Etsy: Arts and Crafts On Demand

Brooklyn-based Etsy, founded in 2005, allows people to buy and sell arts, crafts and vintage goods without the expense of a middleman.

More than 1.5 million sellers actively used the site in 2015, attracting more than 24 million buyers.

Audrey Boobar of Lexington has been selling her artwork and crafts on Etsy since 2012.  She specializes in Christmas ornaments, which she tailors to the local Lexington colleges.

Boobar enjoys using Etsy more than traditional methods for artists, such as selling in a store or a gallery.  One advantage is Etsy’s pricing structure.

“A store normally wants to take 50 percent of whatever the price is, but Etsy is only like five percent, so you retain more,” Boobar said.

Boobar says that she uses social media to help promote her shop, something that Etsy encourages its sellers to do.

Unlike Uber and Airbnb, two giants in the sharing economy that are still privately owned, Etsy is a public company whose stock trades on NASDAQ.

The company went public in April 2015 and the price of its shares nearly doubled in its first day of trading, closing at $30.   But the stock has fallen steeply since then and now trades for about $8.50 a share.

In 2015, Etsy reported annual revenue of $273 million and a $54 million loss, but the company’s business could be moving toward the black.

On May 3, the company reported a 40 percent jump in revenue and its first quarterly profit since going public. And Etsy’s stock price jumped five percent.