November 15, 2001, 12:00 AM

Overstock goes global with native crafts artisan boutique

Overstock.com’s Artisans of Worldstock delivers hand-crafted goods as the company limits its net profit to 5% of sale.

Artisans of Worldstock, a new department at Overstock.com that offers hand-crafted items from around the world, was responsible for nearly 2% of the site’s total revenues in its first four weeks, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne tells Internet Retailer. Launched in late September, the online boutique generated about $100,000 in sales in its first month and it’s climbing fast, Bryne says. “We hope to be doing a million dollars very soon,” he adds.

Overstock.com fills its Worldstock department with goods produced by developing nations, native communities and groups with environmental or social missions. Much of it is handpicked by Bryne, whose sources include artisan communities in locations as far-flung as American Navaho reservations and silk workers in Cambodia. Overstock prices the goods so that its net profit on each sale is no more than 5%, which, says Bryne, delivers more on each sale back to the artisans than typical methods of distribution, while offering unique handcrafted goods to shoppers at a lower than typical price.

And it helps to further boost traffic at Overstock.com while complementing the company’s existing business model, Bryne says. “Small lots don’t move efficiently through the mass retail world, but as liquidators, that’s what we’re set up for. Liquidation occurs in small lots to scattered buyers, so we’ve already built an engine that handles that. And the structure of the artisan market is exactly like that.”

 

 

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