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Etsy share price rescued by face masks

By Chris Dawson May 1, 2020 - 10:00 am

Yesterday at the Government Coronavirus briefing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged he would lay out his plan for exiting the lock down next week. One interesting snippet was that to encourage people back to work, face masks may become advised – not because they’ll protect you from catching the virus but because they might give confidence that it’s safe to go back to work. This is something Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already advised for Scotland.

The official advice from the UK government and from the World Health organisation is that non-medical grade masks won’t give any protection from catching the virus. However there is some credence that they may prevent you from spreading the virus – coughing and sneezing while wearing a mask will go some way towards preventing you from spraying droplets at speeds of up to 100 miles an hour.

There is definite advice that you shouldn’t wear medical grade face masks as there are already shortages for health care professionals around the world and if the public start sourcing them it will merely increase the scarcity. There is also a worry that many don’t know how to wear a mask, will end up itching and touching their face even more frequently, will contaminate themselves when removing a mask and indeed won’t immediately stick it into the washing machine on a hot wash. As an example, if you wear a mask on public transport on the way to work, there’s a high chance you’ll leave it on your desk, or in your bag or pocket all day and re-wear it on the way home. That’s a bad idea but not many will have two per trip!

Now for a diversion, Etsy got hit hard at the start of the Coronavirus crisis and their share price crashed from $62.46 losing half their value in half a month and hitting a low of $31.69 by the 20th of March…

When the CDC recommended the wearing of fabric face masks to US citizens Etsy went crazy with millions of buyers immediately looking to purchase

…Then something amazing happened and the Etsy share price peaked at an all time high of $69.28 and it’s all down to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

When the CDC recommended the wearing of fabric face masks to US citizens Etsy went crazy with millions of buyers immediately looking to purchase. Etsy mobilised thousands of sellers who ended up making millions of fabric face masks.

The FT has some really good coverage of Etsy’s performance and the face mask impact here, with input from CEO Josh Silverman, which is well worth a read.

“I woke up to discover it was suddenly like Cyber Monday. But everyone in the world wanted only one product.”
– Josh Silverman, CEO, Etsy, speaking to the FT

The FT reports that 50,000 Etsy sellers have sold at least one fabric face mask and 10,000 have sold over 100. Now, with the Scottish government already recommending you should consider optionally wearing a fabric face mask and the UK Government likely to recommend likewise soon, if you have a sewing machine it’s time to start manufacturing a stock pile ready to list.

Whilst medical grade face masks are quite austere and somewhat scary, fabric face masks are almost a fashion accessory so the more attractive material you have the more likely they are to sell. If you need a pattern, the CDC has a basic face mask pattern and instructions.

This will of course be a short term win, but with many small businesses struggling in the current economic and health crisis, it may be a way to make some quick money. However , Etsy are keen to point out that people should be careful not to make any unsubstantiated claims in their listings so make sure your listings are about the product and don’t imply any medical protection.

  • SAM
    6 months ago

    In my other job, I have been the only one wearing any mask for over a month now not a medical one . We have to work in enclosed spaces and the cleaning regime seems a bit hit and miss.
    The point of them is to try and catch germs if you cough or sneeze so they do not get onto surfaces etc. Not one other staff member wears one.
    Tories with their it might give people confidence is just them back peddling and covering their backsides as normal as they have been a disaster.
    Along with good hand cleaning and social distancing it could only help.
    It is not going to be business as normal either for a long time.

    • Alan paterson
      6 months ago

      @ SAM

      I am sorry you think the “tories” are backpedaling. Personally I think they have done a sterling job since the Pandemic started.

      Your conclusions about the masks is flawed. Look at the data concerning masks by WHO. there is startling little evidence that there is any protection from masks. This is what the government made their decision on based also on a fear of wearers getting a false sense of “confidence” .

      As awesome Jim sayson various threads – we should support the government. Nobody is back peddling but they do have the “balls” to admit wearing masks is now the right thing to do. id you look at the data from WHO you will see why they made the initial call not to promote them.

      Trust the government – they are doing a fantastic job and its easy to criticise after the event.

      I think I read in another post that you are a delivery driver delivering food. thank you for your service, I do recognise you are putting yourself in harms way.

  • jim
    6 months ago

    sam
    without people like you its very likely many would be going hungry
    though we dont agree with the political blame game
    who did what in the past is in the past

  • Jimbo
    6 months ago

    It’s not a political blame. The current govt. has let and continue to let the people of this country down, in regards to deal with Covid-19.

    This is just a fact not a political point.

