|Mon Aug 4 2014 16:28:46|
Etsy CEO Goes on Morning TV Promoting Handmade Goods
By: Ina Steiner
Etsy got exposure on a national audience when its CEO Chad Dickerson appeared on the television program CBS This Morning on Monday. The CEO showed off three handmade goods and talked about the company's vision during the 5-minute segment.
Amazingly, the three TV hosts made no comparisons to eBay (a win for Etsy PR). But, it was surprising the extent to which vintage items was ignored. In fact, the "v" word was never mentioned.
In addressing Dickerson when introducing him, one of the hosts said, "You don't like the word tchotchkes, you don't like the word knick-knacks, because you say it's unique, one-of-a kind. Why is that important to you?"
In response, Dickerson said,"Etsy is a community of a million artisans and craftspeople. And what they make is really beautiful and unique." He then proceeded to show off three items he had brought - again, all of the items were handmade, none was vintage, nor did he mention supplies.
The three hosts laughed at the third item he showed off, a handcrafted wood lamp, with one saying, "you lost me there, Chad."
Another host said she had never purchased from Etsy until 3 months ago when she found a print on Etsy that was available cheaper than the ones she was looking at in the big-box stores. That had sellers on the Etsy discussion boards moaning. "Very very odd," responded one. "I was like great, now people will have the impression that Etsy is cheaper than Big Box. And who looks on Etsy for something they saw in a Big Box but decided it was too expensive there?"
While those two incidents might not have been exactly what Etsy's communication team had wished for when planning Dickerson's appearance, the CEO appeared unruffled and he did have plenty of opportunity to talk positively about the site. "Our goal is to re-imagine commerce to build a more fulfilling and lasting world," he said.
When asked how craftspeople hear about Etsy, Dickerson said, "Word of mouth. Our best, sort of, sales force is our sellers."
As can be quite typical with such appearances, this was a one-sided interview, with the hosts giving no indication they had talked to users to get their perspectives.
Sellers discussed the segment on the Etsy boards, and several readers weighed in. An excerpt from one reader:
Even you, Ina, must have looked at the site and been appalled by the amount of mass-produced and reseller crap for sale there.
Etsy's sales of reseller and mass-produced items must outweigh the sales of real handmade products. That's is why these sellers are allowed. Yes, I know Etsy says they don't allow either. But you don't have to be an expert in retail to know that's not true.
When you can find the same bubble necklaces, plastic "crystal" necklaces, cell phones cases, prom dresses, wedding dresses, etc. for sale by factories online at Alibaba, Aliexpress, DHGate AND on Etsy, you know that reselling IS allowed.
An excerpt from another reader's letter:
There was a "Vintage handmade Harry Potter item" shown. That is trademark infringement which is also not allowed and should not be publicized. That is what the whole problem is Chad doesn't even know what is or is not handmade, mass produced or anything else about Etsy's guidelines, not by this interview.
One seller on Etsy's boards noted the positive along with her disappointment:
It was really a good PR piece for our site and creative sellers. But I didn't hear the word "vintage" once. Very sad missed opportunity for us vintage sellers."
Another seller wrote:
Nothing earth-shattering, but a good spot. He showcased 3 items, talked about how it's the personal touch of supporting artisans, etc. Said it costs only .20 to start up a business. Partnering with Nordstrom and West Elm, etc. A bit about blameless post-mortems and how they learn from mistakes.
See the segment on the CBS News website and let us know what you think.