A Marketplace with a Mission

A Marketplace with a Mission
By Laura Tiffany
October 03, 2007

Etsy.com founder Rob Kalin hasn't just created an online marketplace for crafts; he's built a site that creates entrepreneurs and strives for a sustainable future.

After speaking with Rob Kalin, the founder of handmade products marketplace Etsy.com, it's apparent that like any true entrepreneur, his company isn't just a means to a paycheck. It's a mission: A mission to change the way commerce works; a mission to promote sustainable products; a mission that, much like eBay, is creating an exponential number of entrepreneurs in its wake.

EBay is an apt, but ironic, comparison. It was frustration with the online auction giant that first inspired Kalin to create Etsy in 2005. As a woodworker, he was looking for a place to sell his wares. "I [felt] like eBay [had] grown to the point where it's this faceless corporation, and I wanted to create a company that would have a handmade feel to it," says Kalin, 27. He and a group of college friends holed up in his Brooklyn apartment for six weeks before launching the initial beta version of Etsy.com, with Kalin on design lead and his co-founders, Chris Maguire and Haim Schoppik, handling programming.

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