The desire for unique, handcrafted items is changing the face of retail from soulless big box corporations to the girl next door sewing dresses in her basement. Ecommerce is also connecting people across the world with goods otherwise inaccessible to them. Heralding this huge shift is Etsy, an online marketplace that provides a platform for anyone to sell their handmade products to an global audience. It’s about supporting budding entrepreneurs and sustainable business practices.
Since Etsy’s establishment in 2005 in Brooklyn, the company has grown exponentially, with offices across the world and now in Canada. At the helm in Toronto, is Erin Green, Etsy’s Canada Lead.
We had a chance to speak with Green about the company’s goals and how she juggles her priorities.
OLM: How does the Canadian market differ from the U.S., where Etsy was founded? Are there any similarities?
Etsy was founded in Brooklyn in 2005. There are now offices around the world including in Toronto, UK and Berlin. Etsy is such a well known brand in the U.S. and we are fortunate to leverage a lot of that brand equity here in Canada. We will be doing a lot of consumer marketing to buyers which is a big change for Etsy. To date, much of the success has happened organically which is really remarkable and a testament to the community of talented makers.
OLM: What kinds of goals is Etsy working towards in Canada? What are the plans for the future?
Our goals are to grow a strong domestic marketplace here in Canada. We’ll do that by showcasing the unique products and makers on Etsy and sharing their stories with consumers.
OLM: How is Etsy shaping/changing ecommerce?
I see a real shift in consumers wanting to buy from real people and support small businesses. Etsy has over 30 million members and 20 million items listed in 200 countries. This proves that the movement of supporting creative businesses is already happening and that Etsy has been an integral part of it.
OLM: What’s the best thing about your job?
I am constantly in awe at the talent I come across every day. Whether it’s speaking directly to a seller or combing the site for products — it’s just amazing to see all of the home grown talent we have here in Canada.
OLM: How do you find and maintain balance at work and at home?
I think establishing some ‘non-negotiables’ and sticking to them is a great place to start. For instance, being home by six every night to eat with my family or taking my kids to school every day, etc.
OLM: What’s one thing that makes your day easier?
A good night’s sleep followed by a good morning workout!
Let’s take a look at some of the great Ottawa shops featured on Etsy:
Offering functional and luxurious active-wear, BELMAICA was opened last year as a fashion forward line allowing consumers to customize their workout look. The founder, Merrit Decloux, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when she began dreaming up of the company after recuperating at home and mainly wearing yoga pants. All BELMAICA fabrics are soft, stretchy and wick away moisture.
The natural skincare revolution has made many consumers think twice about what they put on their skin and Joanne Lauzon recognized that. She founded Mavis in 2013 and offers an array of natural skincare products that are completely all natural and handcrafted. Lauzon is also dedicated to researching new recipes, ingredients, suppliers and packaging to maintain the integrity of each product.