Artists, crafts(wo)men and DIY entrepreneurs rejoice! Etsy, the biggest international online market for home and handmade products will be hosting its first ever conference on small business and sustainability in Berlin, Hello Etsy (Sep 17-19 @ eWerk).
Join entrepreneurial Wunderkinder from all over the world for two days of lectures, workshops and get-togethers in the Germany’s oldest preserved power plant. To ensure that some locals can stay local, the conference will be simultaneously broadcast in New York and London.
We asked Five Questions to Etsy’s European CEO, Matt Stinchcomb.
Why Berlin as European HQ?
We picked it because culturally we thought it was the right fit for Etsy. Also, because it is less expensive than say, London, it allows us to do rad things like Etsy Labs, where we host free educational/DIY events, and have all the tools to hand make whatever we want.
What is the difference between European and American DIY cultures?
I don't see vast differences in the kinds of things offered in Europe vs. the US. On Etsy you can find unique products from all over the world, some very traditional, some very untraditional.
You’ve become such a global business. Is there a danger of abandoning your own credo: small, human-scale, local economies?
My goal has always been to stay small as we grow big. We have about 230 employees worldwide, and just hired our first office ecologist to make sure that we are focusing on our own sustainability etc. This year on Etsy, our members will sell $600,000,000 worth of things, and keep 96.5% of that. We pay people fairly, have created a very human-friendly work place, and know that our growing larger is a sign of the health and success of all of our community.
What about competitors like German daWanda?
At first I was wary of the clones, but I have changed my tune. As far as I am concerned, the more people highlighting the value of supporting micro-producers and buying handmade and vintage directly from them, the better.
I am not sure what daWanda's plans are, but we see Etsy as much more than just a place to buy and sell handmade and vintage goods. We have big ideas and a big vision.
What are these ideas and visions?
Last year we transacted in 180 countries. We are working on becoming a platform for building and supporting connected, community-based economies around the world.