6 Things I won't buy on Etsy

6 Things I Won't Buy on Etsy

by Melissa Caputo,

MAD Market CEO

Printed T-Shirts. Actually, any custom printed clothing item that isn't itself custom made. These shirts are likely ordered from any normal bulk shirt wholesaler and then the Etsy seller just prints their design on the shirt. If you really love a design, message the seller and ask them where their shirts are manufactured. What I look for instead: sellers who state the company that manufacturers the shirt and that company is ethical, second hand shirts that are then printed or handmade shirts.


Custom mugs. For the exact same reasons as above. And this one makes me sad because I love mugs. What I look for instead: hand-thrown mugs.


Misc Customized Items. There are a whole slew of Etsy items that are basically just a standard product the seller purchased and then ammended somehow to then be sold as "handmade". You may see a Target item that has a name patch sewn on. No hate on the Etsy seller, it's a good idea, but I still wouldn't be comfortable supporting the sale of the base product. What I look for instead: products that are actually handmade from raw materials.


Super Colorful Beauty Products. There are just too many options for products with great ingredients there's no need to mess with ones that have fragrance, food coloring and other nonsense. Do make sure to watch for this because I've seen some really crazy (not in a good way) ingredients in Etsy beauty or skincare products. What I look for instead: sellers who list all ingredients, the ingredients are healthy and packaging is minimal.


Paraffin Wax Candles. Again, there are just too many options for a more natural candle to mess with the potential of weird chemical off-gassing from Paraffin waxes. Also, look at how the seller scents the candle, ideally, I try to find naturally scented options as well. What I look for instead: soy wax candles


Fabric Based Products. This is a tough one. I'd still rather you buy a product sewn by an Etsy seller than someone in a sweatshop, but ideally, I don't like supporting the unethical textile production for the fabric the seller is likely using. What I look for instead: sellers who list ethical fabric sourcing, sellers using factory offcuts or upcycled fabrics.


Here are a few Etsy sellers I really like:

Basic Elements by Mike

Useful and beautiful home items made out of reclaimed wood

Echo Clubhouse

Vintage and deadstock clothing items mostly from the 90s


Absolutely beautiful handcrafted mugs.

Thanks for reading! 

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