Women Craft Businesses On Etsy

By Samantha Masunaga
Los Angeles Times.

Women-owned businesses may make up about 30% of all U.S. enterprises, but on Etsy, they are the majority.

A report released Thursday by the company said 86% of sellers on the online creative marketplace are women. Sellers are also more likely to have a college degree (56%) and have a higher-than-average household income of $56,180.

The flexible hours of online marketplaces and the ease of setting up shops have allowed more female micropreneurs to monetize their talents in new ways, said Sucharita Mulpuru, retail analyst at Forrester Research.

“The Internet absolutely gives them new ways to at least partially exploit some of that talent that they have,” she said.

Besides flexibility, Althea Erickson, Etsy’s global policy director, said women entrepreneurs are looking for autonomy in their businesses.

“We see that many sellers, they are pursuing businesses on their own terms,” she said.

For many sellers, Etsy was initially a way to make extra cash. Ali Fitzgerald, 38, turned a hobby into a business through Etsy when she started to sell hoops in 2009 for hoop dancing. Six years later, she quit her job at an interior landscaping company and has turned her shop, HoopMamas, into a full-time gig. Last year, the four-person enterprise made $338,000 in sales, more than double their total from 2013.

“I have so much more confidence now because I made that leap and I did it,” said Fitzgerald, who lives in Lawrence, Kan. “I know that I can be and am responsible for my own success.”

Fitzgerald is not alone. Thirty percent of sellers on Etsy rely on their shop as their sole occupation. Ninety percent said they want to expand their creative business in the future, like Amanda Hyun.

Hyun owns MsAmandaJayne, a shop on Etsy that sells crocheted accessories like cozies and gift bags. The 40-year-old resident of El Cerrito, Calif., currently works in hotel sales, but would like to transition to running her shop full time. Since she started selling on Etsy in 2012, she’s sold more than 800 items.

“This is my brand,” Hyun said. “If I can become this big, well-known household brand name, that would be awesome.”

The Etsy report was based on an online survey of 4,000 sellers between November 2014 and January. The survey was conducted by market research firm Kantar Media.

Shares of Etsy were up 25 cents, or 1.36%, to $18.70 in midday trading.

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