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The Etsy Effect

March 22, 2011

I love Etsy.  If you are not familiar with Esty.com, it is the place to buy and sell handmade goods online.  I think handmade things have so much more character, and they are imbued with so much more love that factory-produced items.  Making your own things, I think, is even better.  I am very grateful that my parents made sure that I knew how to do things like sew, knit, cut wood, etc.  These are skills that fewer and fewer people seem to have these days, and people often marvel at things I make that seem so easy to me.  And if there is something that I don’t know how to do, I usually want to learn how to do it.  If it’s cool enough, I put my mind to it and learn (except for crochet, which seems to totally elude me.  Sigh.)

This “I can do it, or learn how” mentality it what I call the Etsy Effect: I COULD MAKE THAT MYSELF, TOO!  It’s not totally universal, of course.  Surfing around Etsy and clicking on different items produces one of three responses in me: (listed from least to most frequent)

1) That is amazing.  In some parallel universe, I could learn to make that…if I had been raised by a pearl-diving blacksmith and woodworking painter who raise sheep in a forest of silver birch trees.  And who crochet.

2) That’s cool.  I can make that now, or I could make that after 15 minutes of surfing the internet for a descriptive tutorial or YouTube video, and a 45 minute outing to craft/fabric/hardware store. Make that an hour since I’ll have to bring LM with me.

3) REALLY? That is pretty, but you can really convince people to pay $xx plus $8 shipping for that?? When they could make it themselves for $xx minus 75% and using the technique described in number two.  Wow.  I need to get in on that action.

There is a 1 1/2 option, though very small, that encompasses things that I know I could make but would be very time consuming, and of very poor quality on my first one or two attempts, like knitting a stocking or an adult sized sweater.  Someday, when I have free time again (in 18+ years) I will improve my skills in those areas.

For now, I will pine for the 15 spare minutes it would take to set up an Etsy shop. Yes, I could have done it in the time it took me to write this blog, but I also need the spare time it would take to make the things to sell.  Although I am working on a set of something like these for LM’s upcoming first birthday party: banners!

**Great example of number 3: REALLY?**

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 23, 2011 6:56 am

    Wow, if you want to make that mustaches I’ll bring the glue gun and you bring the felt and the exacto knife…

    That said, it won’t be long before you start being able to snatch little bits of knitting/crafting time. I often knit or sew while Audrey plays now that she’s older. She wants me nearby, but doesn’t need me specifically playing with her so I’ll stand at the kitchen counter or sit in the living room with her while she plays. The key is to pick a project and a place such that you can drop what you are doing instantly, I find the island works great for this because Audrey can’t reach it (though it means the kitchen always looks like a mess).

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