written by: Lindsay Evans•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 6/28/2011
Skilled artisans who create handmade goods can sell their wares online at Etsy.com. An online marketplace for all things handcrafted, Etsy is a fantastic place to find unique, quality products and handmade gifts. Shopping at Etsy allows talented craftspeople to make a living from their talents.
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What is Esty?
Etsy.com was launched in June, 2005, with the mission "to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers." Since then, over 100,000 sellers have opened up their own Etsy shops. Artisans from around the world utilize the Etsy site to connect with their clients, drastically reducing their need for aggressive marketing.
Etsy's vision is "to build a new economy and present a better choice: Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade." The site's founders wholeheartedly believe in the power of the internet to reestablish a connection between craftspeople and consumers. With this connection, artisans can continue their talent while earning a living wage.
Buying handmade products from Etsy's artisans puts your money in the hand of the artist, not a large corporation that may take advantage of third world workers and lax environmental regulations. By directly supporting the maker of the product you buy, you are spending your money in an empowering way. Etsy.com supports local economies by making it possible for artisans to make a living.
Artisans have their own "shops" on Etsy, allowing the customer to contact the seller directly with any questions about their items. Sellers have profile pages that give customers more information about themselves and their creative process.
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Shopping on Etsy
What kinds of goodies can you find on Etsy? The possibilities are almost endless and ever-changing. Ceramics, clothing, fine chocolates, dolls, bath & body products, quilts, and even furniture are just a sampling of the wide variety found on Etsy. A gift guide, a gallery of hand-picked items, and a "shop local" feature are a few of the tools available to help customers find what they're looking for.
Style-conscious shoppers can browse the shops of new clothing designers as they show off their latest creations. Trendy dresses, coats, handbags, and other items are always fresh and enticing. Funky Ts, hand-knit sweaters and hats, even vintage finds are available for men, women, and children.
Ceramic artists offer up handmade dishes and art pieces. Jewelers display handmade earrings, bangles, and piercing jewelry, among others. You can find a handmade collar for your dog, WAHM-made cloth diapers and supplies, and unique greeting cards and announcements.
Etsy.com is a powerful tool that gives respect and support to craftspeople around the world. Buying quality, handcrafted goods on Etsy helps to shift the economy back to supporting artists' skills and talents, as well as their families.