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Yahoo and Three Bird Nest Founder Discuss Critics

Posted on 24 March 2015

How Etsy's Richest Seller Answers Her Critics

How Etsy's Richest Seller Answers Her Critics

Alicia Shaffer is a DIY success story. The owner of Three Bird Nest, the hit “girly accessories” store on Etsy, went from a small California-based boutique owner with a penchant for handmade headbands to a thriving business that employs nearly two dozen people and sells $70,000 a month in “boot socks, lace, bohemian scarves, boho headbands & knit leg warmers for women.” The Daily Mail dubbed her “Etsy’s Biggest Seller.” 

"I feel excited by the fact that we are a little tiny player that’s growing," Shaffer says during an interview with Yahoo Makers. And with Three Bird Nest in its fourth year, she’s eager to keep the growth going. "I’m not at the point where I feel like I can take a breath and be like, ‘Okay, we’ve made it now,’" Shaffer says. "I have a a vision for where I want the brand to go. I have a vision for where I want the business to go. And we’re definitely not there yet."

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With great success comes great haters. Shaffer’s Three Bird Nest is drawing criticism from those who question its DIY cred. (Photo: Three Bird Nest)

But one thing that may not have been in Shaffer’s vision: critics. The phenomenal growth of Three Bird Nest has given rise to a small but vocal chorus of haters who’re attacking Shaffer’s DIY street cred. They question how much of her stuff is really handcrafted. They say she doesn’t belong on Etsy, which began as an online community where small artisans could make a few bucks selling their handmade labors of love.

And amateur DIY experts have started accusing Shaffer of a cardinal sin in the Etsy community: secretly making her goods in China. “Handmade?????? please, just how stupid does she think we are?”writes one of Shaffer’s online critics. “Granted maybe they make the headbands, but that is about it, everything else is imported from China from the sweat shops.”

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Shaffer insists the products she sells via Etsy, like this headband, are always handmade in her California space. The products on her separate Three Bird Nest website, however, are another matter. (Photo: Etsy)

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