Slow-moving PR disaster tarnishes Etsy brand

The well-regarded online marketplace does the ostrich act concerning a line of tasteless cards. Who suffers? Its other vendors and many of its (former) customers. UPDATED

Etsy, the online marketplace self-described as “Your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage and supplies,” is the latest brand to suffer a full-on image meltdown. Like BP, Tiger Woods and Toyota before them, it’s also the latest brand to resolutely stick its head in the sand as a way of dealing with PR crisis and the resultant public outcry.

A friend alerted me late last week to the fact that Etsy was allowing a vendor to sell some very offensive greeting cards and shared’s petition requesting that Etsy remove the cards—to date supported by almost 16,000 signatures. This friend has a daughter with Down syndrome and was especially horrified by this image.

Let me back up and say that I’ve been a huge Etsy fan and supporter for a long time now. I love dealing with craftsmen and artisans, and I have patronized Etsy vendors for years. I’ve often preferred to go to Etsy for the things I’m looking for rather than eBay, because the community they’ve created has always evoked a good feeling—a feeling of trust.

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