Etsy’s “very very small” business model, which we’ve talked about/critiqued before on this blog, is getting a lot bigger. The online craft company is expanding into conventional retail, connecting some of its sellers with brick-and-mortal retailers such as Nordstrom. Etsy is also collaborating with the town of Rockford, Illinois to teach residents entrepreneurship skills, the first of a series of planned collaborations.
As someone who has always seen Etsy’s business model as slightly hypocritical, talking big about changing the world economy while offering little more than a platform for low-wage pink collar labor (largely to women desperate for flexible work arrangements), I think these efforts are great. Few people make a living selling scarves from their living rooms, but everyone can benefit from entrepreneurial skills, and collaborations with brick-and-mortar retailers offer a real (if slim) possibility of capitalizing on economies of scale.
What do you think of all this? Any Etsy success or failure stories out there?