Here are my live notes of the Lift Conference session “Reinventing the Crafts: the Future of Job Traditions”. Keep an eye open for mistakes, inaccuracies, and other flakiness due to live-blogging.
Is there space for small businesses?
What is making their life harder?
The web creates as many problems as it solves. But some stuff is easier. Access to knowledge. You can find out about business and accounting without having to go to business school. Easier too: amount and access to capital (coworking spaces, shared services).
Etsy: world’s largest market place for handmade goods. Massive marketplace. Huge growth. They only take 3.5% commission.
Two things that have made Etsy successful:
– completely decentralized
– sellers get a lot of feedback => A/B testing, experimentation
Very bottom-up. What makes Etsy successful is the individuals making things. Woman in Budapest making cool shoes: it’s not about convenience or speed. A lot of transparency that allows sellers to build their personal brand.
Global market, so space for funky stuff. Many home businesses.
Etsy sees them as entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are not all running start-ups and looking for billion-dollar investments. What is success?
Market research tools made available to their sellers (treat them like entrepreneurs).
Teams. Groups of sellers. Get together, work together. Collective buying, collective bargaining (healthcare in the US). Support of course, networking. New (old) kind of entrepreneurs.
Informed customer choice. Caroline buys a lot of stuff on Etsy (hazards of the job). Wrapped well, feels like a present when she gets it. Personal notes, etc. Return of the artisan.
Etsy: people powered business. Trying to make money of course, but trying to create more value. More sustainable, humane economy. While being profitable.