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Etsy has launched a division that connects sellers with manufacturers
Etsy has launched a division that connects sellers with manufacturers

Etsy targets jewellery manufacturers

Online marketplace Etsy is trialling a new service that helps connect jewellery designers with manufacturers.

Etsy Manufacturing, which is currently in beta phase, aims to establish a partnership between sellers and manufacturers in four areas: jewellery and metalwork; apparel and textile; machining and fabrication; and printing.

Those selling products on Etsy are able to search for a suitable manufacturer by location and expertise. Jewellery designers, for example, can refine their search to manufacturers specialising in processes like benchwork, engraving, casting and stone setting or materials including gold, silver, brass and titanium.

Designers are also able to specify the area in which they need manufacturing assistance, such as at the concept/design stage, the sample/pre-production stage or actual production.

“Over the years, we’ve heard from many sellers that they need help scaling to meet growing demand or to explore new product lines, yet they’re not sure how to find the right manufacturer,” a statement on the Etsy website read.

“While not every Etsy seller wants or needs outside manufacturing help, those who do want to build meaningful relationships with production partners who share their values. With Etsy Manufacturing, we want to help our sellers and manufacturers forge responsible partnerships.”

A company spokesperson told Jeweller that since its beta launch on 22 October, Etsy Manufacturing had already received applications from more than 500 manufacturers.

Although the spokesperson stated that Etsy was not currently sharing more industry-specific application metrics, she said, “We are … definitely interested in growing the jewellery category on Etsy Manufacturing.”

At this stage, the service is free but confined to manufacturers located within the US and Canada. It was noted, however, that sellers not based in those countries were welcome to use the service to negotiate an international manufacturing relationship.

“As the marketplace grows, we’ll consider adding other categories and regions, and our beta learnings will help inform those decisions and their corresponding timelines,” the spokesperson said.

“Ultimately, we hope the marketplace grows to include manufacturers in other countries as well. We’re just getting started and are looking forward to continuing to grow our manufacturer community.”

Branching out

The initiative seems to indicate that Etsy – which started as a handmade craft website predominantly used by individual vendors and hobbyists – is attempting to broaden its market.

Signs of this appeared in August 2014 with the launch of Etsy Wholesale, a division of the website allowing sellers to distribute products to bricks-and-mortar retailers.

Jewellery has traditionally been a popular category for the online marketplace but it’s difficult to predict what – if any – impact these ventures will have on traditional jewellery retail. The website typically attracts start-up jewellery businesses and manufacturers with small-scale production runs.

Interestingly, online retail giant Amazon has also launched a division seemingly in competition with Etsy: Handmade at Amazon. Similar to Etsy, the new Amazon store provides a global, online marketplace for “artisans” to sell their handmade goods.

At the time of publication, more than 74,000 jewellery products were listed on the Handmade at Amazon website, including necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and brooches.

More reading
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Amazon takes aim at jewellery industry

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