, dead cats and sweatshop labor

Check out the petition that I ran into when I googled “Etsy” on’s site:

Now I know that life isn’t all about competition, who wins and who loses mumble, mumble, mumble, jealous…mumble mumble…but people!!! this petition was about dead cats, and while I hate the thought of a dead cat, and it’s not art to put a dead cat’s head in a bottle and it’s sick and gross…there are PEOPLE laboring in sweatshops in India and China, and we can only gather 250 signatures to oppose that…but a dead cat in a jar can rack up 16,000 votes in four days??

Yes, you read that correctly.  Cats in bottles get more sympathy than disadvantaged people in sweatshops.  Perhaps I need a picture of a sweatshop in order to get more votes??

balloon sweatshop

Still doesn’t do it for you? Imagine how it feels to collapse into your bed (whatever that might be) and know that this is your life and there is no way out of this hell hole.  Ever.  All I know is that it looks like a bleak way to exist, making a whopping $1 a day.  And why? In the case of ThreeBirdNest’s wares so that some DIVA in America could get rich quick selling (her) shit as “handmade”.

Cat lovers…stay in your chairs…I love cats too.  But think about it…it is a human who is protesting a cat in a bottle.  A cat is not protesting this, nor is a cat drafting a petition, nor is a cat blogging and alerting all its cat friends about making a difference.  A cat has no power to change a cat’s head in a bottle.  Humans do have that power…they have the power to question, to ponder and to make a change.  When a cat starts blogging about changing sweatshop practices in China or India, I will sit up and take notice..and revise what I just wrote.  But until then, I hold that sweatshop labor and inhumane working conditions should garner more outrage than a cat’s head in a bottle.

Oh sweet Jesus, I can feel the waves of judgment sweeping across the world and landing at my feet in little Gilbert Arizona, one of the safest cities in America.  A little la-la land of white picket fences and kindness, peace and understanding.  We don’t have sweatshops here, so we can pretend they don’t exist.  We probably don’t have dead cats heads in bottles either.  It’s a sunny, carefree existence of midsize homes, minivans and grocery stores.  Office jobs and married life and soccer games and college funds.  But from the safety of places like this, we have a responsibility to show compassion and kindness to our fellow man, wherever they are and whatever circumstances they find themselves in.  A responsibility that makes profiting off the back of human suffering really, really NOT ok.

Same old track on the same old record, but I’ll say it again. Etsy, it’s really, really not ok to sanction sweatshop labor.  That’s not debatable, especially in light of your own guidelines.  Especially not in light of the trust America put in you for showcasing “hand-made” items and promoting small businesses and craftsmen.  Get it together, before orange is the new bleak.


51 thoughts on “, dead cats and sweatshop labor

  1. Somehow, sadly, it is far easier for people to just consume sweatshop products without even bothering to think of the suffering of those making the items. I just saw a photo of women in a sweatshop factory in India with their babies lying at their feet as they worked their grueling, long days-for pennies. IT MATTERS PEOPLE! Get a little more saddened & outraged. DO SOMETHING!
    Cat heads in jars is appalling, undeniably, but to ignore mass human torture & suffering???


      • Yes, everyone who profits from sweatshop labor needs to become aware of the consequences of their decisions. Time for a movie night at Etsy HQ.

        I will agree, though, that animal cruelty is disgusting. How did those petition-makers spread the word? Maybe we need to use the same channels.


      • If anybody has a few spare $$$ you can make a donation to promote the petition wider. Just click on it & it will show you the information on how to do so.


  2. Etsy can keep on with their feel-good-about-themselves-spin because they don’t use styrofoam cups & they recycle waste paper at their luxurious Brooklyn office…but Etsy profits tremendously off the backs of slave/child labor. THAT is the ugly fact they want to divert you from seeing. When Etsy turns a blind eye-or worse-actively promotes the big RESELLER shops on Etsy, they are perpetuating this vicious circle. Just where in the hell do you think these resellers get their crap from?! It is produced in the countries where people literally DIE regularly due to inhumane working conditions. If a reseller buys this junk for less than a dollar & marks it up 400%…& Etsy ALLOWS this, condones this, isn’t this really blood money? You NEED to care! Do 5 minutes of research online & look up sweatshops. If you aren’t appalled & changed by this, then you have no soul.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. And a song by one of my favorite bands that is based on a real factory disaster In NYC. Yes, it has happened here. It can happen again.
    Ummmm…2016…VOTE guys.


    • Hum. Now I’m in a tough spot. If Etsy won’t /can’t change then I’m going to close my shop. I cannot close my shop because my bill is due. Frankly I’m so disappointed. I feel so gross being on a site that allegedly allows shops to hire child labor and sweatshops. I don’t feel comfortable paying another cent to protect such actions.


