hosting fee. It’s $19 per month to list 100 items (in unlimited stock). Which means, I don’t pay individual listing fees, I don’t give anybody a cut of my sales, and nothing expires.

Finally, when my shop was suspended and I had nowhere to turn, I felt scared and powerless. I want to leave you with some resources in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation. If you need help, here are some more places to turn:

You can start by filing a case with the Better Business Bureau. They serve the community (free of charge) and can help protect you against unwarranted and unexplained actions.

If things get out of hand, or if you fear losing a serious amount of work and investment, you might consider contacting a small business attorney for representation. You can Google this and find a reputable businessperson in your area, or you can contact larger groups of lawyers who handle online commerce at affordable prices, such as:

Simplicity Law
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not leaving Etsy … yet. However, I am taking charge of my small business. In the future, I will be sure that no one can come along and hang the “Closed” sign on my website without my permission.

Until next time and all the best, Lisa


Suspended Etsy shop


Hey Timothy here:

I have been selling on Etsy since 2007. (my shop!) The day I started my shop I had my own domain (my site)but never sold items on it.  It is mainly just a gallery to show off my work then point people to my Etsy shop.   I have been on the search for the perfect platform to start selling my metal work on my own domain, but I have never found the right platform with the right mix of options to supplement my Etsy shop.  About a month ago I received an email from the founders of letting me know about their site and what they had to offer. I checked out all the options, features ,and pricing, and to my surprise they offered everything I had been looking for.

Here are just a few features that really stood out to me.   Things I have been looking for!

  • Founders that came from a handmade / design background (understands the handmade community)
  • Extremely affordable pricing (1/5 of my Etsy monthly bill)
  • Very good clean design (multiple designs and design flexibility)
  • Easy Checkout system with no login required
  • Etsy product import (huge time saver)
  • Integrated blog
  • Social media connections and promoting
  • Reports ( sales, coupons, products, customer)
  • Analytics

You can check out my metal shop there.   Timothy Adam Designs.

Check out even more details HERE on Handmadeology.

Do you have a similar story you would like to share with the Handmadeology readers? Fill out the form below and we will be in touch.

[si-contact-form form='1'] 

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  1. My heartfelt thanks for posting this article, Tim! When my shop was suspended, I didn’t know where to turn. Hopefully this post helps someone else facing that “scared and powerless” moment. All the best, Lisa

    • Thank you for this letter. I am moving to Savannah, GA in a couple of months and plan on using Esty’s to sell my Jewelry & Sewing but I may look into my own web site. That way no one can shut me down. Again thank you, Norma

    • My shop was suspended today. :(

      Thanks for sharing your tips on how to move forward. Although I’m still bummed and shocked, it’s a relief to know that I’m not alone.

    • How long was your site down for. My etsy shop has been closed since Friday afternoon and am unable to get a response from Etsy, whether it will be reopened or not. Yes I feel powerless.

      • Hi Nancy,
        I’m in the same boat. They closed my shop on Tuesday and won’t even respond to my emails. It’s so upsetting.

      • Hi there

        If you have any unfair treatment from Etsy, like deactivated your shop without a reason, please join our FB Page for sharing your story!



    • Lisa,
      Thank you for posting this article. I have 2 shops on Etsy and luckly I own both domain names. My digital prints shop was closed on Tuesday because of a copyright infringement, someone convo-ed me and asked me to create something for them, I did and then listed it not even thinking that I could get into trouble. They had been listed for months now, Etsy contacted me and told me that they were removing these items due to a copyright infringement (I used the Lego name in my title). Then a couple of hours later they closed my shop. I have sent them numerous emails pleading for my shop to reopen, that I would never put my business or theirs in jeopardy. As of today I still have not heard back from them. It’s really sad, because they own the monopoly on the web. I also have a shop in Artfire, but I’ve never had the same amount of business as I have with Etsy . This was a huge wake up call for me.
      Jenny, The Posh Kids

      • Lisa,
        Did they ever reopen your shop? I used the name minecraft in a title of my printable shop….which was 100% all of my non character, non commercial designs and 100% my only income. I have been closed for a month and have been begging them to reopen and they told me no twice and now just ignore me. I am still in shock and nothing I have tried is even bringing in a fraction of what my ETSY shop did.

    • Thanks for the article, I’ve been researching online businesses and the best options available. I had considered using Etsy, but after reading so many reviews and now your experiences I believe setting up my own site is the way to go.

