Etsy is pouring on the new initiatives, looking to keep its pandemic-fueled hot streak going.
The crafty juggernaut is introducing the Etsy House, an augmented-reality effort that lets users browse through a house and courtyard full of homemade wonders. Items -- all from Etsy Design Award winners -- range from a $5,000 contemporary sofa and $80 Christmas stockings to a $38 customized cutting board.
In a partnership with Samsung, the House is sprinkled with Serif QLED Smart TVs throughout. (Clicking on those links navigates away from Etsy to Samsung’s ecommerce pages.)
Etsy created its first interactive AR experience to let shoppers “walk through” the digital home, stocked with holiday décor and gifts. The renderings are photorealistic and true-to-scale, offering 360-degree visuals. Many of the items are click-to-buy, but the Brooklyn-based company also pulls together related pages to highlight the selected offerings.
Separately, the company announced the Etsy Uplift Initiative, a series of programs aimed at opening creative doors for economically struggling makers, particularly those with poor broadband access.
The efforts include funding and donations to allied nonprofits and curated Editors’ Picks pages, celebrating diverse sellers from various communities.
The company is kicking off the effort to benefit two legendary communities: Gee’s Bend Quilters, from Alabama, and the Gullah Weavers of South Carolina, who make sweetgrass baskets in the tradition of the barrier-island coastal communities.
In addition to highlighting both craft traditions, Etsy says it is launching shops for nine quilters and 16 basket weavers, establishing an online presence so that they can parlay that heritage into meaningful income.
Earlier this year, the company launched a pilot program for quilters who live in a community with an average income of $12,000 a year. Many sellers sold their entire stock in less than 24 hours, and in the first six months, the quilters have generated more than $300,000 in sales. (One even built a house she now owns, mortgage-free.)
The $75,000 grant to the weavers will cover photography, design and merchandising mentorship, shop content creation, shop management training and shipping and fulfillment assistance.
Etsy is also temporarily waiving transaction fees and providing listing fee support.
Finally, the company just launched planet-friendly packaging for its sellers in the U.S., a partnership with EcoEnclose, which is also an Etsy seller. The packaging, including biodegradable filler-wrap and cello tape, is made from 100% recycled materials and can be recycled at home. The company says its sellers placed orders for more than 5,000 mailers in the first 24 hours.