Amazon Unveils Etsy Competitor

Date: October 08, 2015

Handmade At Amazon Sells Individual Crafters’ Wares

In a bid to compete with online craft retailer Etsy, on Thursday, Amazon unveiled its arts and crafts online marketplace, Handmade at Amazon. Etsy, first launched in 2005, now has $2 billion in annual sales, but Amazon’s new marketplace is expected to be competition, the New York Times reported. When Handmade at Amazon went live Thursday, the marketplace had “a lineup of over 80,000 items from about 5,000 sellers in 60 countries.” Amazon has been inviting crafters, including some currently on Etsy, to join the new marketplace since May. Amazon VP Peter Faricy said, “You can think of it as a factory-free zone, a mass-produced-free zone. For the first time on Amazon, we’re going to have a picture of the artist, a little icon of what state they’re from, what country they’re from. We’re going to launch with an experience that’s very different. Customers are going to see the difference.” Amazon also “says it is carefully vetting seller applications to determine whether their wares are strictly handmade,” with artisans having to provide manufacturing details such as “what tools and machines they rely on,” and no outsourcing is allowed. Though Amazon’s market only has six categories to start with, including jewelry, home, and artwork, Amazon’s “285 million active customer accounts dwarf Etsy’s 22 million, giving artisans access to far more traffic and potential customers,” the Times said.

What This Means For Small Businesses

News that online retail giant Amazon is opening a new marketplace for handcrafted goods is positive for small businesses, but also presents challenges. Currently, many entrepreneurs want to own small businesses creating custom wares for consumers. However, it can be tough to stand out from the crowd and reach potential customers. With access to Amazon’s vast global customer base, many of these small, independent crafters will now have new ways to grow their businesses. At the same time, giants like Amazon create pressure on small, local businesses that want to provide such goods in physical stores. As the New York Times reported, Handmade Seller magazine CEO Dani Marie noted that while Amazon will “send sellers so much more traffic,” not all crafters or consumers like “big, corporate organizations. That seems to go against handmade.”

Additional Reading

The Seattle Times, USA Today, the AP, CNET News, and Reuters also reported on Handmade at Amazon’s opening.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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