  4. I signed the petition (what a bunch of bs all this threebirdnest thing is.) Problem tho-when you click the link to the petition now, it’s gone. At least for me. Is this the same for anyone else?


  5. I read somewhere that TBN provides Etsy at least $35,000 per month in fees. Can’t verify this amount, but nonetheless, we all know it is an official shitload. That’s why they are STILL ON ETSY. At least her sales have slowed down quite a bit & the horrible reviews are bountiful. She is just one of countless reseller shops though that need to be outed & removed from Etsy.
    Again, please sign the petition!


  6. Signed, sealed and delivered! Have to admit however, to using an alias as my shop is still active and I have had the best year so far, ever! That being said, I have already registered with and am in the process of setting up shop there. From all outward appearances, it looks a little more professional than some of the other ‘Etsy style’ options. Have any of you had any experience with the site? Like everything else in life I guess, it’s a game of wait and see….


  7. Made by your own hands:
    Stretch lace headband – purchase 1 yard of elastic lace (sometimes called lingerie lace). Measure to your head. Cut slightly longer for overlap. Sew, stitch or glue overlap together. Voilà! Handmade stretchy lace headband made by your own hands; not the hands of slave or sweatshop labor.

    Twisted turban headband –
    Super easy. Here’s a tutorial.'s+Art)&m=1

    Flower crown –
    These are so much more beautiful.

    “Boho” headpiece –
    Have any old jewelry? Enjoy garage sales or thrifting? If not, craft stores sell jewelry chains and charms.

    “Boho” feather ponytail accent –
    Incredibly simple.

    Super easy folks. You can make anything in less than an hour. Get creative. Be your own handmade artisan. Save money, but more importantly you didn’t import and you didn’t support child or slave or sweatshop labor.


  8. This type of heavy negativity will drive your readers away instead of luring them to sign the petition. Keep your blog clean. There are tons of sensational sites where people who like to see this type of photo can go to. Also, banging on people’s heads will not convince them to sign your petition. I’ve been with you from the beginning but now am contemplating not visiting any longer. I come here to be informed about Etsy, not to be disgusted by horrible facts, even though I know they are true and I read about them from time to time but that’s not what I come here for. We need to keep focused.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not trying to win a popularity contest. I get what you are saying, but you really don’t have to read it if you don’t want to. It’s probably like a car accident on the freeway, you really don’t want to look, but you slow down anyway 🙂


    • I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate here for a moment, and say that in the absence of proof that any given Etsy shop is either engaging directly in, or deliberately sourcing product from, a sweatshop…. said shop is “innocent until proven guilty”, IMHO. To imply that EVERY manufacturer located in India, or in any other Third World country, is a sweatshop is as sweeping a generalization as implying that EVERY person of Latino background in the USA is an illegal immigrant.

      I am not a fan of many (perhaps most) of the things that Etsy as a venue does, nor of its crunchy-granola corporate posturing while behaving exactly like every other corporation when it comes down to dollar and cents. However, to ACCURATELY claim that Etsy is “sanctioning sweatshop labor” you’d have to prove that (1) a given shop is indeed either engaging in or sourcing product from, a sweatshop, (2) that Etsy Inc. was provided with proof of same, and (3) that Etsy, armed with this knowledge, chose to do nothing about it. But even if all three conditions apply, the shop would not be violating any of the stated Etsy Terms of Use. And as far as policing, Etsy has a get out of jail free card, in Par. 1 of the TOU: “Etsy has no control over the quality, safety, morality or legality of any aspect of the items listed, the truth or accuracy of the listings…”

      Users of Etsy (as well as investors, IP holders, etc) have plenty of legitimate gripes against the site without trying to add a “fault” that legally is not in Etsy’s purview to begin with. Just as, even though I am personally disgusted by the object/item cited in this post, I also recognize that such things are considered “taxidermy” and are a legal item on Etsy and elsewhere. There are people who are morally outraged by someone wearing a fur coat, but IMO their feelings do not give them the right to harass or throw paint at someone who sells, buys or wears one.

      I side with Ilkinha on this one. Many a political candidate has lost credibility by being overly strident and/or over-reaching instead of sticking to the factual issues (e.g., Michelle Bachman).


      • Fair enough 🙂 I just got a job – back into corporate life…so my number of minutes is very limited. Is there anyone who would like to have this blog? I can easily hand the keys over, knowing that I gave it a 30 day start.


