Etsy is hoping to spread its sewn, painted and beaded sensibilities across the Web.
The crafts marketplace revealed a new service for sellers called Pattern by Etsy, which lets furniture craftsmen and jewelry makers create their own websites using the products and information on their Etsy seller pages.
"It's a big day for Etsy, and most importantly it's a big day for sellers," CEO Chad Dickerson said at a press event Tuesday at Etsy's Brooklyn, New York, headquarters, where a stage was set up with a sewing machine and yarn behind him.
Etsy has made its business around connecting buyers and sellers of arts and crafts. Items sold on its website range from handmade jewelry to monogrammed baby quilts to craft supplies. Etsy gets its revenue from listing fees, commissions on sold items and services it offers to 1.6 million active sellers.
The new Pattern program, which costs $15 per month for sellers, could help artisans build up their audiences and sales by letting them show off their goods without sharing the stage with other crafts workers. Etsy said another company will host the websites, though declined to disclose the partner. Customers should also be able to find their favorite artists more easily on these standalone websites.
Yet, the benefit for Etsy is far more obvious. The company, which went public last year, has turned seller services into the biggest part of its business, making up more than half of its total revenue in the fourth quarter.
While Etsy is now an 11-year-old company with many connections to artists and makers, it needs to keep up its growth not only to appease Wall Street and its investors but also to stay ahead of competitors. Amazon launched its own crafts site, called Handmade, last year. While Handmade remains small compared with Etsy, Amazon has a reputation for aggressively expanding businesses it thinks have potential.
There are already plenty of companies that can help folks build their own websites, including Wix and Squarespace, so Etsy will have to make sure its service is different and useful enough for sellers to keep coming back.
In addition to Pattern, Etsy also announced Tuesday that it created new seller pages on its website, making it easier for customers to find a seller's products, background information on the vendor, and videos and photos on how the art is made.