Etsy Teams Up With American Express

Etsy has become the go-to website for handmade craft items sold largely by individuals and small businesses. Everything from knit hats to paintings and hand-crafted guitars can be purchased on the site.

Etsy and American Express recently agreed to form a partnership to support small businesses by encouraging shoppers to search for and buy from local artisans. This partnership will enable small business owners to showcase products through Etsy in a retail setting, with the goal of boosting small-business growth.

While the company has already provided a place for local artisans to succeed online, the new partnership highlights the next step in Etsy’s support of local artists and entrepreneurs.

Etsy launched in 2005 as an imitator of eBay, where users could sell their hand-made crafts and art projects to customers for whatever price they chose. Sellers could create a virtual storefront and pay Etsy a 20-cent fee for each item listed, as well as 3.5 percent of the profits from items that sold.

Any commodities listed in a storefront will remain on the site for up to four months. They are taken down when they sell.

The site has empowered stay-at-home parents and individuals with a penchant for doing creative projects to make money on the side and allowed entrepreneurs to start a small business for the sale of their creations on the Internet.

While it remains a largely web-based company, Etsy does sell a few products through retail outlets. One of its partnerships is with West Elm, a retail chain that has agreed to sell some Etsy products.

In 2012, Etsy launched a temporary storefront during the holiday season to open the way for purchase of hand-crafted products that are suitable for holiday gifts. The majority of sellers who use Etsy are women between the ages of 20 and 30 — most of whom have college degrees.

It’s become a popular site for people with a crafty hobby and artists who rely on the sale of their pieces to make a living. Many have benefited from Etsy’s focus on small business and local artisans and received recognition and compensation for their creations.

American Express also has a history of supporting small business through its Small Business Saturday, established in 2010. The first event took place on November 27 to encourage consumers to shop at small business vendors the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

In 2011, Small Business Saturday received support from politicians in Washington, D.C. and around the country, including President Obama, and was officially recognized by the U.S. Senate. The following year, small businesses were encouraged to promote the day by advertising and creating personalized marketing to appeal to shoppers around the country.

Since then, the Saturday following Thanksgiving has become a day for shoppers to visit small businesses and to promote awareness and visibility for local artisans, entrepreneurs and business owners. The event has become a movement, observed annually since 2010 and scheduled this year to take place on November 29th.

American Express supported such firms by helping them create personalized ads at no charge and spreading the promotions across the web, where they received millions of views. Last year, 1,450 neighborhoods announced their support for the movement, and local organizations and individuals celebrated Small Business Saturday.

Through their new partnership, American Express and Etsy are encouraging small business owners and Etsy sellers to team up and work together so both may profit on Small Business Saturday. They are being asked to host trunk shows, in which the Etsy sellers can display the products of their work in a typical retail setting at a local small business location.

This will allow Etsy sellers to interact with their buyers face to face, as opposed to just an online exchange. Many buyers respond better to face-to-face conversations with the makers of handmade crafts and should be more likely to buy products in a traditional retail setting.

Small business owners will also benefit from this arrangement because the addition of handmade crafts to their offerings will diversify their stock and increase traffic through their store. Businesses such as CraftClouds.com have noted that people who are drawn in by handmade crafts will be more likely to notice the small business owner’s products and make purchases from both the store owner and the Etsy dealer.

The owner will receive commendation for supporting a local artisan, and if the partnership continues beyond Small Business Saturday, the arrangement may prove mutually beneficial over the longer haul.

As further encouragement for participating in Small Business Saturday, both as a team and for hosting a trunk show, American Express and Etsy are providing participants with several promotional products. A trunk show kit will be given to the Etsy sellers and small business owners, as well as a $25 Etsy gift card and two $25 gift cards to American Express.

Interested parties must register to participate in the trunk show by October 24th to be eligible. Registration can be done at the Etsy website.

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