What is an “indie seller”?
Is this a union?
We seek to fill the role a union fills in the traditional workplace, but in the US at least, associations of non-employee independent workers are most often called “guilds”. So we chose to use “guild” instead of “union” in our organization name.
Like a union, we seek to represent indie sellers, speaking with one voice to corporations, the media, legislatures, and the general public. We seek to harness the power inherent in our vast numbers to advocate collectively for fair and transparent policies in online marketplaces. We seek to build a community where we can connect and provide resources, shared information, education, and best practices to lift up all indie sellers around the world. Finally, like a union we are democratic organization where everyone has an equal voice and any member can get involved, created by indie sellers for indie sellers.
We are not a certified or recognized union under U.S. law.
Is the Indie Sellers Guild affiliated with Etsy?
No, the ISG is not affiliated with Etsy. Many ISG members have Etsy storefronts, and the ISG as a whole is actively working towards empowering sellers on platforms like Etsy through collective action. But we are completely independent from Etsy management and corporate structure.
What are the benefits of joining the Indie Sellers Guild?
This is what we offer seller members right now:
- full voting rights for seller members – it’s your organization; you decide what it does
- a listing in our membership directory for sellers
- access to a worldwide community of online sellers with peer support communities on Discord and Reddit
- a blog with business tips, research, and best practices
- member-curated resources to help grow your business both on and off Etsy
- the ability to unite and make a difference
And here are some projects in the works that we hope to offer soon:
- A directory of online marketplaces – Several online marketplaces have reached out to collaborate with us (not Etsy)
- Research and lectures on interstate and international shipping, taxes and fees.
- Digital Media skills training
- A pinterest board where you can post your listings for free advertising
- A facebook group
Every new guild member gives us the ability to offer more over time, as we incorporate their ideas and projects into the lineup. Would you like to get involved in helping us grow our awesome organization? Please join us on Discord, and head to the #sign-up-to-help channel!
How do I join?
Anyone can sign up as an Ally Member on our sign up page with an email and a password. Once you have Ally Membership you can log into the website, join the community, and have access to members only resources.
If you are a seller you can then apply for seller membership, which will give you full voting rights and a listing in our online directory in addition to the other benefits. The seller application can be found here after you log into the website. We’ll review your application to determine whether you’re eligible for Seller Membership in the guild.
Will the guild charge membership dues?
We have no plans (at present) to charge membership dues. We do not want there to be a class barrier to being part of the Indie Sellers Guild and will always work to keep that true. With a worldwide membership of incredibly skilled volunteers, our operating costs are currently minimal. As a democratically operated organization, any future changes to guild structure would need to pass a majority vote in order to be approved.
How does the guild earn revenue?
We take donations, and we offer opportunities for our members to produce official Indie Sellers Guild Merch (with a portion of proceeds donated to the guild). You can donate to the guild here, and information on the Merch Store is coming soon.
Is the Indie Sellers Guild a registered 501(c) nonprofit organization?
We are a domestic nonprofit corporation registered in the state of Rhode Island in the US.
What is the leadership structure? Who’s in charge? How is it controlled?
We are a democratically-operated organization, and all major decisions are made via majority vote. Right now we are run by an interim Council and Officers pulled from our volunteers. Once we get things more established, we will be holding formal elections in accordance with our bylaws. To learn more about how the union works, you can read the bylaws here.
How did you choose the name and logo?
We chose the word guild instead of union because, in the US at least, associations of non-employee independent workers are most often called “guilds”. The term guild also refers to associations of craftsmen in Medieval Europe, formed for mutual aid and protection and for the furtherance of their professional interests, which also represents what we are trying to build. The raised fist in the logo has been a symbol of labor movements since the 1800s. Many union logos also use the raised fist icon.
I am under 18 and have a shop on Etsy. Can I join the guild?
For legal reasons, we are afraid that we cannot accept minors into the guild. You must have a parent or legal guardian register a guild account on your behalf. Minors from 13 to 18 are allowed to access guild services only with appropriate permission and direct supervision of their parent or legal guardian.
I don’t live in the United States, can I still join?
Absolutely. We are an international labor organization and welcome indie sellers from all over the world. Unfortunately, right now we are only able to offer information in English, but as we grow we hope to be able to offer more languages.
I have employees or independent contractors help me with my business, can I still join?
Yes, as long as your business is transparent about the roles of other people. Like Etsy, production partners for handmade items are allowed as long as you are up front about their role in the process and as long as the products still meet the criteria for handmade. The same rule applies for employees or independent contractors.
Are sellers of adult-themed products allowed in the guild?
Absolutely, as long as those products fall under the categories of handmade, vintage, or craft supplies.
Are sellers of food-items allowed in the guild?
I have multiple shops. Can I register each of them to the guild?
Yes you can… eventually. We plan to add multiple-shop functionality – where one account can have multiple shops with multiple directory listings that they manage from one seller dashboard. That’s a future goal, however – for now we’re able to offer just one directory listing per member. Please sign up using your main shop, or the shop you would most like to feature.
I signed up with my username and password, but now when I try and log in I get a message that “Your account is not currently active.”?
The most likely problem is that your email was not verified. After you sign up with your username and password you should get an email from us asking to verify your email. If you do not see that email, please check your spam folder. If you still cannot find it, or still have a problem after verifying your email, please reach out to [email protected].
I filled out my seller application a while ago, but I haven’t heard back yet?
We are so sorry for the wait. Our membership verification volunteer team is working as fast as they can on applications. It takes time to ensure that each applicant is truly an indie seller, so that our members know they can trust ISG sellers. If it has been longer than six weeks, you can contact us at [email protected] to check on the status of your application.
Will you recommend my alternative marketplace to your members?
Although our volunteers maintain a database of information about alternative marketplaces, we do not officially recommend alternative marketplaces to our members, with the exception of seller-owned cooperative marketplaces.
Can the ISG build a cooperative marketplace?
The answer to that question is too long for an FAQ! Please see our blog post about the subject here.