People love handcrafted products now more than ever.
It seems that affection for handcrafted products from individual artisans only continues to zoom. Etsy, the peer-to-peer marketplace for handmade goods, reported last week that year-over-year sales between Black Friday and Cyber Monday jumped by more than 80 percent and that nearly a third of all buyers in that span were first-timers. The average sales per shop grew 26 percent vs. 2011. Interest in the site is cross-cultural: Etsy also reported that a quarter of orders occurred between buyers and sellers in different countries. The site is operating its first holiday shop this year, which popped up last week in New York City and runs for 10 days.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that craft icon Martha Stewart has ”emerged as something of a patron saint for entrepreneurial hipsters, 20- and 30-somethings who, in a post-recessionary world, have begun their own pickling, cupcake and letterpress businesses and are selling crafty goods online.” Since January, traffic to MarthaStewart.com has jumped 40 percent every month, year-over-year, among 18- to 34-year-olds. And the percentage of women in that cohort who watched Martha Stewart videos increased by 172 percent in the last six months, according to comScore data cited by the Times. Stewart is tipping her hat to these young picklers and letterpressers with the American Made awards, handed out last month.
Marketers have jumped on this affection for craft and disaffection with mass-market goods in various ways, including partnerships with Etsy itself—West Elm stocks Etsy items from local sellers in six stores—and tie-ups with local designers and boutiques (e.g., “The Shops at Target,” limited-edition collections from owners of specialty stores). Watch for brands to find more creative ways to jump on this bandwagon.