I dedicate a chapter in Homeward Bound to looking at the rise of the indie craft movement, and the new “artisan economy” of people starting micro businesses to sell things they hand-make at home – scarves, cupcakes, jewelry, etc. Part of this includes a hard look at Etsy, the online craft-selling platform. After attending craft conferences, talking with dozens of craft entrepreneurs (both successful and not), and interviewing economists and other experts, I concluded that the “very very small businesses” Etsy promotes are lucrative for a few, fun for many, but aren’t necessarily most viable way to achieve the work-life balance so many of us crave. And that’s fine. But people should be aware that the “quit your day job” dream sold by Etsy is likely to be just that – a dream.
Now, Etsy has written a response (rebuttal?) to Homeward Bound’s assessment. As Etsy’s communications director Juliet Gorman writes:
We think that by participating in this revitalized economy of small business owners, empowered women (and men) are creating a new, strong, and visible alternative. The communications revolution brought to us by blogging and social media has given individuals a bigger megaphone than ever. Luckily, political power today doesn’t only reside inside traditional institutions like corporate workplaces.
The piece is generating a fast and furious response over at Etsy. What are you thoughts?