One of my friends really wants to work at Etsy. Another friend opened up a 'shop' there a few months ago and is so profitable, she's going to have to quit her other job to maintain her wares. My ears were ringing from conversations I overheard about Etsy at the Maker Faire. Suffice it to say, for the past few weeks, I've heard Etsy come up more than a handful of times. I checked out the buzz on Blogpulse and indeed see an increasing trend; likewise for traffic. What's going on?
I'm going to wager it's more than an increasing desire for handmade goods and furthermore, more than mass producers of handmade goods finally having found an outlet-- I think its success has to do with making connections that bypass traditional establishments. It's a perfect example of social networking success - people interacting with unexpected others and benefitting in a big way, beyond any incremental, traditional post-shopping satisfaction. Etsy seems to be doing a really good job facilitating the conversation between buyers and sellers, making connections as easy as a good matchmaker should.
How to maintain this success? As my friend who, by the way, would be their ultimate next hire points out, one potential next step would be embracing niche, DIY sites like ravelry to create "close-knit communities." As she astutely points out, rather than competing, communities like ravelry's are the perfect way to help Etsy members cultivate their ideas-- it's a way for Etsy to nurture their community by providing their loyal, 'engaged' participants more resources.
In other words, Etsy should reach out to like-minded others the same way their constituents are.