The Story of Etsy’s Success Is the Story of the Success of Women Entrepreneurs

May 13, 2015

2:00 pm

Last month, the Brooklyn, NY-based ecommerce platform Etsy debuted its IPO at a surprising $31 per share – nearly double the amount of its initial $16 pricing. And, while that on its own is a great achievement (especially for a company that has yet to make a profit), the success of Etsy really says much more about the success of women entrepreneurs in the United States.

At yesterday’s WIRED Business Conference in NYC, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson sat down with WIRED senior staff writer Jessi Hempel to talk about the company’s recent IPO and the important role of the company’s seller community in transforming Etsy into what it is today. Going into a discussion about the importance of companies generating social good, being a public company that continues to focus on the community, and what the future of Etsy looks like, one of the more significant talking points focused on Etsy’s role of empowering women entrepreneurs. Indeed, without women entrepreneurs driving the business on Etsy, the company may have never reached a stage at which an IPO were even imaginable.

“Etsy sellers typically are women; 86 percent of them are women,” said Dickerson. “We’re really proud that Etsy’s a platform for women entrepreneurs. And something that’s really, really important – that I think people miss if they don’t look too closely at Etsy – is that 76 percent of the sellers on Etsy see what they do as a business. So, the sellers on Etsy aren’t, you know, simply hobbyists; they’re running businesses that are really important to them.”

According to Dickerson, Etsy sellers consider their ecommerce operations as full-time businesses. What’s more – most of those businesses are run by women. So, while it’s easy to fall into the delusion that Etsy is merely a platform for makers to sell the products of their craft, it also serves as a major venue medium through which women entrepreneurs around the United States (and the world) can make a living (or at least a portion of their earnings). Dickerson noted that, in an economic survey conducted by the company, while not everyone is making a full-time income from Etsy, 18 percent of all sellers on the platform still consider what they do as something full-time.

And at its core, the success story of Etsy is really more a story of the success of women entrepreneurs; it’s just another example (among many others) that women entrepreneurs are straight-up killing it in this economy. Last week, we reported that – despite the higher success rates of women-owned businesses and ventures – women-led startups get a mere 7 percent of all investor money. I mean, sure, Etsy’s story is also representative of the increasingly growing Maker Movement, but when a majority of sellers on the platform are women, it’s really more a story about women entrepreneurs; when nearly 90 percent of its 1.4 million sellers are women, it’s difficult to deny the role of women entrepreneurs in our economy.

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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