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Etsy sellers and other small businesses are betting on local sourcing to win the holidays

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  • ETSY

This holiday season, Darin Mays is not looking at workforce challenges or supply chain issues like some of its big box competitors, and sales are strong.

Minneapolis-based contractor’s company Urban Wing makes wood pole tables that can be used around patio heaters, umbrellas, and basement poles. He sells the tables, as well as the sauna products, online and through the Etsy platform.

Mays decided to pursue his dream of owning his own business after quitting a career in healthcare technology last year. His wife is his only employee.

“I source most of the produce locally, which gives me an advantage,” Mays said. “But also as an inventor, I can design and manipulate products on the fly, so it’s relatively easy to rotate.”

Having a product available for sale was an advantage. This month, sales are up about 900% from the same period last year, Mays said. He said he had sold over 500 of his tables on Etsy alone.

Most Etsy sellers operate their stores from home and source raw materials nearby. Even though large retailers face supply issues, Etsy is well stocked in the categories most affected by these disruptions, such as toys and furniture. The website has more than 90 million items and 5 million sellers, up from 2 million before the pandemic.

Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said the company is optimistic and will have another big holiday season this year. Many vendors started stocking up in August and September in preparation.

Planning to shop local

“Over 90% of Etsy sellers report sourcing from their own country. And in fact, American sellers, about half of them say they get all of their own raw materials in their state, ”Silverman said. “So their supply chain is really simple. “

More than a third of respondents to the CNBC / Momentive Small Business Survey for Small Businesses on Saturday said they plan to hang out with a local merchant on Saturday. This is an increase from 30% last year, but a decrease from 39% in 2019.

In addition, 72% of the 2,700 adults surveyed said they had seen higher prices in the past three months, 62% saw “low” or “out of stock” stocks in stores and 51% saw high prices. delays in delivery. Almost half said they were concerned that supply chain issues could hinder their ability to get what they want this holiday shopping season. The survey was conducted from November 10 to 12.

Changing consumer preferences could increase sales on Etsy this year, Silverman said.

“A lot of people through the pandemic have been thinking and saying they want to support small businesses. Maybe they want to buy less stuff but these things mean more, these things come with a story, and that is where we think Etsy sellers really had a chance to shine, ”he said.

Compensate for lost sales

Barbara Lind has owned the Grist Mill Antiques Center in Pemberton, New Jersey, since 1994. Like Mays, she’s betting local businesses will win the season this year.

Last year Lind’s store was closed for several months due to the pandemic. Like many on Main Street, she and the antique dealers who rent space to her are still in catch-up mode.

“We buy from local states and our inventory is high,” she said. “We are fully stocked and hope this holiday season brings us out of the money that our dealers, myself and the entire store lost during the shutdown.”

For Small Business Saturday, she plans to offer 25% off most merchandise in her store to help recoup losses. Pandemic trends have allowed her to choose unique items for the season.

“People are downsizing – they move to other states, they buy smaller houses. It gives us the opportunity to buy, so we have a lot of beautiful things. And a lot of these things are memories because people want to redeem their childhood memories or their parents’ childhood memories, “she said.” A lot of things are unique, almost because they are so rare you don’t see them anymore.

Back in Minneapolis, Mays said he’s building inventory for the holiday rush and hopes many will support local stores this year.

“Every sale really means a lot. And it helps people like me and others to really do something that we are passionate about and contribute to the greater good,” he said.

—CNBC’s Betsy Spring contributed to this article.

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