The advantage that Etsy’s CFO says the e-commerce company has amid the supply chain crunch

November 22, 2021, 11:33 AM UTC

Good morning, 

For Etsy CFO Rachel Glaser, psychology and business go hand in hand.

“My mom is a psychoanalyst, and my dad’s a clinical psychologist,” Glaser told me. “I went to UC Berkeley as an undergrad, and I was a psychology major. What I learned is that I really like analysis and leading people.” So instead of pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology, she earned an MBA. Since then, her affinity for using data to make decisions has resulted in a more than 30-year career in financial leadership. I spoke with Glaser about Etsy’s growth, the supply chain, and providing opportunities for women.

CFO Daily-Etsy CFO Rachel Glaser
Etsy CFO Rachel Glaser
Courtesy of Etsy

The e-commerce company where sellers offer handmade, personalized items, and crafts, is based in Brooklyn, N.Y., and led by CEO Josh Silverman. On the site, there are nearly 100 million buyers and more than 7.5 million sellers globally, according to the company. In 2020, Etsy was one of the best-performing stocks in the S&P 500 Index, CNBC reported. In the third quarter of 2021, the company’s consolidated revenue grew 18% year-over-year to $532 million compared to the same time last year. Etsy (NASDAQ: ETSY) reached its 52-week high of $299.80 on Friday, Nov. 19, but the stock price closed at $294.38.

“There was a huge demand for face masks right at the very beginning of the pandemic, and it pushed our top line much higher,” Glaser explains. Etsy took the opportunity to “reinvest that incremental sort of windfall in our product and marketing initiatives,” she says. For example, increasing the budget in marketing on social platforms and investing in customer relationship management (CRM) technology to find and target buyers and bring them to Etsy. Glaser also notes that making the search function on the site more personalized and enhancing the post-purchase experience have been priorities as well. “Almost 100% of U.S. listings now include expected delivery date,” Glaser says. “So you know, am I or am I not going to get this in time for Christmas.” In Q3 2021, consolidated gross merchandise sales (GMS) grew about 18% year-over-year. The company also increased habitual buyers on the site by 65%, Glaser said.

Sellers and supplies

I asked Glaser if the current supply chain woes are affecting sellers on the platform. “Etsy kind of sits in a sweet spot here because we have 5 million sellers that are all over the world,” she explains. “All of those sellers are sort of individual, locally operated businesses.” The company took a survey to ask how sellers are doing regarding supplies, Glaser says. “Over 95% of them responded that they’re very well situated for tapping local supplies for what they need,” she says.

However, there is a caveat, such as a woodworker who may think their supply is local because their local Home Deport has lumber, Glaser says. “But if Home Depot comes out of their lumber, then they may not have all the supply that they think they have,” she says. Earlier this month, Etsy published Tips to help you combat supply chain issues for its sellers, such as, “If you don’t have what you need to make something, don’t list it for sale.”

An advantage that Etsy has is a “substitution opportunity,” Glaser says. “If the desk you want from seller A is no longer available because they’ve maxed out their inventory, there’s hundreds, if not thousands of other sellers that offer very similar products and can step into to satisfy that demand. We feel from a supply chain perspective, better situated than some other merchants that might be depending on supply that’s coming from overseas.”

‘Flexibility is really at the core of creating inclusivity’

Glaser began her role at Etsy in 2017. She was previously CFO at Leaf Group and Move, Inc. Glaser also held roles as SVP of operations finance at Yahoo! and at The Walt Disney Company, where she spent almost 20 years in leadership positions in finance, operations, and technology teams. “I’ve had many mentors throughout my career, both men and women,” Glaser says. “And my big takeaway is that flexibility is really at the core of creating inclusivity.” 

She continues, “When I had my first child, I had a career pivot to think about. Did I want to be a stay-at-home mom? Or did I want to stay in the workforce?” At Disney, Glaser had a male supervisor and mentor “who structured an arrangement for me to stay in the workforce, and work half time, instead of leaving altogether,” she says. 

At Etsy, 81% of sellers are women, and 44% of the company’s overall leadership (director-level and above) are women, Glaser says. “I have a very good pipeline to have a female succeed me if or when I move on,” she says. “But I can also directly touch people and mentor them from my own perspective as a woman in finance.”

See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada

Big deal

ADP’s 2022 Workforce Trends report examines the ways in which labor market shifts have led to reprioritized needs for the workforce. Connection will become a measurement of workforce culture as employers seek ways to support inclusion amid a dispersed work environment, according to the report. In the U.S., workers who trust their team leaders and teammates are seven times more likely to feel strongly connected to their company, ADP Research Institute found. The report advises employers to reflect on the larger purpose that unites their workforce. 

Courtesy of ADP

Going deeper

"This 'Great Resignation,' or as more optimistic voices like to call it the 'Great Reevaluation,' is in many ways a necessary correction of the labor market," Rasmus Hougaard, CEO and founder of Potential Project, wrote in a new opinion piece for Fortune. Hougaard agues that the dehumanization of work is a major factor in creating unhappy and disengaged employees. "It begins and ends with leadership driving a corporate culture that fails to recognize its workforce as people first, producers second," he writes.


Ann C. Beemish was promoted to EVP and CFO at MediaCo Holding Inc. (NASDAQ: MDIA), owner of HOT 97, WBLS, and Fairway Outdoor, effective immediately. Beemish previously served as MediaCo’s SVP of finance, leading the company’s finance and human resources departments. Prior to joining MediaCo, she served as Knotel’s head of global administration and readiness and head of global people operations. Beemish founded the consultancy Huppe Beemish LLC in 2016, and served as SVP of operational finance and corporate development at Granite Broadcasting. 

Guido Torrini was named the first CFO at OneTrust, a privacy platform startup. Torrini brings over 20 years of experience building finance teams for category-defining enterprise technology companies. Most recently, he served as the CFO of Celonis, a late-stage process mining technology company. His career began at Cisco and Dell. He then led finance teams at companies including Groupon and Gympass.


"In my career as a nurse leader, to give a 10% increase is pretty unprecedented."

—Dr. Kate FitzPatrick, chief nurse executive officer of Jefferson Health's healthcare network, on a boost in compensation this past May for the network's 8,000 nurses so they would not leave for better paying jobs, as told to Fortune.

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