  • jim
    6 months ago

    which current government ? has let the people down
    Scottish northern Irish , Welsh or , the non independent scape goat English government
    that takes all the blame

    • Jimbo
      6 months ago

      The government headed by Boris Johnson.

      His leadership has been an unmitigated disaster. Look at the death toll.

      And he has the nerve to talk about ‘success’.

    • NorthCrystal
      6 months ago

      Use some, good examples, grammar, mate.

  • SAM
    6 months ago

    @Alan (glad you are all better)…

    The masks or should I say face coverings will not offer the wearer any protection against the virus. What they will do is maybe help the wearer stop transmitting virus by catching any fluids etc when say the sneeze and that getting into surfaces and being picked up by a 3rd party. I do not think the public need medical masks btw.
    Another reason I wear them along with clear glasses is am in and out a vehicle maybe 25 drops a day with 6 minutes a drop time , it is hot sweaty and heavy work, is so I do not touch my face. I see other drivers coming back from a shift touching there faces a lot, cause there hot and tired.
    I use sanitizer every drop (my hands are red raw)…and get in and out of some of the places we go like a rocket, but mistakes are made.
    The loading depot social distancing not a chance is the place we all feel most uncomfortable it is crowded and everyone on top of each other and it is 100 x busier than normal . Plus I have the wife newly pregnant so am terrified I pass something onto her.
    My wife’s cousin is a Doctor in New York dealing with corona virus cases and has been telling all the family to wear them to help stop the spread.
    We need to be trying everything and all things here. I only did that job to pay for a wedding I would like to get back to norma and get selling full time again as am sure everyone else would as soon as poss.

  • Alan Paterson
    6 months ago

    @ SAM, yes all better. despite my pre-existing problems the virus did not effect me too badly. I was hospitalised but no ventilators required!

    Without going too much into my credentials (i have had a varied career which involved working in hospital labs as well as “front facing” as a Phlebotomist on the wards, I was also involved with Biological Defence in the military but that was a long time ago) I can guarantee that if you ask 10 doctors their “opinion” you will get 10 different responses depending on what the specialise in, what country they are from, even their age!

    thats one of the reasons for WHO. They collect the data WORLDWIDE and give advice based on the international data. From day 1 the data showed masks not making any measurable difference. But there are other factors.

    WHO published on the 6th April an updated article called “Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19 Interim guidance”. this article was updated from the original document the Government based their advice on. This may have caused the change in direction. i think you will agree that any of us can only make the best decision on the information we are given at the time. There are many pros and cons to the masks and – if you read the article – you will see why some countries went for “yes” and others “no”.

    Sorry, i get a bit defensive when folk attack the government, accuse them of back peddling etc. you may have guessed i am Conservative but regardless i think we should support the government in power. I firmly believe that they are not “back-peddling” or “covering their backsides”. they made an educated decision at the time based on data and advice provided by WHO. I am sure that you will understand that as the Pandemic evolves this advice can change – even if the raw data does not. In the article it clearly states the reasons to NOT wear masks.

    Some folk above shooting their mouth off and blaming the Government for the death toll. Its a tragedy how many people have died. I dont need to be told – i saw the bodies being wheeled out ICU.

    HOWEVER, to the folk above blaming the government for the deaths – It is the rate of infection that the government are exerting control over – not the death toll. Its astounding that the information is repeated time and time again on the news but yet people still do not understand and ignorantly lash out at the Government. Its basic Geometry. The “success” is getting the infection rate less than a gradient of 1 – that means the rate of infection (the gradient of the curve) is on a decline at that point. Its the only thing that can be controlled (without a vaccine) by the Government and the country. That was the governments goal and that is what they have achieved and that is what they mean by “success”. Remember they said at the start that anything under 20,000 would be incredibly optimistic and have repeatedly said that they are trying to contol the rate of infection – not the death toll.

    The reason for the lock down was to control the rate of infection so as the NHS would not be overwhelmed. now if you look at for example Koreas figures there is obviously something else at play here but we will not discover that till later.

    @ sam I do appreciate your position with a newly pregnant wife. This will all be a bit scary. The whole mask thing is objective – even Scotland is coming up with different advice than England and i assume the rest of the country so you have differentials even within our UK even though it is all coming from the same data.

  • Jeannie
    6 months ago

    In this pandemic time, etsy does NOT want people to get a face mask, UNLESS THEY get 15% MORE, on top of their regular fees, by FORCING sellers to opt in to offsite ads. Why can’t sellers do their OWN advertising? Why are the ones running etsy now, so greedy. What if HE died from the virus? What good would his money do him then? Buy him a nice funeral. He wants OTHERS to not be able to feel safe with a mask unless HE GETS MORE MONEY, MONEY, MONEY.

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