    • Lisa!!! OMG– thatmis crazy. I had been away for awhile and when I returned I saw you were gone. I had no idea. This is great advice. I have m own domain name and I am wrk in on the content now. I’ll have to pass your info along on etsy. Best if luck, but I am sure you will be more than fine, you are a GREAT artist with wonderful ENERGY!!!

    • Hey Lisa,

      I just read ur article about Etsy shop suspended. Esty just suspended my shop for the exact same reason as urs. I see now ur shop is back, what did u do?

      Any advice would be really appreciated! I put my heart into my shop and they took it away in a click of a mouse!


    • That would be me today. It sickens me how everything was just pulled out from underneath me for wording. Its just not fair. I’ve made them so much money and they don’t think so much as to giving you a stern talking to at least. Where do I go from here? Tons of 100% reviews and now my customers are wondering where I am. SMH

    • It is time that etsy is held responsible for defamation of character with their whole guilt by association approach to shops on etsy. A shop should not be held responsible because other adult family members abuse their account or break TOS rules. Besides the fact it is totally illegal for etsy to keep listing fees from someone who has been shut down due to guilt by association.

  2. Wow….just…wow. I couldn’t imagine what I’d do in your situation. This really gives me a lot to think about. I’m sorry you had to go through this, but thankful you’ve shared it in an informative way!

    • That’s very thoughtful. Thank you, Katie!

    • Wow!
      Unbelievable! I’ve been on etsy now since 2011 and the lack of contacts and customer service has always bothered me. It’s had me a little feeling a little uneasy from the start. And that is outrageous considering they are now allowing shops to hire manufactures to produce their “handmade” products. I worked in management and product development for a few different companies and there is no doubt in my mind or in any dictionary you so choose to use that will support etsy’s own definition that a product can be produced by a company that files taxes as a manufacture and still call it “handmade”. There is a major difference between a designer or developer and crafters and artists. I now worry that the consumers who have been loyal etsy shoppers because of the quality of handmade products will become unhappy and start feeling mislead by their use of the word “handmade” now being associated with “manufacturing”. To me it’s possibly boarder line false advertising. Which why I was floored that etsy would shut you down over drop shipments. But I didn’t check the date of this post lol!
      Anyway thanks for sharing your story. I’m sure now that it is time to start a plan of moving on away from etsy.

  3. Thank you, Lisa… Very good advice! Hey, I’m from Pittsburgh, too! :)

  4. Wow… wake up call…. thanks….

  5. These two sentences are absolutely crucial for anyone who is limiting their online presence to just Etsy:

    “I thought I owned my small business, but by having my only presence on Etsy, it turns out that I didn’t. Etsy owns the shops they host, and they reserve the right to manage them however they choose.”

    Excellent article, Lisa!

    • Thank you, gale! It was quite a wake-up call for me :)

    • Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but I can’t figure out any other way to say this:

      Why does it come as a surprise, or a “wake up” call that you don’t “own” anything when you sell on Etsy, or any OTHER online venue?

      Now, first, Lisa’s case was a gray area in a way, and a little less than clear. It was more a matter of wording – but the wording was what got her shop “red flagged” temporarily.

      But Lisa was in the right, AND, more importantly, she had done what too many commenters here have failed to do: She really did read ALL the terms and conditions, and understood them.

      She did her homework, and she did her very best to comply with all the rules. She “gets it” that the details of a legal and binding contract matter.

      In the end, as a result: she won. Etsy agreed she was not in breach of the contract. She got her store back, and she understands now the wrong wording can sound like a violation of the rules.

      A scary lesson, but Lisa dealt with it like a professional businessperson – no whining, just review of the rules, taking action – in short, honoring the contract in every way.

      But let’s also keep in mind here: Etsy ALSO honored the contract: they did exactly what the Terms and rules say they can do, and will do, if they believe a member is in breach of contract.

      There is a valid complaint to be made here about the Etsy process – but it’s not unique to Etsy. The problem is, almost ALL online venues or services of this kind run on a sort of automatic pilot.

      In fact, all those raving about Retailr or Shopify and how wonderful they are – um, have you actually READ their Terms and Conditions? Because if you think Etsy’s bad….well, at least Etsy CONTACTED the sellers.

      The Retailr T&Cs, for example, notes Customer Service will be by email only, and that the Seller’s/Shop’s account can be terminated at any time for any reason, the shop and all files deleted, and that Retailr is under no obligation even to inform the Seller why.

      And, no, you have no legal recourse if they do, unless they actually violate their own terms. Of course, since the terms ARE that they can kick you out and not tell you why, that’s not anything you can sue over – because it’s what you agreed to.

