I found Etsy a little intimidating when I first visited the site a few years ago. There were SO many sellers "peddling their wares" that I simply didn't know where to begin the search process.
For example, when you search for "earrings" you're presented with links to 1,077,219 handmade products, 119,943 vintage products, and 101,022 sites that sell earring supplies. Even if you narrow your search to say, "pink bird earrings", you're given 1,237 links to handmade products, 38 vintage products, and 118 sites that sell pink bird earring supplies. (Those are real numbers, by the way.) It's overwhelming, to say the least.
Not to mention the fact that you're purchasing products based on only one or two photos and a short written description, and from a small business owner who in all likelihood you've never met and whose "shop" exists only in cyberland. Again, overwhelming.
My first Etsy purchase was cookies. Cookies seemed and still seem, at least to me, a strange product to purchase online. But I was desperate to find Buzz Lightyear cookies for Will's third birthday, and Etsy was my last resort. (Not a single bakery in Ann Arbor or the surrounding area had ever made or would even attempt to make Buzz Lightyear cookies. And I called ALL of them.) I set up my Etsy account, took a leap of faith, and placed my order with Frogpaw Studios, the Etsy shop for Sugar: Cookies, Cakes, & More, which happens to be run by a wonderful woman in Utah.
When my scrumptious and gorgeous cookies arrived on time and carefully packaged (not a single one had broken, but she'd included an extra cookie just in case one had bit the dust during transport), my confidence in Etsy grew.
Now, multiple years later, I've had overwhelmingly positive experiences with the site. And I want to share my favorite sites with you, in case you might be shopping for some of the same items I was and would like to support small businesses. I have no affiliation with any of these sites, other than one that comes from liking their products and having a good experience when I purchased something. I just love spreading the word about cool stuff!
I bought two of these crayon roll-ups, which are fantastic for traveling (which we do a lot), from RaDzaeDezynes. Hallie's has owls on it and Will's has dinosaurs on it and now I want this polka dot one for myself.
I bought these four prints (though some of the background and font colors I chose were different - she allows you to customize your prints so that they match the rooms in which you'd like to hang them) for Will and Hallie's bedrooms from PUMPKIN & butterfly.
I bought these two prints, in honor of my hot-sauce-loving-hubby and to hang in our dining room, from DonshanArt.
I bought this little purse for Hallie for Christmas last year from Doodlescoot Designs.
And of course, the site that started it all...Sugar: Cookies, Cakes, & More. You can check out her website/blog here, and a post about cookies she's made for our family here. I've absolutely love everything she's ever made for us.
This is just the tip of my Etsy iceberg, but I've decided to save the rest of my shopping finds for another post since this one's already become a bit lengthy. Stay tuned for Etsy, Part 2, coming soon!