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Etsy Reveals Its Plan for World Domination

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All images by Driely S. for Racked.
All images by Driely S. for Racked.

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Between launching a wholesale program, purchasing a giant new office in Brooklyn and buying creative technology bazaar Grand Street, Etsy has had quite the growth spurt this past year.

The online destination for indie crafters and vintage fiends now offers more than 25 million items in over a million shops, and at last week's holiday preview in New York, CEO Chad Dickerson told Racked that the company's about to see its best year yet. The preview showcased products from dozens of sellers, and not surprisingly, the merchandise was oh-so-Etsy: mason jars, indoor gardens, monogrammed accessories, and everything and anything made out of wood.

Plants, terrariums, and all things gardening-related are extremely popular on the site.

Gazing upon a wall of perfectly arranged succulents and geode coasters, Dickerson noted he owns a wooden watch from an Etsy seller and frequently searches the site for his favorite score, artisanal greeting cards.

He also told us that Etsy, which has sellers in more than 200 countries, is investing in international marketing leading up to the holidays so even more shoppers across the globe turn to Etsy as a gifting source. This year they've already made their first-ever TV commercial, which ran in the UK and featured actual Etsy sellers and goods, and took out ads on Toronto's subway system. It's a smart move given the company generated $1.35 billion in global sales last year according to Statista; Dickerson estimates that in a few years the majority of Etsy transactions will be international.

Another initiative for the online shopping destination involves pushing its wholesale platform, which launches out of beta next month. The wholesale move allows Etsy merchandisers to sell to brick-and-mortar stores, as well as outsource work to assist in production. The move gestures a significant pivot from their previous emphasis on small-scale, handmade goods. As we previously speculated, the best-case scenario will be that the girl whose bespoke stationary you love lands a deal with Anthropologie, while the worst is that your favorite made-by-hand items start being manufactured in mass quantities inside factories.

Wood products are often Etsy best-sellers.

The wholesale move has left many with concerns about the validity of Etsy's stamp-of-handmade-approval, but Dickerson said the move is beneficial and that the company's main objective is to "support independent retail." Even though stores like West Elm and Nordstrom are already selling items from Etsy users, the CEO explained that most of the existing wholesale relationships are with independent boutiques.

"Ninety percent of retail still happens offline, and we want our sellers to have that option," he added. "The company is trying to raise awareness to help our sellers continue to expand. The mission is to help them succeed and to see lots of merchandise make it to retail boutiques."

Ahead of the holidays, Etsy is also rolling out a seller bootcamp, where they'll offer online classes on business management, inventory administration, tax implication and marketing strategies.

"Some of our sellers are really educated on the business aspect, but we're helping with merchandising tips and industry insights so they're prepared for shopping customers," said Etsy merchandiser Emily Bidwell. "We're projecting explosive growth for the holidays—the best on record—so we're investing in seller education."

· Etsy's New Wholesale Platform: A Crafter's Friend or Foe? [Racked]
· Reddit Is Banning All Shameless Etsy Plugs [Racked]