Etsy has long been my internet happy place. The online market provides craft-makers, artists, photographers, and virtually every creatively-minded individual a place to hawk their wares. And with over one million active sellers scattered across the globe, there’s an abundance of fabulously kitschy, and often customizable items to chose from.
I’ve purchased everything from wall hangings, jewelry, vintage clothing, incense, post cards, to hors d’oeuvres plates, and many other unique pieces. Until recently, mass manufactured products were not eligible for Etsy stores.
Founded in Brooklyn approximately 10 years ago, Etsy practically re-engineered the virtual marketplace and offered a global platform for the would-be small business owner.
Opening a shop in Etsy’s marketplace is free. Etsy charges 20 cents for each item listed and collects a fee of 3.5% once the item sells.
Reaching a new milestone today, Etsy went public. The IPO’s shares are currently hovering around $32 a pop.
“Today, as we reach an important milestone for Etsy – our initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock exchange – we would like to thank you, our sellers, for helping us reimagine commerce. Together, we’ve built not only a thriving marketplace, but a unique worldwide community based on creativity, entrepreneurship and helping one another,” said the site’s announcement.
But there’s more to love about Etsy than the schmorgesborg of trinkets waiting to be purchased. During its decade of existence, Etsy has sparked success story after success story:
Reuben Reuel, turned to the platform after losing his job, which he declined to specify. Reuel used his unemployment cash to fund his passion apparel project in 2012. He sells handmade printed skirts and tops through his online shop, Demestiks New York.
Today, Reuel brings in more than six figures in sales annually from the business he runs on Etsy. His staff includes an assistant and seamstress. The New York City-based seller even caught the attention of Beyonce, who posted a photo of herself on Instagram in 2014 wearing his designs.
“There were some tears,” said Reuel, explaining how he learned through friends the singer was wearing his designs. “It was exciting to see my work on someone who is so famous—it got my name out there more. I really appreciate the people out there helping the little guys like me, the independent designers.”
““I’m proud to be an Etsy seller because it enables small creators to fulfill big dreams.” –Shlomit Ofir, who founded her Etsy shop, Shlomit Ofir Jewelry Design, in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2008 and now operates four brick-and-mortar shops and works with retailers in 10 countries,” boasts Etsy’s announcement.
While Etsy’s decision to go public has many sellers excited (more traffic produces more sales, right?), every bold move has its skeptics:
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