For those who are not yet familiar, Etsy is an amazing e-commerce platform that provides an easy and affordable virtual market for artists, artisans, and collectors to connect their unique products with their own unique customers worldwide. Over the course of 12 years some of these artisans that started out selling a few beads here or personal note cards there have slowly grown their customer base until they had full fledged successful businesses.
It is no secret that the retail market is rapidly changing, which is often mistakenly perceived as “dying.” True, what we know of retail will soon be no more, but a whole new world of retail is just on the cusp of exploding in full force. No longer can a retailer survive with the same sad products mass produced in the same sad factory that the next retailer is selling. With E-commerce we as the customer have the power, and the people have spoken, we want what is convenient, yes, but we also crave the power of choice.
This past Christmas my husband and I loaded up the kids and wandered shop to shop in the Florida Mall to find unique gifts for those last minute difficult to buy for people, one being his long time business partner who we wanted something special for, something that wasn’t just everywhere. We went to Brookstone and found only massagers, sad dated bluetooth gadgets, and pillows. Moving onto Mori’s Luggage I was saddened to find the unique glass case that once lined the front of the store with unique professional gift ideas gone. What remained were only crowded shelves suitcases, travel bags, and pens. Sometime over the course of this past year every shop in the mall had dwindled their selection to the essentials, or best sellers and these items just so happened to be either what everyone already owned, or items that were incredibly personal to purchase. I was disheartened, the mall used to be a place that though had many redundancies, did at at one time provide some fun unique items of wonder from shop to shop.
We are at a point right now where the retailers are dying out one by one, and as the new CEO of Etsy, Josh Silverman observes:
…if you’re trying to sell the same brand, the same products as everybody else, I think it’s a pretty hard world out there, and ultimately I think it’s a race to the bottom.
And as the old shops die off a new breed of artisans who provide unique, locally made, and eco-friendly products will take their place. Away from fluorescents and mindless messy racks and towards unique specialized product that gives back into the idea of local commerce.
Melissa and David Dilmaghani started their Etsy shop “Old New House” 8 years ago, and two years ago were able to open their own unique brick and mortar in Katonah, New York. To learn more of their unique shop please read the article here on their journey, shop, and success. They are not alone, many shop owners start with Etsy, while others use Etsy as a means of expanding their footprint. In time it will be their witty signs, dream catchers, and hand knitted caps that will replace the malls of sameness.
What sort of unique products would you like to see in Brick and Mortars? What do you look for on Etsy?
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