Etsy is an adorably designed website, promoting stores across the world of people who create handmade, and vintage-esque wares for the individuals needs. Launched 12 years ago in 2005, as a peer-to-peer commerce site for the unique antiquity of individual sellers, and niche-factory producers, the site as of 2014 has amassed a massive following of 54 million users, with a rising 25 million shoppers/buyers and 1.6 million sellers, it is becoming one of the biggest peer-ran e-commerce sites globally for niche sellers. But why has this mainstream site, appealed so much to niche sellers, and why is there a sudden rise for vintage and niche items in our modern society?
Well, speaking as an Easy user, there’s a pretty big understandable reason for it’s mainstream effectivity in the e-commerce global market: Hipster and Indie subculture. On the former, Hipster subculture developed from the 20’s and 30’s, surrounding the ressurection of alternativism in music, art and individual thought, which later translated into an inclusive culture surrounding multiculturalism, the growing of the Indie music scene, and progressive political activism, grew a market for clothing, and re-dated outdated items, with both neo-progressive and slang-based clothing forming. This subculture became developed in the 21st century as extremely lazy, becoming associated with white girl Starbucks and Breakfast at Tiffany’s teen culture, and grew with the disenfranchised Millenial generation through the emotional disregard of their so called ‘Selfie Generation’, amongst many cultured urban youths in many inner city and surburban cities in first world countries.
Looking at the site itself, you can see why many of the users are young.
The sites design offers a very young, hip and indie vibe to many of it’s users, with many of the items, specifically the numerous pieces of clothing for both men and women offering a progressive viewpoint on unisex and gender-neutral clothing. This, followed by the ease of purchase, is sadly not matched by it’s customer friendly prices. Many of the pieces, being handmade, are charged for very high prices, higher than some stores on the high street, and while benefit sellers with low setup fees, are very destructive to a lot of peoples bank accounts.
Most items can vary from a meagre £20-£200, but what puts even cheap items over the cost line is the delivery fee, with delivery fees in the UK maxing in some £20 plus margins, for clothing alone. It’s ultimately easy to conclude that Etsy’s mainstream association stems from it’s ability to tap into the upper-middle class of white girl culture and demonstrate connectivity through its appeal to the hipster subculture, and supportive seller setup fees, with a capitalistic flavour in the mix, bringing it mainstream attention from a menagerie of show offs of wealth and popularity, even among what is meant to be a niche soldom following amongst e-commerce sites.