Open Letter to Etsy

The previous post was removed at the request of Lise the author, very respectfully and sweetly. I do wish her the very best, and did not intend any harm by posting what she said in my blog.   Since it’s not hard to find another facet of this goat rodeo, stay tuned 🙂

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Now the White House is buying into this crap?? Say it ain’t so, Joe!

An anonymous source sent me the following sound bite dated May 18, 2015:

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

General Larry R. Ellis, USA (Ret.) – Member, National Commission on the Future of the Army
Kathleen H. Hicks – Member, National Commission on the Future of the Army
Thomas R. Lamont – Member, National Commission on the Future of the Army
Lieutenant General Jack C. Stultz, USAR (Ret.) – Member, National Commission on the Future of the Army
Chad Dickerson – Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations
Gary Hirshberg – Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations
Dennis D. Williams – Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations

In case you missed what would ordinarily be boring news that meant nothing to most of us, note the 5th name on the list and read his illustrious bio:

Chad Dickerson, Appointee for Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations
Chad Dickerson is CEO of Etsy, a position he has held since 2011. He was Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Etsy from 2008 to 2011. Previously, Mr. Dickerson was Director of the Brickhouse and Advanced Products teams at Yahoo! from 2007 to 2008, and was Senior Director of the Yahoo! Developer Network from 2006 to 2007. He also served as CTO of InfoWorld Media Group from 2001 to 2005 and was CTO of Salon.com from 1998 to 2001. Mr. Dickerson received a B.A. from Duke University.

Trade policy?  Negotiations??  A KEY administrative post???

I honestly thought the whole news clip was a joke until I found the article myself.

And then I thought, well doesn’t that just explain a lot of this current malarkey!  Chad doesn’t give a rat’s…nest…since we are on the “nest” theme…about what is happening back at his granola munching, garbage recycling, Birkenstock wearing office.  Nope.  He’s got bigger plans, because apparently his gross mismanagement and outright deceit are being rewarded with an administrative post.

From. The. White. House.

Yes, I just turned four words into four separate sentences, breaking every grammar rule known to man.  Just to help drive the whole point HOME.  A key administrative post.  For Chad Dickerson.  King of “sell out the Americans in exchange for some cheap shit from China”.  King of “I make the rules and selectively enforce them depending on how pretty your model is or how much revenue you are generating for me, oops I mean for us.”

I would like to say that I’m speechless…but I’m not.  I just can’t put into print the exact string of (really not very ladylike) words I’d like to say.

I guess just use your imagination…

The point is, why even lie about it? Oh wait…the point is PROFIT…not the truth

AlexaGillAlexa Jean Gill – age 23.  Model Mayhem portfolio picture

AliciaShaffer

Alicia Shaffer – age 38.  Runs ThreeBirdNest and “loves naps”

AnonymousModel

Some random model chosen in 30 seconds off the internet, who looks more like Alexa Gill than her “sister” Alicia Shaffer

So the point is – why even lie about it?  Why tell one lie, which multiplies into two…four…eight…thirty….and eventually hundreds of lies.  Why say someone is your sister, when there is 15 years difference in your ages (which again is possible, but the odds are starting to stack against the truth in a statement like that), and when some random model chosen off the internet in 30 seconds bears a more striking resemblance to Alexa Gill than her (supposed) sister Alicia?

And why say you are “hand-making” your items, when it’s pretty obvious you aren’t?  An infuriated customer of ThreeBirdNest sent me the following picture of her “hand-made” head wrap.  By the way, it’s the same head wrap worn in the first picture of this blog, and has this description:

Gypsy Headband, Cute Hair Bands, Women’s Boho, Mint Crystal Leaf Headband, Fashion Headbands (HB-121)

Ask a Question
$28.99 USD
Quantity

Overview
Handmade item
Materials: seed beads, chiffon
Feedback: 13261 reviews
Ships worldwide from Livermore, California
This shop accepts Etsy Gift Cards

*****

Note the emphasis on “handmade item” in the description above.  And then read the (not-so-fine) print on the item’s tag (below) describing the item as “made in India”.  India.  Yep.  India.  And speaking of the item’s tag, just who is “Noi Fashion Leaders” anyway? Glad you asked…because thanks to the power of the internet, it’s easy to google that name, and guess what pops up!  “INDIA’S MOST POPULAR FASHION DESTINATION”.  India.  Yep.  India.  To be fair, at least India has given us the peace of mind that our “hand-made” head wrap is LEAD COMPLIANT.  Wait…what…LEAD??  It never entered any of our minds that a hand-made-in-the-USA fabric and sequin head wrap would have anything to do with LEAD.  Now we’ve got yet another thing to stew about.  A $29 cheap piece of fabric sewn in India that is lead-compliant and can be delivered to our door for $7 – after about a month of waiting for it.

