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Shop Owners Wonder What Etsy’s IPO Will Mean for Business

March 6, 2015
Small Business
Etsy IPO
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Etsy entrepreneurs are abuzz over news of the site’s move to sell stock to the public, and have taken to online forums to express excitement or concern over what the offering could mean for them.

The popular online marketplace for handmade crafts, jewelry, artwork and other products filed documents for an initial public offering Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Founded in 2005 in Brooklyn, New York, Etsy is seeking to raise up to $100 million with the IPO.

The company declined to comment about how the move will affect its 1.4 million shop owners, as the SEC mandates a “quiet period” between the time a company files for an IPO and when it officially goes public.

Some shop owners speculated on Etsy discussion forums that Etsy would increase fees for shop owners as it strives to make more money to please shareholders. Others noted the IPO could bring more traffic to the site, increasing sales for sellers. However, shop owners agree that their key concern is being left to operate their small businesses without interference.

Etsy will reserve up to 5% of the initial shares for individual investors through its IPO Participation Program, run by underwriter Morgan & Co. LLC. Individual investors can include Etsy shop owners, but also any other individual in the U.S. who doesn’t work for Etsy and sets up an account with Morgan Stanley.

“The purpose of the IPP is to allow our U.S.-based Etsy community and other individual investors to participate in our IPO,” Etsy said in its SEC filing.

Fiona Sahaki, the Los Angeles-based owner of Etsy shop Posh Peanut Kids, said she will consider purchasing shares of Etsy’s stock when it’s available. She isn’t concerned about increased fees, and said she is thankful Etsy gives her a platform to sell her lacy handmade children’s dresses.

“My opinion on fees is as long as I’m making money, I’m happy,” she said. “If they’re bringing you traffic, then you have to pay your dues.”

Posh Peanut Kids was one of the top 10 most successful Etsy shops on March 4, the day of the IPO announcement. NerdWallet looked at which Etsy shops had the highest number of sales that day on, which uses Etsy API data to track the top Etsy sellers by sales, updated every 24 hours.

Etsy’s top 10 sellers on the day of its IPO announcement

1. Bohemian Findings: 540 sales

When Hope and Glen Milner retired to their beachfront property on Prince Edward Island in Canada, they opened an Etsy store to get rid of inventory from their former wholesale jewelry businesses. Orders kept pouring in, so the couple started the Bohemian Findings shop in September 2010 to continue selling beads, charms and buttons to crafters. They’ve made more than 444,000 Etsy sales since then.

2. Think Pink Bowtique: 349 sales

Francesca Handy and a group of her Utah-based mom friends design and create handmade children’s headbands, bows, dresses, leg warmers and other accessories for the Think Pink Bowtique. Handy began making bows for fun when her daughter, Esther, was born, and later recruited her friends to help out. After starting the Think Pink Bowtique Etsy shop in 2010, the group moved into an office-warehouse space. The shop has made more than 154,000 Etsy sales since then.

3. Sage Goddess: 340 sales
Sage Goddess started with a single rose-wrapped sage bundle for sale on Etsy in 2011. (A traditional Native-American item, the bundle is intended to clear away negativity.) It sold, and owner Athena Perrakis didn’t look back. She began selling other herbs, gemstones, and handmade candles, perfumes and body products. Sage Goddess has made more than 88,000 sales on Etsy since July 2011. Today the shop employs more than 20 people in its 6,000-square-foot space in Torrance, California to help run the online store, online spiritual courses and live events.

4. PrettyGrafik: 287 sales
Sarah O’leary and Gabriel Laliberte sell digital clipart, scrapbook paper and other printable items for personal and small commercial use via instant download on Etsy. PrettyGrafik has made more than 107,000 Etsy sales since August 2012. Based in Montreal, the husband-and-wife team offers additional design services to commercial clients through the website. 

5. Posh Peanut Kids: 275 sales
Fiona Sahaki started Posh Peanut in 2011 as a part-time gig while she worked as a hairstylist in Los Angeles. After her second child was born in 2013, she quit her styling job to stay home with her children and run Posh Peanut Kids full-time. She works around the clock in her home to sew custom children’s dresses and headbands for birthdays, baptisms, weddings and other special occasions. Since the shop opened four years ago, Sahaki has made more than 76,000 sales on Etsy.

6. Rivermill Embroidery: 265 sales
Rivermill Embroidery sells embroidery designs and fonts that can be downloaded and used with an embroidery machine. The Tennessee-based business’s designs include monograms, Greek letters, animals and sports equipment. Customers can also request additional designs on the Rivermill Embroidery website. The company has made more than 131,000 sales on Etsy since April 2011.

7. The Velvet Acorn: 263 sales
The Velvet Acorn sells downloadable knit and crochet patterns for hats, scarves, wraps, sweaters and blankets. Owner and designer Heidi May says she’s inspired by her three children and the nature surrounding their home in Poulsbo, Washington. The Velvet Acorn has made more than 136,000 sales on Etsy since October 2010.

8. Loretta’s Beads: 248 sales
When she opened her Etsy shop, Loretta’s Beads, in 2009, Loretta Mazzo kept her inventory on a folding table in her home office in Templeton, California. Six years later, she’s expanded and now houses the beads, charms and jewelry making supplies she sells in a converted space above her three-car garage. “This has become a giant for me,” she told NerdWallet. A retired goldsmith and housekeeper, Mazzo spends her days running the shop and raising her 9-year old granddaughter. Mazzo has made more than 41,000 sales on Etsy since March 2009.

9. Nicole de Bruin: 246 sales
Nicole de Bruin sells thousands of different charms on her Etsy site, in diverse shapes such as cupcakes, cellphones, shamrocks and mermaids. She also sells the beads, clasps, rings and chains that jewelry makers need to create a finished product. The Etsy shop has made more than 233,000 sales since October 2009. De Bruin, originally from South Africa, lives in Stockport, England, with her husband and two kids.

10. Yakutum: 233 sales
This Istanbul, Turkey-based business sells jewelry-making materials including clasps, rings, raw brass, chains, beads, vintage jewelry, and Lucite, Swarovski and glass gems. Yakutum has made more than 113,000 Etsy sales since November 2008.

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