Etsy Opens in Berlin, Founder Takes Back Role of CEO
By Ina Steiner
Etsy said it would open a site in Germany next month and also announced that its CEO Maria Thomas is stepping down, to be replaced by company founder Rob Kalin. The announcement appeared in the company blog on Monday in a post called, "Etsy's New Old Young CEO." Mr. Kalin is 29 years old.
Maria Thomas joined Etsy last year from NPR, and before that, did a 3-year stint at Amazon.com where she played a key role in launching its camera and photo store.
Etsy has raised over $30 million in funding, and Ms. Thomas has been focusing on growth and scalability. According to Monday's announcement, the company is now profitable.
P2P ecommerce site eBay found its biggest international market in Germany, so it's not surprising to hear of Etsy's interest in the country. But aside from geographic expansion, Etsy's growth is limited: Etsy sellers are not allowed to sell items they haven't made themselves, unless they list in the Supplies or Vintage categories. Sellers report those parts of the site can sometimes feel like the proverbial neglected step-sisters in Etsy's portfolio, since the company focuses on the handmade items and culture of its site.
Whether Thomas, Kalin and investors are in agreement about the direction of the company isn't known, and while the announcement contains no hint of a conflict, neither was there a reason given for Ms. Thomas' departure from Etsy nor a description of what she will do after stepping down as CEO.
Etsy has over 3.65 million members, of which 250,000 are sellers who list over 5 million items for sale. The site had 681 million page views last month, and Etsy's November gross merchandise sales reached $21.9 million, up 103% from $10.8 million in November 2008.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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