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Etsy launches wedding registry service for handmade gifts in wake of Bed Bath & Beyond bankruptcy

Aaron McDade   

Etsy launches wedding registry service for handmade gifts in wake of Bed Bath & Beyond bankruptcy
  • Etsy launched a wedding registry service Wednesday.
  • According to the company, searches for handmade gifts are up over 870% from the same period last year.

Online retailer Etsy launched a wedding registry service on Wednesday, coming on the heels of the recent bankruptcy and liquidation of Bed Bath & Beyond stores, a historically popular destination for registries.

Etsy's trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson wrote in a blog post that the site has seen searches for "handmade gifts" increase 872% over the last three months compared to the same time last year. Isom Johnson said the company views the trend as an indication that people are looking for more personal touches over "mass-produced gifts."

"In addition to handmade and vintage, couples can also register for personalized items and specify the exact customization for their guests, making Etsy a one-stop-shop for gifts, wedding decor, and even bridal party items — all while supporting small businesses," Isom Johnson wrote.

In conjunction with the launch of the registry service, Etsy published several blog posts outlining popular wedding trends and gift ideas. The e-commerce company also partnered with Antoni Porowski of the popular Netflix series "Queer Eye," who created a registry with his fiancé with their top choices for wedding gifts.

The process of buying and selling will be largely the same as normal on Etsy, but orders will be sent with a special badge so sellers know it came from a registry, according to The Verge.

Personalized wedding and bridal gifts have long been popular on Etsy and frequently showcased in gift guides. Registries have also shifted in recent years to live entirely online, and couples have increasingly opted to include items like personalized gifts and donations to honeymoons or home purchases in recent years.

Etsy could also join stores like Amazon and Target, which look to capitalize on the bankruptcy of Bed Bath & Beyond, as the retailer still had about 30% of the wedding registry market as of last year.

Other recent retail closures, restructurings, and bankruptcy filings from companies like JCPenney, Lord & Taylor, Barneys, and Neiman Marcus have also impacted the registry market, retail expert Burt Flickinger told CNN.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobaData Retail, told CNN the program could also be instrumental in helping Etsy boost stagnating revenue growth.

"It is a sensible move because Etsy's growth, while good, has slowed a little," Saunders said. "With this new venture, Etsy would hope to generate incremental revenue and introduce the platform to new customers. Some wedding guests might not have used Etsy and they could turn into a new, long-term customer."

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