Darin Mays makes wooden tables and sells them on Etsy. He sources locally and can quickly deal with delivery issues that plague other retailers.

Larry Falk | CNBC

This holiday season, Darin Mays isn’t staring at work challenges or supply chain issues like some of its big competitors, and sales are strong.

The entrepreneur’s Minneapolis-based company, Urban Wing, makes wooden pole tables that can be used around patio heaters, umbrellas, and basement poles. He sells the tables together with sauna products online and through Etsy’s platform.

Mays decided to pursue his dream of owning a business after retiring from healthcare technology last year. His wife is his only employee.

“I source most of the products locally, which gives me an advantage,” said Mays. “But even as an inventor, I can design and manipulate products in the blink of an eye so that they are relatively easy to swivel.”

It was beneficial to have products for sale. This month, sales are up around 900% compared to the same period last year, Mays said. He said he sold more than 500 of his tables on Etsy alone.

Most Etsy sellers operate their stores from home and source raw materials nearby. While larger retailers are facing delivery issues, Etsy is well sorted into categories that are hardest hit by these disruptions, such as toys and furniture. The site has more than 90 million items and 5 million sellers, up from 2 million before the pandemic.

Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said the company is optimistic that this year will have another big holiday season. Many sellers started preparing their supplies in August and September.

Plan to shop locally

“Over 90% of Etsy sellers say they source their raw materials from their own country. In fact, US sellers, around half of them, say they all source their own raw materials from their state, ”Silverman said. “So your supply chain is really simple.”

The Etsy website

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

More than a third of respondents to CNBC / Momentive’s Small Business Survey for Small Business Saturday said they plan to patronize a local retailer that Saturday. That’s an increase of 30% last year, but a decrease of 39% in 2019.

In addition, of the 2,700 adults surveyed, 72% said they had seen prices higher in the past three months, 62% experienced “low” or “out of stock” inventory in stores, and 51% experienced delivery delays. Almost half said they fear supply chain issues will affect their ability to get what they want this holiday shopping season. The survey was conducted from November 10th to 12th.

Changing consumer preferences could boost sales on Etsy this year, Silverman said.

“A lot of people have thought about the pandemic and say they want to support small businesses. They might want to buy fewer things, but those things mean more, these things have a story, and that’s exactly what we think Etsy sellers really did have a chance to shine, “he said.

Compensation for lost sales

Barbara Lind has owned the Grist Mill Antiques Center in Pemberton, New Jersey, since 1994. Like Mays, she is betting that local companies will win the season this year.

Last year, Lind’s shop was closed for several months due to the pandemic. Like many on Main Street, she and the antique dealers who rent space from her are still in catch-up mode.

“We buy from local states and our inventory is high,” she said. “We’re fully stocked and hope this Christmas season will bring us the money that our dealers, myself and the entire store lost during the closure.”

For Small Business Saturday, she plans to offer a 25% discount on most of her store’s merchandise to make up for losses. Pandemic trends have allowed her to purchase unique items for the season.

“People are downsizing – they’re moving to other states, they’re buying smaller houses. That gives us the opportunity to buy, so we have a lot of nice things in stock. And a lot of those things are memories because people want to buy back the memories of their childhood or the childhood of their parents, “she said.” A lot of things are unique, almost because they’re so scarce you can’t see them. “

Back in Minneapolis, Mays said he is building an inventory in preparation for the vacation rush and he hopes many will support local businesses this year.

“Every single sale really means a lot. And it helps people like me and others to really do something that we are passionate about and contribute to the common good, ”he said.

– CNBC’s Betsy Spring contributed to this article.


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