Walking into a crafts supplies store, it's not always easy to find the aisle where they keep the extra-bulky, hand-dyed pink merino wool yarn or the teardrop-shaped cultured sea glass beads.
Sure, most people aren't on the market for such specific items, but Etsy is hoping to make shopping for any craft supplies easier online, whether you're a casual knitter or professional artist. The e-commerce company on Tuesday introduced a new one-stop crafts storefront called Etsy Studio, which it plans to open in April.
The new site will include the roughly 8 million crafts supplies and kits already available on Etsy in one central location, along with new tutorials to make personalized gifts and other DIY projects. Additionally, Etsy will roll out more powerful filters to help professional artists to find the exact materials they need.
"One of the things that we kept hearing while interviewing different customers," said Tim Holley, Etsy's director of product management, "was 'there's this gap. I see beautiful things that I want to be able to make, and I can't find the things to make them.'" Holley, who spearheaded the project, said Etsy created the new site to meet that need.
Becoming a destination for all kinds of crafts could give the company, which is tiny compared with major e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, a big boost in revenue and help it support the artists and craft suppliers on its site. The annual US crafts supply market is about $44 billion, Etsy noted, which would be a huge potential growth area for the e-retailer.
Still, Etsy would have to compete against other crafts suppliers including Michaels and Oriental Trading, in addition to Amazon and eBay, if it hopes to grow in that market.
Hopefully, before April comes around, shoppers will figure out where that pink merino yarn is hiding.
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