September is Handmade Home month at Re-Nest, so it's quite fitting that one of our favorite sources for the handmade home, Etsy, raised $20M of venture capital financing on Monday. It caused a big stir in the world of e-commerce, and rightfully so. This five-year-old company did more than $130 million in gross sales from January through June, "compared with $180 million for all of 2009," reports the Wall Street Journal.
Founded just five years ago with the mission to "enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers and buyers" with the tagline "Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade," today "Etsy boasts more than 5.2 million members, 400,000 sellers, six million listed items and about 700 million monthly page views," says the Wall Street Journal.
The company is currently enjoying its first year of profitability and is hiring. "Etsy has 125 employees now. I remember when we were just four people, working from my apartment in Brooklyn. At that time, it was crazy to think we'd ever need more than twenty employees to make Etsy tick. And now, at 125 employees, we're still hiring. Why? Because we have more work to do," comments founder Rob Kalin in his blog.
Etsy's mission, which has successfully led the company to the intersection of e-commerce and craft, aligns with and perpetuates the larger trend of buying independently produced goods over those of large-scale multinational production. As Kalin explains in the video titled What is Etsy?, "going back 200 years, everything was handmade." Today, "Etsy, as a whole, is providing viable alternatives to shopping at places like Walmart."
Etsy's recent success in raising Series E financing will allow the company, as it continues to grow, to fund its two biggest expenses—running its servers and paying its employees—as it lives by its mission and successfully meets the challenges that lie ahead.
Founder Rob Kalin on his vision for the company: "I wanted the marketplace itself to be a community, which is something I'd seen growing up and traveling around Europe. And the idea that you could do it on the web and have this global community that's talking to each other and buying and selling handmade goods."
At its core, it is Etsy's sense of community, their unique product, and the human to human relationships the site fosters that will write a prosperous growth story for this adventurous company.
A few of my favorite recent Re-Nest posts that feature Etsy product:
- Our Favorite Vintage Home Stores on Etsy
- Etsy Find: Printed Cloth Napkins
- Oh, Little Rabbit's Organic Homewares
- Etsy's Berry Bowl Bounty