Etsy’s Chad Dickerson Speaks Out

There's a lot to browse on Etsy. Check out the $2.50 earrings made from the feathers of a "quail raised with love" on a Colorado farm. Or take a look at the $30,000 pub-style bar made to order from pine and cherry.

Unique products such as these are the reason Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson calls the online marketplace "a personal shopping experience -- really -- in a sea of impersonal retail."

Founded in 2005, the Brooklyn-based company is housed in the former home of the Robert Gair Co., named after the 19th century inventor of corrugated cardboard.

The 500-employee startup has been profitable since 2009. Etsy doesn't disclose its revenue figures, but Dickerson says the company is growing. Its vendors sold $1.35 billion worth of goods in 2013, up 51 percent from a year earlier.

Recently, the company announced a pricing policy for its wholesale market, which allows its artists and craft makers to sell directly to retailers ranging from Nordstrom and West Elm to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Etsy takes a 3.5 percent fee for wholesale purchase orders, the same as its regular transaction rates.

Dickerson talked to the Associated Press about Etsy, comparisons to eBay and its prospects for an initial public offering.

The conversation has been edited and condensed.

Question: Is there a typical Etsy seller, and has that changed over time?

Answer: There's no one-size fits all for Etsy sellers. There are sellers in 200 countries around the world so it's very geographically diverse. We have everyone from college students to retirees. The one thing that we do hear is that Etsy sellers really enjoy Etsy because it gives them flexibility to work in their own terms.

There's a woman who sells in Rockford, Illinois, named Amy Michalek. Amy was like many, starting a family. She started doing this as a way to make money...

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