Etsy turns 10 – what your business can learn from its decade on top
Etsy was the brainchild of creative visionaries and born June 2005 in a Brooklyn apartment. Founder Rob Kalin and two friends saw a need to connect craftspeople with buyers in an online community. Today, the website joins 1.4 million active sellers with over 20 million active buyers and has exploded around the globe.
History – What made Etsy a global success?
Community is the heart and soul of Etsy, says Etsy Australia and Asia managing director Helen Souness. This is why the brand built a platform focused on connecting people and showing the people behind the product.
“I have never received a personal delivery without a handwritten note from a seller inside it,” Souness says.
The Etsy business model is built on shared success. Etsy makes money when Etsy sellers make money; although revenue also comes from advertising and payment processing. It is therefore in Etsy’s best economic interest to see each seller succeed. In 2008, Chad Dickerson joined Etsy as the first CTO. Dickerson went on to become CEO of Etsy and had a vision of “reimagination of commerce,” a transformation of every aspect of how goods are made, bought and sold.
Souness says an enormous amount of Etsy’s success is through word of mouth and the connections between Etsy community members.
“When we do other marketing, we always focus on the wonderful work of our the makers and vintage curators on our platform,” Souness says.
Etsy Australia senior marketing specialist Dana Nikanpour said one of the most successful and beautiful campaigns Etsy has launched in Australia to date was Etsy at The Cullen. The project, launched in April, was a collaboration between Art Series Hotels and a Melbourne-based creative team. The Cullen’s penthouse was transformed using products from the Etsy community.
Last week the brand launched the Etsy Design Awards, encouraging current and potential buyers to vote for their favorite designs. The winner will win a trip to Etsy headquarters in Brooklyn, where it all began.
Etsy Australia runs their own Facebook account, Instagram and Twitter feed; they also maintain community forum and team pages on the Etsy Australia website. This stakeholder engagement is essential to create conversations and drive profit.
Souness says this enables Etsy Australia to showcase the true diversity of creative small business in Australia.
“Our ultimate goal with social media in Australia is to curate human and community-centric content that highlights the ever-growing Etsy Australia community,” she says, “Quality and authenticity are at the forefront of each and every piece of content we develop or engage with.”
Souness believes Etsy has the long term potential to transform how goods are made, bought and sold into a transparent, sustainable, people-centric and community-centric process.
Souness recommends that, for optimal success, brands marketing their business on Etsy should use great photography, have search items and tags to get found and to utilize the Etsy seller community.
Marketing asked Etsy the names of smaller sellers that used Etsy as a platform to launch their brands.
Fairina Cheng picked up her first jeweler’s saw in 2009 and has never looked back. She creates contemporary, high-quality jewelry that has unique aesthetic. Fairina is winner of the Community’s Choice award in the inaugural Etsy Design Awards and is continuously developing and growing her bespoke range of handmade jewelry.
Juliette of Pirdy makes homewares and accessories using resins and ceramic plasters. Pirdy is a full-time job for Juliette which she absolutely loves. It allows her to be a stay at home mother whilst running a successful creative business.
A Part of Me
APOM design and make beautiful clothing. Designers Kate and Kajsa started their business three years ago after meeting at university, starting out in a parent’s garage to now running a successful Etsy shop along with a bricks and mortar shop full time.
Designers Akiko and Orr hand-make beautiful accessories. They are a successful mum and dad team, juggling work-life and family to run their creative business through Esty.
Grace Wood Designs
Grace Wood is a producer and maker of artisan textiles, ceramics, and timber ware products for the home. Grace creates one-of-a-kind felt textiles using Merino wool from sheep from her family farm in the Central Tablelands. Grace has been able to quit her day job and run her successful creative business full time.