Thursday, November 22, 2007

21st Century Shopping

My roommate and I just spent 3 (!) hours sitting next to each other with our tiny laptops on the futon in our common room, window-shopping on Etsy. Rapid-fire tag-search wars ensued—"umbrella charm!," "typewriter key!," "watch ring!" It was probably the best "shopping" experience I've ever had. I can't wait to do some real shopping there soon; you know, the kind with money!


"Stark Tree Necklace" from ModFlo's shopfront at Etsy. Modern+classic=beautiful.


I was lucky enough to have a conversation with an Etsy employee last weekend, and she mentioned that the entire site's character springs from the fact that 90% of its sellers are women. Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade goods, but it's also a very strong community. The forum boards are fascinating, especially the current uproar over Etsy's gift guides. Staff members handpicked items from across the site and compiled them into flashy best-ofs. And the community was Not. Happy. Sellers who weren't chosen were very hurt; sellers who were chosen apologized for their good fortune. This all reminded me of something I learned last weekend at Futures of Entertainment: the quickest way to kill goodwill in any online community is to turn it into contest. Everyone wants validation, but the dream of Ultimate Validation from a mysterious authority figure tends to distract from the community vision of validating one other.

So basically, Etsy is a one-stop shop for both beautiful, one-of-a-kind items and advanced studies in human nature. Could you really ask for more?

1 comment:

Annemarie said...

one my favorite knitbloggers, sockpr0n.blogspot.com, does "etsy fridays" where she blogs an etsy purchase or seller each friday... it always makes my mouth water. you should check it out! :P