More Etsy in the News

As always, another tiring article that begins with “Etsy, a website for handmade and vintage goods…”

The interesting tidbit (emphasis added):

The company expects a new revenue line to come out of its business putting Etsy sellers’ products in brick and mortar stores, like Nordstrom Inc., but hasn’t yet figured out that business model, Mr. Dickerson said.

Ummmm….. I know I’m not the sharpest, but wouldn’t you want to figure out the business model before embarking on a project? He must mean he hasn’t yet figured out to get his hands deep enough into these artists’ pockets.

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6 thoughts on “More Etsy in the News

  1. The Inc. Magazine for December/ January has an interesting article by Tom Foster, about Etsy and Chad’s problem regaining the the trust of the handmade sellers. Entitled “Now Comes the Hard Part,” the lead in tells it all: “What do you call a company that is growing rapidly, has hundreds of happy employees and is worth hundreds of millions of dollars- but is still deeply troubled? You call it Etsy.

    Basically is seems like a puff piece about Chad, what a great, sensitive, new age kind of guy he is, and all the wonderful rationale behind the big sellout. If you didn’t know the truth, you might actually believe that the guy can actually walk on water, so great are the miracles he performed since taking the helm after Rob Kalin left. In true Soviet style, Kalin’s image is gradually being reworked (and not just here) such that instead of being recognized for his genius in creating the site, he is more or less being portrayed as sort of a bumbling, altruistic, tree hugging, nouveau hippy, absentminded professor type whose delicate sensibilities made him ill suited to take Etsy in the direction it had to go.

    Chad is getting all the credit- according to the article, merchandise sales have tripled and are on track to approach $1.5 billion this year, there are more than 1 million shops on Etsy, 18 million items for sale and 60 monthly unique visitors, up from 25 million when Dickerson took over. As they say, “it’s a remarkable success story……and yet, spend just a few minutes on the Etsy forums, where sellers trade tips and discuss Etsy related issues, and another story quickly emerges, one in which Etsy faces nothing short of an existential crisis. On the forums, a highly vocal faction of members accuses Dickerson of selling out the company’s mission.”

    The article goes on to tell the story of one Tielor McBride who had a very successful Etsy shop that sold leather and canvas bags, and which eventually was so successful that McBride had to farm out the work to a small, 12 worker factory in New Jersey that he visits 2 or 3 times a week to supervise, etc. According to Chad, supporting successful shops like this one has been “a high priority.” and the reason for the change in guidelines. In other words, this is the quintessential Etsy seller who ends up doing so well that they have to have their products at least partially mass produced. Nothing to see here, folks.

    We also read “nowhere has the lack of trust played out more clearly than in the debate around the so-called resellers.” Of course Chad has a good answer for that: while claiming that nobody denies there are resellers, he explains “We are trusting the sellers to make the right decisions, and do it in a marketplace that’s open and honest.” Huh? “If Etsy is going to change the world, it’s going to do it by opening a vast market of humanely and sustainably produced goods dreamed up by real people who really care about quality.” Dramamine anyone?

    Note: At the time I wrote this, there was no digital version of this article available.

  2. Sounds like another interesting article. I get so tired of that same old statement from Chad “we are trusting sellers…” Funny, they trust the sellers, but not the buyers to make their own decisions. And Chad is going to change the world… he is so full of himself. Thanks Patty for the heads up on the article. I’ll be watching for a digital version so I can make sure and comment!

  3. I love the quote, “yet, spend just a few minutes on the Etsy forums…and another story quickly emerges, one in which Etsy faces nothing short of an existential crisis. On the forums, a highly vocal faction of members accuses Dickerson of selling out the company’s mission.”

    And I love it that so many journalists are not only reading the Forum, but talking about what’s going on there.

    • Lisa- can’t wait till you read the whole article. Just be prepared with a barf bag for some of it. I think the author doesn’t fully understand the depth of the seething discontent.

      • Well, Patty, once a digital version is available*, I’m sure the author *will* fully understand the depth of the seething discontent, if all past articles and posts are anything to go by!

        *Do they definitely have a digital version?

  4. In the meantime, someone should get the author’s contact info and send him links to *all” of the various pieces that sellers have responded to. Does anyone have a list of all these? I can’t even remember them all…

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