Success Stories: Learn from Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Own Etsy-Like Websites and How to Make Your Own

Charlotte Miller

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A few decades back, India was a country of job seekers. Parents would tell their offspring to study well, so that they could find themselves good stable government jobs. Times, however, don’t just change. They evolve. They revolutionize. That is just what India is doing — it is finally emerging as a country of job creators. It is a story of those enterprising individuals who dared to take a road not often taken — that of the entrepreneur.

Etsy like websites have been sprouting all over the marketplace, connecting vendors with buyers and otherwise reshaping the way we shop online. Etsy has played a crucial role in connecting millions of shoppers to handcrafted or personal or creative items. As artisans have signed up to peddle their wares on these online marketplaces, though, others have followed. Starting a marketplace website is no small project. It’s been a long road for the new operators of these Etsy like websites. While there are some basics to setting up your own version of Etsy, there are also a few incredibly unique features of your own.

Let us meet these entrepreneurs who have built their very own website like Etsy. Learn how as an entrepreneur, you can do the same, too.

Here are the success stories behind some of Etsy’s competition.

The Story of Society6

Society6 is a thriving online marketplace that originated as a simple but robust art-sharing platform. Now, it allows artists worldwide to sell their work on everything from home decor to accessories unique to you. These are the first steps to take if you want to make a site like Society6:

Find your passion: The creators of Society6 knew they loved art, and the community that naturally follows is rife with creativity and personal expression, and they cultivated it.

Going technical: If you’re eying a web app that’s essentially a marketplace, you need a hearty framework. This means account management, secure payments, product listing, inventory management and everything in between. Look for an ecommerce system that will give you exactly that, or hire developers to create one to your exact specifications.

The Journey of Redbubble

Redbubble got its start as a way for artists to share their work on various products, eventually becoming the global marketplace that it is today. Here’s what you need to do to go about creating a website like Redbubble:

Creatively engage: With Redbubble, the mission was simple — build an environment where creatives can connect with a global audience on a personal level. Engage your entire project around that notion. Build features that make it easy for your users to create and interact.

The Rise of ArtFire

Since Etsy was launched in a Manhattan loft in 2005, it’s been the biggest and the best known of the specialty e-commerce sites. But ArtFire has become a strong alternative.

Like Etsy, ArtFire is a marketplace for handmade and artisanal products. If you want to create a website like ArtFire here’s how to go about it.

Differentiate your platform: The first two of ArtFire’s founders were geeks who used to sell their creations online. They parlayed that expertise into ArtFire and the site targets artisan who are looking for an alternative to the larger marketplace site.

Attract sellers and buyers: Entice sellers to your site by charging lower fees. Lure buyers by targeting your marketing to those interested in unique, handmade products.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many website software packages you can use to create your own niche marketplace.

Creating of Creative Market

Online since 2012, Creative Market caters to designers, illustrators, and developers who want to sell their digital creations. To create a website like Creative Market try these steps.

Curate high-quality products: The success of Creative Market stems from focusing on an offering of the highest quality digital products you can find. Attract talented sellers and over time, you will build a reputation for offering premium assets.

Take care of the technical: You will need a platform that supports digital downloads, has reliable file storage and a buying/selling user experience.Take care of the technical: Develop a platform that supports digital downloads, offers reliable file storage and provides a smooth user experience for buyers and sellers.

How to Make a Website Like Etsy

Now that you know the key components to consider, here’s a breakdown of how to make a website similar to Etsy:

Choose a suitable ecommerce platform

Conduct research to find an ecommerce platform that best fits your business needs. Look for features such as customizable storefronts, product listing and management, secure payment gateway integration, and seller and buyer management capabilities.

Design an appealing user interface

Design a visually appealing and easy-to-use interface that provides a good user experience. Use striking visuals, intuitive navigation, and thorough product categorization to make it easy for buyers to find a product that they like.

Implement secure payment systems

Integration with a secure and robust payment gateway enables smooth and secure transactions. Opt for popular payment processors and ensure that the system is compliant with data security standards to ensure buyer trust.

Curate high-quality products

Work on acquiring sellers who offer high-quality products that have a unique appeal to the buyers. Ask sellers to provide as much information on their products as possible, such as detailed product descriptions, high-resolution images, and other products they offer, along with customer reviews to allow the buyers to have confidence in their purchases.

Foster a sense of community

Buyers and sellers should interact and engage within your platform to not only build a sense of the community, but develop trust and credibility. The more features you offer that include ratings, reviews, and user forums, the better!

Implement effective seller and buyer management

These are the keys! Without them, your platform might as well not exist. This means a streamlined and easy-to-use system for sellers to list and manage their products and for buyers to browse, purchase, and manage their orders. You may want to ask someone who is experienced in development whether you need inventory management, order management, customer support systems (help tickets, live chat), and other features/technology to make these processes easy and intuitive.

Market your site

You need a comprehensive marketing strategy to jump start your platform and successfully make it to critical mass. You need to advertise everywhere to attract sellers and buyers. Marketing channels, such as social media, content marketing, guest blogs, influencer marketing, and other channels can be utilized to build awareness and send traffic to your site.


Creating a successful online marketplace platform like Etsy requires a lot of passion, knowledge and time. Although the barriers to entry are high, if you execute effectively with those people that are highly passionate and will evangelize your brand and platform, your chances for success are very, very high.

Here are the key lessons to remember:

  • Fostering a sense of community and engagement;
  • Discovering your niche and unique selling proposition in the existing marketplaces already available;
  • Curate high-quality products to build credibility and trust;
  • User-friendly interfaces and secure payment systems are essential;
  • Buyer and seller management features are necessary for effective implementation;
  • A robust marketing strategy that attracts sellers and buyers.

The proof of concept can be hugely inspiring to entrepreneurs who are considering building their own Etsy like websites. Drawing from their examples and strategies, you, too, can envision and create a thriving online marketplace platform of your own. Ultimately, with the right vision, determination and execution, you’ll carve out your place in the ecommerce world and create a platform that speaks to a very specific niche audience. So, go out there and start building the next great Etsy!