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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Buying Handmade

As my days are constantly being spent planning, contemplating, the self-employment dream, I've been thinking more and more about what it means to buy handmade. I was reminded of this blog post, by Sara of TwillyPop. After shopping at a major department store, she realized just how little "those guys" actually cared about their customers. She compared it to her own handmade business, and how much she appreciates her customers, how much she values her product and her customer service. I think this holds true for most handmade business owners.

I've been selling on Etsy for 4 years now and I still get happy after every sale. Every one. And I make it my responsibility to make sure that my customer is just as happy they made that purchase as I am. It's so humbling to know that some one wants to buy something you create. I seriously can't talk about how it makes me feel without getting all sappy.

Now as I'm making my plan for the voyage into self employment (it's coming!!), I've found myself counting numbers and calculating. How many cards a day do I need to sell to make "x" amount? How much ad space do I need to book per month to pay "x" bill? It has made me look at customers in a new light. Not only are they a.) awesome and b.) supportive, but they would also be c.) helping me live my dream.

It made me think of all the Etsy purchases I have made. Of the sellers, whose products I've been so excited to receive. I thought about their lives and wondered what impact my purchase had on them. Sure, I probably put a smile on their face, but what if I did more? What if I helped them pay their electricity bill? Or make their rent? 

Since I have experienced Etsy as a seller and a buyer, I've had the pleasure of seeing both sides. As a customer, I'm charmed by exceptional customer service and amazed by unique handmade products. Yet as a seller, I am honored to have customers and want to make sure my gratitude is known. The experience of buying handmade has benefits for both sides and I'm so happy to take part in each of them!

17 comments:

  1. holy amazeballs im not kidding this post gave me goosebumps! you wrote this so beautifully, I can not WAIT for you to kick ass as a self employed chica.

    You know my situation and It WILL happen for me too, I am hoping once the bubs and I get a loan for a house I can finally take the plunge myself, eeeeeeekkkkkk

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  2. I totally know what you mean. Whenever I buy something on Etsy I always feel like I enjoy the product more because I know that someone created it with love and patience, versus millions being created by a robot for a department store.

    And being self-employed is definitely a hard decision to make. I freelance write and it's hard to make everything add up a the end of the month. But you know what? I love it and I love the flexibility it allows me to have.

    And even if you can't be self-employed right now, it is so super and amazing all the things you are doing on your blog & etsy shop with your talents. Even just to have that outlet is an incredible accomplishment in itself!

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  3. I really love your attitude about your business! It's really refreshing.

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  4. Really really great post. I loved reading every word of it!

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  5. I love this post, J! It truly summarizes how I feel about Etsy and buying/selling handmade, as well. I am constantly humbled by customers who are interested in my products, and constantly impressed by the earnest and genuine appreciation and customer service I experience as a buyer of handmade.

    And I agree with Natalie: "I enjoy the product more because I know that someone created it with love and patience, versus millions being created by a robot for a department store."

    I want to be self-employed SO BADLY it's ridiculous. I can't wait to get my portraiture business up and running so I can get a step closer to that goal! xx

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  6. so proud of you. i feel like my clients are granting my wishes come true with every sale. it's pretty powerful (and i'm so grateful!).

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  7. Lovely post Julie Ann! Beautifully written, especially from a buyers perspective. I still get giddy when I get an Etsy sale too after all these years and I try my best to show that in my feedback to the customer and packaging.

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  8. i love thinking that when i make a little etsy purchase, they jump up and down and do the same little dance that i do when someone purchases from me! xo

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  9. what a wonderfully reflective and awesome post! i feel the same as you, being both a buyer and seller, but you expressed this gratitude and connectivity so beautifully in this post. it's true, i think that buying and selling handmade really makes you feel...i don't know...wholesome? or we can just stick with plain awesome. :)

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  10. Merissa1:05 PM

    I love that you are close to self-employment. I often think about how much more I could be putting into my photo business to make it what it could be if I had the time. But I'm still too scared to make that leap. Your an inspiration!

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  11. Yes! Yes! Yes! I seriously couldn't agree more. I absolutely LOVE wrapping up packages and heading to the post office. So much love goes into every one! :) I am excited for your adventures ahead! :)

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  12. I feel the same way after every sale too....if I got 1,000 a day, I would still feel the same!

    I am excited for you and your plunge into self-employment. We can talk more about it next weekend when we meet for lunch...can't wait!

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  13. Agreed! Very well said! Can't wait to hear the day you announce you're taking the dive :)

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  14. This is exactly why I started on Etsy :) And why I am committed to handmade. Being a seller, I always want to support people like me :)

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  15. I feel the same way! When I get a sale I feel so excited and giddy! This was a great post!! thanks for sharing!

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  16. love this! great post, julie!

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  17. Such a great post! It really caused me to look at my own relationship with my readers in a new way. I love when you say that your customers are there to help you live your dream and what an enlightened way to look at them! Thank you!

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Thanks for the comment! I read them all and reply when I can. Please be sure your blogger account is linked to your e-mail so I can do so! (Tutorial on how to do that here: http://tinyurl.com/c6gh9fk) xo JA

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