Korean handmade products flourish with online app ‘idus’  

idus is the best Korean app to explore 'handmade' products.

Korean startup Backpackr Inc.’s handcraft marketplace app idus posted a promising cumulative sales figure of 110 billion won or $96 million for the year 2018. idus, which can be termed as ‘Etsy’ of South Korea, is a popular app for all things handmade.

Korean ‘Etsy’ for things handcrafted

idus was launched in June 2014 with a focus on providing local handicraft item makers a platform to sell their products online. It is now the largest handmade online market platform in Korea. The startup recorded 57.6 billion won or about $50.8 million worth of transactions in 2018. This is an over 300 % growth over the previous year. The app has recorded over 5 million downloads since its launch and has over 1.6 million monthly users.

idus offers a variety of handcrafted products for consumers ranging from accessories, crafted leather, ceramics, natural cosmetics, soaps, handmade food, etc. It allows handicraft makers to sell their work through a commission or a monthly fee-based system. The app offers over 120,000 various products and has over 8000 artists registered as sellers. As per a company figure, the top sellers make an average monthly sale of 10.33 million won or $9000.

Future goals for more offline stores & global presence

In 2018, the company had opened its first offline idus store in Insadong’s Ssamjigil. The store was opened as part of Backpackr Inc.’s association with IGIS Asset Management, that had acquired Ssamji Gil in 2017.

Backpackr Inc. had its initial Series A funding from East Gate Partners. The startup then got further investors in Altos Ventures, Global Brain Corporation, IMM Investment and DAEKYO Investment.

Backpackr CEO Kim Dong-hwan told media, “In the global market, the handicraft industry is already well established, and the domestic market is rapidly expanding. We will be the leader in popularizing handicrafts in the future.”

The startup plans to invest in the global market and reinforce its offline stores based on investment of 16 billion won or $14 million received from venture capital in 2018.

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