Last Updated: October 28, 2015 31

Shopping on

Found In: Sell things online

Everyone loves to shop, right?  Believe it or not, there are some of us out there who would rather shop from the comfort of our home than fight the crowds and lines at the big box stores. I prefer to buy handmade or vintage items which are typically only found after spending several days going from tiny shop to tiny shop. I needed several gifts. Definitely not your garden variety, Walmart gifts. I needed some unique gifts. One for my aunt who has everything under the sun, another for my best friend, and then some DIY party ideas for my daughter’s birthday this year.  So this year I thought I would try shopping online.

I had heard of but had never visited the site before. Creating an account was easy, simply enter an email address and create a password. Click on the link in the confirmation email and you are off and running…or in this case, shopping.

Everything is organized by broad categories such as Clothing & Accessories, Jewelry, Craft Supplies & Tools, Home & Living, Kids & Baby, and Vintage and then more focused subcategories.  It was easy to get to what I was looking for and it really does seem that they have something for everyone.

The search features of the Etsy website are really intuitive. Refine your search by location, to buy from only U.S. stores, or drill down to find products that came from shops right in your local area. This is a huge timesaver if you like your purchases to support small local businesses or if you wanted an authentic memento made in another country such as Israel or Turkey.

Other search features include an option to enter a low to high price range for items which is a great feature for anyone shopping on a budget. Each entry for sale includes: Item Details, Reviews, Shipping Policies so be sure to peruse these carefully for anything you consider purchasing.  If you prefer you can search for only those items that are handmade or only those items that are considered “vintage”.  Pay attention to pricing also as vintage and handmade items are understandably a little more in price than typical store bought items.

I was able to quickly find the perfect gifts and you can too. My aunt loves to crochet and knit.  After just a few moments of checking Etsy, I found a very unique handmade crochet needle holder and because I used the filter by color feature, it even complimented the tote I bought her last year to store her yarn.

Okay, next I needed a gift for my best friend.  She’s a writer and another of those really hard to buy for people on my list.  I was able to find the perfect luxury item. A pair of Pride and Prejudice Writing Gloves. They had a variety of different text selections to choose from, The Raven”, “Romans 12”, Alice in Wonderland, Little Women, Dorian Gray, The Secret Garden,  Anne of Green Gables, A Tale of Two Cities, Jane Eyre, Romeo and Juliet, and even Sherlock Holmes.

Thanks to Etsy’s cool “Meet the owner” feature, I was able to discover all the different customized items made by this shop including infinity scarves, lightweight scarves, and pillow covers.  I could read a history of the shop, check out the list of manufacturers they work with, and read reviews from other customers of that specific shop. This feature also made it easy to ask questions about customizing my perfect gift. There is even an option to mark a specific shop as a “favorite” by clicking the small heart next to the shop name.

Etsy also provides the ability to create “favorite lists”.  I love this feature because it lets me in a sense “window shop” and collect ideas way in advance for birthdays or Christmas. It was so easy to make favorites lists on that I now have a favorites list for my two daughters still living at home, a list for the older kids and their significant others, and a list for my grandsons.

When you find an item you want to add to a favorites list:

  • Click the small heart labeled favorites beneath the “add to cart” button,
  • Or click the “Add To” button right next to the heart to tell Etsy which favorite list you want to add the item to.
  • If you need to create a new list, simply type in the name of the list.

It was so easy, I even added a list for extended family members and I may just do all my Christmas shopping online this year!

My daughter’s birthday is coming up soon and last year she had a group of friends comes over to bake. I Rather than spend two days running to different stores to find everything I needed for this year’s themed party, I started in Kids & Baby and then went to the Kid’s Crafts section just to check out what they might have. Within minutes, I saw the same canvas chef hats and aprons that I spent two days trying to find last year along with several really cool DIY craft ideas for this year’s party.

Since I also have a vintage Avon perfume bottle collection, I headed over to the Collectibles section under Home & Living.  Under collectibles, I clicked on figurines and put in Avon. After just a few minutes of browsing photos, I was able to find some of the exact vintage perfume bottles that I own and quickly get a rough idea of what they might sell for online if I ever decide to part with them.

After that search, I was curious as to what it would take if I ever did want to open my own shop on I clicked “Sell on Etsy” at the top of the page and was presented with three choices of things to sell: Handmade Goods, Vintage Items, or Craft Supplies. Etsy is a global marketplace with millions of customers that will be able to access my items instantly.  It’s free to join and setup shop, although there are some fees for listing items and once an item sells. For anyone looking to sell handmade, vintage (over 20 years old), or craft supplies, your own Etsy shop is something worth exploring.

The website revolutionized shopping for handmade and vintage items in my opinion. The more I use the site, the more I realize that Etsy is more than just an online shopping service. It is a community of creative entrepreneurs who are passionate about what they sell and who understand the importance of quality made products and the story behind them.  Whether you are looking to buy or sell handmade or vintage items, is definitely worth a look.