50 years ago, artisan and philosopher David Pye said “It is impossible to find a generally satisfactory definition for [craftsmanship]… It is a word to start an argument with.”
Nevertheless, we must somehow try to curate what kinds of products we want on our cooperative marketplace. We need to somehow ensure the goods are genuine, original, and authentic.
To do so, we rely primarily on an engaged community, using our strength as a cooperative: people power.
With a careful checks-and-balances system of accessible onboarding, consistent labeling, incentivized peer verification, and swift action on community reporting. we believe our Handmade Policy will stop bad actors and encourage authentic artisans.
Our Handmade Policy includes:
- Definition and Guidelines
- Verification System
- Enforcement System
- Glossary of Terms
9/20/23 v6 Added section 1.5.5 referencing a new Mature Content / NSFW Policy
8/17/23 v5 Added section 1.6.5 clarifying that the marketplace is only for “goods” not “services.”
7/27/23 v4 Accepted all proposed changes from Version 3 (V3) following legal review. No changes.
6/20/23 v3 Updated definition of “Micro-business” and “Collective” in the Glossary, added numbering for easier referencing. Version 2 (V2) can be read here.
5/2/23 v2 Feedback from members of the community initiated a few revisions to the policy, including “Needs Modifications” and a flow chart for the verification process. Version 1 (V1) can be read here.
To come up with our policy, we consulted several resources:
- In the spirit of platform cooperativism, we asked users of the marketplace for their input in designing it through a “Handmade Definition Survey” conducted from February 8-26, 2023. (Read the poll results.)
- Other handmade policies, including Etsy’s in 2013 and 2023, Felt, Society6, GoImagine, Indie Sellers Guild, ActuallyHandmade.co and others.
- Research and reading on craft history and craft theory, modern gig work, and cooperation:
- The Nature and Art of Workmanship by David Pye
- Craft: An American History, by Glenn Adamson
- For All the People, by John Curl
- Platform Cooperativism, edited by Trebor Scholz and Nathan Schneider
- After the Gig, by Juliet B. Schor
- Interviews and conversations with artisans, including the Cineastas PDX 4-minute video, Walnut Studiolo: What Handmade Means:
We’d love to hear what you think! Share your thoughts with us via email or in the comments below.
About Artisans Cooperative
We are growing an online handmade marketplace for an inclusive network of creatives: a co-op alternative to Etsy.
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