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Etsy Shares Seller Profile as It Lobbies Lawmakers

Etsy organized a group of sellers from around the country to go to Washington, DC to meet with lawmakers and advocate on issues important to small businesses. But who is the average Etsy seller?

Etsy is sharing the findings of a new report with policy makers called Building an Etsy Economy: The New Face of Creative Entrepreneurship. The report is based on data from a 2014 survey of 4,000 US Etsy sellers along with ongoing interactions with its seller community.

Etsy found 86% of its sellers are women and are twice as likely to be under the age of 35. Many are parents with children at home, and 17% have household income under $25,000 annually.

For 30% of Etsy sellers, their creative business – both on and off Etsy – is their sole occupation. And for 70% of sellers, their creative business contributes an average of 15% to total household income overall. The report found that 44% of sellers use the income for necessary household expenses.

Etsy found that the majority of its sellers start their creative businesses without help; 83% of handmade sellers are self-taught in their craft, and of the 65% who needed some startup capital, 83% relied on their own savings. Only 1% of all sellers took out a loan.

Once launched, most Etsy sellers continue to manage their creative businesses on their own – 88% run their Etsy shop alone, and 95% operate their businesses from their homes, compared to 52% of small businesses nationwide. Only 12% of Etsy sellers have help running their business, much of which is from unpaid friends or family – just 5% of Etsy sellers have paid help.

Working alone, many Etsy sellers manage every aspect of running a business, including marketing, bookkeeping, and customer service. For every hour that they spend making and designing their products, they spend almost another hour on business and administrative tasks.

Etsy sent a group of sellers to Washington DC to meet with members of Congress and with White House staff to advocate on issues including trade, internet sales tax, and net neutrality. Similarly eBay and the National Retail Federation have sent sellers to Washington in the past to get the attention of policy makers.

The Etsy report is available on the Etsy website, and the company said it would continue its efforts to educate policymakers about seller needs.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.