  9. Listing With Outside Manufacturers

    If an outside manufacturer helps makes the items you’ve designed, we need additional details about that relationship. We’ll review your application with particular consideration of authorship, responsibility and transparency, the three principles of Handmade on Etsy. Before applying, make sure to outline your Shop Policies and complete your About page.

    Once approved, we’ll add the location and your description of the manufacturer to your About page. You can then add the manufacturer to any listing it helped you make.
    Apply To Work With a Manufacturer


    • Haa!
      What a farce.
      Honestly, I don’t really care if they want to sell this kind of crap on Etsy.
      And face it, walk past any department store down the street, hand over your hard earned and that is exactly what you’re gonna get.

      It’s the lies and deceit that gets under my nose. It’s as if, peeking out from under a rock “Yep, they’re still out there – we have to wait, but they will eventually go away”
      Unfortunately the truth has a habit of sticking about for a very long time.

      What is the problem? admit it, they’re resellers, they don’t have to do anything cept unpack the boxes, appear on TV every now and again with more bullshit, and the stuff about sewing on a bit of lace or the odd button is crap as well.


      • Give these importers a home and be done with it for heavens sake, instead of trying to lie about it.
        Rant over.


  10. Yes. It is Etsy lying & promoting these resellers when they are pretending they HANDMADE this junk! There is no going back for Etsy now…they need the reseller’s $$$$$ to answer to the shareholders. I cringe every time I see Etsy use words like “honesty”, “transparency”, “trust.” I’d like to see a copy of Chad’s “Redefining Dictionary.” A corporation built on lies & deception cannot survive long-term.


  11. My little Etsy poem: Dedicated to Chad
    Death To Handmade
    There once was a little man who had visions of being king.
    He ousted Etsy’s founder, resellers he did bring.
    Counterfeit, copyright infringement-we got it all!
    Step right up for the sideshow, folks; have a ball!
    Mass-produced factory crap disguised as handmade.
    Buy cheap on Alibaba, sell here, join our parade!
    A dollar’s a dollar, however we acquire it.
    Cheap ass crap we welcome, we don’t give a shit.
    Here at Etsy we silence dissent.
    We cover for big resellers, on this we’re hellbent.
    Redefine words, doublespeak covering flaws.
    Here at Etsy we make and break our own laws.
    Where did our sales go? Scream the small shops.
    We’re making no money. Why did it stop?
    We can’t afford paid ads, our profit is slim.
    We are hidden in search, our prospects are dim.
    Begone you pesky artists and crafters.
    We no longer need you, got mass-produced crap up to the rafters.


    • Do you know what annoys me about some of the pictures?

      It’s an American flag headband and it’s worn backwards. Stars photographed on the wrong side folks. Stars on the wrong side. Flip the headband around.



    “Thus is our exclusive own print and fabric that we came out with in 2012. You will see many variations of our original design but ours has and will be the original patriotic Flag Scarf.”

    I don’t understand the original claim. This blog, dated September 8, 2011, shows a patriotic stars & stripe flag scarf by a different company.


  13. So, I guess this is the end of this blog??? Too bad, you were doing a good job, Grace, however, revisiting Etsy this week and comparing it to Alibaba, I realized most of the stuff being sold on Etsy now comes directly from Alibaba. TBN and Grace and Lace are just the most successful sellers of Alibaba’s stuff. That said, it’s a pity we can’t steer potential buyers in Alibaba’s direction. I feel bad about them being fooled like that…
    In the meantime, Etsy’s shares are again on the rise, closing today at $16.86, but I doubt they’ll survive Handmade at Amazon, whenever it’s launched.


  14. Looks like they left alright. Facebook is showing their own site now. Now, if only, TBN will go away!!
    BTW, what happened to you Grace???


  15. Kinda makes me mad seeing some of these shops. This one has the same stuff from alibaba but their ‘About’ makes me sick.

    “To shed some light on the background, we just got a few more moms from local community to sew scarves. They were once professional sewers but got laid off due to that the fact that retailers outsourced their work to other countries. BIG thank you for supporting our US made goods and local economies!!


    Just laughing in the face of true handmade, disgusting.


  16. “Fair enough 🙂 I just got a job – back into corporate life…so my number of minutes is very limited. Is there anyone who would like to have this blog? I can easily hand the keys over, knowing that I gave it a 30 day start.”
    I would LOVE to have this blog!!! If you’re really serious about it, please contact me. I hope to hear from you…


  17. The author of this article is an idiot. He/she states that because cats are a different species, that they don’t deserve the same right to life that a human does. How about the parallel; women shouldn’t voice opinions on men’s issues because they aren’t men. Makes just about as much sense.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s