      The point here is: if you don’t like the terms Don’t Agree To Them – meaning, don’t sell on the venue, or use the service.

      If you don’t know what the term “contract of adhesion” means, then you might not be ready to run your own business either – because running even a small business means you have to understand EXACTLY what you’re agreeing to when you sign a contract, particularly one where you don’t get to negotiate any of the terms, i.e., you’re “stuck” with whatever the supplier dictates.

      But you’d think Etsy sellers would at least understand: you have no right to complain about your shop being suspended for BLATANT violations of the Terms and Conditions….

      And here, I’m referring to Kiersten’s complaint about Mod Mom Furniture being suspended, and her claim there was a lack of “due diligence” shown by Etsy before closing her shop.

      No. No there wasn’t.

      First, Kiersten doesn’t know what “due diligence” means. Due diligence doesn’t even apply here. It’s legal nonsense even to use the term.

      Second, Kiersten was CLEARLY in breach of the legal and binding contract into which she entered with Etsy, and had violated several of the Terms and Conditions to which she agreed, and which, by selling on Etsy in the first place, she claimed she understood.

      When she began selling, she was in compliance, yes – an individual shop (not a collective or group) selling handmade furniture (not outsourced or made primarily by someone not in her shop).

      But any professional business person has an obligation to make certain the business REMAINS in compliance with all its contracts and agreements. The contract with Etsy is every bit as legal and binding.

      Yet even when Kiersten’s business changed completely, and it no longer complied with the requirements for “individual” or “handmade” – per the Etsy Terms and definitions – she did not contact Etsy about changing her type of shop, or stop selling products she had by then completely outsourced to a “manufacturer” (her term), even though that third-party manufacturer was making the items by hand.

      But that’s not Etsy’s definition of handmade. There are several terms ModMom Furniture violated, but this one alone would be enough, i.e.:

      “An assistant or third-party vendor’s involvement may not comprise a majority share of a handmade item’s creation.”

      Unlike Lisa, Kiersten had no defense. Her products and her shop no longer complied with Etsy’s terms and rules. She was in breach of contract.

      She also could not cure the breach – or, more accurately, simply tried to complain Etsy was unfair, and that her shop wasn’t breaking any rules.

      She was wrong. Etsy acted appropriately.

      Etsy clearly hasn’t managed to get rid of ALL the shops and sellers who are violating the rules. But Kiersten also has no basis to complain, because she WAS one of the violators.

      And under the terms and conditions, it doesn’t really matter if you’re breaking 1 rule or 10. The consequences are clearly noted as the same for everyone: Fix it, or get kicked off.

      No – not everyone gets caught. Not everyone gets caught who breaks the law either. But you can’t get out of, say, a speeding ticket just because you argue the police havn’t caught all the murderers still on the loose.

      Likewise, you can’t argue one seller should be allowed to break the rules if you are complaining Etsy isn’t getting rid of sellers who break the rules.

      No – if you want the rules enforced, that means enforcing ALL the rules for EVERYONE.

      Read the rules, people. If you want to run a business selling online, but you think it’s too much trouble, or that you need a lawyer to understand the Terms, or that reading 29 pages is a “nightmare”, then you’re not qualified to run a business. Period.

      Businesses have to know the law, be able to understand the contracts they enter into – but Most of all: Businesses Can’t Lie. Businesses Have to be Trustworthy.

      And if you start selling on Etsy – well, by selling you “sign” a legal and binding contract that says – among other things – that you DID read all of it, and that you DID understand it.

      If you liked about that . . . why would anyone trust your business?

      If you don’t take the contract with Etsy seriously – and complain when Etsy does exactly what the contract SAYS they will do – how can customers trust you to take your contract with THEM seriously?

      There are DEFINITELY valid complaints to be made about Etsy. But complaining about Etsy enforcing rules just because you don’t like them, when you AGREED to them – is not a valid complaint.

      Good for Lisa for getting it right, for a fantastic article, and for being a responsible, trustworthy PROFESSIONAL business person. One who made a mistake, but on a genuinely confusing point. And who not only learned from it but has helped others understand details matter, if you want a business to succeed.

      Nothing but praise from me for Lisa

      And to Kiersten – well, I’m sorry, but all I could think reading her complain was, “Oh for heavens’ sake, stop whining. You screwed up. Get over it.”

