The Etsy of the Balkans, turned 1 year today celebrating a success of a pioneering project which was built on top of a new online payment solution presented to the local market by Kosovo Banks, and which aided the support of developing a new market opportunity to the country for e-commerce businesses.
Today Balkanspring developed and managed by managed by Athene Kosovo L.L.C and Athene Prosjektledelse, helped local manufacturers sell their products not only in Kosovo but also to international markets and aided them to establish quality packing, production, promotion and different services, thus also contributing to the education of the market of local handmade producers.
Balkanspring is built on top of Magento, an e-commerce platform that has been around for ages and used by a large majority of big e-commerce websites. Launched as a project one year ago, Balkanspring tackled many problems of the market at once, including the difficulties of online payments in the local market, international and domestic delivery and even customs challenges.
The idea behind Balkanspring, started only with the aim to help local women only, but seeing the demand and the manufacturers potential, in Balkanspring.com men from all over Kosovo started selling their handmade products as well and this was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.
Balkanspring.com was accepted very well by the artisan producers, because they see this as the only way to promote and sell their products 24/7 and their products are accessible to watch, and buy as well, by everyone who has internet coverage. An important role in promoting the Balkan spring project was played by the media, internal and external collaborators, especially the Albanian Diaspora, without which certainly we would not be where we are today.
Balkanspring.com until now has gathered around 60 producers from different organisations from each community living in Kosovo, who have displayed more than 2000 qualitative and unique products crafted carefully for different categories and both genders, such as: clothes and different accessories like coats, different dresses, shoes, bags, t-shirts, scarves and, postcards and different souvenirs, beauty products, children products, etc.. Balkanspring is managed by Athene Kosovo L.L.C and Athene Prosjektledelse as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project with the main purpose to serve the community and support handmade manufacturers to develop and upgrade their knowledge on online market through our continuous training and support on this field.
The filed of this niche e-commerce industry is quite interesting and just recently we saw, Etsy filing for an IPO, with a proposed offering of 100 million dollars. Reports that Etsy would be filing for an IPO first appeared in January, initially suggesting the company was looking to raise $300 million. The company reported $1.35 billion in gross sales on its marketplace in 2013.