Handmade Goods Saved by the Internet

In an article recently published in The Economist, it showcased work by Harvard Business School’s Ryan Raffaelli. The article focused on the effects of disruptive innovation. It mentioned how some technologies that have become obsolete as a result of less expensive and often better alternatives have seen a resurgence and return to being a viable and healthy business.

A few of those industries is the return of mechanical watches that are once again experiencing strong, and increased sales. Even vinyl records and fountain pens have found new popularity. One business that has seen a resurgence is homemade goods. That includes handmade clothing items to food items and all things in-between.

There is little doubt that this side of the market has exploded thanks to the internet and sites such as Etsy. For many, this is a new discovery, but was once common as past generations were accustomed to creating or building things they wanted or needed in their daily lives, some due to financial limitations, others simply out of preference.

Growth of Etsy

The growth of sites such as Etsy is a clear indication that shoppers favour less those goods mass produced and are more drawn to those that offer a higher level of quality or personal touch. Etsy is similar to eBay but focuses on providing a platform for those in search of a marketplace that will help them connect with buyers interested in the wares they are selling. It allows sellers to build an online presence and reputation and afford them the ability to operate independently.

At the cost of only $0.20 per listing, Etsy is affordable. Even when you factor in the 3.5% fee deducted on items sold, it still remains affordable for home-based sellers. The growth has allowed Etsy to see revenue surpass a four billion dollars in 2017.

Those selling on Etsy increase their exposure by accessing a global audience of buyers. It has allowed them additional ways of sourcing material as those that supply materials also use Etsy due to its affordability. Combined, this has fueled the growth sites like Etsy has experienced. One notable industry is handmade soap, it has grown from only a few selling their wares, often locally, to thousands and in fact, handmade soap sellers represents five percent of sales on Etsy.

The point of that is not the fact that handmade soap is popular, it is most will never go to those efforts to purchase handmade soap, or to care enough to invest the time and extra cost. The point is sites like Etsy allows sellers in that marketplace to make a living selling small volumes with a loyal customer base.

What to expect in the future

It is apparently clear that this type of marketplace will always have a home online. As more people gain access to the internet in underprivileged countries, those with skills long forgotten will turn to the internet to sell their goods. In many cases, those purchase are contributing to supporting entire villages. With a feel-good side to handmade goods, this is one that will continue to grow.