With the holidays approaching, so does the season of gift-giving. For many, no matter how much you prepare, there always remains a select few who are impossible to shop for. Do you buy them a fancy cashmere scarf? Or maybe something more personal, like a first edition of their favorite book? The pressure to find the perfect, thoughtful, unique gift results in agonizing that you will never find it.
Welcome to the story of Etsy and its real-life pop-up store in Paris and the rest of France. Pure joy.
But first, let’s rewind. For those of you who don’t know, Etsy is a peer-to-peer e-commerce website tailored to showcasing handmade and vintage products. You can find everything from jewelry to art to clothing to stationery. Among the sellers, you will find artisans and designers, to name a few, who list their items for a fee of $0.20.
Founded in 2005 by a small company called iospace, composed of Robert Kalin, Chris Maguire, and Haim Schoppik, Etsy has had a large impact in revolutionizing e-commerce and promoting the collaborative economy movement. In the US, about 34% of the active economy consists of self-employed entrepreneurs (a number that has been on the rise since the 2008 crisis). In France, this number has grown to 982,000 which is a 9% increase since 2013. This new shift in the economic balance is revolutionizing the workforce as a new space is opening for self-employed entrepreneurs. And Etsy is targeting design-based entrepreneurs in order to help them develop and sell their products around the world.
Fortunately, this holiday season, Etsy has decided to open a pop-up store in Paris, covering an entire 400 square-meter space and showcasing over 70 designers/creators. Etsy’s French Country Manager, Pierre Louis Lacoste, wanted to promote this growth and development by opening pop-up stores all over the country, targeting the largest and busiest of cities, including Lille, Bordeaux, Marseille, Lyon, Nantes, Landerneau and Versailles. Following the success of the original Parisian pop-up store in 2014, Etsy is featuring more designers in their 2015 edition in order to encourage and support entrepreneurship. Earning more than 1.93 billion dollars in 2014 and serving a platform that launched over 1.5 design entrepreneurs, Etsy has proven that handmade objects still hold value in the international marketplace. With their success as an e-commerce business, the presence of a physical store is sure to boost sales and attract holiday attention (after all, it’s already been done by Amazon among other retailers).
More than just serving as a simple incubator for creativity, Etsy provides tools and resources to its community of design entrepreneurs to foster independence as they launch their own individual brands. In the French community, 88% of sellers are female, with more than half having completed specialized degrees in some domain of design. The community is built in a way that experienced entrepreneurs who have been part of the Etsy community for some time serve as “mentors” for the new entrepreneurs that join. This promotes a collaborative and supportive community for these creative designers to foster and grow their skills and abilities.
This holiday season, Etsy’s Parisian pop-up store will be located at 30 rue du Vertbois 75003 Paris (Friday, December 11th // 17.00-20.00 – Saturday, December 12th // 11.00-20.00 – Sunday, December 13th // 11.00-20.00). It’s the perfect place to find the ideal gift for all the people on your list, while supporting the growing creative-entrepreneurship community in France!