Drew Barrymore Named Etsy Chief Gift Officer, Promotes New Gift Mode Feature

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


The cat is out of the bag on Etsy's big surprise and they're pulling out all the star-studded stops with a debut Super Bowl ad and Drew Barrymore as first Chief Gift Officer.

Barrymore's title was revealed in a company blog and across social channels today to promote Etsy's new Gift Mode feature.

5 Characteristics of a Great Gift | Etsy
Nail gift-giving every time with our expert tips—and with help from our Chief Gifting Officer, Drew Barrymore!

When it comes to finding the perfect gift for someone you love, whether it's a sentimental anniversary gift for your partner or a funny gift for your best friend that only they will understand, Etsy is the place to shop.

From versatile finds they'll use all year to truly special pieces that are family heirloom-worthy, all of the best gifts put the most important person at the heart of it all: the recipient. And nobody knows this better than Etsy's Chief Gifting Officer, Drew Barrymore!

A champion of supporting small businesses who pour both their expert craftsmanship and their hearts and souls into each creation, Drew knows that Etsy is the ultimate source for all your gifting needs, no matter the occasion.

"Everyone close to me knows that Etsy is my happy place, and my go-to for the best gifts that truly say, ‘I see you,'" Drew explains. "As Etsy’s first Chief Gifting Officer, I’m thrilled to show Etsy shoppers how easy and joyful it is to make the people in their lives feel special through the perfect gift. Think of me as your gifting fairy godmother!"

The blog features a curated collection of Barrymore's favorites, as well as five reasons to use Gift Mode to find the perfect present for anyone in your life.

  1. It's made with the recipient's specific interests in mind
    Whether you know the person you're shopping for better than anyone or you only have a few key facts to go on, keeping their specific interests top of mind is crucial to finding the perfect gift. For example, do they love to travel? Get something they can use and enjoy while jet-setting and making memories.

  2. They wouldn't have received it from anyone but you
    It's not enough to get a gift they might enjoy—you have to find something you know will make them smile the moment they open it. Celebrate the personal connection that only you two share by tapping into a special memory for your gift inspiration. Did you get your ears pierced together as kids? Get them a stunning pair of earrings that speak to how much their style has grown since those awkward middle school days.

  3. They can use it all year
    Nothing is better than a gift that can be utilized all year! If you're shopping for the host or hostess (or someone who never turns down a good charcuterie spread), a durable and beautiful serving board will be the go-to accessory they reach for again and again, from fancy holiday parties to summer night happy hour hangs on the porch.

  4. It'll last a lifetime
    Some of the greatest gifts are ones that will be around for generations (possibly even handed down throughout a family!). If you're shopping for your parents or grandparents, or even your friends who recently welcomed little ones, a personalized piece of jewelry to mark their important family titles is the perfect thing that will be truly treasured from that very first wear.

  5. It’s made by a real human
    There's something so special about receiving a gift that was carefully handmade by someone, and the talented independent sellers on Etsy prioritize the gift recipient's needs with every creation they make. Case in point? If you're shopping for a self-care enthusiast, you can work directly with many sellers on Etsy to create things like handmade soap that features the gift recipient's favorite scents and essential oils for a one-of-a-kind creation.

Many sellers may take issue with point number five as early experiences with Gift Mode revealed a lot of resellers, IP infringement and other policy violations.

Etsy Gift Mode AI Recommendation Tool Launches In Stealth Mode
Etsy Gift Mode helps buyers easily find special gifts for all the people & occasions in their lives, with a little help from AI.

Seller and ecommerce consultant Cindy Baldassi (aka CindyLouWho2) started a thread in the Etsy community about the new feature and her and many other sellers provided examples of featured items that have no business being on the platform, let alone prominently promoted by the company.

Re: So, who is excited about Etsy’s announcement that Etsy is going to make an announcement?
Collecting info from other posts and adding a few tidbits of my own: Re the gift banners: They have been working on ways to make the gifting process simpler and more interactive than just searching. Silverman mentioned in more than one quarterly report that ideal shopping online should easily incl…
My initial comments after selecting husband, Valentines Day & the options of drinks, astrology & space, and sports:

🔸 Astrology and space are not the same thing, and will annoy science folks who might select space. Selecting it as an interest gave me a bunch of zodiac signs, and no space stuff at all until I kept clicking to see more. Sci fi did show up below, and gave me plenty of earrings for women

🔸 I'm in Canada but got football and basketball stuff for the sports options. I had to click a few times to finally get hockey as an option. Hockey had a bunch of warm hats for women below, so it appears that they don't hold on to any gendered ideas beyond the first click.

🔸 Needless to say, I got lots of infringement. Like, tons. This is Etsy, after all.

🔸 In the additional options, it gave me "the Chicago local" - which is either a bizarre coincidence, or they have enough data on me to know my partner has lived in Chicago and is a Cubs fan. (Entirely possible; Etsy swaps data with many companies, including all social media where I may have posted Cubs stuff). Also, Chicago Local options started with 2 items from Pittsburgh, so there are mistakes in almost every category I looked at.

🔸 Despite selecting "drinks", I never got a main drink option, and had to scroll down a lot to see some sub-options for drinks.

Other sellers in the Etsy community also noticed this feature is highlighting some questionable listings that violate policies or are clear IP infringement.

I just did a few searches with it. Not impressed nor excited. Lots of Etsy illegal items were shown to me. I didn't see much of what I'd like to see. And it was limiting. I imagine this will be a main focus as Etsy typically does this with their new features. If it remains like this, that will likely change at a later time which is also typical Etsy.

When I searched the new gift guide last night, all the "Gifts for Jewelry Lovers" were factory mass produced items.

So yes, those of us that actually make our own OOAK items will be buried and non-existent, as usual.

Etsy has increasingly come under fire for the proliferation of mass produced items dropshipped from places like AliExpress, IP infringement, and fake or counterfeit items sold through the site.

Etsy Under Fire For Fake Handmade Items, Could It Be Opportunity For eBay?
Etsy faces brand damage as many “handmade” items are really mass produced goods dropshipped from big retailers.

Unfortunately for CEO Josh Silverman, it's going to take much more than a slick new AI-powered gifting "toy" and celebrity endorsements to turn the PR tide to undo the brand damage that has been caused by allowing rampant resellers and policy violators to run amok.

Perhaps the millions of dollars being spent on a Super Bowl ad would be more wisely invested in finding and implementing effective solutions to this ongoing and growing problem on the platform.


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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!

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