Easy As Etsy

I’m giving myself a small pat on the back here because one thing I like about this blog that was wholly unintentional was the fact I don’t always give readers straight up ideas. The category ‘Shop Talk’ is basically a way to just give you some inspiration, versus highlighting a specific item or line of products.

There is one place on the interwebs that is basically the mecca of gift giving. I first heard about it on a blog some three years ago, so consider it my gift to you for the day that I’m sharing it, as I have with many of my friends who are now obsessed.

I’m talking about Etsy, the online virtual marketplace for handicrafters of all types. Consider it the world’s largest craft fair where virtually anything you can dream up exists – clothes, home décor, artwork, jewellery, photography, toys, furniture, food, soaps, notebooks, and more. Merchants open up a small eboutique that sells either handmade goods, vintage items, or supplies for your own craftiness, and you basically search for what you want until it pops up. Presto.

Remember when I told you to keep theme lists for each of your friends and family members? You can type in pretty much anything on the planet and products will show up for it. Shapes (like ‘snowflakes’, ‘antlers’, or ‘matryoska dolls’), colours (like ‘teal’ or ‘ochre’), general ideas (like ‘invitations’), or super specific gifts (like ‘Carrie Bradshaw finale necklace’) – something will come up.

Have a friend that appreciates the antics of the kids on Saved By The Bell? How about some SBTB earrings? A simple search for this 90s classic brought up dozens of tees, onesies, cufflinks, poster, and jewellery options.

If you know someone is a particularly big fan of Van Gogh, say, ‘Starry Night’, you can do a search and pull up beautiful pendants, coasters, or even a Kindle (eBook reader) cover. Honestly a good chunk of my gift suggestions to date can actually be found on Etsy (try maple syrup, iPad sleeves, or shaving cream). You can also often commission artisans to craft a signature item in a desired theme.

I really can’t say enough good things about Etsy. The prices are generally reasonable (and if they aren’t from one merchant, you have dozens more to choose from), the shipping is typically way less than those jerkstores on eBay, and the range of stock is totally insane. One positive common element between Etsy and eBay is the fact they both operate on a feedback system, which makes it easier to gauge how trustworthy / quality a specific store is. They also primarily use PayPal, which as we know is about as secure as it gets when it comes to eCommerce.

They also have some neat search features. If you dig a particular colour, want to buy locally, hope to pick from the newest uploads, or want to follow a chain based on people who ‘like’ similar items as you, then try out one of their many search apps.

A friend of mine basically planned her wedding using Etsy this past year. The invites and guest ‘tree’ were special ordered in, as were our cute-as-pie necklaces that have a small silver disc with our first initials on them and a small pearl – very Hilary Druxman but at a fraction of the price, it’s the 21st century Best Friends Forever necklace.

Caveat emptor though – we had a b-a-d experience with our bridesmaid dresses through Etsy. After delaying shipment for months on end, we received the dresses a mere three weeks before the wedding…not only were they the wrong size for everyone but me (who cleared the nearest bridesmaid in height by at least 4”), they were actually the wrong dress altogether, AND the merchant shut down their shop before we could really retaliate. Obviously for the dozens of good experiences you’ll have, there will be one or two that just don’t go as planned, so don’t bank your life on Etsy’s awesomeness.

It’s for this reason that I’m hesitant to actually ever feature something from the Etsy website on this blog (although I have one exception I’ll probably make). These stores are generally pet projects for the owners, so they can go for months without stocking an item or shut down abruptly. Just know that Etsy exists and is an amazing fallback plan (if you, er, plan ahead for shipping times) with a magnificent, neverending catalogue of handmade goodies from the heart.

Tell me what you think...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: