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Our Handmade Policy

Hand dyed combed top in dusky rose and slate blue by Sycamore Fibers

[UPDATED 9/20/23]

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

Version History

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, 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

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 crafting an online handmade marketplace for an inclusive network of creatives: a co-op alternative to Etsy.
Join the movement!

19 thoughts on “Our Handmade Policy”

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  7. I am very interested in moving away from Etsy as I am sure thousands have written to tell you. I am wondering if you will be allowing Vintage (AUTHENTIC and Supplies) to be sold on your site?

    I am a Longtime vintage seller on Etsy (12 plus years) and would love to know if you will be allowing vintage and supplies (not mass produced but vintage supplies, for example, vintage Christmas corsage parts and this type of thing)

    I really look forward to hearing back from you, as I would love to be part of your launch in October!

    Thanks so much, in advance, for your response,

    A vintage seller on Etsy

    1. Hello! Thank you for your interest in joining Artisans Co-op!

      We do not allow vintage craft supplies to be sold on our marketplace. Section 1.6.3 of the handmade policy goes into detail about resellers, vintage or otherwise. “Re-sellers and entrepreneurs whose business is to sell others’ products, whether curated vintage goods, licensed artwork, or even authentic original artworks commissioned from an authentic artisan with a commercial license” are excluded from our handmade definition and will not be allowed on our marketplace.


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  9. Hi Artisans Coop!

    I’m so excited to read about your platform!

    I’m wondering if my art prints would comply with your definition of hand-made. I am a full time, freelance artist who creates prints of my work, all signed by me and complete with my maker’s mark. I got into this line of work precisely because seeing to the millionaires and billionaires at galleries was leaving a bad feeling in my soul; I also didn’t like the thought of art being exclusive, I wanted anyone to be able to have a copy if they liked:)

    I would be appreciative of any insight you can share and wish best of luck with the cooperative either way!!

  10. Hi,
    I currently have a shop on Etsy and plan to join your membership. Do you allow self-designed/illustrated oracle and tarot cards that are then printed by a local printing company?

  11. I’m a painter of gaming miniatures. I don’t make the plastic / metal / resin miniatures, but I do a lot of work in sanding mold lines, filling gaps, and making small changes with epoxy resin. I then paint them and “base” them with flocking, stones, and the like. I’m not sure if this qualifies as “handmade” because it’s unlikely that my brush will destroy the miniature the paint, but could easily destroy the hours I’ve put into painting said miniatures. I can provide examples of before and after if necessary.

    1. Hi, Ashe, thank you for writing. How you’ve described what you do does indeed qualify as “handmade” with reference to our Handmade Policy. You’d be using skill and judgement in your work; and you mention the potential of destroying hours through a mistake – that illustrates that your work is governed by the Workmanship of Risk. Section 1.5.4. specifically allows work that is produced through “significant and original in-house modifications to mass-produced, recycled, or vintage goods through the workmanship of risk…”
      I hope you join us!

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  13. i sell on etsy at I produce the molds, and hand cast concrete statues, and figurines, and custom paint to match the customers photo’s, I call it mini me painting. Most of my work is garden decor, and pet loss memorials. is this acceptable to Artisans cooperative?
    i’d love to be done with etsy.
    Thanks, Sue

    1. Based on what you’ve described here, that definitely sounds like it meets the Handmade Policy. When you produce molds, cast concrete, and paint, you are making under the “workmanship of risk.” Join us! -Valerie

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