      • I want to add a little detail here: in a lot of countries, the terms of service of a company can NEVER trumph (consumer)law. Even if the site is hosted in a different country, they still need to abide by another country’s law if they specifically market towards said country. For example; Etsy isn’t hosted in the Netherlands, but since they (poorly, but still) translated the site to Dutch, offer prices in Euro’s and even have Dutch customer service, it means they are actively targeting Dutch consumers and thus have to abide their laws. At least for the Dutch version of the site, that is.
        What the consequences would be if they translated to Klingon, I don’t know ;)

        • Thank you. Just because someone puts something in a contract or TOS doesn’t make it legal. If you think it does you are wrong. Etsy cannot legally keep you listing fees when they shut you down either and I am sure it is going to find out sooner or later when someone finally files a class action suit against them.

      • Thank you for your response. There are always two sides. You’re right, we have a responsibility to honor the terms of the contract. I’ll keep your advise in mind if I ever screw up the courage to open an Etsy shop.

  6. Keep it up Lisa !

  7. Gosh,
    I am so sorry you went through all this, but am glad you were able to get it resolved. Your article was so informative and you have done a great public service publishing it. I am saving it in the event I decide to open an Etsy or any other seller sight in the near future. Continued success to you!

  8. HOLY COW!!! I know what I’m doing the rest of the week! Lisa, as I was reading your article I could feel your panic! Thank you for sharing and thank you for the advice. Duly noted!

  9. I stopped using Etsy as my primary selling venue several years ago after seeing a number of friends there put through the wringer and feeling I simply couldn’t risk having my business being so reliant upon Etsy.

    My Etsy shop is still open and I still get occasional sales there, but I now use my own domain name and a web-based shopping cart via Shopify and this is where the vast majority of my income comes from.

    I’ve found Shopify a far better way to sell my work, but I also know that if anything were to go wrong, the investment I’ve made in marketing my shop won’t be lost, as I can simply move to a different cart using the same web address.

    If I had my time over again I would have been using my own domain name/URL to direct to my Etsy shop from the outset and would never have promoted my Etsy URL. I also strongly encourage new sellers to do this. Etsy is a great place to start out and test the waters, but you should definitely have a longer term strategy in mind.

    • That’s good advice, Simone! Thank you.

    • I love shopify too! My shop got suspended by Etsy earlier this month on grounds that my items “didn’t appear to be handmade”. Despite providing numerous photographic proof that they were (I sent them process photos; even photos of my workshop), Etsy responded with a vague answer, saying they were not enough to proof my items were handmade and that my account will continue to be suspended.
      It left me bewildered and helpless seeing as my Etsy shop was my sole income for almost a year. Out of sheer desperation, I decided to set up my own website and purchased a domain name.

      Like Simone, I currently use Shopify and love it! The freedom, the breath of fresh air, the fact that I don’t have to spend copious amounts of time and effort struggling to convince someone out there that my products are valid.. I’m glad I’m out of Etsy right now, but in retrospect, what I probably should have done was to set up my website and use Etsy as an avenue to direct traffic there.

      I can’t even begin to describe exactly how I felt when Etsy decided to reject my evidence. I don’t know what got into them but all I know is that everyone should definitely have a back-up plan in case Etsy decides to randomly suspend your shop one day. I hated the feeling of being so powerless.. I’ve learnt my lesson! :)

      • This is the SAME thing that happened to me. I sent in photos & everything, but they still said it wasn’t enough and now they won’t respond to my emails.

      • There is a blog named “Calling Out on Etsy” I have to wonder if one of them had a little to do with some of the dilemmas here. I think that it started out as a way to share copycats and re-sellers, and just went feral. You may want to go take a peek and see if your name has been mentioned there. I know it’s one of my worst fears.

  10. Wow that is truly messed up. Thanks for the article. Funny I thought Etsy had no real standards, after all most things nowadays are Chinese resellers. Just yesterday I went there as a customer typed in owl pendant or some such thing in the handmade section and price low to high, and came up with the first six pages all resellers. It was frustrating! However if I complain they will ban me, or so I’ve seen as it has happened to many ppl I know.

    • Thanks for your comment, Nikki!

    • About 2 years ago, I got a warning to remove a listing for some Nine West shoes from the 80s, because they didn’t fit the “vintage” requirement, even though I had the original receipt. Rather than have more problems, I removed them. This warning was sent within a few hours after listing it! Guess the Etsy police were watching on that day!
      I agree with Nikki that the resellers are rampant on Etsy, and you don’t want to report them–I know!
      I am so grateful for all the info I have gotten from both the articles and the comments. I will continue with Etsy, as an additional venue, but will expand my presence into at least two websites of my own, which I should have done years ago!

