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This painter, carpenter and photographer built a website to help artists – like him — sell homemade crafts online. Today Etsy.com, has sales of $895 million. Hear the story of Etsy.com.

Want to sell those homemade earrings to the world ? This mega-successful  website empowers  homegrown creative types.

In 2005, 22-year-old Rob Kalin was a painter, a carpenter and photographer.

He wanted to sell some of his creations online with other artsy types, but found there were no viable sites,.

E-commerce sites were full of electronics or used household stuff and just didn’t fit the  niche Kalin had in mind.

He thought, why not create a website where average artisans could sell their handmade clothing and crafts at reasonable prices?

Kalin and two fellow classmates designed a website, wrote the code, assembled the servers and– after 3 sleepless months– launched Etsy.com.

Why Etsy? Kalin wanted a “nonsense word,” he says, because he wanted “to build the brand from scratch.” (It was while watching a Fellini film that Kalin heard the word).



Name aside, there’s nothing nonsensical about Etsy. The site has been a hit with sellers and shoppers since the start. Within three years of launching, they had 200,000 sellers on board… and $27 million in funding!

And after six years,  Etsy had over 25 million website visitors a month and sales of $224.7 million.

The site charges a listing fee and gets a commission on each sale.

For some people, Etsy is their livelihood. Whether they’re selling vintage eyeglasses or hand-crafted jewelry, Etsy provides hobbyists and working professionals alike the chance to directly interact with customers from all across the globe.

And if you think the sluggish economy has hurt Etsy one bit, think again. If anything, it’s helped out the business. Just last year, Etsy’s sales rose 70% to more than $895 million!

Kalin has said his mission is to empower people to change the way the global economy works. He sees a world in which very-very small businesses have a sway in shaping the economy.

Rob Kalin exemplifies one of our Axioms For Entrepreneurs: Solve a Problem Within Your Profession – Some professionals have addressed occupational hazards and helped others outside of their field.

An online retail outlet for the at-home artists.

Now Why Didn’t I Think of That?

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