Sunday, March 8, 2009

The EtsyConnection weekly newsletter, issue 2

March 6, 2009 EtsyConnection

Etsy is an international word-of-mouth phenomenon

Wouldn't you love to have people in every corner of the globe talking about your website face to face and on their blogs? That's the enviable position that online crafts marketplace Etsy finds itself in according to survey results the company published today. Word of mouth and personal blogs are the primary way people around the world are finding out about the site and there's an active community of craft sellers on Etsy from every continent but Antarctica. At a time when marketers are obsessed with getting traction on Facebook and are just beginning to take users outside the US seriously, Etsy's survey of its international members is fascinating - as is the company itself.
Clive Thompson on the revolution in micromanufacturing

Last summer I spent weeks shopping for an anniversary present for my wife. I searched all my usual retail sources but couldn't find anything that hit just the right note. Then I went to Etsy-an ecommerce site where artisans sell unique handmade goods-and found the microstore of ClockworkZero, a woman who turns old electronics gear into steampunk accessories. Presto: ClockworkZero's stuff was both gorgeous and geeky, precisely the vibe I craved. I came away with a necklace made from a vintage vacuum tube. It turns out that I'm not alone in my search for that perfect one-off treasure. Judging from the explosive growth of Etsy and other online boutiques, the Web is spawning a curious new trend: micro-manufacturing.

A range of glasswork from heartfelt to humorous MarkKemp
I've always made things. I remember making wooden chairs when I was five, and showing them to my grandparents. (Each time they had me sit in one, it collapsed and I tried again.)

When I got older I started writing fiction, which I did for quite a few years. But I finally realized that I really wanted to do visual art. After a major change in my life, I started exploring all sorts of art, settling on stained glass for a few years. This morphed into kiln-worked glass, which occupied me for many years. While still doing a lot of glass, I am moving in many new directions, often combining glass with other materials.

I try as much as possible to put spirit and personal meaning into my creations. Making memorial pendants for people and pets is one way this manifests. Nature and animals are major themes in my life, and thus also in my creations.

I have sold my work at markets and festivals for sixteen years. A year and a half ago the woman who has become my life partner introduced me to Etsy. It has been one of the best on-line selling venues for art and craft. It has retained its heart and soul as it has grown, which suits me perfectly.

Mark Kemp - Rainbow Glass Windchimes

Mark Kemp - Pet Memorial Pendants

Mark Kemp - Blue Glass Bear

Mark Kemp - Happy Liver

Mark Kemp - Eggs and Bacon Wind Chime

Website of the week: Etsy

What is it? A huge online marketplace stuffed with handmade, one-of-a-kind products. Set up in 2005 by Rob Kalin, Etsy now features 100,000 creators and designers worldwide selling everything from jewellery to jumpers through the site. Who is it for? If you want unique goods from independent artisans Etsy is perfect. The prices are low and you can choose UK sellers to avoid shipping costs. We love the Alchemy page where you post a commission and sellers bid to create it for you. Why should I try it?
Retailers find silver lining in e-commerce

Growth of 7% to 8% in Internet sales this year looks astronomical compared with an expected drop of at least 1% in total retail sales. Even during an abysmal holiday season last year, many retailers saw significant sales growth in their online channels while sales in their bricks-and-mortar locations plummeted. Growth in online sales won't accelerate until 2010, when an economic recovery is in full swing. And this year's gains will still be a far cry from the double-digit gains in online sales for the past few years. Internet retailers are benefiting from the weak economy. For cost conscious shoppers, the Web is well suited to researching purchases and comparing costs.

A wide collection of hand-knit hats, scarves, and other lovely original designs CathyCosta2
Born into a creative family, it was inevitable that I'd grow up crafty and independent ~

My professional involvement in the knitting & crochet industry started around 1983 selling knitting machines, growing and operating a cottage industry of 17 knitters while raising three little ones. That venture disbanded when my youngest went to kindergarten and I was inspired to complete my biology degree.

