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Friday, September 26

Etsy: E-Bay's Prettier, Smarter, and Nicer Cousin

I pretty much hate E-Bay. The last several purchases I made did not go well. The majority of sellers on E-Bay seem to be irresponsible and concerned only with themselves. And PayPal stinks too. Anymore I avoid both like the plague. But Etsy...oh Etsy!

Let me list just some of the reasons I love Etsy:

1- Buying handmade is just awesome. Knowing that your purchase not only was crafted with care but was not produced by a 7 year old in Malaysia is enough to give anybody warm fuzzies.

2- The creativity and uniqueness of items on Etsy cannot be beat!

3- Every seller I'd had the opportunity to work with has been wonderful!

Here's an example:

I found a super cute baby sling on clearance for $15. For those of you who haven't been in the baby sling market that is an incredible price. It was even the exact colors/pattern I was hoping for. Well...when my package arrived it was an empty envelope stuffed in a plastic bag from Canada Post with a message something like this: "This item was either received damaged or damaged in processing. Sorry." Gee...thanks Canada Post. I can tell you really care. When I let the seller know what had happened she immediately offered to send another (even though it was probably the USPS or Canada Post's fault). And when the local fabric stores no longer carried the fabric I wanted my sling to be made of she offered to send me a substitute and a full refund.

Compare that to my latest E-Bay experience:
We bought a computer part to fix a friend's computer (which Adam had accidentally damaged while fixing an unrelated problem - of course if the computer hadn't had a serious design flaw the damage would have never occurred, but I digress...). It took forever for the darn part to get to us. And when it did we discovered that it was NOT the part we had purchased. We kept going back and forth with the seller (who barely seemed to speak English - if you can't speak someone's language you should probably NOT do business with them thank you very much). He never did send us the correct part. And he took so long getting back to us every time we contacted him that by the time we asked PayPal to refund our payment they refused because it had been too long since the initial purchase. Gee thanks. So we still have that stupid useless part and we still don't have our $100. Grrrr.

At any rate...I find Etsy to be vastly superior. Another reason to love Etsy? Customized items. Here's a story to illustrate what I mean:

I inherited my mother's "purse issues." We both seem to be on quests to find the "perfect" bag. We get close every once in a while. But it seems neither of us has found one that's quite right for our needs. My mom seems to have somewhat better luck than I do. I've been looking for a purse for, well, over a year I'd say...and have been so dissapointed with what I've found that I still haven't purchased a new one. I just can't bring myself to hand over my cash if I don't think it's just right. This problem has carried over into my search for a diaper bag (I've been searching from the get-go knowing how difficult a time I'd have finding one that worked for me). I've found plenty that are close to what I want but there's always one or two things that are just not right (the fabric is cheap and plasticy, the inner lining is dark (which makes finding stuff a total pain), the outside is plastered with teddy bears (sorry...but if I'm going to carry this bag around for the entire time Lovey is in diapers I'm getting one I like -when she starts carrying a bag she can have whatever motif she wants), the price is ridiculous ($150 for a diaper bag?! seriously?!), etc. etc.).
So I decided to look on Etsy. It took me a while but I found one I liked. It was simple, pretty, and had birds on it! Birds! I love birds! I think birds are pretty much the best motif ever. But, darn it all, it wasn't big enough for me (as Adam pointed out). So I contacted the seller. Could she make me a bigger one? Sure! She just wanted to know what dimensions I needed. It would be a little bit more (for materials and shipping) but still a good deal. But, alas, she was out of the bird fabric. *sigh* So. What solution did she offer? Me picking out my own fabric that's what! And, quite frankly, I like the one I picked even more than the original.

So it's not hard to get just what you're looking for on Etsy. In fact, you can even place a request for precisely what you want and sellers will bid on being the one to make your project!

And, just for fun, here are some other items I've gotten on Etsy.

These (above and below) are called Modest Milk Clips. They turn any blanket into a nursing cover (or any napkin/burp rap/whatever into a bib). Now I don't think nursing mothers should be obligated to cover up when feeding their baby (especially those with babies who hate to eat under a warm blanket). But I'd like to have the option available for my own comfort.
The two items below came as a matching set. The first picture is a pack of burp cloths (I know...I know...why get pretty ones when they're just going to end up covered in spit? Because they're super pretty and make me happy that's why -besides, it's not like I'm getting fancy-pants ones for all my burp rags). The second picture is meant to be a case for diapers and wipes. I don't think my cloth diapers will fit in the case but I prefer to organize my bag by having multiple removable dividers (rather than lots and lots of built in pockets). So I plan on using it to keep other things organized.

Of course...there's so much more on Etsy other than baby gear!!! There's art, clothes, stationary, jewelry, home decor, you name it! Here are some items I've got my eyes on for my own enjoyment (I'm saving my pennies).

(do you see what I mean about my obsession with bird motifs?)

And here are some sellers I'm fond of and want to provide free advertising to:

SewMagical (this is my sister-in-law her shop is currently empty but she's adding new inventory soon!)
Design Crush Co. (this is the lady making my custom bag)
MunchkieBaby (this is the lady who was super awesome about fixing somebody else's mistake)
Modest Milk

So there you have it. My glowing endorsement of Etsy!

PS- Be sure to check out some of their neat-o search options (like searching by color).

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