Etsy has built a solid business connecting craftspeople with customers who like buying hand-crafted or vintage items. It calls itself "the world's handmade marketplace."
Now nearly 1 million online "shops" sell artsy and craftsy items through Etsy's marketplace. Its revenue topped $525 million in 2011.
Not surprisingly, Etsy was the domain with the most "pins" in a recent study of Pinterest--and that means a lot of people are following the "pins" back to Etsy crafts, making it a social experience as well.
Etsy is also testing a "similar items" search feature to help buyers locate and browse crafts they might want to consider before narrowing down their choices.
However, Etsy's reputation depends on keeping mass-manufactured goods off the site--and that's why the company has a team of people checking up on sellers to be sure they're complying with the rules. This helps Etsy protect its image and its unique connection with both customers and crafters.