Online craft site Etsy is now wholesaling selected products to retailers—and jewelry is the biggest category.
“We heard retailers say: I come to Etsy, I have to search and search and search, and finally when I find something that I would like in my shop, the seller doesn’t know anything about wholesale,” says Vanessa Bertozzi, product manager for Etsy Wholesale. “We also heard from designers who felt like part of developing their brand is working with brick-and-mortar retail…. We want to make those connections for designers who don’t have the wherewithal to do tons of trade shows, [which] can become very costly.”
The e-tailer’s new Etsy Wholesale platform has already recruited 1,500 designers. Most of the sales will be done online through the company’s new wholesale portal, with Etsy receiving 3.5 percent of each purchase order. An Etsy-appointed jury selects which products are sold via the new platform.
“We are looking for designers who have a nicely developed line that has a unique sensibility, that really presents the brand in a beautiful way,” she says. The company also makes sure “they are able to offer at least keystone pricing, with great product photography, and have a cohesive, developed line.”
She adds: “This is not a bargain-basement site. This is where you go to find something quality, something that has a nice story behind it, and where there is a real artistic vision that goes into the product.”
Retailers don’t have to bill the items as from Etsy, she says.
“It’s up to the retailer,” she says. “We bring the designers into the store. You can merchandise like you would any item that you would pick up at a trade show. However, we are giving retailers a way to promote the products as from Etsy if they choose to. It is very meaningful to the consumer today when they see Etsy, it generates interest, and they like that they are supporting local designers.”
One of the division’s initial deals was with Nordstrom, which in November offered an assortment called “Etsy & Nordstrom Present.” But the new division primarily targets independent physical retailers.
“Online shopping is obviously growing,” Bertozzi says. “But people still run into a store because they have a relationship with the store owner, they really relate to their point of view. And you don’t always want to wait for something to be shipped. For that spur-of-the-moment gift, you want to go into brick-and-mortar retail.”