Sunday, November 30, 2008

An "Interesting" Situation

I hope you folks don't mind me posting something like this... I would just like to share with you a situation that has come up regarding Etsy, that has me a bit ... baffled and frustrated I guess. I am wondering if anyone else over here has run into a similar situation.

There are many great Japanese artists and craftspersons that I am sure we all know and would love to have them showcase their goods on Etsy. A lot of what we take for granted here could very well be popular items overseas. I have friends who make special lacquerware that would do very well on Etsy because it is beautiful, natural, original, and from my local area. I have another friend who is a carpenter and makes amazing furniture, and things that would probably do well once in a while. And, I have my best friend, Masaki Yoshita who, along with his family, makes THE MOST AMAZING washi artwork that I have ever seen (and collected) over the decade plus I have known the family.

If you are interested, you can see many photos I have taken over the years of Yoshitas' family work on my Flickr account.

I have been trying for years to find venues to showcase their work. Finally, now that I have come upon Etsy, it really seems like the perfect way to open a storefront for my best friend.

The problem is that none of the family members speak English. They don't have an internet connection, and are verrrry analogue (as some artists tend to be). So, they need ME to do the non-Japanese stuff. And I am more than happy to do it because it is gorgeous. In the past I have sold some of their work to a few people overseas, given some as wedding gifts, Christmas gifts and so forth. But I really want them to have a store.

Well, I contacted Etsy and asked them about this, and they said flatly NO, that I could not do this to help them because I was not the artist. I explained the situation in detail, but they came back with the "rules are rules" reply and a hollow apology. This is very frustrating to me because I know that people would love to see this work, and even if only a few pieces were purchased, it would be a great opportunity to get the word out to the art world on Etsy about the Yoshitas' work. (For your info, in my photos I write Yoshida, but although that is the common way, they pronounce it with a T, not a D, so I write YoshiTa here today, to be true to their name).

I spent most of the day yesterday visiting Masaki and talking to him about this, getting him all excited, and even got to the point where I told him I would help him set it all up and make it really easy for him. Then of course he came back with the shocker: "I don't have a credit card and we don't intend to ever own one."



That pretty much kills that attempt to help bring their amazing art to the outside world.

That aside... I write today to share this experience with you because ... well, that's what blogs are all about, right? We share, we talk, we discuss things that go on. I hope that you don't mind this kind of writing here.

Has anyone else run into a similar kind of situation when trying to help friends in Japan with starting up a shop on Etsy? Has anyone asked and been rejected? Was I naiive for enquiring? Care to share your stories with us? I am curious.

I checked the rules and regulations, but unfortunately, even though a "cooperative" seems like it might work, Etsy said "no, sorry.".

That's ife, I guess. Have a great evening.



Mee a Bee said...

Have you looked at any of the other online venues? Even e-bay? Togei has a lot of shops around the place, maybe he's the one to ask.

Personally I think if they are so traditional in their thinking the online world is not for them. As for helping someone run a store, I wouldn't do it since it's a huge undertaking. So much more than making the items to sell, as evidenced by us on our computers at almost midnight on a Sunday night.

Good luck with it.

Cameron said...

Mee Bee - We are global beings, out to serve humanity and make them happy with our offerings. We must operate 25/8. Besides, we're the ones that live in the future across that damn timeline.

And yes... when he told my he had no interest in getting a credit card, my jaw dropped. I told him that they need to consider coming into atleast the 20th century... he laughed.

But again, he is my best friend here and I would do almost anything for them. But they do have to help me help them.

Happy after midnight sales!


Cameron said...

Oh, by the way.. I hate e-Bay. From my experience, the only thing eBayers want is as close to free as possible. So this stuff that sells in the 10s of thousands of yen to the hundreds of thousands of yen is not for that crowd.

togei said...

Hello Cameron,
Interesting article. Great timing too. I was helping one of my wife's friends open a store on etsy as you were typing it. You can see it here,
I think the idea of a kind of guild type shop might work, no?

Cameron said...

Dave - I'll take a look, thanks.

I just ran into a strange problem... it seems that these blogs now are linked so that they crosspost over to my Multiply blogs! I had no intention of posting this over there, so was shocked to see it this morning, and find that people over there have already commented on it!

I've been searching high and low to find a way to turn cross-posting off here in Blogger, but I can't find it. Any ideas?

I'm afraid that since now I am a contributor... other people's blogs here that are written will show up in my blog on Multiply!

Would you write a test blog here just to see what happens for me, please?


Cameron said...

By the way, I cannot find any info in Etsy on guilds. Can you share a link with me, please? Thanks.

togei said...

Cameron, posting, done.

Cameron said...

Thanks, Dave. Commented on your test post.

Andrea Kobayashi 小林アンドレア said...

I was reading the terms of service last night and I can't understand how you got bumped from a collective shop. May I ask when you last applied? They changed the terms of service in April. so if you applied before then, maybe try again. What you're wanting to do seems to fit their description.

Cameron said...

Andrea - In the last two months I had direct email communication with them, and they flat out rejected my request, and even said, "even a collective shop won't fit what you want to do."

I have already made an account for the Yoshidas, and set it all up. Since they won't get a credit card (weird, I know), the only option I have is to use MY credit card and then look after the shop and all the sales and business for them as their partner. One would think that would work, but...

Sorry not to reply. I forget that blogger exists, even though I have a ton of blogs here (kind of like a backup storage in case my Multiply dies).


Cameron said...

Further to....

You would think that this following quote, taken from Etsy's Do's and Dont's page would specifically allow me to set up the site:

"A person helps a friend or family member make, list or ship an item. The item is listed in their collective Etsy shop. "

Maybe it's time for me to just go ahead with it and do it...

I really can't see why they should reject this; it makes no sense.