If I was paid a dollar for every time that I heard, “They don’t make ‘x’ like they used to,” I’d be able to purchase a lot more handmade and vintage products. Sadly, with the outsourcing of manufacturing to overseas, to help cut costs and increase profits, larger corporations have almost completely lost their handmade appeal. Vintage products on the other hand, tend to go on cycles in terms of what style or era is most popular at the time. The easiest industry to see these trends are with clothing, but we’ve noticed it with all types of products (see the PT Cruiser). As eCommerce based businesses continue to grow, it’s allowing more and more businesses, and individuals, to grab a piece of the global economy. Businesses that were once relegated to the Famer’s Markets are now able to sell their products online. Since 2005, Etsy has been one of the global leaders in buying and selling unique handmade and vintage goods. With over 1.4 million unique sellers and upwards of 29 million products listed, you can literally find anything while supporting local or small shop individuals that are either selling for a hobby or to test their concepts out to the masses.
Etsy: Your Online Resource for Handmade & Vintage Products
Admittedly, Etsy has been an untapped resource for my typical shopping habits. Various family members, including my girlfriend, have used Etsy across multiple categories. I’ve started doing a little bit more personal research searching for food and clothing items, but I’ll get into my latest discoveries later. Prior to this research, I’ve used, and always thought of, Etsy as an art marketplace to get custom and unique pieces of art. The best example, is when I leveraged Etsy to get a few unique pieces of art for my dinning room. I’ve always thought of the dinning room as being an arm of family time since growing up we ate dinner as a family together nearly every night. My parents were both born and raised in New York and one of my sister’s and I were also born in New York, hence the New York art bias.
It was important to me when I was doing my initial search that I had a piece of art that showed Long Island, where I was born and lived for a few years, and then find a photo of Times Square. For me, I’ve always associated, despite being a New York sports fan, Times Square with being the definition of New York. Surprisingly, despite the somewhat cumbersome searching platform, I was able to pretty easily find both the pieces featured just by doing a simple search and browse through ‘New York’ art pieces.
What I liked best, besides the physical pieces themselves, is I knew I was supporting the artist themselves. I was able to email back and forth with them so they knew exactly my vision and what I wanted. My sister thew out the idea of using a metal style map and I was led to Art House Graffiti and then Modern Wall Deco for my canvas piece. Having the ability to talk to artists and owners that are on the complete other side of the country helps bring their products to you without having to hope they’re local, at a festival or farmer’s market.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve slowly started to open up my research outside of just artwork and have been blown away by the types of items you can find on Etsy with a wide range of categories to choose from. My conversion over to the Paleo Diet, has definitely made it tough to find snacks and some food items I previously ate. What’s great about doing a search on Etsy for the term ‘Paleo‘ is I can find 462 total items that I otherwise wouldn’t have heard of, or known was available, without the small businesses bringing their products to the Etsy platform. The same can be done with ‘Men’s Shoes‘ or even ‘Coffee Tables‘. My recommendation is to simply do a search or two to see what you may find. All of the retailers have a very boutique feel to them offering unique products that are either handmade, vintage or both. It’s hard not to find something that will help you look smart and eat smart on Etsy and because the products sold are by smaller companies it should help you spend smart too.
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