Etsy is opening Etsy Manufacturing, a marketplace for its online sellers to find and connect directly with manufacturers. The move is a departure from its individual crafter-sales model. Etsy.com hosts 32 million items on sale in its crafts marketplace, including many wood furnishings, household items and decorations. It has 1.5 million sellers and 21.7 million buyers with turnover of $1.93 billion in 2014.

Typical of wood products sellers is Urban Wood Furnishings, which sells furniture made from reclaimed, old growth barn wood, "with a twist of elegance and creativity." It is based in Round Lake, IL. Scott Braun (Owner) and Mark D'Ascanio (head builder, sit at the table they built for the Ai Wei Wei exhibit "Yours Truly" on Alcatraz Island.

Etsy Manufacturing is expected to launch later this year, with wholesale manufacturers restricted to the U.S. and Canada, and  supplying four categories of its online merchants: apparel and textiles, machining and fabrication, printing, and jewelry and metalwork.

A blog posted by Heather Jassey, Senior Vice President of Members and Community at Etsy, explains the concept:

Etsy Manufacturing is a new marketplace that helps sellers find and connect directly with manufacturers to form responsible partnerships. Today we are starting to onboard manufacturers in four categories: apparel and textiles, machining and fabrication, printing, and jewelry and metalwork. In this phase, we’re most interested in encouraging and learning from the exploration and formation of relationships between Etsy designers and manufacturers. A pilot program we ran earlier this year validated what many sellers have experienced: finding a good partner is really, really hard.
 

Heather Jassey

We are asking manufacturers to apply to be part of this new marketplace and to be valued new members of our community. While Etsy will not be doing direct audits or site visits, we will review and approve manufacturer applications on an individual basis according to a number of criteria, such as their commitment to transparency, the degree to which they allow subcontracting, and their size. Manufacturers on Etsy Manufacturing must also agree to a series of commitments on transparency, safe and just workplaces, and customer service. We would like the designer to know more about each manufacturer’s story and business, and we are building the platform to showcase this as an entry point to more conversations and visits between the designer and her partner.

We’re focused on finding manufacturers who fit the needs of Etsy sellers and who are willing to work with small businesses. It’s important to note that we did not contact manufacturers based on Etsy sellers’ outside manufacturing applications. Those applications are confidential, and we did not look to that data as a source for finding manufacturers for Etsy Manufacturing.

We believe our community can expand to welcome new members and types of partnerships. This is the next step forward in building the Etsy Economy, one that prioritizes people and process and emphasizes the relationship between designers, manufacturers and buyers.

If you are a manufacturer who’d like to get involved, or you know one, please check out our application page. Visit Etsy Manufacturing for more information about the marketplace. We know we will learn a lot as we connect designers and manufacturers in this new marketplace and invite you to share your thoughts in a Forums discussion with members of the Etsy Manufacturing product and policy teams Tuesday, September 15, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. eastern time.

 When will Etsy Manufacturing launch?

Etsy Manufacturing beta will launch in late 2015. Right now Etsy is accepting applications from manufacturers looking to join our community. Click here if you're a manufacturer and want to apply to join Etsy Manufacturing.

Why is Etsy doing this?

With Etsy Manufacturing, we want to help our sellers and manufacturers forge responsible partnerships. It's all part of our vision for an Etsy Economy, where creative entrepreneurs find meaningful work and both global and local markets for their goods, and where thoughtful consumers discover and buy unique goods and build relationships with the people who sell them.

What industries does Etsy Manufacturing support?

Etsy will help designers working in the following industries for the beta: printing, apparel and textile, machining and fabrication, and jewelry and metalwork. Additional industries will be added at a later time.

Does it cost money for a designer to find a manufacturing partner?

There is no cost for an Etsy designers to find a manufacturer in the beta. In 2016, we plan to offer the ability for designers and manufacturers to transact. Transacting via Etsy Manufacturing will have associated fees that will be announced at a later date.

How does Etsy review and verify manufacturers?

Etsy believes in transparent relationships. Etsy requires certain information of all manufacturers — for example, details about their business location(s), production process, and commitment to specific ethical standards. However, Etsy does not audit and verify manufacturers. Etsy may contact members to confirm that they comply with Etsy's policies and may request information to verify this. We encourage Etsy designers to read our ethical expectations for working with manufacturers and conduct their own due diligence around their partner's practices and fit for their business

How will manufacturers and designers contact each other?

Etsy designers will be able to search for manufacturing partners and contact businesses via Etsy Convos to see if they're a good fit.

Is it open to non U.S. manufacturers?

During the beta program, Etsy is only accepting applications from manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada. International manufacturers are still encouraged to apply and will be contacted when the marketplace opens up to other regions.

Is it open to non U.S. designers?

During the beta program, non-U.S. designers are able to search for and connect to manufacturers based in the U.S. and Canada.

Can existing sellers on Etsy sign up to be manufacturers?

Yes, Etsy welcomes existing sellers on Etsy with extra production capacity to sign up as manufacturers

I know a great manufacturer, can they apply?

Yes, please help us spread the word by sharing the manufacturer application with your favorite partners.

How does this relate to Etsy's seller policies for outside manufacturing?

All Etsy sellers who work with manufacturers — including manufacturers found on Etsy Manufacturing — need to be approved for outside manufacturing. Our Responsible Seller Growth team reviews those applications based on our guiding principles of authorship, responsibility, and transparency. You can find more information here and learn more about our Handmade Policy here.

What makes a manufacturer a good fit for Etsy Manufacturing?

Etsy Manufacturing is looking for manufacturers who are excited to create lasting partnerships with growing small businesses, have flexible minimums, produce items in house, and enjoy sharing their company story and information about their processes with their community.
Still have more questions? Feel free to contact us manufacturing@etsy.com.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.