Local Goes Global: Etsy Builds a Better Marketplace
Power to the people, or at least the creatives – that’s Etsy’s motto. More precisely, their mission is to empower people to change the global economy. Etsy is an online marketplace where anyone can sell handmade or vintage goods. With over 875,000 active vendors and 15 million members in over 150 countries, Etsy brings the traditional, local market to a global audience.
Etsy provides a platform for people to easily buy direct from creative, independent businesses. It only costs 20 cents to list an item, allowing anyone to become an entrepreneur and keep 96.5% of their sales. Vendors control the selection and prices, encouraging bottom-up innovation and giving customers access to previously unavailable alternative choices. With $525 million in gross merchandise sales last year, Etsy has become an empowering tool to increase the self sufficiency and durability of the economy and people’s well being.
Apart from empowering their vendors, three-quarters of which are women, Etsy works to strengthen the movement to build local, living economies and create a more sustainable future. To support this effort, the B Corp created Hello Etsy, a global conference organized around the process of building a mindful, sustainable business. The gathering sought to address the current economic system which “has left us ever more disconnected with nature, our communities and the people and processes behind the objects in our lives.” With over 1,500 participants on location and 39,000 through the web, Hello Etsy has been a resounding success and will reoccur this coming year.
Etsy’s commitment to a fair, sustainable economy makes them a perfect fit for the B Corporation community. CEO Chad Dickerson states, “I think becoming a Certified B Corporation is one of the most important things Etsy has ever done. It helps us keep an eye on the ‘mindful, transparent, and humane’ values we aspire to, and also keeps us focused on our intention to ‘plan and build for the long term,’ not just when it comes to Etsy but for the world at large.” (Read his post on B Corps here.) B Corp certification not only supports Etsy’s vision but allows them to take their mission beyond rhetoric and measure their performance against a third party standard. They also join a movement to inspire their staff, community and other businesses to support social and environmentally responsibility and greater transparency throughout the economy.
Etsy’s plans for the future revolve around their vendors; they constantly seek to improve their platform and make sellers more successful. The B Corp is also expanding internationally to reach more individuals and increase the number of independent businesses worldwide. By empowering people to create small businesses and take their ideas to market, Etsy continues to transform the economy and positively impact the world.