wholesale

Wholesale primes Etsy for big business

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Since its founding in 2005, Etsy has been a welcoming platform to very small handmade businesses. Now, it’s making an effort to be equally hospitable to bigger businesses.

On Thursday, the site unveiled Etsy Wholesale, a service for Etsy shop owners who want to sell goods in bulk. A logical step following Etsy’s May acquisition of wholesale platform Trunkt, the service will mean successful shops won’t outgrow Etsy as quickly.

Vanessa Bertozzi, who will serve as Etsy’s Program Manager for Wholesale, announced the move on the company’s official blog. She said Etsy can't move forward as a “one-size-fits-all platform.”

“I’ve seen those little shops grow on Etsy over the years, and on some bittersweet occasions, graduate from Etsy,” Bertozzi wrote. “As a company, we need to provide more tools for sellers whose businesses have expanded.”

CEO Chad Dickerson said that Etsy Wholesale will be postponed until after the holiday season so new rules don’t affect sellers’ busiest time of the year. In the latest Note from Chad, his informal blog column to the community, Dickerson discussed Etsy’s expanding marketplace.

“In Etsy’s earliest days, ‘the seller’ often meant one person—an artisan—who did everything herself,” he wrote. “For some shops, remaining a one-person operation is still the right approach. For others, meeting their goals necessitates more help.”

Dickerson said he didn’t mean factory assistance, still a touchy subject with community members burned by Etsy’s support of an alleged reseller. Instead, he used the example of a woman who wanted to help her retired mother start a shop, but was denied on the grounds of policy on location since she didn’t live with her mother:

“This is a case where a well-intended rule developed to prevent outsourcing to mega-factories is unintentionally hindering a family. We know this needs to change.”

Dickerson encouraged Etsians to send their own visions of Etsy’s future to him at future@etsy.com. In the Etsy forums, this push for transparency has been met with a fairly positive response from sellers.

“[I]t  appears that [Dickerson]  is trying to bring sellers into the Etsy evolution process,” Karen and Tina wrote. “[Administrators] and Chad in particular have taken considerable heat (and rightly so) for their sparse communication regarding Etsy's road map. The blog post tone/style communicates to me that he is at least trying to be more visible.”

Etsy’s embrace of bigger businesses may make some small ones uncomfortable. But it’s clear Dickerson wants every Etsian, large or small, to be involved.