So it’s not made in the USA.  And now it’s not made in China.  It’s made in India.  Got it.

The pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place.  Gone is Alibaba (for now) and gone is China (for now).  I guess THAT was the “factory move” we’ve all been wondering about the existence of.  Looking back, it makes sense that the orders were delayed by weeks and weeks…for goodness sakes, they had to pick up an entire factory and move it from China to India…that’s a lot of work.  Trekking all those goods and people and machinery and sequins 3,000 MILES down the street to a new country.  Setting up a whole new set of labels and threading all those sewing machines and knitting needles and printing cute little “lead compliant” labels so we wouldn’t be worried about what we wore on our heads.

EtsyHandmade1 EtsyHandmade2

Come on Etsy.  SHUT THIS FRAUDULENT SHOP DOWN!!!   You created this rat’s nest when you pretended not to know what was going to happen by allowing “partners” back in 2013…now pick up the droppings and restore a little bit of sanity to your once reputable site.  You’ve got way bigger problems than lead compliant head wraps, and it only takes a click of a button to pull the power plug on this hot mess.  The longer you wait, the more complicit you appear.  It’s not like you can bury your head in the sand (which is just as plentiful in India as it is in China) and pretend you didn’t know.

Shenanigans at Etsy (the disappearing NEGATIVE reviews)

After truly believing that Americans were so stupid and so lethargic that Chad’s management team could arbitrarily set and break its own rules and no one would notice or complain…Etsy now finds itself mired in a hot mess of controversy and class action lawsuits.

Nowhere is this arbitrary rule making and rule breaking more evident than in the flagrant favoritism Etsy seems to have extended certain sellers, specifically ThreeBirdNest.  As proof, the following review appeared on April 27, 2015, posted by Jessicarose Thurber.  It wasn’t pretty, the original review, but TBN ruffled the nest again when they asked Jessica to “change her review.”  She did.  And this was the result:

JessicaRose

Which really wasn’t what TBN was after.  For some reason they seemed to think that a few heart signs and smiley faces and “xoxo’s” would be enough to mute Jessica, who had already lodged an Etsy complaint, a BBB complaint, and who had noted that her “handmade in California” item had shipped from a warehouse in Ohio.

Obviously it didn’t calm her down at all.  Instead TBN’s little California nest was left with even more egg on its face.  And so instead of spending time fixing its broken system, TBN apparently figured out a quicker route to achieving its goals.  Just delete the review.

Great idea, except that we sellers couldn’t just arbitrarily delete negative reviews.  If we could, we would all have perfect 5 star ratings.  Which would really make the entire feedback process so tainted and unbelievable that it would quickly be abolished.  Nope, reviews were part of the package deal, and honest sellers looked at their feedback, made adjustments for their errors, tightened up their policies and moved forward.

Not TBN.  Apparently they had a magic pipeline to Etsy’s management team and within a few hours the negative review disappeared.  Which leaves us wondering how many other negative TBN reviews have disappeared, leaving behind only the positive ones, and once again grossly misrepresenting (this) Etsy (seller) to the general public.

Labels with “made in China” and “made in India”.  Scathing 1 star reviews.  Blisteringly negative reviews vanishing into thin air.  Wishy-washy policies and arbitrary favoritism.  Class action lawsuits.  Angry buyers and angry sellers.  Disrespect and distrust for the Etsy Board.

What a face-plant for the former homespun bastion of granola idealism.

And what a huge betrayal to its fee-paying, rule-following core of buyers, sellers and fans.

Securities Fraud CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT filed against Etsy!!!!

SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Rigrodsky & Long, P.A. Announces A Securities Fraud Class Action Lawsuit Has Been Filed Against Etsy, Inc.
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WILMINGTON, Del., May 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ – Rigrodsky & Long, P.A.:

Do you, or did you, own shares of Etsy, Inc. (NASDAQ GS: ETSY)?
Did you purchase your shares between April 16, 2015 and May 10, 2015, inclusive?
Did you lose money in your investment in Etsy, Inc.?
Do you want to discuss your rights?
Rigrodsky & Long, P.A., including former Special Assistant United States Attorney, Timothy J. MacFall, announces that a complaint has been filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of all persons or entities that purchased the common stock of Etsy, Inc. (“Etsy” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ GS: ETSY) between April 16, 2015 and May 10, 2015, inclusive (the “Class Period”), alleging violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against the Company and certain of its officers (the “Complaint”).

If you purchased shares of Etsy during the Class Period, and wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please contact Timothy J. MacFall, Esquire or Peter Allocco of Rigrodsky & Long, P.A., 2 Righter Parkway, Suite 120, Wilmington, DE 19803 at (888) 969-4242; by e-mail to info@rl-legal.com; or at: http://rigrodskylong.com/investigations/etsy-inc-etsy.

The Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period, defendants made materially false and misleading statements, and omitted materially adverse facts, about the Company’s business, operations and prospects. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that the defendants concealed from the investing public that: (1) more than 5% of all merchandise for sale on Etsy’s website may be either counterfeit or constitute trademark or copyright infringement; (2) brands are increasingly pursuing sellers on Etsy for trademark or copyright infringement, jeopardizing the Company’s listing fees and commissions; and (3) as a result of the foregoing, the Company’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times. As a result of defendants’ alleged false and misleading statements, the Company’s stock traded at artificially inflated prices during the Class Period.

According to the Complaint, on May 11, 2015, before the market opened for trading, numerous news outlets, including Bloomberg and the Associated Press, reported that Gil Luria, an equity analyst at Wedbush Securities, issued a note downgrading Etsy to “Underperform.” Among other things, the note mentioned, “Our research indicates as many as 2 million items on Etsy (>5% of all merchandise) may potentially be either counterfeit or constitute trademark or copyright infringement.”

On this news, shares in Etsy dropped over 8%, closing at $20.85 per share on May 11, 2015, on heavy trading volume.

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than July 13, 2015. A lead plaintiff is a representative party acting on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. In order to be appointed lead plaintiff, the Court must determine that the class member’s claim is typical of the claims of other class members, and that the class member will adequately represent the class. Your ability to share in any recovery is not, however, affected by the decision whether or not to serve as a lead plaintiff. Any member of the proposed class may move the court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.

While Rigrodsky & Long, P.A. did not file the Complaint in this matter, the firm, with offices in Wilmington, Delaware and Garden City, New York, regularly litigates securities class, derivative and direct actions, shareholder rights litigation and corporate governance litigation, including claims for breach of fiduciary duty and proxy violations in the Delaware Court of Chancery and in state and federal courts throughout the United States.

Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

CONTACT:
Rigrodsky & Long, P.A.
Timothy J. MacFall, Esquire
Peter Allocco
(888) 969-4242
(516) 683-3516
Fax: (302) 654-7530
info@rl-legal.com
http://www.rigrodskylong.com

SOURCE Rigrodsky & Long, P.A.Securit

Double Jeopardy

Recently I had an interesting email conversation with a woman who “took a gamble” on a scarf from TBN, even though there were horrible reviews visible, in plain sight, from scores of TBN customers.  These were one star ratings and blistering reviews that would have kept most credit cards firmly anchored in a wallet instead of “taking a gamble” on a cheap scarf from China.

I started the conversation by asking her if there was a “made in China” sticker on her newly purchased scarf (which was made from material “a tad bit stiff and there was a hole where a 1/2″ piece seemed to be missing from the lace part of the scarf”).  She said “no, there was no ‘made in China’ sticker”, instead she sent me a photo of the scarf with it’s cute little “handmade with love – Three Bird Nest” tag.  TBN would have loved to have had her stop there, but helpfully she sent me a second picture of the scarf with it’s SKU/bar code taped to the outside of the package.  Dumbfounded, I asked her why she thought something that was “hand made” needed a SKU/bar code attached.  I’ll stop the story here and simply say that people don’t appear to understand that a “hand made” item doesn’t need a bar code sticker, and that, in fact, a bar code sticker attached to a hand-made item is an infinite loop of crazy.

