Etsy Boss Says Its Female Sellers Smash Cliches To 'Define Success On Their Own Terms'

Over 90% of its sellers are women.

17/05/2016 08:10 | Updated 17 May 2016

In partnership with Claremont’s Purpose In Practice series, Better Business talks to leaders from brands including Lego, Etsy and The New York Times to find out what they really stand for - and champion those that are driven by doing good.

Online marketplace Etsy is aiming to smash the dated stereotypes of the "white, male" entrepreneur, one of its bosses has said.

Mark Lennihan/AP
Etsy's team celebrating their IPO last year

Nicole Vanderbilt, VP International for Etsy, said that 90% of its sellers were women and it aimed to empower them to "define success on their own terms".

She said the platform was "primarily" for women who didn't fit traditional ideas of an entrepreneur who "wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg."

"It's interesting because there's such a cliched, kind of dated stereotype of an entrepreneur I think, in the English-speaking world certainly.

"You know, it's a white male guy, who needs a big loan, and wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. And kudos to them, there are many people like that and I'm happy for them to be building innovative things in the world.

"But an Etsy entrepreneur looks very different. Only 1% of our sellers have even taken a loan. It's not to say they aren't ambitious, over two thirds of them want to continue to grow their business. But they want to do it in way that they can continue to manage it."

She revealed that some women who use the platform have told her they have been "pressed" by others to take out a business loan or grow their company as fast as possible, "because that's so much of the discourse around small business".

"One of them said 'Well I left a desk job to do this. I don't want to get so big that I have to go back to doing the desk job,'" Vanderbilt explained.

She added that the site lets people "define success on their own terms and really choose how they spend their time and where they get their satisfaction from".

Etsy
Nicole Vanderbilt says Etsy 'empowers' women entrepreneurs

"Nobody's losing because other people are winning, or able to be empowered," she added, claiming she hopes the site allows women to "decide what size and shape business they want to build".

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