Macy’s is adding an “in real life” concession shop featuring New York City-based Etsy sellers to its millennial-focused “One Below” store. For now the products have a New York theme, but the shop-within-a-store will see merchandising changes every couple of months.
The area is carefully curated, and the fixtures and risers were all also designed and manufactured by Etsy sellers. Etsy already has longstanding relationships with national retailers like Nordstrom and West Elm, but Macy’s is the biggest retailer so far to work with the artisanal marketplace.
In September, Macy’s launched One Below, using the vast space in its basement to bring in brands and customer experience features designed to please the younger generation.
For consumers, Etsy is a place for finding unique, high-quality things, often at reasonable prices. Most sellers on Etsy also take the time to present their packages with great care, leaving customers with that feeling of being cared for, that the buyer-seller relationship is important and truly personal. The marketplace has unique categories, too, like homemade or vegan cosmetics, that can be nearly impossible to find otherwise.
For sellers, many of whom are engaged in an activity that is or was once only a hobby or an abiding interest, Etsy provides a way to scale their business to the extent that it can make them a living.
“As a Brooklyn native, coming up with a piece to make specially for Macy’s Herald Square was a dream come true,” said ceramicist Naomi Singer, whose Etsy shop is Modern Mud, said in a statement. “As a teenager visiting Macy’s Herald Square was the first trip that my mother allowed me to take into Manhattan.”
All that commerce is now coming to Macy’s flagship Herald Square store in New York, and that could benefit everyone. Etsy has come under criticism in recent months for opening its marketplace to mass-produced goods and even allowing in counterfeit goods. The ability to see and touch handmade goods from top sellers could help reinforce the marketplace’s dedication to specialty merchandise.
Some of Etsy’s sellers, however, weren’t so keen on the idea when it was announced late last year, and said it would do the opposite.
"In theory, it is quite exciting that there could be a direct stream for small Etsy sellers to be linked up with manufacturers and large wholesale accounts," Diane Lupton, who sells on Etsy via her KnotWork Shop storefront, told NBC News. "But our experience has shown that it will likely not help the vast majority of sellers, and will probably further drown small shops in the sea of manufactured, rather than handmade, goods. We want Etsy to go back to its roots.”