But the bar code/made in China question brings up a double jeopardy situation that TBN currently finds itself mired in.  A situation worse than it’s 100+ furious customers with their scathing reviews, a non-existent BBB rating (it was an F until they discredited her store) and the universal stink hanging over the entire Etsy community’s heads.  TBN, by removing “made in China” stickers is in direct violation of the US Department of Homeland Security “Country of Origin Marking” requirements.

You see, there is a funny little thing called NAFTA “marking rules” that require that TBN disclose to it’s customers in which country the item is primarily “hand made”.  There are no exemptions to this rule that TBN can claim ~ in other words they can scam Etsy’s customers, such as the woman who believed that a hand-made item needed a bar code, but the US Department of Homeland Security isn’t going to be that naive.  And if TBN removes the “made in China” stickers in order to pull the (nylon) wool over their customer’s eyes, they are triggering a much heavier hammer than the BBB and it’s wimpy “F” grade.  Not even Etsy’s complicit board members will be able to bail Ms. Schaffer out of this mess.

Conversely, leaving the “made in China” stickers ON the items is just as risky for TBN, because obviously a head wrap made of one piece of lace that states “made in China” doesn’t have, nor will it need significant enough alterations to come even a continent’s length close to changing which country the item is “originating” in.

So which is it going to be…pick a bone with Etsy customers, or pick a bone with Homeland Security?  I know which one I’d pick, but oddly TBN seems to be straddled right in the middle of both positions, a very fascinating double jeopardy situation worth paying attention to.

Later this week…the story of the disappearing “negative” reviews from TBN’s site and the sudden random sprinkling of 5-star “shipped fast” reviews, designed to let all the customers know that the “warehouse issues” have been resolved.  Fair warning Etsy and TBN ~ not all of us think that a “handmade item” needs a bar code sticker…and some of us are even smart enough to print the negative reviews before they disappear.

High Hope Aglory

There are far more outraged Etsy sellers who are wise to the ways of ThreeBirdNest than I’d originally thought. And there appears to be no shortage of disgusted customers of that shop either. They’ve all had some choice words about ThreeBirdNest’s un-level playing field or the poor condition of the merchandise they spent $30 on and waited 30 days to receive.

After my first blog was published, I was sent the following link from one of Alicia’s less than thrilled customers:

http://www.importgenius.com

Import Genius isn’t trying to expose anyone, it’s actually trying to sell it’s services to any potential importer. But in the process of selling themselves, they…well…kinda sold out Etsy’s favorite golden child’s “handmade” store ThreeBirdNest.

This link contained fascinating little details, such as which recent (slow) boat from China carried ThreeBirdNest’s “handmade” goods safely to the Oakland docks.  (It was called Hanjin New York in case you are dying to know).   Additionally, this link alerted us that contrary to “High Hope Aglory” being the name of a recent Kentucky Derby winner, it was actually the name of the CHINESE factory where all the cheap shit people are buying from ThreeBirdNest was made.  3,600 POUNDS of cheap shit, to be more precise.

Stay with me, because although I’m the world’s most hesitant mathematician, I think I’ve got this equation down cold. Let’s imagine for the moment that the average weight of one piece of shit destined for ThreeBirdNest’s California home was 8 ounces. If that was a good average weight, it would equal a total of roughly 7,200 pieces of shit that Hanjin helped flood the “handmade” Etsy market with.  I know what you’re thinking, because I’m thinking the same thing.

Yep. That’s a shitload of cheap shit.

After my first blog flew out into social media land, an outraged Etsy seller commented that she’d been permanently muted on Etsy forums because apparently, similar to my experience, Etsy’s bipolar set of guidelines really meant “if you can’t say something nice (about Etsy or ThreeBirdNest) then don’t (we won’t allow you) to say anything at all.”  All this high handed control running rampant in the land of the First Amendments guarantee of freedom of speech.

Wowzer. How duplicitous of them.