I maintained a connection to the knitting andcrocheting trades through designing and writing for Knitting Machine News and Views, and Machine Knitters Source. I went on to have a book of machine knitting designs published by Down East Books: Puffins and Pine Trees, 1991. Recently, I've sold designs to Crochet! Magazine, Hooked on Crochet, and had designs that were included in hardcover books: Easy as 1,2,3 Crochet, and Quick Stitch Crochet published by DRG publications.

My interests as a biologist, registered Maine Guide, and master gardener provide inspiration for my designs and themes, many obtained from of Maine's natural treasures. My tools to create my fiber designs are the traditional 2 needles, knitting machines, and crochet hooks, depending on the project and the result I'm trying to achieve.

Over the years intermittent selling through craft shows, home knitting parties (modeled after Tupperware parties), and other types of venues were satisfying but discovering Etsy has been super thrilling! My first Etsy sale was international to Portugal. I'm coming up on my first Etsy-versary and every day it is a joy to be part of the Etsy Community.

Cathy Costa - Crabby Beanie Cap

Cathy Costa - Pink Lemonade Scarf

Cathy Costa - Field of Daisy Flowers Hat

Cathy Costa - Sunshine and Rainbows Cardigan

Cathy Costa - Skunk Helmet Hat

10 best hamburger fantasies become a reality

Sushi is so 2006 and bacon is totally 2008, but what random food fad is on the cool horizon this year? Burgers. Why burgers? They're as all-American as you can get -even more American than apple pie and baseball, which are really just variations of German and British inventions respectively. Plus, they're a great compliment for 2008's just passing trend, bacon. In honor of this great American feat of food engineering, I am proud to bring you the must-have burger gizmos of the upcoming year.
The craft show secret that defies logic

Here you are at another craft fair, watching people walk by, sometimes several times, sometimes more. Occasionally, someone stops at your booth to look. Most of the people who stop pause only a few moments and continue their journey. Sometimes, someone picks something up, looks at it, and sets it down again. Every now and then, someone asks a question. You cheerfully answer the questions and get the opportunity to try to make a sale. A few times, someone buys something. You may or may not make a profit when the weekend is over. Sound a little familiar? If so, I'd like to help you look at craft fairs a different way. What if you got a second chance with all those people who stopped and looked for a minute? What if you got three, four, or more chances? What if you got a chance to sell them something every month instead of that one time when they paused in front of your booth? Think your sells would go up? You bet they would. The secret to craft shows is to stop using them as mobile stores. Think of them as opportunities to meet new people and build relationships.

Fun handmade eco-friendly cards and unique gifts GiuliaMauri
Hi, my name is Giulia (pronounced Julia), I'm an Italian artist-designer. I studied Visual Arts at the University of Venice and now I live and work in the UK.

The Card Tree is my online "cottage industry" that combines both my passion for art and nature. I make and sell Eco Friendly stationary such as cards and writing sets and I craft unique handmade gifts like "Message in a Bottle", Original Framed Paintings, and Organic Cotton bags.

At The Card Tree all the paper goods are made with 100% post recycled paper; materials are bought locally to minimize the carbon emission of the shop. Orders are nicely wrapped up with natural raffia or with biodegradable corn starch sleeves and shipped within 24 hours from purchase. The unique handmade items and personal service makes the Card Tree a lovely place to shop when looking for gifts and stationary supplies. You can see all the latest news about The Card Tree in my blog:

Giulia Mauri - Message in the Bottle

Giulia Mauri - Message in the Jar Notecards

Giulia Mauri - Simplicity Writing Set, Recycled

Giulia Mauri - Bottle in the Sea, Original Painting

Giulia Mauri - Narwhal Handpainted Box

From the editor...

Enjoyment...that is what this newsletter is all about. I hope you find the articles interesting. I KNOW you are enjoying the artists. Feel free to forward this newsletter on to whomever you think would enjoy it. They will be able to subscribe from the link below.

To Etsy artists: If you would like to be featured in an upcoming issue, drop me an email. I'd love to hear from you. -Karen

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