It’s been some time since I last wrote. We’ve had a busy spring and summer at Etsy HQ, as I know many of you have, too. On a personal note, my wife and I recently adopted a son from South Korea — our first child. Such a significant life change and set of new responsibilities as a father have given me a chance to pause and reflect on Etsy’s place in the world from a new perspective. The stories I hear regularly of how running a business on Etsy gives people the flexibility to spend more time with their friends and families are even more meaningful now.
Inside the company, we have been planning for the next couple of years and beyond at Etsy and I want to share that thinking with you. Our vision for Etsy is to reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world. We do this by enabling people anywhere to build and buy from independent, creative businesses run by real people like you.
What makes Etsy special
Before talking about where we’re headed, I want to first take a moment to reflect on what makes Etsy special: the community and the direct, personal connections between buyers and sellers. Wired wrote about Etsy in its 20th anniversary edition under the headline “Etsy Restores Our Faith in People”:
Amazon may sell everything, but Etsy sells something rarer and less tangible: authenticity. No matter how big the site gets…Etsy always manages to put the maker front and center. Human interaction is at the heart of its business model; personal stories are paramount.
If you take a look around, there are many brands that are trying to mimic what Etsy stands for with clever copy from an ad agency (Domino’s “handmade” pizza, anyone?). In a world where everyone is trying to manufacture authenticity, I’m really proud that Etsy is the real deal: a true people-powered economy that just this week reached 30 million members strong, in 200 countries. As we look to the future, Etsy will certainly grow and change, but the community is fundamental to everything we do.
Looking ahead: Etsy strategy
We’re building Etsy for the long term around a three-pronged strategy, with the global Etsy community behind us.
- Make it easy to transact anywhere and emphasize the person-to-person shopping experience.
- Help sellers start and grow their businesses.
- Make the world more like Etsy.
Making it easy, making it about people
When we say “make it easy,” we mean continually improving the core parts of the shopping experience to make it as easy as possible to buy on Etsy, anywhere in the world, and on any device. Over the past few months, we have made shopping possible for an ever-growing global audience by translating the site into even more languages, like Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Russian. And with the rollout of Direct Checkout in 15 new markets, more than 90% of buyers on Etsy will be able to pay in their native currencies, wherever they are, without leaving the site.
“Make it easy” also means creating a great experience on any mobile device. Mobile usage of Etsy is exploding: currently, about 40% of visits to Etsy are on mobile devices, creeping up to as high as 45% on weekend days. By November, we are expecting to have our first weekend day with a majority of visits on mobile devices, and by the first half of 2014, we expect the majority of visits to Etsy to be on mobile devices every day. Some visitors may never see Etsy.com on a desktop computer. We’re doubling down at Etsy to make sure that the mobile experience is first-class for both buyers and sellers.
In the future, we’ll continue to highlight the person-to-person commerce that makes Etsy unique directly in the shopping experience. One example is the new listing page. We’re making it clearer that shoppers on Etsy are buying directly from people by highlighting the individuals involved in the business, and the materials and processes that go into creating and curating a shop. Expect more emphasis on the stories and the people behind the marketplace in the future. It’s who we are.
Helping sellers start and grow their businesses
The second point of our strategy is simple: we want to help sellers start and grow their businesses. It has always been easy to start a business on Etsy, and we are still committed to keeping it that way. What we have learned over the past eight years, though, is that many sellers have built viable businesses on Etsy and want help growing, and we believe Etsy can provide a pathway for that growth.
On a practical level, when we talk about helping you grow your businesses, we mean two key things:
- Providing the tools, data, support, and educational resources to run a growing business.
- Providing new services and channels to expand your sales.
We’re introducing new tools on the platform for critical activities like managing custom orders and improving Feedback. We’re also focused on creating more services like Etsy Wholesale, which help sellers expand into entirely new lines of business. We believe that Etsy should be a platform that helps businesses like yours at every stage, from starting out to expansion, and beyond.
Making the world more like Etsy
When we think about our growth, we don’t want Etsy to follow a path paved by other companies. Instead, we want to make the world more like Etsy: a world based on community, shared success, commitment to sustainable operations, and using the power of business for a higher purpose. Last year, we became a Certified B Corp, and deepened our commitment to running a values-based business for the long-term.
We committed to raising our B Corp assessment score over the last year, and our annual reassessment is underway. I’m confident we will receive a positive increase because of company-wide efforts, including: tracking our carbon footprint, increasing learning and development opportunities for employees, continuing to buy from Etsy sellers for our business needs, advocating for our community in the halls of power, and increasing volunteerism and charitable donations in the company. We want to run a company that is not just the best in the world, but also the best for the world, and a company that you are proud to do business with for a long time to come.
Etsy has always been a community-based platform — one that extends even beyond the online community. We’re leveraging the reach of the platform to partner with Etsy members to help transform local communities around the world. In Rockford, IL, we’ve partnered with local government and the Rockford Etsy Team to develop a craft entrepreneurship program to be taught in public schools and public housing. Mayor Larry Morrissey said in a recent update to the project: “Etsy generates the energy and opportunities for entrepreneurship that once characterized communities like Rockford all around the country.”
When we make it easier for people to transact directly with each other around the world, and make it possible for anyone to start and grow their own creative business, we’re building stronger communities everywhere. Our work in Rockford points the way to a brighter economic future with people at the center. That’s making the world more like Etsy.
How far we’ve come
It’s been two years since I stepped into the CEO role, and we’ve made a lot of positive progress. At the beginning of July 2011, Etsy was on the verge of passing 10 million members, but not quite there. 95% of payments on Etsy were processed by a third party, and Etsy was an English-only website with no mobile apps.
Fast forward to today, and Etsy has surpassed 30 million members. We’ve made Etsy available in nine languages, with payments capabilities across the world. In each of the past holiday seasons, the year-over-year growth rate of sales in the community has accelerated, bringing opportunity to more people than ever before. The company has become an award-winning leader in the B Corp movement, setting an example for other companies that you can both prioritize social good and run a strong business.
The 900,000 independent businesses on Etsy are selling their unique goods to millions of people around the world, and the sense of connection comes from real human interaction, not slick marketing. There are over 8,000 self-organized Etsy Teams supporting and empowering each other. One of the beautiful things about Etsy is that as we grow, we are only a larger collection of many smaller things, an umbrella for many communities. Thank you for being part of what we are creating together!