I cannot say enough good things about one of my favorite spots in cyberspace, Etsy, a sort of online arts festival without all the funnel cake and face painting. I’ve been watching this site since my friend Cosy launched her online shop about a year and a half ago. Since then Etsy has become my new favorite spot to search for gifts.
So what is it that makes Etsy special? The big thing for me is that it has opened up a whole new world for folks who want to sell their handmade goods and those of us who want to purchase them. As someone who has long bemoaned mass consumer culture, the preponderance of cheap and unartistic goods produced overseas, and the difficulty of finding affordable handmade items, I’m thrilled that Etsy has become a huge success. In fact, the people behind Etsy hold just the kind of philosophy that I will happily endorse. So say they:
Etsy is an online marketplace for buying and selling all things handmade. Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers. Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice: Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.
Build a new economy? Ah, people after my own heart.
One of the highlights of Etsy for me is their “Shop Local” search, which helps you find crafters and artists in your area. Hint: Etsy still needs to work out some kinks in their search mechanisms. The Shop Local one, for instance, would work much better if buyers could enter a zip code, then select a radius from that postal code. As it currently works, if you want to find shops in someplace like Madison, SD, you might need to search several terms: Madison, SD; Madison, South Dakota; South Dakota…you get the picture.
Full disclosure: my husband launched his own Etsy shop recently (actually, I’m the manager of said shop). We decided Etsy is a great way to get more exposure for his artwork, and since it costs a mere 20 cents to list an item for three months, it’s also an incredibly cost-effective way to take advantage of this here new-fangled Internet thing.
So, if you have any birthdays, holidays, weddings, homewarmings, graduations, or baby showers coming up (um, that’s pretty much all of us), or if you just have a blank wall in your house that needs some enlivening, check Etsy out and give some particular attention to the sellers in your area. If you’re a crafter or artist who’s not on Etsy yet, get thee to a computer and open your shop pronto!