Etsy is an online marketplace for buying & selling all things handmade. Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers. Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice: Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.
I have a hypothesis about why Etsy is so successful (93,000+ sellers at this point) - people are tired of cookie cutter choices (even at the high end), and want something a little unique. Also, most of the products we have to choose from in stores these days are fairly generic, designed by "professionals" for large faceless audiences and made somewhere off shore. It's kind of refreshing to buy and use a one off made by an actual person. It's also cool to be able to connect with a creative person who does something completely different from what I do.
All the sellers I've dealt with have been enthusiastic and grateful for my business (has that happened to you buying anything lately?), many including special extras with purchase. For me, it's re-introduced a sense of exploration and delight into online shopping, which frankly had become a bit mundane for me of late.
Etsy's UI is renowned for simplicity and engagement. The homepage regularly refreshes with a curated set of items (drawn from the vast number on offer), all coordinated in some way - by theme, color, pattern, etc. Every time I visit the site I'm welcomed in a refreshing new way.
Etsy has recently launched a feature which enables you to dynamically "publish" the items you are considering buying (if you're a buyer) or the items in your online store (if you're a seller) to a personal website, blog, MySpace page, etc.. Here's what's on my shopping list these days (bear in mind the holidays are approaching, people):
|Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade|
What I like about this is - it's a great way to let buyers integrate other people into their buying (or consideration) process - by showing off and getting feedback to their discerning taste or good shopping luck (hey look what I found!), and integrating their potential purchases into their online "identity." Your friends can comment on what you're shopping for, encourage you to purchase something, etc. Shopping goes from a solitary experience to a shared, community one.
Check out Etsy, I think you'll be a convert.
PS - I learned about a cool "movement" from Etsy, called Buy Handmade. To join you just have to pledge to buy handmade this holiday season and request that others do the same; there are 5,000+ pledges so far. More info also here.