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Only an Artsy company like Etsy could lose money and still win big

Artists of every kind have become accus­tomed to using the Etsy mar­ket­place to sell their hand­made goods and crafts; well now it appears that has filed for an ini­tial pub­lic offer­ing. Etsy launched in 2005 and has been grow­ing sales prodi­gious­ly but is still unprof­itable, accord­ing to the company’s IPO fil­ing. In 2014 their gross mer­chan­dise sales went up 43% to $1.93 bil­lion from $1.35 bil­lion in 2013. Etsy has tak­en the ini­tia­tive with sales like this to file that ini­tial pub­lic offer­ing. They are hop­ing to raise about $100 mil­lion in new work­ing capital.

Etsy’s busi­ness is get­ting larg­er and more var­ied dai­ly attract­ing buy­ers and sell­ers out the wha­zoo, and let’s not for­get all that mobile. We can’t real­ly say for sure the exact num­bers but their mobile traf­fic account­ed for 53.2% of all traf­fic in 2014 com­pared with 41.3% in 2013. In their fill­ing they claim “We launched our first mobile app in 2011, and we con­tin­ue to enhance our mobile offer­ing,” Some inter­est­ing stats we can share says 89% of its sell­ers are female, and that their over­seas busi­ness is grow­ing. Inter­na­tion­al sales account­ed for 30.9%, equiv­a­lent to $596.4 mil­lion in gross sales over $383.4 the pre­vi­ous year.

In that $100 mil­lion they want to raise, Etsy says 300k of it is being allo­cat­ed to fund, a Delaware non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion Etsy formed in Jan­u­ary “to edu­cate women and oth­er entre­pre­neur­ial groups on how to build a last­ing business”.

At 10 year of age the online mar­ket­place of all things crafty, vin­tage and hand­made is plot­ting future endeav­ors. They have 1.4 mil­lion active sell­ers who sell to 54 mil­lion mem­bers gen­er­at­ed $2 bil­lion in sales last year. Chad Dick­er­son, the man in charge calls what is hap­pen­ing “the Etsy Econ­o­my”, val­ue over price.

Etsy has been receiv­ing lots of lip about the fact that some sell­ers feel they have some­what aban­doned their ini­tial mis­sion of pro­vid­ing a plat­form for crafts­peo­ple to move their goods. In Octo­ber of 2013, Etsy allowed sell­ers with staff, or out­sourced man­u­fac­tur­ing to sell on Etsy. They says these are ele­ments that must be allowed to exist if mom and pop shows want to grow. Unfor­tu­nate­ly the purists feel this move away from the “essence” of the thing, mean­ing hand­made. Etsy says it has teams and process­es in place to mon­i­tor com­pli­ance with its poli­cies and inves­ti­gates shops in violation.

At the end of the day Etsy has boot­strapped a great num­ber of individual’s careers, a lot of them women mak­ing the kind of mon­ey I would like to be mak­ing. Any­one look­ing to move some hand­made stuff, get on board, any­one else look­ing for a media busi­ness that’s grow­ing like weeds, see what jobs at Etsy are open. I just like that they’re in Brooklyn.

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