Etsy Turns To Crowdfunding To Give Sellers A New Funding Source

Audrey White

Etsy has jumped into the crowdfunding game with Fund On Etsy, an initiative that will allow vendors to seek investment from site users in advance of creating new products.

The site is one of the web’s prime hubs for artists and vintage curators to sell their wares. This summer, Fund On Etsy will give 100 carefully selected artists a chance to acquire capital through what will work essentially like a preorder program. Users will only be charged if a campaign reaches its goal, as is true with popular sites like Kickstarter. But, Etsy notes, it can’t guarantee delivery of a promised good once the campaign is over.

“We’re always looking for new ideas to help our community of buyers and sellers connect in meaningful ways,” the brand wrote on its blog. “Fund on Etsy is part of that vision, and we’re eager to share it with you. This is a journey not just for our pilot sellers, but also the greater Etsy community.”

The company went public in April with tepid results. The company’s stock valuation rose 2 percent with the announcement.

Etsy sellers expressed excitement at the new opportunity. Their campaigns vary widely in amount. Katty Huertas, for example, hopes to raise $350 (about £222), to buy materials and take a ceramics course so she can launch a new line of ceramic cups.

“My goal with Fund on Etsy is to be able to expand my product line, grow my brand and keep busy during the whole year doing what I love,” says Huertas.

So far, almost all of the campaigns have received some funding since the launch on June 16. The launch period lasts until August 16. A couple have reached or exceeded their goals, like Brdi House, which has raised nearly quadruple its $200 goal to launch a new product in its line of build-it-yourself birdhouses. Users essentially preorder the $15 item, giving Brdi House the money it needs to produce the product.

Fund On Etsy seems like a chance for Etsy to make itself a one-stop shop for vendors and sellers — and Etsy gets to keep the 3.5 percent transaction fee (the same fee they charge for purchases on the site) rather than giving it to another crowdfunding site.