  11. wow…. that is awful…i really wouldn’t have know where to start, but i do now. I have a domain name, but it really is just a front-it forwards to etsy…signed up for retailr to see what it is all about. Doesn’t hurt to try new avenues :) thanks so much for sharing!

    • Thank you, Amanda! Having that domain name is smart, as it can always be redirected. A great point to everybody: you can purchase the domain name for $9.90 and then even forward it to your Etsy shop! If that’s the web address on your business card, you don’t have to do any reprinting if you change or expand. Thanks again!

  12. Stephanie Turner

    I’ve been hearing horror stories about shops being closed with no explanation.
    Thanks for posting this!

  13. Lisa, thanks for writing this! Same thing happened to me. I even wrote about it here:

    I was with Etsy since 2007 and after opening one email form letter, everything changed. I was blown away by the lack of due diligence before threatening to close down a shop.

    I’m so glad you found other options and can’t thank you enough for this post!!

    • Here’s to the continued success of Mod Mom Furniture! Your article was spot on, this is definitely more of a guilty until proven innocent approach. It really showed me who they think is the boss of the Energy Shop :) Thanks for your feedback.

    • Hi Kiersten,
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us also. Im speachless yet so proud of you and Lisa.

  14. Lisa,
    Thank you SO much for writing this. Handmadeolgy is well known, and your story will be heard. It happened to me, and like you, was able to get back open again. But the overwhelming feeling of panic, LOSS, bewilderment is something I will never forget, or forgive, Etsy for. The lack of respect, due process, investigation, communication, etc., that I was shown was unbelievable. Even though my shop is open, I live every day knowing that at any time, for any reason, I may find it gone, poof, vanished like it was never there. I feel like a “handmade prostitute” and Etsy is Pimp Daddy. It’s a disgrace to watch the hordes of mass produced, sweat shop made goods thrive on the term handmade, while Etsy ignores the mockery of their rules, only to blind side real crafters and treat us like poop, when WE are the ones who bring validity to their “handmade” market. Shame on Etsy.

  15. Thanks Lisa for a great article. Like Brooke said above, I could feel your panic as I was reading your article too, and I don’t even have an Etsy shop! I am sending this article to anyone I know with an etsy shop, just so they know to read the terms and conditions, thoroughly.


  16. I’m sorry you had to go through this, Lisa, but on the positive side, it’s also a wake up call for you and all of us here! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!!! And all the best to you!

  17. Hi Lisa!

    What an awful thing to go through! And I’m stunned by Etsy’s attitude!! I can so imagine your panic and frustration!!! I’m so grateful you posted this and shared it: an important wake up call for me, who just started on Etsy and feel that my little shop is safe and protected there!!! Gives me a lot to think about!
    All the best of luck to you and thanks again for sharing this!!

  18. Thanks for writing this article Lisa! I wish you the best success with Energy Shop. Etsy “rent” can be pricey in more ways than just the fees. I checked out Retailr. For those interested, be sure to check out their blog. Thru the end of March they are offering 25% off any plan… forever…you must use the promocode listed at their blog and sign up before April 1. That may be a better deal than the 30 day free trial if you already have a successful online presence.

    • Awesome find, Whyte! You can’t beat 25% off any plan forever!! After March, I think they’ll keep the coupon code mentioned in the article active for Handmadeology readers, but that March offer is the better deal. Thank you!

  19. Wow, this is really something, I got one of those emails, but it turned out okay, I had no idea it could of turned into this.

    I took all your information down, I have always wanted to have my own website, thank you, thank you!


  20. That’s a bit worrying, thanks for sharing at least we can have a back up plan now just in case

  21. great article Lisa!
    thank you for sharing with us!

  22. Lisa,
    Thank you so much for this heads up.
    Thank you again!


  23. All I can say is that is pretty poor business on Etsy’s part. To close you down without giving you a chance to rectify the problem shows they really don’t care about their customers. I think their employees need to start reading some of the etsy forums to learn about how to give good customer service.

  24. What a nightmare to go through. It’s too bad Etsy isn’t very responsive or accessible, especially when they do something as drastic as close down a shop. You made some excellent points about not having all your eggs (jewelry, pottery, or other creations) all in one basket. I love being on etsy, but have made it a point to not rely on them as my sole venue for selling my work. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  25. As a new Etsy seller, I found this a sobering reminder. Thank you for sharing your story, and I’m glad you got things sorted out.

