morelle 1..2..3..4..5

19 Nov

Morelle is a shop that is promoted all over Etsy–featured in the gift guides, front page exposure, and constant treasury recognition. However, a close look at the shop’s profile reveals that Katie (owner of Morelle) is not making all of her pretty bags with her own two hands. In fact, she is blatantly breaking Etsy’s rules regarding “collective” shops.

Morelle’s profile on Etsy:

In the profile, Katie states:

“Last June I moved back to my home in Greece and continue to make my bags here close to family. Morelle now is a team of 5 people all committed to make lovely bags to the best of our ability.”

According to Etsy’s Dos and Dont’s, Morelle does not meet Etsy’s guidelines to be considered a “collective.” Even if Morelle met the criteria, Katie does not disclose the other members, roles, and relationships in the shop profile, which is a strict requirement by Etsy.

Here is the section of Etsy Terms of Use which covers these points:

Multiple people using a single account (collective shops)
DOs and DON’Ts > Membership > Multiple people using a single account (collective shops)

An account that involves more than one person is called a collective. There are three scenarios, outlined below, in which multiple people who know each other may use a single Etsy account.

Collaboration: Artisans combine their skills to make and list handmade products in an Etsy shop. For example:

* One artist screen prints fabric, then another artist sews clothing from the fabric. The finished product is listed in a collective Etsy shop.

Sharing a Shop: Multiple people who know each other use a single Etsy account to post their own separate items in one shared shop. For example:

* Two jewelers share a collective Etsy shop, but they create and list their own jewelry items in the shop.
* Friends, a painter and a furniture maker, share a collective Etsy shop to sell their work together.
* Vintage sellers share a shop to sell their vintage finds together.

Shop Management Help: Someone helps a friend or family member in the same household or shared physical space manage their Etsy account. For example:

* A person helps a friend or family member list or ship an item. The item is listed in their collective Etsy shop.
* With permission and supervision of a parent or legal guardian who is at least 18 years of age, a minor and an adult have an Etsy shop together. Per Etsy’s Membershippolicies, the adult is responsible for the account.

If your shop is a collective, you must comply with all of Etsy’s policies, including these additional policies specifically for collectives:

* A collective may not be an entity that represents multiple artists by contract (for example: a gallery, a consignment shop, an art agency/dealer).
* Because of the laws concerning charitable fundraising, a charitable collective shop must comply with Etsy’s Charitable listings and shops policies.
* The Public Profile page for the account must fully disclose accurate information about each person, their role in the Etsy shop and the relationships between the members of the collective. Etsy may ask for additional information and require that the shop comply with additional requirements.
* The individual who registers the account is responsible for all activities of the account, the bill and any transactions. This includes participation in community features of the site.
* All standard listing policies (see Shops and Listings) apply to collective Etsy shops. All handmade items must be created by members of the collective.


48 Responses to “morelle 1..2..3..4..5”

  1. Lu November 19, 2009 at 1:08 pm #

    When I read this things it really makes me puke….really, I’m sick now.
    If admin is reading this they will prob ask Kate to make up 5 names in her profile so she can meet the guidelines or whatever and still shove her shop under our noses all the times

  2. Suspicious November 19, 2009 at 1:33 pm #

    Meanwhile can we please nominate the most needy seller in the forums.


    How many threads does this bitch start a day?

    She also uses AcaciasGallery and her location changes a LOT.

    At the moment it says Switzerland but she has also stated UK and France:

    Moving on to newbie Jalouise who is a fashion designer from France:

    who happened to use the same name that Acacia was thinking about for her new shop:

    Any other shop names she uses? She shits on the business section DAILY.

  3. MadeByM**** November 19, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    $$$$$$ talks!

  4. Amy November 19, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    Yes this is a collective and no she doesn’t go into enough detail – But I am sure she wouldn’t have to ‘make up the names’ – that’s a bit harsh.

    Oh and here is another highly dubious shop:

  5. Lara November 19, 2009 at 3:14 pm #

    Her profile now just says “female”…

  6. Lara November 19, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    Oh, never mind. Wrong shop.

  7. Life During Wartime November 19, 2009 at 3:34 pm #

    Team does not mean collective necessarily. Team could be the designer (the shop owner) a family member or two, plus a couple of paid employees. Based on the profile, there is no way to know who makes up the ‘team’.

  8. Lu November 19, 2009 at 5:16 pm #

    I really meant not offense to the seller, my sore mouth (due to dentist visit) makes me a bit harsh sometimes

  9. Freckleyredhead November 20, 2009 at 6:34 am #

    All she really has to do is name the people in her collective in order to be legit, right? No big deal.

  10. Gila November 20, 2009 at 6:53 am #

    I guess sometime in the near future, Etsy will need to find a way to handle the more successful indie designers. Officially, the second you pay someone to make (part of) your product, it’s not Etsy handmade anymore, even if it is your own design.