Yet another unfortunate buyer of a piece of High Hope Aglory’s “handmade” junk sent me a picture of her $30 item’s label reading “made in China”.  Apparently one of Alicia’s California factory team managers forgot to remove that little nuisance tag prior to shipping it.

Double wowzer.  Sounds like one of the five managers needs to be fired.

Or promoted for actually being honest.

Unfortunately so far (see my previous blog) no one from ThreeBirdNest has called yet to buy my inventory at a hugely reduced price. Nor has anyone at ThreeBirdNest responded to my blog, of which I did send a copy to their shop; subject line “BUSTED”.

That’s understandable. They’re pretty busy over there. You know, knitting stuff and soldering jewelry. Oh, and they’re also a little sidetracked taking field trips to the Oakland docks on a regular basis. With a semi truck.

How Etsy Raped America

It seems that, for the past few years, the big flap with Etsy (if you trust social media) was a privacy issue that began in 2011 and to which details numerous blogs and links are easily available if one googles “bad press Etsy.”

But for other stores, there is a deeper concern. Recently my sister and I, both Etsy store owners, went back to Etsy’s own policy guidelines and lifted word for word the following description:

Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods.

Everything on Etsy must be Handmade, Vintage, or a Craft Supply

Handmade items are designed and created by the shops that sell them. Because transparency matters on Etsy, we ask sellers to list shop members and share information about manufacturers involved in creating their items. Reselling an item you were not involved in creating is not allowed in our handmade category. 

Vintage items must be at least 20 years old.

Craft Supplies are tools, ingredients, or materials intended for use in the creation of a new handmade item. Commercially made materials that are ready to use as finished goods may not be sold as craft supplies on Etsy.

This seemed very straightforward to both of us, especially the statement “Reselling an item you were not involved in creating is not allowed in our handmade category.”

And we played by those rules, and we ran our stores with integrity, and we answered every question and addressed every complaint…and then we watched as our sales began to, for no discernible reason, plummet.  We spent hours discussing this, hours attempting to adjust key words, adjust what we sold, adjust the looks of our stores…all in vain.

And then one day we stumbled on a website called “Alibaba.com”. Alibaba (out of China) is not trying to fool anyone. They are selling their items, in this case head wraps in packages of 300 pieces for between $.2 – $.5 each. FOB. In case anyone needs a translation, that’s as low as 20 CENTS per item plus freight, which we all know is pretty darn low and often built into the price on sites like Alibaba. So for a total cost of somewhere in the neighborhood of $100, any average citizen walking down the street could purchase 300 head wraps, such as the one pictured:

EtsyFraud2

and sell them, such as the one shown below modeled by a beautiful blonde (ostensibly American) woman for $28 + $5 shipping.

Fraud2-1

For anyone without a great grasp on math, what that really meant in financial terms is that it would only take the sale of FOUR cheap Alibabi.com head wraps to break even, and the rest of the sales would be….you guessed it…pure profit.

ďżźAnd for anyone not currently sitting next to a calculator, that would be approximately $7,000 of profit. $7,000 of profit on an initial investment of $100. Now those are some healthy returns!  Except that most companies would have to figure in nuisances such as wages, rent, utilities and taxes.  More importantly, if they didn’t have a great, respected platform/storefront on which to market and sell their items, the pure profit would be something they would dream about while they brewed up drinks at Starbucks for their customers.

But back to the matter at hand, because many of you are probably thinking along these lines…”so what does that have to do with Etsy, anyway….because I thought this article was about Etsy, not China.”

It is. It’s an article about how Etsy shot itself, and its entire seller’s community in the foot (and both hands and perhaps even the other foot). It’s how Etsy allowed itself to become polluted with greed, break its own guidelines ~ in fact FLAUNT its own guidelines, and drive small businesses, originally wooed in with promises of a platform for hand-made and legitimate vintage items, out of business.

And while this foot-shooting “corporately speaking” makes a somewhat twisted and short-term sense for the new April 2015 stockholders of Etsy, it will undoubtedly emerge as the death-knell of the once home-spun and sweet site that gave average Americans a crack at generating a small profit from their homes without the 9-5 grind. Without the daycare and the corporate outfits and the commuting costs of corporate American. Without the soul-sucking atmosphere and the timed coffee breaks and the inane water-cooler politics. Most importantly, without encouraging more cheap junk from an over-polluted country that doesn’t mind paying it’s own population nearly nothing to work 10+ hour days.

