Handmade, Amazon’s handcrafted Etsy killer, opens for business

You can finally buy artisanal-sourced, 14-carat gold hashtag stud earrings on Amazon.

Amazon Handmade whipped opened its cherry-wood doors today, aiming to be a formidable Etsy competitor. The idea is similar to the Brooklyn-based startup: a marketplace full of kitschy items sourced from small retailers from 83 countries.

Handmade is sorted into several categories, including Home Decor, Furniture and Jewelry, selling everything from a $2,000 coffee table carved from Southern Yellow Pine to a $3.99 seahorse cookie cutter. In total, Handmade has roughly 80,000 items for sale. That’s a far cry from Etsy’s 35 million products, but it has a 10-year head start on Amazon.

“You can think of it as a factory-free zone, a mass-produced-free zone,” Peter Faricy, the head of Handmade, told The New York Times.

The launch of Handmade comes five months after Etsy’s IPO debuted at $31 a share with a $3.5 billion valuation. It’s fallen on hard times since April, losing nearly 60 percent of its value with shares trading at $13 today.

With Etsy’s stock floundering, Amazon smells blood in the (locally sourced) water. On top of its massive reach (285 million visitors to Etsy’s 22 million), Amazon is using its logistical prowess to send items for free as part of its express Prime service, to further entice people to skip Etsy’s varying shipping prices.

News of Handmade’s launch today was a major talking point on Etsy’s message boards. Overall, sellers said they like it because of its reach, one person saying “millions of eyes are a great thing.” Another seller added: “I hope Etsy counters with its own advertising campaign to get BUYERS here.”

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