  26. Bobbi helms. Fatdogbeads

    That’s just frightening! Luckily, have many of the backups you talk about in place. But I empathize with you on feeling helpless. And how dare they not have a phobe number so you can talk to a real live being about this! That just infuriates me. Iwill definitely look into Retailr. Thanks and GOOD LUCK!

  27. Bobbi helms. Fatdogbeads

    And ols excuse tyoos. Too early in the morning. Too little coffee.

  28. Great article, Lisa! I also had a terse, scary note from Etsy regarding a tag and was threatened shutdown. Mine resolved quickly, but I felt a lot of the things you felt. I have delayed printing new business cards as I will likely move to my own site this year. Maybe I’ll keep a couple of things on Etsy to point to the new site. As shown by all of these comments, you have the support of the community as well as your customers. Thank you for sharing your story.

  29. Ouch – so sorry you had a crummy time with etsy. Bad business management on their part for not making things clearer OR without giving you a chance to “fix” the issue before suddenly pulling your shoppe.
    Thanks for telling your story! As someone who would eventually like to set up her own shoppe this is VERY good information to know going into a possible business. Thank you/

  30. Excellent article! I appreciate the wake-up call. I will definitely save this article and start working on my back-up plan.

  31. Wow! What a story. I agree with you I have a website all so but most of my business is through Etsy. You should always have a back up plan.Good luck with your future in your own hands now.

  32. Thanks for posting this! Having come from the nightmare of robotic customer service that is EBay, I started out on Etsy with alot of the safeguards and back ups mentioned here in place. At first I was delighted to find that it was a company with a personal touch and emails answered by live people with no robot scripting. In the past couple of years tho I have watched Etsy turn more and more “big corporation” , understanding that while some of the results of that were good for business, it did put life there on much more shaky ground.

    I am like you, I don’t hate Etsy and have no plans to leave- I am just a lot more careful these days to be sure I’m not leaving all my creative eggs in one increasingly impersonal corporate basket.

  33. My biggest concern is the lack of communication (on many, many fronts beyond this….i.e. bugs in system, system down, etc, should be communicated in more ways than a forum) by etsy administration. it’s absurd that they don’t send you the ‘accusatory’ information for you to respond to and include a customer resolution number for you to speak to a real person. and etsy seems to often forget that their shop owners are their customers. i’m glad you were able to find a different way to ship that met the criteria to be able to keep your shop open. in the end, i believe in the platform but agree we probably shouldn’t leave it to be our sole venue on the web. thanks for sharing your story.

  34. This post has been so helpful- it really helps open everyone’s eyes to the fact that they don’t OWN their shop- it’s a very helpless feeling!

  35. Thanks for the excellent article. It’s pretty easy to miss something among 10.000 plus words, especially when so much of those “Agreements” are boilerplate. And you can either agree or go away. Best wishes.

  36. I have been an etsycustomer forever and as an artist wanted to open a shop there. Problem: I hear LOTS of these horror stories and that 29 page manual thing? Right, who has forever to dig thru that. I would need a lawyer to dig thru all that! I have to create, market, blog, sell, on and on, yet dig thru that 29 page nightmare for what I may one day do wrong and suffer the same fate? Heck no, Im going to Retailer and will figure out many other channels!

    Esty needs to know that they are not the world of DIY and someone could and prob will come in and offer a better way, as maybe Retailer did.

    • Thank you for your feedback, Maria!

    • I’ve been suspended on etsy 4 times….always tried to pull one over on them and they keep finding out that I was that person they suspended years ago. Funny thing was I was running my store 100% positive feedback for almost 1 year and they finally had discovered I was the same person they suspended before and they just shut me down…even though obviously I hadn’t done a thing wrong with my new shop.
      So I’ve given up. I’m using right now and will soon be starting a artfire.come account.

      • how did you open another shop after being suspended?

      • Hi liz etsy suspended my store so i decided to open another one but i read your comment , you said they discovered that you were the same person , can you tell me how they discovered that if you have any advice for me please help me i am so disappointed and sad it has been 3 months since i opened my store

  37. For a (dis)service done to you, you have turned it around into a service for others. Many are grateful, including me.

  38. Thanks so much for the article.
    Such great information.
    There’s also Artfire and Zibbet and Ruby Lane for vintage.
    Good luck to everyone.

