Etsy, the vintage and made-by-hand marketplace giant, today launched its wholesale marketplace with an invitation to vendors and buyers to fill out applications to gain entry.
Because Etsy Wholesale is what’s being called “a juried marketplace,” vendors and buyers will be vetted by the company to ensure that sellers are capable of fulfilling orders and buyers are qualified to purchase items wholesale.
Categories for Etsy Wholesale will include apparel, jewelry, vintage, wedding, bath and beauty, kids and toys, art, home and living, office and paper goods.
“We expect wholesale orders will be higher,” said Vanessa Bertozzi, senior program manager, “with opening order minimums of $200 to $500.”
Last year, marketplace member sales were $895.1 million. Etsy expects sales to cross the $1 billion mark this year. “Wholesale will be an additional stream of revenue,” Bertozzi said. “Wholesale revenue is contingent on when we launch out of beta and start charging subscription fees. It could be another $1 billion business.”
Etsy.com has 850,000 active shops with 18 million items listed for sale. Etsy takes 3.5 percent of each transaction. For Etsy Wholesale, there will be a monthly subscription fee for sellers but not for buyers. During the beta period, no fees will be charged. When the wholesale marketplace officially launches later this summer, Etsy will begin assessing sellers an as-yet-undetermined fee.
Bertozzi said that some of the rules for the general marketplace won’t apply to wholesale. Vendors must make products themselves without assistance. The company said the nature of the wholesale industry makes it impractical to operate Etsy Wholesale the same way as Etsy.com. Products can be produced by third parties as long as they’re designed by the seller.
“Independent designers will have to be able to meet larger sales volume,” Bertozzi said. “We know of a lot of independent designers who are already wholesaling [in the general marketplace]. For designers who want to grow and scale their business, doing everything themselves has been a big stumbling block.”
Bertozzi said Etsy has been reaching out to top independent boutiques in major cities. “They want to make a connection with independent designers,” she said. “Nordstrom and West Elm have approached us. Their mission is aligning with ours. They support independent, local designers. Etsy wholesale is working with the major players,” she said, referring to department stores. She declined to be more specific.
Bertozzi said Etsy could potentially help sellers financially. “Investing in businesses might be something we might consider, but it’s not currently on the docket,” she said. “Sellers have capital needs. We’ll look into it further down the road.”