Etsy is looking to bring its artisan-created goods to the world. It has officially launched Etsy Wholesale to enable boutiques to buy its handcrafted goods at wholesale prices.
According to a blog post by Rand Niederhoffer, program manager for Etsy Wholesale and co-founder of Thistle & Clover boutique, Etsy has been working with retailers large (Nordstrom and West Elm) and small over the past year to explore opportunities for growing their sales.
During the beta phase of Etsy Wholesale, the company used feedback from buyers and sellers to develop "user-friendly tools and seamless integration between Etsy.com and Etsy Wholesale."
To participate in Etsy Wholesale, members pay a one-time fee of $100. Etsy will also collect a 3.5 percent transaction fee for wholesale orders. The new venture, according to Mr. Niederhoffer, "is a step into the future of retail buying and offers convenience and access to unique products that you can't find anywhere else."
Laura Daly of Mockingbird Domestics boutique in Austin, TX said, "Usually the expenses associated with going to a showroom keep out the smaller, unknown, independent designers — Etsy Wholesale makes it simple and cost effective to source fresh products all the time."
Looking ahead, Etsy is focused on finding additional ways to grow the marketplace for the independent sellers on the site.
Etsy Wholesale will be participating in American Express's Small Business Saturday and is asking retailers to participate in trunk shows on November 29. Participating retailers will receive a trunk show kit with promotional material, a $25 gift card to purchase goods from Etsy sellers and a $50 American Express Shop Small Reward Card. Registration for the event begins next month.
Etsy is also working with a Brooklyn-based magazine, Dossier, to showcase items made by its independent sellers in the publication.
While Etsy supports independent business owners, there's nothing small about the online marketplace for arts and crafts. The certified B Corporation, a designation for companies that seek to use the power of commerce to solve social and environmental problems, has over 40 million members, over one million active shops and lists over 26 million items for sale. Merchandise sales in 2013 reached $1.35 billion.
In an interview on CBS This Morning, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson said, "The beauty of Etsy is that you can get something that no one else has." He added, "It feels really good to support an artisan."
Do you think American consumers are more or less interested in buying artisan goods today than 10 or 20 years ago?