Etsy Brings Together Small Designers, Big Retailers With “Open Call”

Product Pitch - Etsy Open Call

What if you could pitch your products to a dream retailer like Nordstrom?

Etsy (NASDAQ: ETSY), known for being an innovative online marketplace for consumers to source handmade and other items from independent designers for their homes, wardrobes and more, is set to help members of its Etsy Whesale community do just that. The company is bringing together small designers and heavy-hitting retailers from across the country via its Open Call program.

Now in its second year running, the Etsy Open Call program brings together buyers from top retail stores in the country and fresh talent from the Etsy Wholesale community through a series of live and online events to create pathways for valuable business partnerships.

Etsy Wholesale is Etsy’s exclusive marketplace that is only available to independent retailers and other merchants — unlike the Etsy main site which is available to businesses and consumers alike. It boasts more than 15,000 retailers and approximately 9,000 Etsy Wholesale designers on the platform.

The Etsy Open Call program is designed to empower Etsy Wholesale designers — seasoned and new alike — to grow their businesses and meet their entrepreneurial potential by introducing them to large scale retailers.

Etsy Wholesale Open Call Program

One of the main goals of independent designers everywhere is to find meaningful work selling their goods locally and even internationally to thoughtful consumers who hope to build relationships with the creative people who make and sell them.

That said, placing products with larger retailers is a way to substantially grow an independent designer’s business and brand in a way that might be more difficult to achieve one discerning customer at a time.

“With Open Call, designers not only get the chance to form lasting relationships that can help grow their sales, but they also get personalized business advice from larger retailers,” writes Dana Mauriello, Director of Seller Growth at Etsy, on the Etsy News Blog.

“For example,” she says, “during Open Call 2015, Emily Blistein, owner of Clementine, an independent boutique in Vermont, encouraged Etsy Wholesale designer Stacia Guzzo of Handcrafted Honeybee to refine her packaging and consider what made her brand and messaging stand out. Emily’s feedback resonated, and a few months later, Stacia and her team rebranded her business.”

After rebranding, Stacia reached out to Emily for further feedback. Emily loved the redesign.

“It was clear that in addition to shopping for her store, Emily really was going to help every single seller there,” said Stacia. “Since rebranding, our retail and wholesale sales have been at their all-time best, so it’s just further proof that the feedback from the Retail Partners was spot-on!”

Product Pitch – Responding to Etsy’s Wholesale Open Call

If you are a seller looking to capture the attention you have always dreamed of from top retailers, it’s probably a good idea to apply and take part in Etsy’s Wholesale Open Call 2016 that kicks off August 22 at Etsy’s new headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. Etsy says the one-day event will feature seller educational workshops for participating designers and panel discussions led by internal experts from Etsy.

However, the live events are certainly not the only way to get feedback and make needed connections with retailers that might chhage your business’s trajectory.

In January 2016, Etsy also kicked off a series of Mini Open Call events via Instagram. There designers could write a shirt pitch of their product and even tag the retailer they hoped might carry their product.

Participating retailers could then respond with feedback including everything from  timelines to thoughts on packaging. And Etsy reports several independent designers have already begun successfully working with retailers to have their products placed as a result.

To enter the Open Call program, designers should apply on the official page and then share images of their products via Instagram and Twitter with a brief pitch in the caption. The pitches must be tagged @EtsyWholesale and identify the participating retailers a designer is interested in working with. The pitches should also include the #EtsyOpenCall hashtag for further identification.

Up to 50 finalists will be selected to participate in the Etsy Open Call 2016 event in New York. To be eligible to participate in the Etsy Open Call program, designers must be members of the Etsy Wholesale community. See the Etsy Wholesale Membership Criteria page for more.


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