Crafting the Business of Etsy: Size Does Matter

If you haven’t already (it was posted almost a week and a half ago) go read in entirety Rob’s post on the Etsy blog here. It’ll bring a tear to your eye. Or not. It might just bring a little lust to your heart to read about the inner machinations of the increasingly popular craft selling site. Sure, everyone in the craft would knows and adores Etsy, but on the outside, as we like to call it, Etsy is the regular folks are starting to take notice of Etsy and its business practices. From the business world’s perspective, Etsy is an overnight sensation compared to the era (eons?) of trial and error that much larger, more well-known sites went through. Sure they had to wait for us all to get used to buying things online and that took time, but consider also the amazing community that has developed with in Etsy. That can’t be said for some other site where users sold their wares in the past.

Perhaps a better post would look more at what Etsy has learned, rather than marvel at how it works. But here’s an excerpt anyway. Find a similar passage from a larger company and the Marimello team will sit down to a meal of crochet hooks. Our hats are too precious.

From Rob’s post:

These are some particular challenges we’ve faced:

Having a consistent message vs. letting humans be human. There is no “Etsy” in the monolithic sense of a single identity or being. Etsy is the several dozen employees of Etsy, Inc. and even more, the several hundred thousand members of the community.

As I see it, large corporations try to sanitize all their outgoing messages for the sake of keeping face. It is very easy to identify this kind of behavior. Whenever you read something and it sounds like a series of pre-made phrases strung together, instead of a human being speaking, this is sanitized communication. To me, this stuff sounds inhuman.

I want Etsy to stay human. This means allowing each person’s voice to be heard, even if it’s squeaky or loud or soft. I will not put a glossy layer of PR over what we do. If we trip, let us learn from it instead of trying to hide it; when we leap, let’s show others how to leap. Hence the title of this whole blog post: Open Etsy.

We’ve got a ways to go. It’s 2:34am and I have to get back to polishing the new screen designs for Alchemy. To everyone out there, it’s been a good ride so far, and I’m looking forward to the next couple years more than anything.


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