• 02.01.16

Can Etsy Win Over Wall Street With Its Social Mission?

The company is a B Corporation, meaning it benefits society as well as its shareholders.

Can Etsy Win Over Wall Street With Its Social Mission?
[Photo: courtesy of Etsy]

Etsy might be a favorite of hipsters who buy artisanal and homemade items. But since its public offering in the spring of 2015, it has struggled to win over fans on Wall Street.


The e-commerce company is expected to report its earnings on Tuesday, but it has yet to announce the exact date. The company’s stock is down some 75% since since it closed its first day of trading in April at $30 a share.

Etsy’s stock price has fallen in part due to slowing growth and strong competition from giants like Amazon. In October, Amazon introduced an Etsy competitor, Handmade, and even recruited popular sellers from Etsy’s 10-year-old network.

Etsy might also face challenges on Wall Street, as its business model is somewhat unique. For the past three years, it has operated as a B-Corporation, meaning that it values its social mission equally as its shareholders. Unlike many of its competitors, which are solely focused on maximizing profits, Etsy gives its employees more than 20 hours of paid time off to volunteer each year and it covers 80% of health insurance premiums for employees and their families. The company says that more than 30% of its sellers are drawn from low-income populations.

As Bloomberg recently reported, Wall Street isn’t used to companies that operate like that. And it remains to be seen whether Etsy can attract a cohort of investors who believe in its mission.

About the author

Christina Farr is a San Francisco-based journalist specializing in health and technology. Before joining Fast Company, Christina worked as a reporter for VentureBeat, Reuters and KQED.