Etsy Takes on Craft Store Competitors

Etsy today announced changes that will help its sellers get crafty with their businesses.

At its colorful company headquarters in DUMBO, Brooklyn, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson announced Shop Manager, a hub for Etsy seller tools and services, and Etsy Studio, a crafting market designed to compete with big-box craft retailers.

Etsy has a host of services for sellers, including Pattern, which lets them set up websites with ease, and Etsy Wholesale, which connects them to over 25,000 boutiques that can carry their merchandise. But Etsy says many of its sellers don't know about these options or how to take advantage of them. Hence Shop Manager, which gives them an overview of their orders, listings, conversations, and stats, as well as access to Etsy's tools to help with things like Google AdWords.

Lane Huerta, owner of Etsy shop Lovelane, has been selling homemade superhero -and fairytale-themed playwear for kids on Etsy since 2014. It's been Huerta's full-time job since Etsy featured her store on its home page in September 2014, getting her mentions in publications like Harper's Bazaar and orders from boutiques. She's had so much business that she hired a team of nearly 10.

They've been using Shop Manager for over a week, and it has been a boon to communication for her team. She appreciates being able to use all its other features as well to run the back-end for her business. "I can toggle easily between my wholesale and retail accounts," Huerta says.

Shop Manager is available for all sellers starting today.

Etsy Studio, meanwhile, arrives in April and is designed to take on stores like Michael's. Tim Holley, director of product management, says it will be a storefront of 8 million items compared to the 30,000 or so found at a craft store. Though customers won't be able to touch and feel things like chunky yarn, Etsy said users can zoom in on items to get an idea of texture, color, and scale. Etsy has sold craft supplies but not in a cohesive way that let customers search with an abundance of filters, as well as a list of features that include whether the item is vintage, handmade, digital, organic, or recycled, which are of importance to many Etsy shop owners.

Etsy Studio is also intended to be a source of inspiration. Etsy users can scan projects that are presented a bit like Pinterest and then click on them for a full tutorial as well as the ability to add everything they need to complete it to a cart in one click.

One seller who took advantage of Studio is Seja Brumley, a jewelry designer wo runs Aura Supplies. Customers started asking her where they could get some elements of her designs. Brumley crafts these items for her customers and had been selling them on Etsy for some time but says Etsy Studios can expand her audience to "people who don't necessarily want to start a business but just want to make one thing."

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