For the last seven years, Trunkt has helped to highlight and assist crafters who want to sell their products wholesale to store owners, decorators, and boutiques.
While some sellers protesting Etsy have argued there’s no way for their handmade goods to compete against mass-produced items from factory resellers, the move could make some Etsy businesses more lucrative. Wholesale, or the practice of selling goods in large quantities at a discount to retailers, can sometimes make artisans more money than individual sales.
In fact, an Etsy spokesperson told the Daily Dot the Trunkt acquisition is not a new direction for Etsy. Sellers have been doing wholesale business or interested in its potential since at least 2007.
“Take a look at our Quit Your Day Job series or the sellers currently on the Trunkt platform, and you'll see it that these are independent, creative artisans,” the spokesperson said. “It's our mission to support those businesses and empower them to change the economy. Trunkt is built off our API and 95 percent of its sellers are on Etsy already, so it's a logical fit.”
In the Etsy forums, Trunkt founder Dev Tandon let sellers know that the news of his hire had leaked earlier than planned (possibly in this two-day-old blog comment), and that Etsy didn’t yet have plans to change anything.
However, some community members wrote they were concerned Etsy’s emphasis on wholesale will make resellers—those who would pass off factory-made goods as crafts—harder to identify.
“How could you make enough 'handmade' items and also sell it at 'wholesale' price; it wouldn't be worth your time for the price you would have to offer to the company purchasing it at a wholesale price,” wrote Sandra. “This 'wholesale' opportunity here concerns me.”
Wholesale crafters shared a different perspective.
“I disagree,” wrote Marty. “Wholesale is mostly my entire business. Etsy is just a sideline retail business. Tomorrow I start on a 1200 tea light order, and it's all handmade. It's totally worth it to me. Don't judge. I can certainly make a profit selling wholesale.”
The Trunkt acquisition does not resolve the Etsy reseller problem. But it may help crafters make their shops lucrative enough to compete with any type of seller.
Photo by Etsy