Ananya loved the idea of eyeglass strings — they’re practical, comfortable, and so simple. But she was always lamented the fact that these strings came only in plain, boring colours. She wanted her beloved accessory to reflect her funky fashion sense, and so decided to do something about it. She started designing her own strings, with colourful beads and chains, but she needed to find a platform for her to sell them — and that’s when she found Etsy.
(Ananya and one of her eyeglass strings.)
A global e-commerce website, Etsy is known for bringing together sellers and buyers in the field of handicrafts. The site has already garnered a huge subscriber base in the United States and across Europe, where people who make handicrafts or collect vintage items, set up shop online, to sell what they make or collect. Buyers can directly contact sellers for their wares and buy — from anywhere in the world.
Etsy, which boasts of a whopping two million sellers and 35 million buyers globally, is now in India, and is growing exponentially. Himanshu Wardhan, Etsy India’s Managing Director, talks about how the Indian diaspora is ideal, given the rich heritage of handicrafts in the country. “We’ve always had a lot of sellers and buyers from India, before we even formally set up in India. There has been a drastic upsurge in the number of creative entrepreneurs in India. We also have teams who go out into the markets and actually meet the traditional handicrafts sellers, and show them how they can expand their business with Etsy,” said Himanshu.
Apart from the thousands of traditional sellers, who are now getting an in into the international market, Etsy is also focusing on domestic sellers — entrepreneurs, like Ananya, who make their own products (ranging from jewellery to home decor) and want to sell them. The best part? Around 87% of the sellers are women. Indian women, who are homemakers, working professionals, and students, are all taking to showing off their creative skills to the world. Graphic artist and illustrator, Riddhi Desai, is one such creative entrepreneur, who found her independent voice on Etsy. Tired of working for various websites and apps, she decided to set up her own shop — Tiny Farm, which sells illustrated merchandise, all designed and made by Riddhi.
(Riddhi with badges that she illustrated)
One simply has to look at the hundreds of success stories to see that this is one platform that may prove to be the game-changer for the Indian fashion and lifestyle industry. Another Etsy store, TwoAmShop, is the perfect example of that. Launched by two friends, Meha and Anjali, this vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle brand is proving very popular with buyers. “The independent movement has been growing in Indian fashion and lifestyle for the last few years, where more and more bespoke stores and sellers are coming up everywhere. Especially when it comes to sustainable fashion — it’s huge right now. But so far, most of it is limited to the physical market space, so imagine the impact if you brought that online,” explained Himanshu, adding that this will also serve the growing number of consumers who are looking for unique and bespoke items.
(Meha and Anjali of TwoAmShop)
Although Etsy is still focusing on sellers at the moment, we totally suggest you check out the hundreds of stores that are already on it, selling some really cool things — not just from India, but around the world.