Sunday, October 6, 2013

Etsy and the Maker Movement

America was once known for its innovation and creative spirit. Yet, the industrialist movement has long ended with industries moving out of cities like Detroit and Pittsburgh to China, Japan, and Mexico. However, new innovations such as the 3-D printer, design software, and an increase in creative studios such as TechShop (now located in Pittsburgh), Shapeways, and GE Garages. This new movement is bringing back the innovative spirit that America was once known for as everyday people are creating and selling products from their own home. One website that has emerged from the maker movement is Etsy, an online retailer which allows people to buy and sell goods. Etsy specializes in jewelry, clothing, and home goods but is quickly expanded its furniture business. While the homemade jewelry business seems small in scale, Etsy has over 30 million registered users and 1 million registered sellers in 200 countries according to CEO Chad Dickerson[1]. People who sell products on Etsy are called "shopkeepers" and it is estimated that three in four Etsy shopkeepers consider their practice a business not just a hobby. Dickerson believes that this crucial difference in leading to a new way in which businesses will be run in the future. According to Dickerson, "The maker movement is about man taking over the machines again and being empowered."[1] Another term that has come to describe the maker movement is the "Cult of Me." This is the notion that consumers increasingly want more involvement in creating the products that they will purchase. According to an article in CNN Money, "It's not just about simple-crowd source ideas by asking people to suggest how to improve or create product...Today's consumers want to participate in forming and promoting their concepts in a vey personal way, with themselves in the spotlight"[2]. This attitude goes hand-in-hand with the attitude of the millennial generation and the influx of social media. Because people now have the ability to share thoughts, comments, and posts in real-time through social media, it makes sense that the way people buy and sell goods is also changing.

Etsy and similar companies like Quirky and Kickstarter are giving individuals the opportunity and resources necessary to scale their businesses. Furthermore, companies like Shapeways are providing a platform for individuals to gain access to cutting edge technology such as 3-D printing which was not possible just ten years ago. Additionally, GE, IBM, Google and other companies are paying more attention to the maker movement. GE has launch GE Garages to help everyday people create the products they have envisioned. The maker movement has already made an impact on how retail companies are thinking about production and this will only expand to other industries in the future.

Watch the CEO of MakerBot discuss the impact that 3-D printing has had on the maker movement: Game Changers Video

Do you believe that the maker movement will spur a lasting impact on the U.S. economy?


1 comment:

  1. The profit of the business depends mainly upon the supply chain management the more longer chain the less profit you will make.

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