  39. Hi Lisa,
    This is great information, and I am glad that you were rightfully reinstated.
    May I ask why you chose to ‘drop ship’ initially? Were the shipping costs from out of the US too prohibitive for most customers to afford? I can only guess that military families can send mail to the US fairly inexpensively, and thus you logically chose to use a US shipper. It seems as if Etsy should make special exception for military personnel, as I believe that there are some monetary breaks when you own a car and must travel abroad, and leave it behind.
    Thank you for all your information, and for those, like me, who are thinking of starting up an online shop! Your shop, and craft, is gorgeous, by the way!

    • Hi, Margaret! Thank you for your comment. I’m a U.S. resident and my customers are primarily in the U.S. New Zealand is an expensive country and very far away! Shipping individual packages from here costs a lot and takes at least 10 business days. In addition, I’m not allowed to use any military mail services for business services or profit–it’s illegal. Therefore, I hired another person in country to help me with that end of the business. He was under my direct supervision, we spoke daily and handled all of the orders together. I still don’t think what I was doing could be considered drop shipping, but now that’s neither here nor there. I appreciate your feedback and all the best!

  40. Lisa, this is an excellent article. I especially like the way you accepted responsibility, described what happened and suggested things we can do to avoid feeling that way ourselves. Very classy. Thank you for a valuable post!

  41. I am really disgusted to hear this..they could have given you a warning and then let you choose to change or leave…all while your shop was left open …I now have a very bad view of them for this..Im heading to Retailer now..Youve done a great thing sharing this..both in the way you handled it and the way you presented this…Thank You..!

  42. So sorry to hear this happened! I think I read the same article about not keeping all your eggs in one basket. I need to get my but in gear and my own website started!

    Glad you’re back up and running, thanks for the great links!

  43. Hi Lisa,

    I am the Marketing Manager at United Domains, and I’m sorry to hear about your issues with Etsy. We’ve actually covered this topic in the past on our blog, in that many social media sites, whether eCommerce based like Etsy, or network and sharing based like Facebook, have terms and conditions that can lead to vendors losing control of their content. I think your choice to own your own retail space online is a very good idea, and I’m glad we were able to help you with your domain registration.

    All the best,
    Kate Hutchinson
    Marketing Manager, United Domains

  44. Lisa, your article has been a real eye-opener for me and very timely as I consider alternate/additional means of selling my handmade wearable art. I’ll be passing this info along and taking action for myself sooner than later! Thank you for such an informative wake-up call! Best of luck for continued success to us all! :)

  45. I love your story. They do have a list of Do’s and Don’ts. When this happens I believe they should call you to talk about it first so you can resolve it too.

    My question on other sites like you mentioned Retailr, how much traffic goes to that site automatically?

    That would be my biggest concerns with having another site. I know promoting Etsy and Etsy has a name out there but do others and of course you still would have to promote your other one too.

    • Kathy, thank you for your comment! You’re right in that outside e-commerce sites do not get automatic traffic like Etsy brings to your shop. I am definitely not encouraging anyone to drop Etsy entirely and go rogue :) Like I said in the article, you might want to consider Etsy a starter house, and later bring your customers to your permanent home. That’s why, as someone suggested earlier in the comments, you might consider buying a domain name now and have it redirected to your Etsy shop. This is surprisingly simple to set up, and if you ever change your business, your domain name can follow you. Thanks again!

  46. Excellent post and a heads up for those traveling with military families. Sorry you had to learn all of this in such a terrible way but thank you for passing along both what you’ve learned as well as your wonderful way of moving on and remedying the situation.

  47. Thank you thank you for this article! It’s so unfortunate that you had to experience that, but again, many thanks for turning it into something valuable for all of us who read it. Much to think about here… ;)

  48. Thank you so much for this honest and informative article. I am sorry you had to go through this, and it was truly chilling to read your first reactions (and imagining the same thing happening to me.) This confirms so much for me. Firstly, Etsy has always struck me as a terrific but huge energy sucking venue. It is like putting all of your investments in one stock and praying it will succeed. I had been thinking about giving up my ArtFire studio and now…well, I just have to figure out a way to manage my time better so I have it as a viable selling platform. And, I have had a web address for a long time which really needs to be developed. This article, and your experience, excruciating as it was bless your heart, is the kick in the butt I have been needing. Thanks also for all of the links throughout the article and the comments for good sites to help us gain some dominion over our domains! I do not dislike Etsy, but it is more like “the man” every time I turn around and as an independent artist…such a turn off. Now, go read the fine print over at Pinterest if you want to make your hair stand on end. I know…it is another subject, but their TOU have some very disturbing copyright rules! Good luck to you Lisa and thanks again.

