What the Etsy Impact Report says about the marketplace

By Dan Wilson August 17, 2018 - 11:46 am

As we reported last week, crafts marketplace Etsy reported its financial results to Wall St. and received a generally positive reception. We wrote about those results here: Etsy sales increase by 20% in Q218. As an addendum to those numbers, the Etsy impact report called Creativity Unleashed was also published.

The aim is to examine the company’s performance on a social, ethical and environmental basis. There’s no doubt that, especially for seasoned merchants on Etsy, it’s well worth taking a bit of time to examine the report and digest what they’re saying.

Remember that Etsy is going through a period of transformation. To the surprise of many, back in 2015, Etsy went public by making a share offering and floating on the stock market. Having previously been privately owned, many were fearful that this would mean that many of the unique aspects of the marketplace would be threatened by the demands for revenue growth and ever greater profits.

And since Josh Silverman took the helm as CEO in 2017, he has made some tough calls that haven’t been always popular. Two have been particularly criticised. Significant staff lay-offs came early on with the need to cut costs and streamline the organisation. And more recently, in force since July, are new increased fees for sellers.

The purpose of this report is to reassure observers that even a public company can retain a code of ethics and be socially important and environmentally conscientious as well as profitable. And, in that sense, the report is effective and persuasive. It, in particular, ably demonstrates a serious commitment to diversity at the company and there are lots of fine words about the importance of the seller community that there is no real reason to believe are not heartfelt.

Perhaps at times, especially to a British reader, it can come across as cloyingly right-on and trendy, but then that accurately reflects a company based in Brooklyn in 2018. But overall, it gives the impression of a serious minded organisation that is also passionate and, to some extent, light-hearted. And that seems an entirely accurate portrayal of the Etsy brand.

Are you an Etsy merchant? What do you think of the Etsy Impact report?

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