NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Ahead of a potential initial public offering, Brooklyn-based Etsy has been expanding into new markets, particularly in Asia, as consumers clamor for items that are made by small businesses. The company's marketplace model is leading the shift in e-commerce, particularly as eBay (EBAY)
"You can't buy laptops, electrical chargers and other mass-produced goods manufactured by companies like Samsung on Etsy," said Etsy Chairman Caterina Fake in an interview with TheStreet. "Etsy has always been very much about small businesses, creative individual businesses. I always think of Etsy as empowering small, individual businesses like carpenters, soap makers and others. These are businesses that are not well represented on eBay."
Fake noted that eBay was initially an auction-based model but, over time, it moved to a marketplace model. Etsy recently purchased Grant St. (for a reported $10 million), a marketplace for creative technology, showcasing the fact that Etsy is committed to this model for sellers around the globe. "It shows a shift of how e-commerce is being done these days."
The move comes as Etsy is seeking to expand into new markets, outside of just the U.S., where it's seen tremendous growth. In 2013, over $1.3 billion worth of goods were sold on Etsy last year, and 2014 is shaping up to be another strong year for the company, particularly in international markets. Fake did not give any numbers for 2014 when asked, but noted the company has a lot of growth ahead of it. "We haven't really captured all of the opportunities that are out there for us globally," Fake said. "There is a whole marketplace for it that's forming around it, and it seems like a good time for investment."