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Australian handmade marketplace booms as Etsy changes rules – StartupSmart

Zibbet, a Sydney-based online marketplace for handmade goods, has been swamped with new browsers, buyers and sellers this week after craft heavyweight Etsy announced changes to its rules to include the sale of manufactured goods this week.


Zibbet co-founder Jonathan Peacock said their revenue had grown by 47.4% in September as people began exploring alternatives as rumours Etsy would make the changes began swirling.


“When they realised their changes the traffic skyrocketed and we passed our revenue total for September in the first three days of October,” Peacock says, adding their average traffic per day in September was 10,000 and they’re now getting over 25,000 browsers a day.


The growth was so rapid that the Zibbet servers crashed Wednesday night, and the team had to pull an all-nighter to get the marketplace back up and running.


Launched in 2010, Zibbet structured their business model to be different from Etsy from the beginning, focusing on membership fees rather than commissions and listing prices.


“We’ve been a bootstrapped company, so this was a way for us to get some recurring revenue straight away to reinvest and grow it, and we wanted to differentiate from Etsy, as a cheaper model,” Peacock says.


“We have a lot of sellers who were on both platforms, and our model meant they prefer to drive traffic to us rather than their Etsy store because there is no commission.”


There are over 6,000 active sellers using the Zibbet site.


Peacock says while they won’t be following Etsy’s lead and expanding beyond handmade artisan creators, he thinks Etsy made the right decision for their business model.


“Etsy made the right decision for their bottom line as they make money through sales and listings, and this will get them more revenue” Peacocks says.


“They’re now opening up to hundreds of thousands of other sellers who are now eligible, but this will cut out a whole bunch of their loyal sellers, which was their original vision for the market place.”


Zibbet is currently raising their first round of capital of $300,000 from angel investors. Peacock says the interest was strong, and has increased significantly in the last few days.


They’re rebuilding the website so it runs more efficiently, and will be looking to expand their server capacity to cope with new demand.


Peacock says engineering costs are covered by their current revenue, so funds raised will go towards marketing and building a sales team.

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