    Personally, I am hoping to pay people a year or two from now… though not for the actual product. But yes, I will hopefully get to the point where I actually have someone help out with packaging and possibly cutting.

  11. Lo&Behold November 20, 2009 at 8:48 am #

    I don’t think farming out the work to 5 anonymous people counts as a collective.

    Regardless, the roles of these people are not defined. They don’t even get the consideration of being credited for what it is they do for Morelle.

    The 3 allowable scenarios for an Etsy collective are collaboration, sharing a shop, and shop managements help.

    Clearly, this doesn’t fall under sharing a shop, as there is only one distinct item (handbags) being sold here.

    It doesn’t sound like shop management help either, as I highly doubt she needs 5 people to list and ship items for her.

    That leaves collaboration. According to the profile, Katie was making the bags prior to enlisting the help of these 5 people. So, in order to be a collaboration, they’d have to be Artisans who contribute a specific talent to the work.

    PS Does she talk about the 5 helper elves in her featured interview?

    Again, who are these 5 people???

  12. notvintage November 20, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    Etsy staff don’t concern themselves with the TOU unless they want to use them AGAINST somebody.
    Whether it’s piss-poor management or directives from above, it’s still sucks.

  13. ohjoy November 20, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    it’s time to be completely realistic about making a profit in this business of making things. unless you are a fine artist and can charge for the unending use of your time in making each item, securing materials, making patterns, marketing, and so on, you will need production help so that you can make a profit.every top seller on etsy has a “team.” some disclose and some do not. as long as etsy does not require or police this issue (which they wont as they are a “venue”),it will continue.

    if you want to make a profit (a real profit including savings, retirement, investments and benefits & not living in your parents’ basement or off of your spouse) you will need help.
    fine art business is different but the world of handmade- profit is based on volume of sales + least capital investment (human or otherwise). it’s not a bad thing to have help

  14. Amy November 20, 2009 at 10:05 am #

    Lo&Behold – i am pretty sure the interview happened before she took on the helpers. (Morelle has been in my fave shops since i joined etsy and i browse her shop quite often!)

  15. Life During Wartime November 20, 2009 at 10:34 am #

    There isn’t anything wrong with having employees. I’d rather see shops from small handmade businesses on Etsy that grew up to the point of needing help to make what the shop owner designed than a bunch of resellers, who don’t design or make their inventory.

  16. Lo&Behold November 20, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    Shops are shut down all of the time for various infractions of Etsy’s TOU. I don’t think it’s fair to bring subjectivity into it. I happen to love the bags in her shop, but I don’t think it’s right that she seems exempt from Etsy’s rules simply because she has a beautiful product that many people appreciate.

    Also, the slippery slope worries me. If Etsy shops are allowed to do this and continue to grow with the aid of non-disclosed helpers, where do we draw the line?

    I love buying things from Etsy, knowing that the unique person behind the profile made my item with their own two hands, not the hands of anonymous people who aren’t even given credit for the work they do. It completely contradicts what makes Etsy such a special place to buy from.

    Etsy should address this issue and until then, I refuse to buy from shops such as this.

  17. GernBlanston November 20, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    Yes, but once they start hiring employees its time to move on. One-man operations can’t compete. I don’t think etsy has to be everything to everyone.

  18. Angel November 20, 2009 at 12:34 pm #

    As long as Etsy continues to adapt to provide homes for these types of sellers, the expanding but not relocating, we will continue to see the same 20 or so sellers being featured due primarily to getting their moneys worth for the effort it takes to accommodate them.

  19. CMOM November 20, 2009 at 1:44 pm #

    I like her bags but am a little tired of seeing them EVERYWHERE! Seriously – how many sellers are on Etsy? There is no reason to have the same 25 sellers on the FP. It’s like the radio – same four songs all day long.

  20. Lo&Behold November 20, 2009 at 2:43 pm #

    Exactly my thoughts GernBlanston.

  21. Life During Wartime November 20, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    I think a place could be found on Etsy for a 5 person ‘team’ business without sliding down the slope to mass manufacturing.

    Disclosure should be required, And maybe place a time limit for tiny businesses to get established off of Etsy, and then their shops must close. And make shops with employees unavailable for treasuries and Etsy curated features.

  22. Angel November 20, 2009 at 3:22 pm #

    I think you have some very great suggestions, LDW.

