Etsy Leads the Web to Craft This Holiday
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) With Christmas just a few weeks away, you're likely stuck on what to get someone on your list.
They're persnickity, with particular tastes. They won't want something mass-produced. They recognize craft when they see it.
What you need, then, is Etsy.
Etsy was launched in 2005, and is sometimes called the online marketplace for DIYers. (It's based in Brooklyn--naturally.)
It's been through its share of growing pains, and it is now run by Chad Dickerson, a former journalist. It had sales of $115.2 million in October , selling almost 5.9 million products and recording 1.91 billion page views.
Etsy has a user interface similar to Pinterest, photos posted in blocks on pages, with each item described and prices listed. Transactions are handled centrally, deliveries done locally -- meaning artists can focus on their craft, leaving the details of marketing and transaction processing to the site.
The heart of the site is its search engine, which can help you find what you're looking for as fast as Amazon.com.
Looking for jewelry that's made in New York City? Etsy has almost 210,000 items to choose from. Want it sorted by price? How about a 19th century diamond engagement ring, from Israel Rose of New York Estate Jewelry, for $130,000?
Finding that took less than 30 seconds.
Pastore shows on Facebook and on Pinterest as well as Etsy. She doesn't have her own Web site. She doesn't have to. She wears her tattoos proudly and is known as the "glamorous gloom girl." All of that, including the background, took me two minutes to collect.
Etsy offers services like wedding registries , along with regular shows and classes around the world. Think of it as an online mall for the quirky, the handmade, and the unique, complete with both online and offline communities.
Running an art business is like herding cats, and Etsy has to wrangle 30 million members. Thus Etsy comes in for its share of flak. These include a regular blog called Etsybitch and complaint posts on other sites .
The biggest problem lies in defining "handmade," with factory re-sellers masquerading as craftspeople. After defending a shop that was importing goods from Malaysia last year , Dickerson announced in October that Etsy would let artists hire employees and have others produce their goods.
This last, naturally, caused a huge uproar which can be summed up for the casual user in two words: buyer beware. You might do what I did here check out the sources of what you buy on the Web beyond Etsy before completing a purchase there.