CEO Chad Dickerson told me that while craft supplies were already available through the existing Etsy website, “It was a category that we didn’t focus on.” Then, about a year ago, the team started to work on the idea of creating a separate marketplace.
“It’s one of the most natural things we’ve ever done,” Dickerson said. “We saw a market that was really lacking in joy and inspiration, and we feel like we’re really uniquely qualified to bring that.”
Plus, it’s another way for Etsy to make money. The company will charge for Etsy Studio listings just like any other listing on the service.
Director of Product Management Tim Holley said Etsy Studio was designed with three broad principles in mind — selection, ease and inspiration. For starters, the selection should be dramatically improved compared to a normal craft supply store. The goal is to have 8 million products at launch, compared to 33,000 at your typical big box.
Holley also demonstrated how someone can search for a product in Etsy Studio. The supplies are divided into different categories like knitting, and then there are a bunch of additional category-specific filters. (They’re specific enough that the knitting-related filters that Holley mentioned went completely over my head.) The listings should also include up-close photos of the product and details about how it was made.
Finally, when it comes to inspiration, Holley said that many Etsy sellers read crafting websites and blogs, then they have to “hunt to find the supplies they need.” With Etsy Studio, there’s a whole “projects” section that includes detailed tutorials, which then connect directly to the supply shopping experience.
Over the next few weeks, Etsy plans to bring select supply sellers into Studio to get them ready for the full launch in April.
The company announced Etsy Studio as part of larger event that also included the unveiling of Shop Manager, a unified interface for all the different products and services that Etsy has created for sellers.
Chief Operating Officer Linda Findley Kozlowski described this as “one of the biggest, most significant improvements to the seller experience that we’ve ever launched,” because it means there’s “no more clicking from menu to menu” to get all the data they need. It also includes notifications that make it easier to stay on top of how your business in doing.
Dickerson used the event to highlight what he called “the Etsy economy” of 1.7 million sellers, 87 percent of whom are female. There have been sellers in 99.9 percent of U.S. counties, he said. Looking ahead, he suggested that the company has “an important role” to play in a future where creative entrepreneurs can “make a living and a life built around human connection and creativity.”