By Julia Wooten
Etsy.com is an online marketplace for all things handmade, where artists and customers alike can gather to buy and sell everything from handbags, to jewelery to candles. However, there's one area of handmade treasures that interests me the most, and that is Bath and Body products.
I can go to Etsy and type in a scent or a product that I'm looking for and... BAM!... there's a whole list of products to choose from that are handmade by skilled soap crafters. Where has this been all of my life? Prices are so reasonable, shipping is the lowest I've seen anywhere, and there are many sales to be found... more on the sales later.
One of my favorite things about Etsy... I mean besides the obvious selection and prices... are the vendors themselves. Each seller has a profile page and is encouraged to share some information about themselves and their products. It allows me to really get a feel for who I'm doing business with. It feels great to support individual artists, people who's passion is creating the very product that I'm looking for; not just pull something off of a store shelf that has no heart and soul, no passion or history behind it's creation.
I can send questions to the sellers through Etsy and develope a raport that I just can't get with giant department or franchised stores. It's ironic that internet based virtual shopping is now providing a more personal buying experience than most physical department stores. Etsy.com is a place that encourages this interaction and personal service between seller and consumer that had been slipping away with the influx of big box stores.
Another great thing about Etsy, is that it is easy to use. Even your Aunt Kay who only uses the computer to play solitare, could figure out how to shop on Etsy. There are step by step directions on how to register and how to make a purchase. It's all right there on Etsy website, so I won't go into all of those details here. I just wanted to make the point that it's very user friendly, and when I don't have to worry about how to order, I can concentrate on what to order. Know what I mean?
Alright now, about those sales I mentioned earlier. Many of the different Etsy sellers offer their own sales and discounts at any given time, but there is one weekly sale that I just have to shout out about... the Saturday Night Specials. That's right, the S.N.S. Each Saturday evening lots of Etsy sellers offer special savings on their products. It may be a percentage off, or it may be B1G1... each vendor that participates runs their own specials and the Etsy website takes on this kind of party atmosphere. I'm telling you, it is so much fun to see what's on sale during the Saturday Night Specials. Heck, I don't even want to go out on a Saturday night anymore, until I've checked out Etsy for the SNS deals.
Besides all of the shopping opportunities, there is also a social aspect to Etsy.com through it's Comunity section. There is a forum, a blog, chatrooms, goodness... there is even a channel on Youtube that has tons of content about everything Etsy. You can sign up for the newletter called Storque, or join any of the many groups that bring folks together with the same interests. I started out just checking out Etsy to find cool B&B bargains, but there are lots of fun and interesting things on the site to explore.
It's no wonder I've given Etsy it's own tab on my computer screen. I'm there virtually strolling around the marketplace every day, and I'm always finding new places to try out.