Richwood Creations, Summersville, WV, makes rustic wood kitchen accessories. Worley's Lighting, Charlotte, NC produces wooden lamps. Both have joined a beta test for wood products and other small volume producers who are sold through online retailer Etsy, to Nordstrom, West Elm and other national retailers.
The two firms were invited by Etsy to sell goods through the Nordstrom partnership; Richwood and Worley's now supply the big retailer. The effort is part of a scheduled roll-out of a major move into wholesale transactions.
"We launched Etsy Wholesale into beta last year in order to offer Etsy sellers a new channel to grow their independent, creative businesses," says Camilla Velasquez, who is Etsy's director of payments & multichannel sales. "On Etsy Wholesale, sellers connect with qualified independent boutiques both in the U.S. and abroad. Retail buyers looking for unique, hard-to-find products to stock in their stores can place orders year-round through a streamlined ordering process."
Velasquez says Etsy Wholesale will officially launch this summer. New sellers pay a one-time joining fee of $100 and Etsy will collect a 3.5% transaction fee for wholesale purchase orders, the same fee charged sellers for individual consumer transactions at Etsy.com. Etsy Wholesale prices will be lower than those seen by consumers at retail, allowing for a margin for resellers.
“The wholesale industry has not yet caught up with the times, and Etsy Wholesale could act as a catalyst for a digital wholesale experience,” says Michele Varian, a New York furniture and home accessories retailer who has sometimes sourced goods through Etsy.
Worley's Lighting, owned by Shelli and Seth Worley, moved from a garage operation to 1,500 square foot woodshop after joining Etsy Wholsale, where they produce cutting boards, lamps and book ends. "After 2.5 years of hard work we now have our own manufacturing space where we build our products using a process that stays true to our handmade roots," says Shelli Worley.
"We start with a piece of bark-on, cherry or oak and carefully turn the base down to the desired shape by hand. Each lamp base will have unique qualities due to woodgrain, wood species and slight differences in shape. We then sand each piece smooth and seal it with an all natural, non toxic, mineral oil wax."
Brad and Emily Weckesser, owners of Richwood Creations were first contacted by Etsy Wholesale in June 2013 to become suppliers to the Nordstrom sales channel. They had just begun selling wholesale, but the added volume from Etsy Wholesale allowed them to rent a dedicated studio space and scale from a two-person business to eight employees.
“Etsy Wholesale has really helped our business grow, and is now the focus of our operations," says Weckesser. "Based on what we’ve learned in the last year, we have started to design our products to appeal to wholesale buyers and environments over other channels." Weckesser has a BA in Technology Education from Ohio State University, and has been working with wood since he was 12. "Running Richwood Creations has allowed me the freedom to create and spend all day doing the things that used to be only hobbies or dreams.”
In August Etsy Wholesale will stage a launch event and kick off a marketing campaign aimed at professional buyers, who must apply to become purchasing agents at Etsy.