This fall, Etsy is set to introduce Etsy Manufacturing, a new service in the United States and Canada that matches sellers like Ms. Goodall with small manufacturers. It is a bid by the company, which went public in April, to help its small sellers expand their businesses.
Etsy says the “beta,” or test phase platform — essentially a directory of manufacturers prepared to work with its sellers — will also help bring business back to small manufacturers that have been devastated by a shift of production to low-cost countries.
But the move could fuel criticism that the site is moving away from the artisanal roots that have made it an attractive alternative to mass retailing. The company, started in a Brooklyn loft a decade ago, long prohibited its sellers from outsourcing their production, saying all goods offered on the site needed to be handmade.
Etsy loosened that policy two years ago to allow outsourcing on a case-by-case basis, a contentious move denounced by some artisan sellers and one that some analysts say has led to a rise in counterfeit or mass-manufactured goods sold on the site.
Chad Dickerson, Etsy’s chief executive, said Etsy Manufacturing is not about encouraging extensive outsourcing or mass production for the sake of growth. Instead, he said, it is a way for local artisans and small manufacturers to find one another. And it is a logical extension, he said, of Etsy’s personal, small-scale approach to business.
“We’re already changing the way things are bought and sold, and we believe we can do the same for manufacturing,” Mr. Dickerson said.
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