Himanshu Wardhan, Managing Director, India, Etsy, is on a mission to reach out to immensely creative micro-entrepreneurs.
Right from an artisan working with a traditional art form, to an artist aspiring to sell globally, Wardhan is striving to make the online marketplace a default platform for any talented creative individual. In a conversation with The Morning Standard, the 35-year-old shares his vision for the creatives.
What led you to start Etsy in India?
My love for unique products and entrepreneurial background attracted me to Etsy. I spent a big chunk of my career in the States.
Etsy is a very well-known and much-loved brand in the US, and I often wondered why it did not have a presence in India.
It has such a wealth of handmade artisans and designers. When I moved back to India, a conversation with the global team led to the setting up of a team in India.
Our mission is to ‘Keep Commerce Human,’ by using the power of business and technology to empower people. We are focused on connecting micro-entrepreneurs from different parts of India to the world.
There are a few videos on your Instagram account about sellers and their creative journey. Tell us more.
We have a fantastic team of filmmakers who work on the identification of artists/sellers.
Our focus is on the creative entrepreneur who is actually making the products.
The content is carefully tailored into easy to consume, bite-sized videos.
Etsy sellers are actually the face of the brand. Our social handles are used to generate curiosity about this community such that a consumer of the content feels compelled to be a part of it.
What is the percentage of Indian artisans on Etsy?
Globally, there are 2.1 million sellers on the Etsy platform. There are over 1.5 million product listings from India.
Could you share a few examples of creative entrepreneurs from Delhi who have made it big with the help of Etsy?
There’s the husband-wife duo Abhishek and Madhulika, who quit their corporate careers to start a jewellery shop, AbhikaJewels, which is now thriving.
There’s this shop named NiraaIndia, that is the amalgamation of a young designer’s love for Indian handloom and contemporary silhouettes.
Then there’s Kinche by Payal, which is famous not only for the jackets made from upcycled fabric, but also that each piece is named after one awesome woman from all over the world.
Can you tell us about the percentage taken by Etsy per transaction?
We have a transaction fee of five per cent that an Etsy seller pays for each completed transaction, inclusive of the shipping fee.
In 2018, you have collaborated with Dastkari Haat Samiti. What was the focus there?
India has always had a rich tradition of handloom and handicrafts, official estimates state around seven million artisans in the country.
To strengthen our support toward artisans, Etsy associated with the Dastkari Haat Samiti, an organisation headed by Jaya Jaitly, who is such a well-known crafts supporter and also someone I respect a lot.
We organised a two-day workshop for artists in Delhi for locally-based creative entrepreneurs and other rural parts of the country and spoke to them about digital opportunities. We also organised a photography session for these craftspeople to explain the fundamentals of photography and one of the themes was, ‘How to take quality pictures using a smartphone?’
What is the way forward for Etsy?
India is a high growth e-commerce market with a strong base of English Internet users, who use social media to a large extent. Given this market landscape, we see a strong opportunity to bring in more sellers.