  49. This is great to know – particularly the advice about positive feedback and keeping photos. I have recently started keeping all of my product photos on an external drive, but I hadn’t thought about keeping feedback! I have just copied and pasted my feedback so that I have it as a reference, and it was also nice to see all of the positive comments my work has had, so you really brightened up my day!
    Thank you for sharing your experiences, I hope your shop continues to grow and prosper :)

  50. Wow. What a scary situation to be in! Thank you for having the courage to tell your story Lisa, clearly you have resonated with many of us and we will all be more weary and practice great caution from now on.

  51. Lisa,

    I am so so sorry this happened to you. this company sounds a lot like eBay who used to kick out their sellers with the flimsiest ‘reasoning’ once they too had established business with and for eBay and paid them a lot of money in fees…..

    I hope you find a venue that suits your needs and talents and does not treat you as shabbily.

    Good luck.

  52. wow! major wake up call as others have said. checking out the sites mentioned in the post. really appreciate you sharing your experience and sorry that happened to you. you summed it up so accurately though…spreading my eggs over several baskets :)

  53. Lisa, you are an emotionally well balanced person, an admirable quality in any internet setting.
    It is upsetting to me that Etsy, a marketplace specializing in individuality and human contact, has virtually no means with which you can communicate with a real human being. I would expect it from Paypal, a huge company, but Etsy seems to have prematurely gotten too big for their britches.
    Another venue that I have been using for the past couple of months is WePAY. While they are simply a secure payment venue, they allow you to list items for sale with no fees until you sell something. They have utterly no marketing or venues for promotion, so you are on your own there, but they do have extremely courteous and attentive customer service (I have used their Live Chat feature more than once and gotten a question answered right on the spot!). I still have an Etsy store, but for all of the social marketing and SEO-potential on Etsy, I sell as much in my WePAY store (that is to say, I am still selling very little in either venue, but I get out of it what I am able to put into it!).
    I am impressed with your resolve, and that you were able to make it through this misadventure and still have a store!
    If anyone is interested in WePAY, and to shamelessly plug my store, here’s the link:

    • Julie, thank you so much for your feedback. I am tickled by the first line: “you are an emotionally well balanced person, an admirable quality in any internet setting.” The article you’re reading is probably the 20th draft–I edited out all of my unbalanced emotions before sharing it :D Thank you for sharing more options. It’s the best feeling in the world to have a back-up plan.

  54. What an eye opener. I think I will have to rethink on my opening my online store on goodsie again. and thank you for keeping all the feedback on file in black and white! Its a rap on the wrist to keep records always!

  55. Wow. Unbelievably valuable information and serious reality check. I just got my Etsy shop going in December and am so thankful to have this information so early on.

    THANK YOU!!!

  56. Great Article !! Really makes you think !

  57. Wonderfully written article and very enlightening. Etsy has grown up and become one of the big boys which leads to losing the personal customer service that they once had.

    I have known people who have ‘violated’ Etsy rules and have had the same trouble in communication. It is sad that one of the original ‘handmade’ sites have become one of the corporate big wigs.

    Thank you for the reminder to not remain in the cozy rut that Etsy provides and to spread our wings into other venues. Etsy charges for listing and upon sale. The only way things will change within Etsy is to use the other competition out there that provide more services for less money.

    Thanks again for all the info. I’m looking into Retailr. I will remain with Etsy simply for their SEO and search engine listings. When I make a sale, I send info on my other venues. Using other venues also makes it easier for buyers who do not want to ‘join’ Etsy to buy.

    I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors and thanks for the heads up.

    Carol Vega – Nature’s Sol

  58. Thanks so much for writing this article. I would like to share a similar story. I purchased a domain name and constructed my website on Weebly. I chose to use the free hosting option to test the waters. After about a month and a half, I was unable to access my account and when I tried to access my website, it didn’t exist.

    I emailed support and was told my site was suspended for spam. The tech. stated she couldn’t see anything on my site that seemed like spam to her. As of this writing I’m still waiting to hear more from them.

    I guess even though I felt I had my own “store” I was proved wrong.

    • Thanks, Clint! These are definitely things to be careful about. Taking a quote from a Facebook comment: “As a wise business guru said, ‘Don’t let your business rely on the website or platform of another business in order to survive.’”–from a reader named Jessica. It’s a good tip!

  59. Holy Cow. I’ve only been on Etsy for short time. I’m glad to have the info, but I’m far from having these issues. I’ve had 2 views. Total. However, IR