One of my favourite parts of the weekend is waking up on a warm Sunday morning, and venturing to my local markets. I make sure to always pick up a bright (and incredibly reasonably priced) bunch of flowers, a delicious breakfast treat, and any other little locally made knick knacks that catch my eye. However I’m only able to have this wonderful experience once a week, which honestly makes me a little blue. What am I to do Monday through to Friday? Cue Etsy – the answer to all my market needs.
For those of you who have just read the word Etsy as gibberish, allow me to fill you in. I like to think of Etsy as a global weekend markets on an online platform, kind of like eBay’s more alternative cousin. It is a great start-up option for small business as they are able to sell their unique goods in an international market, allowing individualism for both sellers and consumers.
Why the world loves Etsy.
Similar to the weekend markets, Etsy allows sellers and buyer to interact with each other in a very personal way, without being face-to-face. In my own experience, I have found that sellers are always willing to go that extra mile to ensure the success of their small businesses, and it shows. Customers are usually more than happy to fork out extra money for a more ‘human’ interaction. In addition to this, the convenience of Etsy is also what entices a lot of buyers.
What happens if it is pouring of rain on a Sunday morning? Am I really willing to traipse through the puddles in order to maybe find a little hidden treasure? With Etsy, this can all be done without even leaving the comfort of your couch. Even better, you are able to narrow down your search in order to make looking for specific goods even easier! Whereas sellers have the opportunity for their shops on Etsy to be either a full time-business or a part-time hobby. This makes it a lot more flexible, compared to local markets on the weekend.
Another great reason for Etsy is its ability to open buyers and sellers up to a global market, increasing the probability for success (in either selling or purchasing products). This globalisation has allowed marketplaces, such as Etsy, to be more efficient and internally have increased competition, benefiting consumers. However if this seems a little too overwhelming, buyers are given the option to refine their search to purely domestic goods, in order to support small businesses and their local economy.
Finally, Etsy provides a wonderful platform for online shopping fanatics (such as myself) to steer away from chain companies, which I find all stock the same generic styles. For Christmas last year, I decided to buy all my gifts off Etsy and have them personalized in some way. I can honestly say that all the recipients (unless they were lying to me) absolutely loved their presents, and especially appreciated the effort I had gone to in order to have their gift be one of a kind. Let’s be real, who doesn’t love seeing their name on stuff! It must be engrained in us after having to label everything we owned at school.
Why Etsy haters always gonna hate.
However just with everything ever created, there are always going to be haters. The idea of a global online Sunday market seems to terrify some consumers, as it is too overwhelming and contains too much content. The optimist in me just thinks more options, and more time to procrastinate from university assignments. However I must say there is some truth to this statement, as when doing some ‘research’ I did find myself falling down a bit of a rabbit hole. Ever since the beginning of 2015, after the online platform went public, both sellers and consumers have stated how Etsy is loosing its ‘indie market feel’, due to the high quantity of content.
For this reason it does make it difficult for new sellers, with an unestablished consumer base, to break into this market. Also by having a global market, it does mean that extended travel time needs to be considered. Some of your new purchases may be coming from the other side of the world, which can take up to a month to arrive to your doorstep. Even though this process isn’t as refined as major chain companies, I’m used to having to wait for my goods, so honestly I can deal with it, it just means you have to be a little more organised.
Etsy has paved the way, with countless other online craft platforms beginning to pop up, all trying to ‘out-indie’ one another. However what impact does this have on your real local markets? Are they starting to die out?
From what I have seen, I don’t think they are going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, I think these physical markets are beginning to bloom – and whom do we have to thank…the good old hipsters. I swear, almost every week on Facebook I am being invited to attend the opening of a new local markets. In Australia, buying organic and sustainable goods is so hot right now. Around 14% of the population purchase their produce at their local farmer’s markets, and people are starting to become more conscious in general about where their goods are coming from.
So for me, if I’m feeling particularly lazy, and I simply can’t drag myself out of bed on a Sunday morning, Etsy is my answer. I find that it is the perfect balance of online shopping and actual markets. However honestly, I don’t think I will ever stop loving the actual experience of going to my local markets, so for me, that will always be my first preference.
Also published on Medium.