GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Women are running small businesses without having to worry about overhead fees, or paying employees thanks to the online marketplace.
The popular e-commerce website Etsy says 86 percent of its users are women and many are moms with children at home.
"It's so easy to put your product out there and to test it,” Stephanie Trippe, owner of Greensboro-based Pretty Birdie Co., said.
Trippe launched her store on Etsy as a hobby.
Six years later, her organic hemp clothing line has become a hit, even capturing the attention of Grammy-winning jazz artist Esperanza Spalding.
"She found me via Etsy and asked to borrow a few pieces to wear to perform in,” Trippe said.
As a mother of a young son, Trippe explains that the online model allows her to have a certain flexibility and independence.
Entrepreneur Chaundra Smith closed her storefront to sell natural body products online.
"It could be anywhere from $800 to $1,500 a month just to have the location,” Smith said.
She now pays $30 a month to sell through Bigcommerce.
However, Smith and others warn that although online is convenient, entrepreneurs should remain mindful about unexpected competition.
“Etsy used to be all handmade and now it’s handmade and people that mass produce stuff in China and factories overseas can now sell stuff on Etsy, so now you're competing with that marketing,” Rosalyn Womack, entrepreneur and director of the YWCA’s Passion to Purse program, said.
Smith was recently accepted to a new store on Amazon.com called “Handmade at Amazon.”
"They actually do a background to really make sure that you are handmade and you are actually making the products,” she said.