Etsy Journal

Explore ideas and inspiration for creative living

What's Missing on Etsy?

by Vanessa Bertozzi

Mar 2, 2010

Whenever I'm explaining Etsy to the uninitiated, they usually respond with something like, "Oh, it's for crafts, like jewelry and pot holders?" "No," I say. "It's actually for anything handmade or vintage." If the person has a sense of humor, I might tell them there's everything from furniture to vintage clothing, from fine art to RearGear's Butt Covers for pets, and we'll have a good laugh.

This is really one of the things I love the most about shopping on Etsy: You can find literally anything — even stuff you didn't know existed.

Most of the time, that is.

Once in a while, I'll have a moment when I realize that I've probed the outer limits of Etsy. My reaction? A little bit of shock, and then I mutter to myself, "You'd think there'd be someone filling that niche. (Harumph)." Things have gotten better as Etsy has grown over the past few years. I just saw a didgeridoo on the home page, a sign of the times. The era when an Etsy-outfitted man would go pantsless is swiftly closing. But still, weird gaps appear, and sometimes they don't seem to make any sense. Recently, mydarklyng tweeted at me, "You work at Etsy right? Why is it so hard to find a unicorn object that's not 'ironic'? Or that's, dare I say it: romantic." And so I ask you, readers, why? Why this gap? Yet, if I need a goth burp cloth, I'm all set.

I knew I was pushing my luck when searching for a hospital scrub cap with kittens on it as a gift for my physician assistant sister. But there are also more "normal" items that hover out there in the pale blue yonder of the Internet, not yet brought under the sheltering sky of the Etsy marketplace. (This scrub hat is pretty great, but I need kittens!) My searching was stymied recently when looking for classic, white cotton, collared pajamas for my husband — a relatively bland and ubiquitous item. No luck.

What niches do you see gaping on Etsy? Which searches are leaving much to be desired? Are these weird products or relatively common? Tell me all about it in the comments!

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Vanessa Bertozzi

Vanessa Bertozzi is a Senior Program Manager for Etsy Wholesale. Since starting at Etsy in 2007, she has launched the Etsy Blog and led teams focused on seller education and community.