Etsy has always been the epitome of homegrown, handmade, vintage, and I'll-only-touch-it-if-it's-natural. And on Thursday, the company took a big leap—by debuting on New York Stock Exchange as a publicly traded company. But Etsy is making sure to do things *their* way on Wall Street.
Staying true to their own credo of promoting small businesses, Etsy has launched an expansive effort to attract small investors with less of a focus on big investors. (Yes, even their IPO process is Etsy-esque.) They've also pledged to remain socially and environmentally accountable. (Take note, companies.)
Etsy is one of almost 1,000 "B Corp" companies that follow social and environmental guidelines developed by a nonprofit organization called B Lab.These companies strive to marry institutional goals of maximizing profits and fostering community. Etsy plans to do this by offering employees stock options and paid volunteer time, paying all workers 40 percent above the local living wage, teaching women and minorities programming skills, and composting it's food waste.
And you thought handmade cat-woman sleep masks were the tip of Etsy's awesome iceberg.
While it sounds like a solution to everything we hate about Wall Street, B Corp firms come with a risk. Etsy has two years to transition into a full benefit corporation to maintain its B Corp status. In doing so, the company becomes vulnerable to lawsuits from even the smallest of shareholders who believe they aren't fulfilling their community mission.
It's a risk, but Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson plans to focus on keeping Etsy strong and doling out social good.
So for now, we can keep calm and shop on.
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