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Indie Sellers Guild Foundation

Who We Are

The Indie Sellers Guild Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to providing education and support to all online creative indie sellers around the world. Creative indie sellers are the makers, artists and curators of handmade, unique, vintage and craft goods who sell their creations online through small businesses.

We work to inform sellers of current issues in the industry, different marketplace options and practices, as well as how best to protect their businesses, their art, and their livelihoods.

Though we are located in the US, we support creative indie sellers and artists from all over the world.

Our Mission

Our mission is to educate creative indie sellers about resources, best practices, current issues, and their rights, especially supporting sellers from marginalized communities and those underrepresented in the crafting industry.

To achieve these goals and bring public awareness to the struggles sellers face, the Indie Sellers Guild Foundation will also establish an ongoing organization to promote the interests of creative indie sellers–the Indie Sellers Guild.

Logo, Indie Sellers Guild Foundation
Logo, Indie Sellers Guild

What We Do

  • Research business best practices, marketplace and platform selling options, sellers’ rights, and current changes to platforms, laws, taxes, ecommerce and international commerce that may affect creative indie sellers.
  • Create and distribute educational material for creative indie sellers based on our research.
  • Consult with other nonprofits, watchdog organizations, and legal professionals to provide the best information to creative indie sellers.
  • Research and consult with other organizations about methods to best support creative indie sellers from marginalized communities and those underrepresented in the crafting industry.
  • Ensure that all materials, training, and meetings provided by the ISGF follow best practices for accessibility and inclusivity to maximum ability of the ISGF.
  • Establish and provide ongoing support for The Indie Sellers Guild, a democratic organization, by indie sellers and for indie sellers, to promote the interests of creative indie sellers.

Meet the Board

Kristi Cassidy

Kristi started her online business in 2006. In the time since then, she has sold her handcrafted items on Etsy, Ebay, and Storenvy, as well as at in-person events and on her own self-built website. At the start of 2022, she saw an opportunity to forge some real change in the world of creative indie sellers. She recruited an incredible leadership team, and together, they turned a Reddit post into an internet sensation with more than 80,000 supporters. Today, she applies her skills in organization, content creation, networking, and business management towards helping other creative indie sellers. In an ecommerce environment that is increasingly hostile to small sellers, she believes sellers need a nonprofit organization dedicated to their success.

Chiarra Lohr

Chiarra Lohr started selling on Etsy in 2016, and in 2018 launched her business Chiarra Marie – Bespoke Corsetry and Lingerie. Her love of corsets began in college when she studied theater costume design at the University of Oregon while majoring in Psychology. She has always been fascinated by the effect of what we wear on how we feel about ourselves, and for her senior thesis ran a psychology study examining the effect of learning to sew on the self-esteem, body image, and self-efficacy of adolescent girls. Since then she has continued to work in education, tutoring at the collegiate level for several years, and currently works as an instructional designer for adult education at Ibernetics, LLC.

Dr. Samantha Close

Samantha Close is an Assistant Professor of Communication and Director of the Digital Communications and Media Arts master’s program at DePaul University. She earned her PhD at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on the intersections of creativity, labor, and identity, with publications in the International Journal of Communication, Social Media + Society, Feminist Media Studies, and Transformative Works and Cultures as well as in several edited volumes. Close’s documentary on crafters, “‘I Am Handmade’: Crafting in the Age of Computers” is available online at Vice Media’s outlet Motherboard.

Our Current Projects

Announcement that states "We have a Research Survey for you!"

Marketplace Survey:

The Indie Sellers Guild Foundation is launching a large-scale research project to learn what sellers and buyers need from an online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods.

Up till now, the discussion about e-commerce platforms has been dominated by investors, economists and academics—not the sellers who use the platform everyday to make a living.

The Indie Sellers Guild Foundation is working to rectify that with a survey based research study. The survey will asks sellers and buyers alike what they are looking for in an online marketplace, including topics such as:

  • Shipping
  • Customer service from the platform
  • Type of sellers on the platform
  • Search features
  • Fees
  • Platform policies and enforcement

The findings of this research will be written up in a white paper available to to sellers and marketplaces alike and used by the Indie Sellers Guild to create a ranked accreditation system for marketplaces. 

We have collected all responses for the first open-ended version of the survey, and will be releasing a multiple choice version soon. If you wish to participate in the survey, please click here to provide your email address. We will not use this email to contact you for any reason other than for this research study.

Etsy’s use of Plaid:

In the summer and fall of 2022, Etsy began sending out notifications to US sellers that they would be required to reverify their bank account using a third party company called Plaid. Further investigation by the Foundation showed that Plaid had recently settled a lawsuit for alleged privacy violations, including allegedly cloning users’ online banking pages so that users unknowingly gave Plaid their online banking username and password.

Furthermore, Plaid’s user agreement includes agreeing that Plaid may collect substantial private data, including identifying information such as SSN, device information, and bank account number and transaction history. If Etsy sellers refuse to reverify using Plaid and allow access to this data, Etsy stops paying sellers their funds and eventually suspends their shops, effectively closing many artists’ businesses.

We started a petition asking Etsy to give sellers another option than Plaid to verify their bank accounts. We created a video to inform sellers about this issue and the safest option for verifying with Plaid. We filed complaints with government agencies, and we have reached out for legal counsel. Learn more about this issue and the steps the Foundation has taken at