As you may have seen or heard on our Instagram, the Sketchy Mandy Etsy shop is officially closed. I’ve been able to take the last 48 hours and work through the initial shock and emotions that came from this, and wanted to capture my thoughts and answer some of your most asked questions in one spot.
The short version: Our shop was permanently suspended, aka closed, by Etsy due to a copyright infringement violation.
The longer story: One of our art prints was featured in an article earlier this week. Normally, I would be ecstatic about this type of free advertising and promotion. It seemed due to this articles popularity, a brand that was depicted in our art print came across the piece. This brand reported the copyright infringement to Etsy, and Etsy shut us down.
My Unedited Thoughts
The first emotion was definitely shock. I opened my email’s Junk folder to find a message with the subject “Your Etsy account has been permanently suspended.” I thought maybe it was in fact Junk, and not a real message. I immediately opened my Etsy seller’s app and validated that this was real and my shop was gone.
For those who know the backstory or have followed along since then, the Sketchy Mandy brand started with only digital art on my Instagram in late 2019. In mid 2020, I opened the Etsy shop based on popular demand and followers continually asking for products like prints, mugs, and sweatshirts with our designs on them. A few of our products went viral, and we experience massive success in the shop – nearly 4500 sales, and 6 figure revenues over the 2.5 years the shop was open.
Transparently, as the Sketchy brand has involved to share more of the “influencer” side of my life – outfits, home finds, day-to-day life, and of course kitties – the Etsy shop has taken a backseat. Especially when I got pregnant earlier this year, and the symptoms of the first trimester made it really difficult to do much of anything outside of the bare minimum.
Coincidently, I recognized my lack of focus on the Etsy shop in July and put the shop “on hold” until I felt I could give it the attention it deserved. Since re-opening in August, I’ve felt re-energized with new ideas, passion and focus for that side of my business.
This unexpected turn brought up a lot of emotions for me – confusion, shock, frustration, sadness, and even a little relief. Most of all, I felt accountable. I didn’t and won’t shy away from the mistakes I made, and how my actions directly caused this. I do not blame Etsy, or the brand who was represented, or the article who featured the piece. It was my mistake and I intend to learn from it and do better going forward.
I took the time to sit in these emotions and dive into what this will mean for me, and I don’t have all of the answers yet. I am okay with crawling before I walk, and moving slowly throughout this process to make the best possible decision for me, my family, and my business. I believe genuinely that the universe has my back, and I am fortunate to have the best support system I could ever dream of – from my husband, to my family and friends and this community we’ve built on the internet.
Where I am still processing is what this message from the universe means – is it a sign to step away from being a shop owner and solely focus on the influencer side of my business? Or is it a sign to create my own shop on my own website with the amazing audience we’ve built here? Those are the questions and thoughts I am still working through, and I hope you’ll stay tuned to see what we decide to know.
Answering your Questions
How is this different than other brands or Etsy sellers who use logos?
For the most part, it’s not any different. Some major corporations do offer licensing to other brands to use their logo, likeness, quotes, etc. A great example of this would be the NFL licensing BaubleBar to use their team logos in the recent NFL collection (which I LOVE). For smaller brands or Etsy shops, it is likely that they do not have the required licenses and have not been flagged by the brand or Etsy as infringement, yet. I would advise any shop owner or Etsy seller to take some time to research copyright laws to ensure you are protected. I am not an expert so will not be offering any advice.
Why don’t you just reopen a new Etsy shop?
This is a question I have been getting a lot and to be honest, it just feels like I would be trying to circumvent the rules or the consequences to do this. If I were to reopen a shop of any kind, I would ensure that I follow all copyright laws, but keep it hosted on my own site. The major benefit of having my shop on Etsy was the free advertising through their platform, and my seller/shop history which would be wiped out anyways. With the audience we’ve built, our own site would make the most sense, and save us on some fees Etsy charged as well.
Why don’t you open your own shop?
As I shared above, I want to take the time in making the best decision for what’s next. I don’t like to do anything that I’m not 100% all in on. I am still processing the emotions and want to decide what the pathway forward is when I am feeling more stable.
Will you share the brand or the article?
No, I will not be sharing. Mostly because I want to avoid any further potential legal action, but I also don’t want to create or feed into potential gossip or drama around this. I made the mistake and take the ownership, and the article, writer, brand, and Etsy are not at fault at all.
How can we help?
This question gets me welled up. I so appreciate you all for everything you do and your desire to help. There is no helping on the Etsy shop side – the decision is made, the chapter is closed, and we will face those consequences. To support me in general, continue to do what you already do! Consume my content on social media by watching, liking, commenting, saving and sharing. Shop my links on my Amazon Storefront or LTK page. Sign up for emails if you haven’t already so we can stay in touch.
I’d love to hear from you – what your thoughts are or if you have any other questions, so please leave them in the comments. And as always, I cannot thank you enough for being the best most supportive community out there. The love you have shown me this week has been beyond anything I could ever imagine.