Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Article: Handmade Shopping for the Holidays

thanks to OrangeCatArt for this great information!

Since joining Etsy just over a year ago, I have been amazed by the variety and quality of handmade arts & crafts our talented colleagues create. I’m sure many of you are familiar with “The Handmade Pledge” to give handmade gifts during the holidays (and year ‘round!). Not only is it good for our society, our communities and our environment - you get really terrific, unique and high-quality gifts for your friends and family. There’s tons of great information & resources if you’re interested in reading more at

On that theme, I’d like to add a suggestion, that whenever possible, we also buy locally. Purchasing from locally owned businesses of any size is like investing in the future of your community. More detailed information on this is available at I love to use the Shop Local tool on Etsy to find great artists who live right around the corner. The Geolocator is fun, too. Also, check out the Teams page to see if your city or state has an Etsy Street Team you can shop with.

So, now that we’re all inspired to buy handmade & local for the holidays, where do we start?

1. Plan ahead - I hate to say it, being a good friend of the last minute myself, but you just gotta do it. Make a list of everyone you need to shop for, don’t forget your co-workers, the babysitter, your kids’ teachers, party hosts, etc, etc. Now is also a good time to make your card list so that you know how many cards to order from one of the great EtsyGreetings Team shops!

2. Start shopping - This is the fun part, where you get to sit back in the comfort of your computer chair and browse the wondrous gifts you’ll find on Etsy! Bookmark, make items favorites, take notes, whatever works best for you. I’m a fan of the Poster Sketch tool. Check out treasuries and showcases for inspiration.

3. Ask questions - One of the great things about buying from the person who actually made something is that you can get all the information you want. “Does it come in blue?” “What size is that, really?” “Can I get 2?” Most sellers are happy to answer your questions and work with you to make your gift just what you had in mind.

4. Bundle - If you can buy multiple items from an individual seller, you can save on shipping costs. Also, check for sellers with multiple shops, as they may be willing to discount shipping costs across their shops. Of course, we also want you to share the love among lots of shops, so keep an eye out for sales & specials, too. (Here’s another benefit to shopping locally - it will take less time for packages to arrive, and if you’re really in a pinch for time, you can talk to the seller about pick-up or delivery options.)

5. Enjoy! - Now you’re done with your shopping without having to endure the mall, and you have lots of time at the last minute to relax and bake those cookies!

(Oops, missed some gifts? Getting too late to order? Don’t run to the big box store yet, you still have options: many farmer’s markets include arts & crafts vendors, see if your town has a craft gallery or co-op, or visit a holiday shopping festival - you might meet some local Etsy sellers in person!)

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