Etsy's Valentine's Day Party

Yesterday, on Valentine’s Day, Etsy invited press to its headquarters in Brooklyn and took the covers off a bunch of things they have been working on for most of last year and will launch shortly. For those that don’t know, USV was one of the first investors in Etsy and I have been on the Board of Etsy for over a decade now.

Here are the details of what they talked about and showed yesterday:

Etsy Studio – This is a brand new marketplace, built from the ground up, to allow makers of craft supplies, large and small, to reach crafters all around the world. Etsy Studio will compete with retail stores like Michaels and others but with ~200x the inventory. A typical retail craft store will carry 30,000 to 40,000 SKUs. Etsy Studio will carry 8mm SKUs at launch.

Etsy also plans to bring the “joy of crafting” to Etsy Studio with its signature design and ease of use, but also with content and projects that connect what you want to make with the supplies you need to make it.

Etsy Studio will launch in April.

Etsy Shop Manager – Over the years Etsy has offered sellers the opportunity to use Etsy tools in a variety of places. They can use them on, they can use them in a craft fair with Etsy’s mobile apps and card reader, they can sell on their own website powered by Pattern, and soon, they can sell on Etsy Studio. And sellers can use Etsy’s advertising services, payment services, and shipping services on most of these sales channels.  If you follow this trend, it is clear that Etsy wants to help sellers sell wherever they want to sell. Etsy Shop Manager is an entirely new interface for sellers to manage their business. It puts all of the Etsy seller tools in one place and helps sellers decide which tools and which sales channels to use to grow their business.

There are a bunch of other things Etsy has been building to make all of this work like structured data and search, a new and better way to manage inventory, and the ability to check out with as many items in your basket as you want.

Since I started working with Etsy over ten years ago, they have been committed to a single idea – that there is an emerging economy of creative entrepreneurs who power a personal form of commerce that is better for everyone. Here are some stats that show the power of that idea:

  • Today, there are active Etsy sellers in 99% of the counties in the US and almost every country in the world.
  • Half of Etsy sellers start their shops to meet a financial need.
  • 87% of Etsy’s creative entrepreneurs are female.
  • Etsy’s 1.7 million sellers are able to create jobs and incomes for themselves and build value in their communities by connecting with 27 million buyers all through the Etsy platform.

Companies like Etsy don’t come around that often, but when they do, I am drawn to them. They are mission driven and they make things happen that need to happen. It’s very fulfilling to work with companies like this.


Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield


    1. fredwilson


  2. Jeff Hohner

    Fred – this is phenomenal. This is one of the good ones that makes what you do all worth it – it must feel great indeed. Helps the world be a better place by creating opportunities for people to help themselves and fulfill their dreams at the same time – can’t get too much better than that. Congrats to the team and very well done.

  3. Anne Libby

    Smart! I do a good bit of needlework, and crafty stuff with the kids in my life. I’m not a frequent Etsy buyer, highly unlikely to be a seller: I imagine that there are many others like me. I look forward to seeing the marketplace.

  4. Francois Royer Mireault

    Very impressive. I must say I saw a skeptic when in 2013-2014 they were hit with a bunch of bad press regarding mass-produced products on their platform. It seemed the community had lost faith. It just shows how small bumps like this won’t matter in the long run – when you take feedback / grow and follow your mission. Kudos!

    1. fredwilson

      bad press and the truth are not often the same thing, particularly on the internet. the press made a mountain out of a mole hill back then

      1. jason wright


      2. Vasudev Ram

        “bad press and the truth are not often the same thing, particularly on the internet” – fred wilson.Quotable 🙂

      3. JamesHRH

        #fakenewsCome on, had to.

  5. Pointsandfigures

    I am amazed at how engaged the “craft” space is. Learned about it when mentoring a Chicago Tech Stars company.

  6. William Mougayar

    Etsy is on a roll, definitely.

  7. bsoist

    I am really impressed with Etsy and have been exploring the shops more over the last couple of months.Yesterday, Terri wore the ring I bought from an Etsy shop for her last year on Valentine’s Day. Her students all raved about it and she told them all about Etsy. 🙂

    1. JamesHRH

      My favourite Etsy experience – buying a custom street number sign for our house in Sarnia. Just really cool to connect to a metal fan shop in Michigan, easily & enjoyably.I’m not that huge a Etsy-an. Not that crafty….

      1. Donna Brewington White

        I am not crafty… or even much of a shopper, but some great finds on Etsy when I want something unique — or that is hard to locate.

  8. jason wright

    87%. Big imbalance.

  9. awaldstein

    what a pleasure it must be to be involved with a company that is defining a market, redefining work, rethinking how to translate beliefs to business decisions and profitable.sounds too good to be true.

  10. LE

    So my older sister is a seller on ETSY for years with a 100% positive rating . I just saw something that she does which gave me a gift idea. Her page said that she does custom orders. So I just texted her and asked what she charges for custom and she replies right away ‘sorry I don’t do custom anymore’.So I say “not even for your brother… it’s a gift for someone?”.And she replies “nope–really don’t have the time to put into it”.She is a true artist and has always been one. (No business sense something that always frustrated my father). Gift was for an important person. Oh well. I tried. To her this is just a way to do her art (very clear from the pricing) and not make money.[1] Would rather not mention which store but she does custom map art.

  11. PhilipSugar

    Made me buy two things!

  12. ShanaC

    I hope you bring in more specialized suppliers like Talas (here in brooklyn). It is sometimes REALLY difficult finding small amounts of high quality stuff

  13. JamesHRH

    Last sentence is understatement at its finest.

  14. leigh

    Hey @fredwilson:disqus the top hat post seems to have gone missing? Excited to see you guys continuing to invest in Toronto 🙂

  15. jschless

    Brilliant – entering the commoditized craft market is impressive decision. Wonder what biggest challenges will be !

  16. Nik Bonaddio

    I thought that was you! I live in DUMBO these days and could have sworn I biked right by you.

  17. fredwilson

    good idea

  18. Donna Brewington White

    Such an excellent case study of how mission continues to drive the business and determines its direction. Helps to have a reference point when reflecting on how this plays out.

  19. Vasudev Ram

    Another viewpoint:When Lou Gerstner took over as CEO at IBM (it was doing badly then, from some time), he famously said: “The last thing IBM needs is a mission” (or maybe he said vision). IOW, better execution is needed instead. And he turned it around, over some years. See his book, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? I read it some years ago, fairly interesting.Just to make it clear, I’m not saying either approach is the only correct one. Horses for courses, different strokes for different folks (aka companies and situations), etc.Here are some quotes by him:…This is one of my favorites, didn’t know it was from him:”People don’t do what you expect but what you inspect.”The Wikipedia article about him has the quote I mentioned at the top.….And the word he used was vision, not mission:[ Upon becoming chief executive of IBM, Gerstner declared: “the last thing IBM needs right now is a vision”, as he instead focused on execution, decisiveness, simplifying the organization for speed, and breaking the gridlock. Many expected heads to roll, yet Gerstner initially changed only the CFO, the HR chief, and three key line executives. ]Reading that Wikipedia page now, looks interesting.