The "Knitter" Who Makes $1 Million on Etsy

I have a bit of a rant today. You may have seen one of the many articles circulating on Facebook about a “knitter” who makes $1 million in a year on Etsy. I’m not going to share the story because she has already received enough attention.

I didn’t even need to read the article to know it would be complete crap. I know how long it takes to knit legwarmers or a hat or boot cuffs or whatever. I know that there is no flippin’ way someone could make $1 million ONLY from knitting. No way. Knitting one hat can take hours, and she gets 150+ orders per day. Not humanly possible to keep up with those orders if it’s handknit. Not possible.

This article was so popular on Facebook that I was even tagged in comments on this story as an inspiration to keep going, I suppose, but upon reading the article, I was ticked off. First of all, the headline is incredibly misleading. The seller admits that she buys the knit items wholesale from India then “finishes them” in the U.S. I’m sorry, but embellishing an item with a little lace or a few buttons doesn’t make the item handmade. How dare she claim it as such! This woman is NOT the knitter! She may BE a knitter, but she isn’t knitting what is in her shop. Someone, or a machine, is doing the knitting for her in another country.

Second of all, many of her items aren’t knit, so to say she made $1 million from knitting… again, misleading. Some of her items are t-shirts or jersey headbands. Not knitting.

I don’t doubt that this woman works hard. It’s not easy to run a business, especially with orders that high, but I do not consider her a handmade seller. (She also has a staff to help her). Even if she does some of the sewing herself, she is still running a mini sweatshop when there are hundreds of sellers on Etsy who are making EVERYTHING themselves.

Sellers like this that Etsy allows to call themselves “handmade” degrade the value of the artists who are truly handmade artists. We can’t compete with mass produced products. My hands would likely be arthritic if I knit 150 pairs of legwarmers in a year to sell, much less if I sold 150 pairs in a day!

I work hard at what I do. I work hard to create items WITH MY HANDS. When I call something handmade, it is because I made it by hand, not someone else. I take pride in my shop, because I know the items in it are made by me. To say this woman made $1 million a year by knitting is an insult.

If someone is really make $1 million a year on Etsy by selling handmade items, I need to talk with them and find out their secrets, but when a title says “How to make $1 Million a year by knitting on Etsy”, rather than emphasize the importance of good photography and item titles, it should emphasize the importance of outsourcing and embellishing already made items.

Have you seen the article? What did you think of it?

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