Retailers and Designers Both Win at Etsy’s First Open Call

In What's New, Industry News by Lauren Parker

EtsyOpenCall2Like Willy Wonka’s coveted Golden Ticket, retailers at Etsy’s first-ever Open Call each issued a Golden PO (purchase order) to the designers who impressed them the most.

In return, they got to bring in artisan designs to their customers.

Held at Etsy’s Brooklyn offices, the Open Call event gave (pre-selected Etsy designers a chance to pitch wholesale holiday items to Nordstrom, Lou & Grey (division of Ann Inc.), the Walker Art Center, Clementine boutique and Land of Nod.

Miniature Rhino opened Nordstrom with welcome arms...and got the Golden PO.

Miniature Rhino opened Nordstrom with welcome arms…and got the Golden PO.

After meeting with the retailers, fielding questions and getting wise advice, the designers then took valuable workshops on building their lines, putting together lookbooks and linesheets and even improving their photography skills.

Accessories chatted with some retailers about the event and the opportunities for their stores and designers alike:

Nordstrom: “Nordstrom has select Etsy product in select doors and we plan to add more of these ‘Etsy moments on the floor,'” says Lori Marten, VP/DMM of Accessories and Home, Nordstrom. “At this event, we’re looking for items to surprise and delight our customers.” Nordstrom is also mindful of what is involved for a small Etsy designer to scale up to a wholesale order. “We give these designers a longer lead time to make the order, as we want to preserve the hand-made integrity of what makes Etsy so special in the first place–both for us and for our customers.”

Lou & Grey: “This is our first time working with Etsy artisans and it’s relatively new for [parent company] Ann Inc. to bring in third-party brands into the stores,” says Francoise Olivas, Director of New Creative Concepts, Lou & Grey, which opened less than two years ago and has nine stores. “This event has been great for us to see the amazing individuality of emerging designers. There were some great ideas but some people needed to work on their packaging,” she added by way of advice. “Once we bring in new designers, we believe it’s important to protect their aesthetic. The beauty is in each designer’s hand.”

Clementine: “I came here looking for jewelry and I researched these designers on Instagram before coming here,” says Emily Blistein, owner and buyer, Clementine, a boutique in Vermont. “A lot of things don’t translate online so it’s been wonderful to see them in person.” Blistein was also impressed with the Etsy Wholesale program as a whole. “What’s so great about Etsy Wholesale is that they cull designers who know what they’re doing…or who are ready to know. Not everyone knows how to wholesale at all.”

Retailers’ Golden PO’s

At the end of the day, each retailer selected two companies to work with for holiday merchandise.


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