Careers at Etsy
Etsy operates a marketplace for handmade and vintage items. It works to connect sellers and buyers of handcrafts both online and offline.
Etsy was launched in 2005 by a group of founders including Robert Kalin, Haim Schoppik and Chris Maguire. But Haim Schoppik and Chris Maguire didn’t stay long in the company as they left in August 2008.
As of lack of an online marketplace for people to sell their handcrafts and unique items such as computers built with wooden casing like those that Kalin was building inspired the creation of Etsy.
The name Etsy is derived for Italian word etsi, meaning “oh, yes”. In French and Latin, etsi means “what if”.
In its history, Etsy has been dogged by issues of piracy where vendors on the platform sell other people’s work as their own.
At some point in 2011 Etsy experimented with a social forum that operated like Facebook with hopes of encouraging connections between vendors and buyers so that they can become friends and then make the marketplace thrive. But the company had to introduce some controls after it emerged that people could access past unfavorable feedback that triggered a surge in complaints about the platform.
Since its founding in 2005, Etsy has expanded to more international markets including Germany, France and Australia.
Although Etsy was initially a place for strictly handmade goods, it decided to expand the room a bit for vendors on the platform by announcing that factory-made items could be sold on the platform as long as the sellers of those goods satisfied certain conditions.
Etsy went public in the early part of the second quarter of 2015 and raised $237 million in IPO proceeds. The IPO valued the company at $1.8 billion.
The handmade items marketplace had more than 54 million registered members in 2015, with 25 million active buyers and more than 16 million sellers.
Benefits at Etsy
Business model of Etsy
Etsy mainly serves two customer segments:
- Sellers: These are mostly artists who use the Etsy marketplace to sell their handcrafts to earn a living and showcase their creative work.
- Buyers: These are the people who come to Etsy marketplace to shop for unique items to satisfy their love for art.
Etsy renders an array of tools designed to meet the unique needs of the sellers and buyers on its marketplace.
- For sellers, there are tools that enable them to create personal shops and give them a unique identity. Sellers also have great flexibility in choosing prices for their items and deciding how they want to be paid for the items sold. Etsy sellers can also take advantage of the mobile app provided by the company to manage their listings on the platform.
- For buyers, Etsy has a wide range of art items to choose from and a broad option of payment methods that include PayPal and debit/credit cards among others. Those who buy items on Etsy marketplace can also choose to have their orders delivered to them, thus enhancing the convenience of shopping on the platform. Besides handmade items, customers can also buy vintage goods on the marketplace.
Etsy’s sales organization uses a combination of digital tools that range from websites to mobile apps to forums to recruit and engage customers.
Etsy operates a customer support desk that sellers and buyers can contact whenever they need help. The company also uses social media to address customer issues.
From time to time Etsy holds local events at which customers get to ask questions and obtain answers about issues they want to know.
Etsy’s primary activity is operating a marketplace for handcrafts and vintage goods. But in addition to that, the company also manages payment and supports delivery for its sellers and buyers.
Etsy also connects sellers with manufacturers after it opened the doors for factory-made items to be sold on its marketplace.
Partners of Etsy include payments service providers such as PayPal and credit card companies that facilitate the checkout on its marketplace.
Though artists are widely seen as sellers on Etsy marketplace, they are also partners of the company because they have helped create a community of art enthusiasts that have continued to boost the growth of Etsy as an arts marketplace.
The marketplace platform is a key resource for Etsy because it is through it that the company connects sellers and buyers and gets the opportunity to generate revenue by charging artists to list their items on the marketplace.
Etsy’s community of employees is also a key resource because they maintain the marketplace and recruit customers.
The major cost burdens for Etsy include expenses for maintaining the marketplace, which needs frequent improvements to ensure that the company stays competitive given the growing competitive threat.
Payroll and marketing are other major costs that Etsy has to cope with.
Etsy’s revenue streams include the $0.20 listing fee per item for four months and the 3.5% commission on sales on the marketplace. The company also renders advertisement where it features shops for a fee.
The move to allow factory-manufactured items to be sold on Etsy paved the way for more rapid growth of the marketplace as it resulted in a broader product listing, a wider user base and more revenue for the company.
Annual merchandise sales volume on Etsy hit $2.39 billion in 2015, growing from $1.93 billion in 2014 and $1.35 billion in 2013.
info: Chad is the Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Etsy. He has held the position of CEO since July 2011 and joined the board of the company in September 2011. Dickerson was hired from Yahoo and joined Etsy in the position of CTO. He graduated with B.A. in English literature from Duke University. The hiring of Dickerson as CTO marked a major turning point for Etsy.
info: Kristina has served as CFO of Etsy since January 2013. She joined the company from Fidelity Investments and prior to that she worked at Oppenheimer Capital and Merrill Lynch. Salen studied Political Science at Vassar College and she graduated with an MBA in Finance from Columbia University.
info: Kellan has been CTO of Etsy since July 2011 having previously held the position VP of Engineering in the company. Elliott-McCrea joined Etsy from Yahoo where he was the architect of Flickr. He has also founded or led several startups at various points in his life.
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