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Investing in Etsy sellers' financial security

Etsy joins the BlackRock Emergency Savings Initiative

image credit: Susabellas

There are a lot of amazing benefits to being a creative entrepreneur, from finding an outlet for your creative passions to being able to support yourself and your family doing the things you love. But there are some big challenges as well.

As self-employed microbusinesses, Etsy sellers face considerable challenges managing the ups and downs that come with running a retail businesses. They may earn quite a bit over the holidays, for example, and then sell less in January. It can be difficult to predict future sales, and an unexpected emergency may create significant financial strain for our sellers and their families. We know, for example, that 40% of our full-time sellers lack sufficient emergency savings to cover their expenses for three months, and 35% of our sellers have not started saving for retirement.

And our sellers aren't alone. Today, fully 56.7 million people work independently, often struggling to manage the income volatility that can accompany this type of work. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, temporary and contract work has accounted for all net employment growth in the United States since 2008. As more people work outside traditional employment, we need new strategies to ensure everyone can build financial security, regardless of how they earn income.

That's why we're joining BlackRock's Emergency Savings Initiative. Through our partnership, we're working to better understand the specific financial challenges Etsy sellers face, and starting in 2020, plan to pilot new solutions to help our sellers address them.

This partnership builds on our longstanding commitment to helping our sellers manage the challenges that come with self employment. For example, in our white paper, Economic Security for the Gig Economy, we laid out a policy agenda to build greater economic security for our creative entrepreneurs. With this pilot, we hope to turn some of these ideas into concrete actions, and share our findings with others working to solve these same difficult challenges.

Together, we believe we can find solutions that build economic security for everyone who works, regardless of how they work.

Althea Erickson image
Althea Erickson

Lead advocacy and impact at Etsy. Public policy wonk. Game enthusiast.