Posted March 20, 2008
Online shoppers weary of brand-flaunting, mass-produced crap have been flocking to Etsy for years now. The brainchild of a Brooklynite named Rob Kalin, it’s become a massive Web success story, with ten of thousands of artists and artisans using the site to sell their handmade wares to a worldwide audience of buyers in search of the next small (beautiful, idiosyncratic) thing. You can find everything from clothing and jewelry to housewares and stationery (like the charming screen-printed thank-you cards, shown here, from designer Anna Cote). And now, once again, you can find stuff that doesn’t even exist (yet). You see, when it was still in launch mode, the site had a short-lived feature called Alchemy. In Etsy’s words: “Buyers can post requests for custom handmade items, and then sellers bid on the opportunity to make the goods.” For technical reasons, as the site rapidly expanded, Alchemy was shelved. But now it’s back, and already there are hundreds of requests for custom-made items in detailed posts with titles like, “Hammered metal charms w/ custom stamped words,” “Bright yellow pleated or circle skirt,” “Dangly chain earrings, like pictured” (you can attach pictures or rough drawings if you want to get really specific), and “Looking for a hip welcome sign for my front door.” Basically, Etsy gives you god-like powers to will awesome handmade stuff into existence. Genius.
Prices vary for custom-made items at Etsy.com/alchemy
$16 for a set of six “Thanks a bunch” cards, as shown.