  23. ohjoy November 20, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

    yeah and the same sellers over and over. gees etsy. in one way you know if you get into a treasury with them you will probably make it to the FP, on the flip side it is patently unfair for other sellers to have the deck so stacked against them by the constant promotion of the same few sellers, same products, same look. how can anyone else make a dime? and the nepotism that many of these featured on the FP are friends (friends of friends) or family of the staff sucks!
    but what can we do but carry on. that is the way of the traditional business world and etsy doesnt seem poised to change it anytime soon. not so revolutionary when it comes to their business style. off to swim with sharks…

  24. Jade November 20, 2009 at 7:48 pm #

    This is from Morelle’s February blog post, till then she had not started selling leather bags and she openly claimed she is looking for help in other words outsourcing, she says,
    “I suppose I should bring out the big news that I’ve finally hired help for my bags. I loved making leather handbags but it was just too much work for me to keep up! Plus I don’t own a leather sewing machine so sewing took forever! So I got some help for making my leather bags and they will be shortly up in the shop again”.

    I guess as per Etsy TOU this should have been mentioned on the profile but it was never there, till the 5 people came up recently. Etsy admin have there own standards and rather than follow these for everyone; they just ignore them for the shops they personally like (you can make it out from the number of times Morelle is on FP). Like CMOM said earlier “It’s like the radio – same four songs all day long.”

  25. Gila November 21, 2009 at 1:54 am #

    This is actually worrisome… because it basically means she is sewing NONE of her leather bags anymore. Why not just buy a leather machine?

    I agree – of you are big enough to just be the “designer” behind your products, making prototypes and then hiring others to do the dirty work… Etsy is not your venue anymore.

    I do agree, though, that we will probably see more small indie businesses. It’s what I want to become eventually. Me doing the sewing, possibly hiring help with packaging, maybe cutting. And yes, possibly with an extra line of products where not everything is handmade by me anymore… but which will then not be sold on Etsy, either.

  26. Bookworm November 21, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    I bought a canvas bag from her last year. She even made it for me in a custom color. I used it every day for a while until I simply needed a bigger bag for everyday use. It’s a damn good bag. I’m glad she’s successful. I hope her Etsy status can be resolved one way or the other.

  27. balloongirl November 21, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    Yes, her bags are incredibly gorgeous, but this is clearly not a collective or even a team. This is not an individual seller. This is a designer with a staff who executes her designs. She has done quite well on etsy, but has outgrown this venue. Good for her. However, the whole point of buying handmade on etsy is that you are buying from the person who not only imagined and designed the item, but actually MADE the item. She was a featured seller, for heaven’s sake, with a staff. I don’t get it. Rules are rules. She is not following the rules because she has become too successful to follow the rules. The end. It’s pretty black and white. Nothing against her beautiful, quality product, and congratulations to her on her success.
    Would you have a problem if I imagined something, did a rough sketch, someone else painted a canvas of my idea and sketch, and then I sold it as my own painting without giving credit to the person who actually applied the color?

  28. Bookworm November 21, 2009 at 8:27 pm #

    I do understand your point, balloongirl, and I agree with your point. I was just saying that I got a bag from her before she grew this big, and I’m glad she’s successful. I don’t plan on buying any more from her, on or off Etsy. The consensus, with which I agree, is that it looks like she has outgrown Etsy. So perhaps it is time for her to step aside — or to use her Etsy shop to sell *only* items she herself makes, from start to finish.

  29. Angel November 21, 2009 at 11:17 pm #

    I think it should be noted that what no one is saying here is that if you become successful on Etsy, you should find another venue. There are very successful vendors on Etsy who have business plans that work very well within the TOU’s and, more importantly, the expectations of the buyers who come to browse.

    It is a credit to her work that she is as successful as she is. She was one of the first people I “hearted” when I joined the website, and I coveted one of her bags for some time.

    That being said…

    I understand that she gets a great deal with Etsy, free and continued promotion along with funnelled traffic directly to her shop, but I just don’t believe that her business model and what I expect to come across as a buyer jive anymore.

    Besides. Etsy, as a business venue, isn’t very friendly to people who move large quantities of goods (or expensive goods). If your business is at the point where you are hiring employees and out-sourcing some of the work entirely, Etsy is a large deterrent to growth (and not just because you’ll run along a fine TOU line).

    But as someone pointed out, business isn’t fair and it isn’t supposed to be. It’s obviously working for her and Etsy sure isn’t going to kick out a money-maker. They can and will continue to adapt to include these types of sellers, and in turn we will continue to see more of the same from the Etsy administration in terms of catering to them at the expense of every other seller on the website.

  30. Gila November 22, 2009 at 4:15 am #

    Don’t know if you read my mail…. But here is one seller that is bugging me… and proving another weakness of Etsy:

    A) They have been kicked off the site before – and just signed up under a different name.

    B) This is a Chinese company: ( Yes, handmade, but sure as hell not by one person… they are all over the wholesale sites and offer special deals on 500 sock dolls or more.

    What annoys me is that people can just come back under a different name, and even flagging them doesn’t seem to work. It took me months to get their first shop closed, and is probably taking me months to get their new shop closed again.

