- Following the Etsy strike last year, Artisans Cooperative, a collective representing crafters, has beta launched an online marketplace for handmade items owned and operated by its users, according to a Monday press release shared with Retail Dive.
- On its first day, the platform had more than 70 merchants and 1,200 items available for consumers. The site was built using Shopify, according to the announcement.
- The marketplace’s policies are written by the community and it charges a sales commission, but does not charge seller listing fees. It also provides customers and artisans the chance to become co-op owners with voting rights and financial rights.
The Artisans Cooperative emerged following the 2022 Etsy strike, in which crafters on the platform spoke out against Etsy’s business practices. Etsy raised sellers’ transaction fees, a move it said it made to “invest in more ways that benefit our sellers.” Aside from the fee increase, Etsy has also caught criticism from some sellers who say it caters more to mass merchants and resellers than it does to small crafters.
“We are excited to provide a platform that rewards the artisans and their craft as the true value builders of a marketplace,” Erin Sapre, a potter in North Carolina and secretary of Artisans Cooperative, said in a statement.
The launch of the Etsy alternative comes as Etsy has seen a slowdown this year. In Q1 2023, the company reported that its marketplace gross merchandise sales declined 4.7% from last year to $2.7 billion, and its net income decreased $11.6 million from last year to $74.5 million. However, its consolidated revenue rose 10.6% year over year to $640.9 million, which the company said was due to the increase of its marketplace transaction fee.
A similar pattern continued in its second quarter this year, with gross merchandise sales down 0.7% year over year and net income sliding $11.2 million from last year to $61.9 million. The company’s consolidated revenue, on the other hand, saw a 7.5% bump in Q2 2023, per its quarterly earnings report.
Still, Etsy also noted that its active buyers grew in the first and second quarters by 1% and 3% year over year, respectively. As of the second quarter, the company had a record 96 million buyers and more than 8 million sellers on its platform.