By accidentally viewing an Italian cinema classic, Etsy founder Robert Kalin was inspired to name his company.
If you’re the type to shop around on the web, you’re probably familiar with the Etsy.com website. It is an online sales platform where you can sell and buy trinkets, often artisanal and a little vintage. There are indeed many home-made objects, which allow you to decorate your interior, with unique products that are not usually found on the market.
With a clientele that now numbers in the tens of millions of people, Etsy’s notoriety is now largely established. But if the service is known, the reasons which led the founders of the site to choose this name are much more ignored. It was in fact only in 2011, during an interview with Reader’s Digest Canada, that Robert Kalin, one of the pillars of the adventure, unpacked everything.
The influence of Italian cinema
Initially, he explained in this interview six years after the founding of Etsy, the person wanted a completely random name. His wish was to build a new brand, unlike other rival platforms whose activity was already suggested from the name, like iCraft or ArtFire – or later Handmade by Amazon, which is even more explicit.
” I wanted an absurd word because I wanted to build the brand from scratch “, He explained. But it was more specifically watching a classic of Italian cinema that the enlightenment arose: ” I was watching the movie Eight and a half of Fellini and I wrote down what I heard. In Italian, we often say ‘e si’. It means ‘hey yes’. And in Latin, it means ‘what if’ “.
Probably imperfect listening to Federico Fellini’s feature film probably did the rest (in Italian, there is normally no audible “t” in “e si”): the formula “e si” has become “etsi In the mind of Robert Kalin. It must be said that in his defense, the film dates from the 60s and that the two pronunciations are close and can seem very similar to those who do not speak Italian.
Anyway, the word that came out of this viewing has been substantially changed: besides the “t” which is invited, a “y” has replaced the “i”, probably for style. A choice that also allows him to approach the English term “cutesy” (cute). That’s very good, because it is precisely in the market for cute crafts (“cutesy crafts market”) that Etsy has deployed.