Though New York City has no shortage of boutiques, shoppers country- and worldwide in search of clothing, accessories, decor and other special goods made by independent designers are just a few click aways thanks to an online store called Etsy. As a result of stiff competition in the marketplace for handmade and custom-made goods, the younger, niche company is struggling to win over investors.
Headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, Etsy is a peer-to-peer e-commerce website for buyers and sellers of handmade, vintage and unique factory-manufactured goods. Founded in 2005, the company went public on April 16, 2015. Etsy’s initial public offering (IPO) price of $16 per share soared up to $35.74 on the same day but then declined, only reaching its second highest stock value of $21.98 on July 17, 2015.
Less than six months after Etsy’s IPO, e-commerce giant Amazon joined Etsy’s niche market and announced a new store called Handmade at Amazon. The platform is for “invited artisans” only and allows customers worldwide to purchase “unique, handcrafted goods.”
Handmade was thought to become the “Etsy Killer,” yet Etsy’s biggest obstacle doesn’t appear to be other companies, but rather achieving confidence from investors.
While Etsy sells products like a retailer, its listing on Nasdaq and classification as a tech company has allowed it to skirt around—though not completely untouched by the effects of global currencies—the demise of retail trade industry. Its peer companies include 22-year-old Amazon and 19-year-old eBay, but with each of their revenues in the billions, Etsy’s million dollar figures are dwarfed in comparison.
Other e-commerce companies with similarly small market capitalization as Etsy’s include 17-year-old photo service Shutterfly, 17-year-old discounted goods retailer Overstock.com and 40-year-old flower delivery service 1-800-Flowers. Though they offer relatively different services than Etsy, these companies would potentially attract similar consumers interested in customized gift items.
Etsy may be a quiet company to follow in terms of its size and ability to move the market, but the 11-year-old New York City underdog has looked into finding new ways to prioritize its stakeholders.
On Sept. 19, Etsy acquired privately-held company Blackbird Technology. The acquisition is a move on Etsy’s part for optimizing its online market search experience use machine learning technology. Two days later, trading company Monness Crespi & Hardt upgraded Etsy shares from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a report released Wednesday morning, injecting interest in Etsy stock in the days to follow. Etsy stock was up about 2 percent at market close on Sept. 22, with share price of $14.82, hitting a buy point for the first time since its IPO.
As it ramps up its efforts to compete against Amazon’s Handmade, Etsy recently announced a new global brand marketing campaign called “Difference Makes Us,” which company Chief Operating Officer Linda Findley Kozlowski states “speaks to the breadth of the items for sale in the Etsy market, and highlights the people that browse and discover them on Etsy every day.”
“Those differences, and how we express them as both buyers and sellers, are also what bring all of us together, on Etsy, every day,” Kozlowski wrote in a company blog post.