All the world’s a bazaar

Sushmita Jha
Sunday, 20 January 2019

Etsy lndia provides small-time entrepreneurs with a platform to sell their products to a global clientele. We speak to two sellers to find out how it’s done

With the aim of providing a platform for entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into successful business models, Etsy India is all is set to build a community rather than just an e-commerce website. Founded in 2005 with headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, Etsy officially launched its operations in India in July 2018 after noticing the booming digital culture in the country. When potential buyers visit the Etsy India website, they are inspired and delighted by items that are crafted and curated by creative entrepreneurs. The website offers a range of tools and services for sellers that focus on key business needs. 

 “We already had a functional team in the beginning of last year. We started going to different parts of India in order to build a community of creative entrepreneurs and get them on the platform. We had sellers and buyers from India even before we launched it here. Since the last few years we noticed that the growth and demand on the online platform has been on rise here, so we thought why not get Etsy to India,” said Himanshu Wardhan, India managing director, Etsy. 

In order to build the creative entrepreneur community in India, Etsy came up with the campaign #TheEtsyCollective, where they met and interacted with the artistic community in various cities in the country. Etsy has hosted nine collectives across Delhi NCR, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai. And carrying this forward they had the first collective of 2019 in Lucknow followed by  Pune. 

The collective was held at Viman Nagar Social in Phoenix Marketcity earlier this week. The main agenda behind the event was to guide artists and designers, who are aspiring to become entrepreneurs, towards the right direction. Two city-based designers, Abhilasha Mehta and Samidha Gunjal, who sell their products on the website, interacted with visitors about their experience with Etsy and how the website helped their business grow. 

Making it happen
While Mehta is a designer who runs an online store called Ek Dori where she designs apparels, mainly sarees and dupattas, Gunjal’s online store is called Studio Dhamisa where she creates her own designs and then prints it on different accessories like bags, wallets, book covers, sarees and so on. Gunjal also  hosted a DIY workshop at the collective.

Mehta followed the conventional engineering-MBA-marriage route until 2009, when a personal experience changed her outlook towards life. She tried her hand at designing and making her own apparel, but it didn’t pan out. After years of self-doubt, she once again decided to pick up where she left off by starting her brand Ek Dori. She also taught her domestic help to design clothes. Her undying drive to create, and with her inherent attention to detail culminated in a unique and beautiful lifestyle brand. “Being financially independent is a must for women. And I started my store with an objective of spreading the awareness regarding the same. I want my team to grow day by day and I want to give them the skills, source of income, joy and encouragement. They feel extremely happy when they see people around the world wearing the clothes they’ve created. And it’s an amazing feeling to see them so happy,” says Mehta. Talking about how she found out about Etsy, she said, “I have always been a lover of handmade things which are unique, and therefore I used to spend a lot of time online and then one day I stumbled upon Etsy. Initially, I was a customer for Etsy but as soon the opportunity came to me, to become a seller, I grabbed it.”

Gunjal, on the other hand, is quite new to business. She joined Etsy about a month ago and she is liking the experience already. “I am an illustrator and animator. Very recently, I explored a new way of carving called the linocut, which is similar to wood cuts but here you use linoleum sheets. I thought of using it to make prints on fabric, which is just like blockprinting. Instead of wooden blocks, I use lino blocks. I love personalised and customised things, so I print all these motifs and patterns I create on bags, pouches and stoles,” says Gunjal. “I always wanted to set up a store, and I was looking for options. The kind of work I do is in great demand right now, specially abroad. So whenever I used to post pictures of my work on Instagram, people used to ask me if I have an Etsy store because it’s very popular abroad. That’s how I found out about Etsy,” she says adding that she enquired about them and when they launched in India, they connected with her to feature her products on the website.
 
Etsy’s terms and condition is quite feasible, the sellers say. One can start a store on the website with a minimum of just one product. The team helps sellers with the kind of description and pictures they need to put up, and they are free to decide the prices of their own product. The sellers are responsible for the shipping of products and there is absolutely no reselling permitted on the website.

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