The site was launched in 2005 by iospace, a small company composed of Robert Kalin, Chris Maguire, and Haim Schoppik. The initial version had taken two and a half months to build. Later Jared Tarbell joined the team. Former NPR executive Maria Thomas joined as COO in 2008, was promoted to CEO and left Etsy in December 2009. Robert Kalin resumed his role as CEO from December 2009 until July 2011. Investors include Sean Meenan, Albert Wenger, Spencer and Judson Ain, Union Square Ventures, and founders of Flickr and Delicious.
The presentation of the cards—the packaging—helps make a successful handmade card business. A card that is neatly presented in a cellophane envelope looks more professional and can command a higher price than one that is unpackaged. Presenting cards in some form of packaging stops cards from becoming dirty or dog-eared and it also gives the ideal opportunity for further marketing. A label on the back with your phone number or website address could help you solicit further orders. Remember to consider shipping and packaging when factoring the costs per unit in your pricing formula.
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In Etsy's first year, it attracted attention for frequently adding new tools and functionality to the site to help sellers gain exposure and traffic, including Adobe Flash-based visualizations and a taxonomy of categories with tags. Etsy passed $1.7 million in sales in May 2007. On July 29, Etsy had its one-millionth sale and anticipated its two-millionth sale would occur mid-December 2007. In November 2007, buyers spent $4.3 million purchasing 300,000 items for sale on Etsy, an increase of 43 percent from October 2007. In June 2007, it expected to be profitable by the fall, but in December 2007 it was not a profitable company. In January 2008, Etsy received an additional $27 million in funding from Union Square Ventures, Hubert Burda Media, and Jim Breyer.
This card has optional greetings: Happy New Year, Kung Hei Fat Choi, Wishing You Happiness and Prosperity, Happy Spring, Welcome Spring, Celebrate New Beginnings, Hope Springs Eternal, Stay Strong, With Sympathy, Have a Peaceful Day, Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Thank You, Thinking of You, Get Well Soon, Just Saying Hi, You're Invited, Good Luck, [No Caption]
On Oct 1, 2013, Etsy changed its policy to allow sellers to outsource production to third parties and factories and to use shipping or fulfillment services. The new rules allow products to be labeled "handmade" as long as the original idea for that item — or its "authorship" as C.E.O. Dickerson says — comes from its respective seller. Further, the policy changes allow Etsy businesses to hire as many employees as they deem necessary (including workers in different locations) and allow sellers to ship orders via third-party couriers rather than the post office.