Goodsmiths’ party celebrates $1 million mark, hints at what’s next
Around 75 people came out to support Goodsmiths at its launch party – and hear about upcoming developments from the growing company.
"Now we can finally say, hey, we're different than the others that are out there," co-founder Levi Rosol said in the startup's West Des Moines office. Group buying has been in Goodsmiths' DNA since its inception but it didn't become a reality until Tuesday.
That's not the only way Goodsmiths differs from other ecommerce sites – it charges lower fees to shop owners, has a guest checkout option and is working to build a strong community – but the founders said they have long been compared to other sites, especially Etsy.
Co-founder James Eliason said it took some time to present the idea of group buying in a way that people would understand, and early comparisons to Groupon raised suspicions. Goodsmiths' group buying lets shop owners offer discounts if a certain number of people buy in (or, if they can't wait, buyers still have the option to purchase the item at regular price). It's designed to help makers predict demand for their products.
"[It's been] very well worth the wait," Eliason said.
Shop owners seem to agree: more than 100 group offers had been started within a day of the feature being announced, and one had already closed.
Goodsmiths lets shop owners control the percent discounted and the number of people needed to activate the offer.
Continued growth to be fueled by community
As of Wednesday morning, Goodsmiths had $1.25 million dollars in inventory from more than 1,750 shops. The site has racked up more than 480,000 page views since officially launching April 1.
"We're not going to slow down," Eliason said, "the technologies that we're creating are sticking with our audience."
The assembled crowd in the team's Valley Junction offices got a preview of what's next for Goodsmiths during Eliason's brief presentation, including more blogging, newsletters and a recommendation engine.
"We have the tools in place," Rosol said, noting the evolution of the website. "Now it's about community." He said he hopes people will be motivated to visit the Goodsmiths website even if they're not looking to purchase an item.
Many of those efforts will be spearheaded by Deb Gore Orhn (left), who recently joined the team as creative marketing advisor. She said she's looking forward to getting involved with more events, possibly creating a community crafts lab and starting a '100 days of Goodsmiths' newsletter – just in time for the site to "explode during the holidays."
On the development side, the team will continue to roll out more community-building features, like a forum for all things crafts, shop blogs that makers can integrate with their listings (for example: a step-by-step tutorial of how they made an item in their shop), and perhaps most ambitiously, a product recommendation engine. Integration with social networks will help to personalize recommendations.
"So every time you go to Goodsmiths, your homepage should be different, based on who your friends are, number one, and number two, what their activities are," Eliason said.
Although Goodsmiths has been live since April and has achieved milestones, the belated launch party was a reminder that there's much more to come.
"I love the energy here – that people are doing," Gore Orhn said of her new team. "We're not meeting and talking about doing, we're doing."
In true startup fashion, Goodsmiths offers T-shirts – which feature a highlight "dsm" for Des Moines – as swag.
Eliason speaks on the past, present and future of Goodsmiths.
The members of the growing Goodsmiths staff were personally commended.