If you are tuned to the latest e-commerce sites that have been making waves, Etsy will definitely ring a bell. Etsy is essentially an online marketplace. A site focused on selling hand-crafted items, vintage items and art and craft supplies, Etsy has become the go-to destination for artisans and consumers. Etsy is represented by its local teams from across the world, one of these being the Malaysian team.
Launched in 2005 by Robert Kalin, Haim Schoppik and Chris Maguire, Etsy became a B Corporation in May 2012, raising $US 40 million in funding and aiming to expand its international markets in Australia, Germany and France. The site has an active presence on Facebook (1,194,026 likes at the time of writing), Twitter (1,924, 425 followers) and Pinterest. Etsy also has a social networking system called People Search that allows buyers and sellers to connect and forge friendships. One of Etsy’s aims with this social tool is to facilitate easy searches for past purchases accompanied by feedbacks.
Etsy: A Marketplace for Buyers and Sellers
Etsy opens up a huge store of handmade and vintage products, as well as arts and craft supplies to consumers. As a buyer, you will first need to create a free account at the site, with a Facebook integration option for quicker sign-ins and registrations also available to you. Etsy has 14 categories, which are further subdivided to make your search more convenient. The categories include art, jewelry, home & living, craft supplies, vintage and craft supplies, to name some.
You also have the option to enter a relevant search term in the search box on the Home Page. There are other ways to shop at Etsy, by choosing options like colors, treasury (a curated shopping gallery), Shop Local, Shop Search, People Search and Prototypes. You can consider sellers’ feedback percentage to assess their reliability and make an informed choice.
Upon zeroing in on the products you want to buy, you proceed to add them to the shopping cart and make the purchase through PayPal, American Express, MasterCard, Discover Card or Visa. The process is similar to that at any ecommerce site, being both hassle-free and easy.
Sellers on Etsy are required to create their unique user name and also have the option to name their shop on the site. While shop creation at Etsy is free, each listing will set the seller back $0.20 USD. Sale prices are decided by sellers, with Etsy charging a 3.5% transaction fee on the sale price of each item.
Feedback from Buyers and Sellers on Etsy
For buyers: Etsy has a fantastic collection of artwork and vintage items (older than 20 years as per the site’s policies). The buyer and seller communities are friendly and easy-going. Scams and fraudulent activities reported at the site are few and far between, which speaks for its reliability. You will find the odd customer complaint about delayed shipping or non-delivery of purchase items. Lack of phone support is a big disadvantage at Etsy.
For sellers: While it has been said that Etsy has a pro-seller attitude, there have been some complaints about a lack of proper communication about seller terms and store suspensions with little or no explanations. On a different note, in the face of stiff competition, sellers should also be ready to market their wares compellingly to Etsy’s vast buyer base.
The Etsy Malaysia team brings together Malaysian sellers based out of the country or overseas, and non-Malaysians living permanently in Malaysia. The team aims to create a support network for members by sharing useful marketing information, scheduling chats, conducting workshops, and more. Members are also encouraged to promote and assist one another, where possible, on both local and international platforms.
Started in 2010, the Etsy Malaysia team has a presence on Facebook (1,933 likes) and Twitter. At the time of writing, Etsy Malaysia had 191 members. The Etsy Malaysia local team also maintains a blog.
Malaysia has quite a good representation in Handmadeology.com’s ‘Top 1000 Handmade Etsy Sellers’ list. Some of the names on the list include custom rubber stamp store mycustomstamps, bag maker Kinies, bag maker christystudio, removable vinyl wall decal maker designedDESIGNER, mybugs – a maker of pendants, earrings and necklaces from real butterfly wings, and crocheted item seller skymagenta.
If you are looking for a one-stop shop to buy hand-crafted and vintage products, Etsy is a decent place to start. You can also try your luck as a seller at the site – if you have high quality, high-value items to sell, persistent marketing will definitely pay big dividends.
You can check out the Esty Malaysia website here.
Have you used Esty in Malaysia? Share your experiences by posting comments below.
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