    In the meantime, they are selling like crazy – which is no wonder with those prices. But who can compete with a Chinese sweat shop?

  31. JoJo November 22, 2009 at 3:27 pm #

    I think Kate would be fine as long as she lists those names on her profile, after all, some other sellers on Etsy have way more collective teams than Morelle.

  32. nightcowl November 22, 2009 at 10:40 pm #

    I’m wondering how she lives in greece and ships from the netherlands.

  33. Lo&Behold November 23, 2009 at 4:52 pm #

    JoJo– Collective teams are fine when they meet Etsy’s TOU. This call out is more about *what* the 5 people do, not simply who they are.

    Nightcowl– Are you serious? How do you know?

    I can’t believe how many people are willing to roll over and let this go on. Unreal.

  34. Bookworm November 23, 2009 at 5:19 pm #

    She lists her location as Greece, but click on an item, and it says it ships from the Netherlands.

  35. JoJo November 23, 2009 at 6:13 pm #

    Lo&Behold, you are right! I just saw what Jade said (23rd message), and that has changed my thoughts. I am seeing it now~

  36. Jade November 23, 2009 at 8:31 pm #

    nightcowl, you are right! I just clicked on this listing and on the right hand side the location says “Preveza, Northwestern Greece” and on the bottom it says “Item ships from: Netherlands”

  37. oh joy! November 25, 2009 at 2:54 am #

    she makes beautiful items. obviously and unfortunately etsy doesnt care if she is drop shipping. as is mentioned in previous posts, to admit this is wrong is to deny them $ and also to say to her customers, we didnt vet this seller as well as we should have.
    wont ever happen.
    her work is gorgeous and i hope she is providing living wages to those who are actually providing the labor…

  38. Lo&Behold November 25, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    The day this post went up, her shop was on the front page again. And of course, gift guide after gift guide. It’s just not right.

    Drop shipping? Somehow I’m not surprised.

  39. anonymous November 27, 2009 at 1:13 am #

    Speaking of bag sellers who are featured over and over while skirting the Etsy rules, does anyone believe that valhallabrooklyn or stitchandswash still make every one of those leather bags with their own two hands? I think stitchandswash made them herself at first but she has become so successful with the Twilight movie tie-in, there is no way she can make them all.
    The other issue is that her shop announcement directs people to buy the bags on her website instead of Etsy.
    “you can always also purchase the bag at
    That is fee avoidance, she’s been doing it for months and still gets featured constantly.

    Either Etsy needs to change it’s rules to allow small companies with undisclosed paid employees to sell on Etsy, or they need to enforce the rules they have.

  40. Gila November 27, 2009 at 1:31 am #

    Valhalla, I would assume she actually does still make them by hand. Once you start working production line style, with the right machines, making these bags is not that big a deal. I know I can easily make the number of bags she is selling per week, plus more.

    The other seller – yep, definitely against the TOU. Even if her shop only consists of one bag, you cannot sell the same product on Etsy as you do in your own shop.

    I once got told off by Etsy for having my domain name in my banner… and politely told them to first LOOK before complaining; my own “shop” consisted of the Etsy Mini, so absolutely no fee avoidance.

  41. anonymous November 27, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    “you cannot sell the same product on Etsy as you do in your own shop.”

    Well you can SELL the same items in 1000 places, you just can’t LINK to your other sites selling the same items.
    Unless Etsy likes you, and then no rules apply.

  42. Lo&Behold November 28, 2009 at 7:55 am #

    Back to the point of this post.

    Who are Morelle’s 5 helpers?

  43. Jade December 2, 2009 at 6:51 pm #

    So, Is this just going to die down?

  44. Sally April 3, 2010 at 4:33 am #

    I am a bag maker, and I can confidently state that morelle’s bags are mass manufactured using piece-work methods. She emphatically does not make them herself. I have flagged her shop with an accompanying note to etsy – who do nothing.
    The styles of her bags area dead giveaway.

    I have friends in n. Greece and am seriously tempted to get them to write to her, asking if they can ‘drop in’ on her ‘workshop’.

    Here’s another example of a poor wee girl working her fingers to the bone ‘designing’ leather bags:
    Handcrafted? perhaps, by her? no way.

  45. Sally April 4, 2010 at 6:21 am #

    Morelle is on the FP again – a slap in the face for all etsy sellers who bother to hand craft their own bags.


  46. Sally April 19, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    Oh grrrrrrr, Morelle is now a featured “artist” on dawanda. Who is she trying to kid??? Everyone I guess.

    Message to Morelle – you’re a fake and anyone who makes leather bags knows it.

  47. kitten July 12, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    Morelle shop is closing as of July 31, 2010. She is moving to Australia to follow her boyfriend.

  48. Sally July 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    I hope she falls off Uluru and hurts her bag-making hands (lol).
    She’s on the FP again now!

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