Archive: Niche

Company Spotlight: Etsy

Image representing Robert Kalin as depicted in...

People have compared DIY haven Etsy to everything from “a crafty cross between Amazon and eBay”
to, more humorously, “your grandma’s basement.” Either way, the website strives to put the “personal”
back into e-commerce and effectively close the gap between producer and consumer — making it
possible for struggling students and stay-at-home moms alike to run successful online storefronts from
the comfort of, well, anywhere.

Wares include everything from handmade and vintage clothing to jewelry, artwork, and bath and
beauty products. There’s often special emphasis on environmentally-friendly creations that use recycled
materials, and quirky, one-of-a-kind items that offer distinct counterpoint to predictable, mass-
produced commercial goods. It costs less than a quarter ($0.20) to list an item, and Etsy takes 3.5% of
your final sale.

Ex-CEO Robert Kalin named the site Etsy because he “wanted a nonsense word [to] build the brand
from scratch. I was watching Fellini’s 8 ½ and writing down what I was hearing. In Italian, you
say ‘etsi’ a lot. It means ‘oh, yes.’ And in Latin, it means ‘and if.’” First launched in 2005 and primarily
promoted via word-of-mouth, Etsy has since become home to over 875,000 sellers who have brought in
over $525 million in sales.

Kalin saw Etsy “as a cultural movement that could revive the power and voice of the individual
against the depersonalized landscape of big-box retail” (Wired). In other words, there’s a very strong
emphasis on community and helping one another, sort of like a giant, friendly online craft fair. Or
as it’s explained on their official blog, “when you buy a gift from a seller on Etsy, you’re directly
supporting people in local communities all over the world while giving something uniquely special and
meaningful to someone you care about.”

Currently positions are open in communications, operations, and software engineering… and if you’re
still not convinced that this is the place for you, better check out the cozy corporate offices in Brooklyn.

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