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September 12, 2008

Etsy.com: Your Portal to Buy & Sell All Things Crafty

This Extra Ink was written by our intern, Betsy C.

Do you have a stash of sketches languishing on your desk? Do you love to knit or crochet, but you've run out of relatives to gift? Are you good at finding vintage treasures in flea markets and garage sales that others end up wishing they'd discovered?

Well, Etsy.com might be just the entrepreneurial venture for you.

Etsy is an online marketplace that offers almost anything that can be labeled either 'vintage' or 'homemade.' Individual sellers can be found selling everything from vintage jewelry and clothing to custom stationery, tee-shirts, art, and knitwear.

Best of all, it's super-easy to get started! It's free to get an Etsy account, but you do have to pay a small fee for each item you display in your shop.

However, that's really only to be expected, and Etsy has some distinct advantages over sites like eBay. For example, on Etsy you only pay a flat rate (20 cents per item) for a listing that includes up to five big photos and all the text you want. (eBay charges extra for such niceties!) Also, those 20 cents keep your item active on the site for four months, as opposed to the seven days you get at many sites.

If all this handmade and vintage yumminess sounds great but you're not digging the selling-stuff aspect, Etsy is also a pretty fabulous gifts-and-goodies resource. There are thousands of people selling their creations on the site, and you'll likely end up with a one-of-a-kind piece that no one else will be wearing.

There are a lot of great ways to shop on Etsy -- not only can you browse by category, but you can also search by color (try www.etsy.com/color.php), stores that have had a recent sale, or even by vendors whose birthday it is!

If you're even remotely crafty, Etsy may bring out the homespun entrepreneur in you -- I know I'm obsessed. If you need help setting up a shop, contact me through madberry.etsy.com and I'll help you out. Good luck!

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