I love, love Etsy. When I first learned about it a few years back, it helped me reconcile some cognitive dissonance I had where my values about the importance of supporting small businesses lived uncomfortably next to my fear of going into small shops.
It’s a strange fear, I fully admit that. I live very near a small, historic village that is known for it’s artsy and trinket-y shops, and invariably when someone finds out where I live they say, “Oh! Near Cute Village! They have the coolest little stores there,” and I say, “I know! It’s such a neat area…”
But really I am talking out of my ass. I have never been in any of those cool little shops, because there is a quirky part of my personality that gets all anxious about how conspicuous and on-the-spot I feel when I go into a little store with the proprietor right there, watching me judge their stuff. You can never tell from the outside if the store is going to have genuine treasures to offer, or be one of those places that sells puffy paint sweatshirts and needlepoint pillows with semi-insulting sayings. I feel terrible and awkward if I don’t buy anything. If I am shopping for something in particular, I also feel bad about asking; as though the shop owner is going to get all defensive that what they have isn’t good enough. I fully realize that this is all in my head, but there it is.
That’s where Etsy comes to the rescue. I can poke around forever, totally anonymously. I can send messages to sellers asking them if they can make a custom item for me. I can easily search for a particular thing that I am looking for, or get inspiration by looking at different Treasuries or using the Pounce feature. I love that a lot of items are unique and handmade, and that by choosing to spend my money on things there I am directly supporting someone’s hobby or livelihood.
I’m sure at some point through the course of this blog I will have the chance to talk more about my strong feelings on supporting local economies, particularly local food economies. Most of the purchases I make on Etsy do not come from places that are close by, yet I feel like I am still helping to support and encourage a community. It may not be a community that is defined by physical proximity, but that doesn’t discount its importance. It may take a little more fuel to get my packages mailed to me than if I bought something in a local store, but I think that buying a handmade pair of earrings that needs to be sent through the mail from upstate New York is still more efficient than choosing a mass-produced pair that was manufactured in China. Lest I inadvertantly take my brother-in-law’s advice and let this turn into a ranty sort of blog, I will leave that there for now.
Still with me? Good. Etsy, particularly the lovely and talented Etsy seller ImCrafty, is responsible for the One Fabulous Thing for today. I have turned to Etsy to find special things for my wedding, my home, my friends, and now for my son. My fabulous baby is about to turn one, and ImCrafty came through with some beautiful invitations for our small celebration. They came in the mail today, looking like a present themselves:
and the invitations that were inside are absolutely adorable:
I can’t wait to get them in the mail to our families.
Also from Etsy, I ordered a Birthday Banner to help set a festive mood, and I hope to use it for many birthday celebrations to come.
Besides, if there were no Etsy, there would be no Regretsy – and that would make the world a much sadder place.
So, Fabulous Thing #7: Finding small, sweet things to help celebrate my small, sweet thing.