Don’t get us wrong, we have very little problem with cheap junk from an over-polluted country.  If that’s what you want to buy, go to a Dollar Store, pull out some change and get what you are paying for.  But Etsy, and it’s granola founders appeared to stand for something different, something more noble than a Dollar Store…and we embraced them for it.

To be fair, there are some differences in the items pictured above.  The first item is from Alibaba’s (made in China) site and the second item pictured is from the Etsy site “ThreeBirdNest”. We examined these differences, because apparently they were enough to convince Etsy that these items were hand-made, and that these items met Etsy’s own guidelines. First, the Alibaba item appears to be made from a type of fabric.  It also appears to be a certain color.  The most unique difference seemed to be that the Alibaba item is modeled on the head of a fake plastic doll with bad red eye shadow and grey hair.  The Etsy “ThreeBirdNest” item is modeled on the head of a woman most of us see only on magazine covers.  We seemed to have figured it out – that the difference between the two items was the MODEL!

It was an “ah-hah Oprah moment” that vibrated from my home in Arizona to her home in Michigan. How could we have missed this defining difference?

It seemed almost too easy, so we started looking further and found the following on that very same site, (made in China) Alibaba.  In another section that seemed to have chucked the grey-hair, red-eyeshadow plastic model’s head into the trash (something Etsy leaders not do, they compost all of their trash and bike to work in long skirts and Birkenstock sandals.) we found this model:

Fraud3
Yep, that’s her. That’s our American blonde Etsy model who somehow morphed over to China and appears in the Alibaba Group’s marketing pages. There’s not even an attempt to fool us by using a brunette! It’s the very same, genetically identical person. The woman who appears everywhere on ThreeBirdNest’s site. Sexy pout, lips half open, long black lashes, gently waved blonde hair, flat eyebrows with very little arch.

Wow.  There went all of our theories.

So we started thinking.  Just who is this Alibaba Group and how did they kidnap ThreeBirdNest’s model?  Glad you asked.  Here’s the readers digest version of who they are.  The Alibaba Group was started in 1999 by a teacher from Hangzhou, China. Laughably, its “company overview” states that it was started to “level the playing field by enabling small enterprises…to compete…in global economies.”  That’s very noble, but it didn’t bring us any closer to the mystery of how they kidnapped the model.

We may may never figure that out, let’s be honest here.

However we will admit that they effectively leveled the playing field for at least two entities when they hopped into the sandbox with ThreeBirdNest. They leveled it for the Alibaba Group and ThreeBirdNest. The question is, who did they level it with. Because ThreeBirdNest is no longer on a level playing field on good old granola Etsy. It has chalked up 100,000 sales since November 2011. That’s approximately 3-1/2 years in existence, approximately 28,500 items per year, approximately 78 items per day, every single day, even including Christmas.

Who are the people making all of these items? Thank you for asking.  Because we have news for you, it isn’t Ms. ThreeBirdNest. On her site it lists five other LOCAL people as “seamstresses/makers”, so apparently these five people sit in her home and each of them pumps out 15 items per day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.

Not likely.

In an even more improbable scenario, there are five “managers” also listed on her Ms. ThreeBirdNest’s site, so each of her workers, who churn out either a watch, a headband, a shirt or a leg warmer every hour or so needs his/her own manager. Wait, what? Why do five people need five managers?

Good question.

Hang in there with us, because we forgot to mention that ThreeBirdNest founder “Alicia” in Livermore California “loves naps.” We didn’t make this up, its straight from her website. In fact, she can nap all day long since she’s got five workers and five managers working around the clock for her. But let’s do the math here. Minimum wage in California is about $9 an hour. So these workers and these managers are, between the 10 of them, making $90 per hour. Plus the other give or take 7 people who ship, market and design these items, at a total of $63 per hour. Again, if you don’t have a calculator, that is $153 per hour. Before benefits, taxes, paid vacations, fabric purchases, leather purchases, lace purchases, watch face purchases, beads, soldering tools, warehouse rent….well, you get the idea.

It’s obviously not a successful business model. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the only way a “hand-made” business like this succeeds is by, well, by NOT being a hand-made business. And that’s not playing nice, ThreeBirdNest, that’s playing dirty corporate games. It’s playing in a global sandbox with China as your only playmate, and using a blond model, the very SAME model on Alibaba Group’s website, to sell your “hand-made” items.

And the worst part about it is that Etsy looks the other way. Why bother kicking her off the site, she’s bringing in a boatload (from China) of profit for them, and after their huge 2014 losses, they need more than just the little cottage industries (like my sister’s shop and my shop) to push them to the next level. Because America is all about the “next level” which means more money, IPO’s, stock options, vapid soulless corporations…all of which Etsy had fooled us into thinking they weren’t.

Maybe there’s a little karma for ThreeBirdNest, because her latest reviews are about as bad as reviews can get.

From Leah Sullivan: “this headband is not green at all like the picture! I received it and it was bright turquoise, and it looked like a child stitched it! No returns, this shop is really shady!”

(We don’t know how to tell Leah that China has a different idea of what “green” is, and that a child probably DID stitch it)

From Liz Spaulding: “extremely poor service due to the ‘moving of their warehouse’. Took over a month to receive my order.”

(Liz, Liz, Liz…you can’t get these things from the factory in China to the docks in China on the boat in China, across the ocean, off the docks in California and mailed to the customer in three days. It appears it’s an average of 3-4 weeks, without the “moving the factory” excuse. And just as a side note, why do you need a factory for 18 people in California?)

From SherwoodGirl1: “DO NOT BUY FROM THIS SELLER. Take it from me and dozens if not hundreds of other disappointed customers of threebirdnest. I wish I had listened to the bad reviews more seriously. They DO NOT communicate with buyers and they flat out lie about where your order is and lie about it being shipped. Then, if they get bad reviews, they send out some half assed cut and paste apology on the etsy review page. SAVE YOUR MONEY. FIND A BETTER SELLER.AVOID THE FRUSTRATION. With any luck this seller will be banned from selling on etsy all together and no one else will have to deal with this shitty, dishonest service. Even If there was a lower star rating than one star, that wouldn’t be low enough to give this seller.”

(We feel you sherwoodgirl1. Kind of. We’ve been doing things like really finding our vintage items, or really making our hand-made items and you haven’t purchased those items because we couldn’t price them low enough to complete with China, I mean ThreeBirdNest.

Unfortunately, Etsy has burned its bridge with me, with my sister and no doubt with hundreds and hundreds of small businesses across the United States. I now have 400 pieces of inventory that absolutely do not sell. That absolutely no one even looks at.

To figure out why, we had to look closer at the situation, because ThreeBirdNest was very, very guilty of a bunch of corporate dirty politics, but there had to be more.

And then we found it.

About a month ago, Etsy introduced some “changes”, which appeared to be little more than a frantic goat rodeo exercise involving 20 minutes of adjusting EACH listing, re-categorizing products, etc. Etsy never told us why they made those changes.  They just did.  And if that didn’t suck the daylights out of any potential profit, the huge 2014 losses Etsy suffered due to their marketing/search engine spending seemed to have screeched to a halt as soon as an IPO offering was on the table.  What had been thriving, prior to the IPO offering, became like the dust bowl, even as the granola-founders of Etsy traded in their very last few pounds of conscience for a few corporate dollars and cycled their winnings home with gold-soled Birkenstocks and really flashy new skirts.

I can’t help thinking that if a few of us had taken the time to get in the sandbox with China and make a quick killing, even as Etsy was folding, and we had to go back to making money the good-old-corporate way, we’d be sitting on a big enough pile of money to cry golden tears instead feeling our mixture of disgust and envy.

Silly us.  We’d really believed that Etsy was a unique site, and we really believed Etsy was going to play by it’s own rules, and we really believed….oh never mind what we really believed.  No one really cares.

Congrats sites like ThreeBirdNest, you made your money by ignoring the guidelines that the rest of us adhered to, and you took all of us down in the process.  We have some inventory that perhaps you’d be interested in – maybe 10 cents on the dollar?

We’ll wait for your call.