Monday, December 17, 2007

Why Etsy is revolutionizing the way we spend

So, this post may be a bit long winded and/or esoteric, but I think very necessary. First though, I want to state my relationship to Etsy. I have an Etsy shop, it's called Moop, and it's doing quite well. I came to be sewing out of my frustration with consumer culture, rolled in with the perpetuation of corporate exploitation, not only of consumers, but of the laboring men, women and children working to make the goods sold in the global marketplace. I also want to establish that when my protest began, I was not in a position of privilege. I was a young single mother working two jobs and going to school full time. So, to say I was not going to shop at big box retailers was not because I could afford luxury, I was quite poor. I saved for several weeks to purchase an $80 Brother sewing machine. I was in art school at the time and wanting to use it as a tool in my studio, but it was used more as a tool for my home. I began sewing clothes for myself and my little girl. I used that machine for 6 years, all the way through grad school, until very recently when I started my Etsy shop. When I began selling the bags I was making, I quickly outgrew the machine. But, I still didn't have much money to purchase a new I borrowed one. It was a fantastic 20 year old Bernina. Then, I outgrew it. I borrowed money from my family and purchased a Juki. It's the best and most risky investment I've ever made (aside from falling in love and getting married 2.5 years ago).
Now...I have no interest in victimizing myself (I spent several years combating stereotypes and those wanting to victimize me and my single-parenthood), I simply want to make note that my participation in this thing called Etsy has brought full circle my philosophies about consumption, labor practices, art, life, skill, craft, capitalism, protest, talent, long hours, little sleep and lots of dedication. I've worked really hard to hone my skills. I've made hundreds (literally hundreds) of bags over the last 6 months, and plan to make hundreds more until I'm the best bag maker on the planet (I strive for perfection...sorry). I never could have guessed, 10 years ago (when my daughter was born and I was 19), that I would be able to make a living making things. I love what I do so much, everyday I feel like I should feel bad about how lucky I've been. Because it's really that. I was lucky that my sister-in-law said, "Hey, have you heard of Etsy?" I was lucky that, I looked it up and joined. I was lucky that someone in Australia bought the first Moop bag, which said to me, "hey, give this thing a try." Since that time (which was only in March of this year), riding on luck, the support of my little family and a lot of really hard work, I've been able to quit my job and establish something that looks like it's going to sustain itself, and that feels really good! I lived in lots of roach infested apartments above screaming neighbors and scary streets to know, that's not the life I want for myself or my kid, even if I'm sewing from 9am to 1am just about everyday. I LOVE what I do, and I love that Etsy has made that happen. Since then, I've been invited to join some really great things, one of which is Supermarket. Now that we've met, I love Supermarket, too! They've brought together a great collection of people and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.
So, for all you naysayers out there, Etsy is chock full of really talented people, making really great things (and doing it well). Take a look:
Treehouse 28
Satsuma Press
Trapper Jane
Elizabeth Scott
le Bouton
Porcelian and Paper
There's lots and lots of others....go and see them. Give Etsy a try, you'll be more than pleased, I'm sure. And while you're at it, read the New York Times article...all the way through. It's well worth it, and then you'll really see why Etsy is helping to revolutionize the way we make things and buy things. We're all establishing a new economy, one that's about knowing where things come from. A philosophy that can fit just about anyone's politic...except perhaps the lazy apathetic folk among us...who just don't care.

p.s. tomorrow's post...why supermarket is super.
p.p.s. it's now 2:45am, i'm wrapping things up and heading to bed, for tomorrow begins at 7am. that is very soon.
p.p.s. i'm not usually this personal...but i felt it necessary tonight.


  1. i just bought a market bag off supermarket last week. as excited as i already was about it, i really enjoyed this entry and i'm even happier now to have bought a moop bag.

  2. It is amazing what etsy has done for us you the ability to create and possibly make a living out of it. I so love my moop bag...I cannot wait for the update. Cheers to you!

  3. Thanks for sharing your story. It's very powerful. I am crazy in love with etsy and all the amazing sellers. It's great to feel good about buying something from an ACTUAL PERSON! Keep up the brilliantly good work.

  4. Hi! Paula keeps telling me to stop by, and I'm so glad I stopped at this post! Etsy and it's community of super talented hardworking makers are pretty amazing and special. Congratulations on your hard work and due success! ROCK ON!

  5. Love your post. Glad I found your blog through Trunkt. I'm an etsian and trunktian and supermarketian too. Nice to find you. I've added you as a link on my blog


  6. This is a great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for making such fantastic work.

  7. hi there! i just purchased a moop bag off of esty the other day and i am so excited for it to come!

    i use to live in northampton and i miss it so much; i am thinking of moving back.

    good luck to you and i can't wait for my new market bag.

    take care.


  8. Thank you for this story, it is great! Very inspiring.
    I do have a question, though. What school did you attend? ...If you don't mind me asking. :)


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