Etsy has changed a lot since it debuted a decade ago as an online marketplace for independent crafters seeking customers for their handmade flower crowns and quirky cat costumes. Following its move into the public market in April, the Brooklyn-based company is straying even further from its artsy roots and helping its makers scale their businesses instead.
A new program called Etsy Manufacturing, announced Monday, is now accepting applications to join its beta trial. According to an Etsy blog post, the service aims “to make it easier for our sellers to source responsible production assistance when they need it” by finding production facilities that are willing to work with small businesses.
“While Etsy will not be doing direct audits or site visits, we will review and approve manufacturer applications on an individual basis according to a number of criteria, such as their commitment to transparency, the degree to which they allow subcontracting and their size,” the blog post said, adding, “Ultimately, we are dedicated to helping sellers start, scale and enjoy their creative businesses.”
Only applications from manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada (including sellers on Etsy with extra production capacity) can sign up for the beta trial, which kicks off in late 2015. While there will be no cost at that point, associated fees will come into play once vendors and manufacturers start transactions in 2016.
The company continued, “The traditional manufacturing landscape grew to support large brands and operations, creating an environment often inaccessible to small designers. But we are seeing that many small-scale manufacturers share the same values as Etsy and Etsy sellers, particularly with regard to transparency, and are flexible and open to working with emerging designers.”