A couple of years ago a friend asked me if I’d ever been to the Etsy site. “Etsy? What’s that I asked?”
Etsy was fairly young back then. Now it is a global phenomenon.
Etsy is a site where crafters from around the world can sell their stuff. At last check there were over 150,000 shops on Etsy selling everything from hemp lip gloss, to upcycled clothing, to children’s toys, to four-poster beds. Everything sold is handmade (except for crafting supplies and some vintage gear).
This is all very good, you might think to yourself, but what does it have to do with stories?
Since that fateful day when I was introduced to Etsy, it has become one of my touchstones, grounding me in possibilities when the future of the world starts to look bleak. You see, I don’t want to live in a throwaway world. I want to live in a world where everything is made with love, is cherished and used with love, is patched-up and fixed-up until it is too beat up to repair and then is returned to the Earth with love–that’s what I wrote when I took the handmade pledge and I meant it. Etsy is a community of hundreds of thousands of people around the world who feel the same way and are doing something about it.
When I’m having a particularly bad day, I visit the featured sellers. As a way of rendering their ebusiness community a little bit more face-to-face, Etsy posts an interview with a different seller each week. These read like mini autobiographies, stories of how people have opted out of consumer society and have not just survived but thrived. These are people who are writing and living a new dream.
There is a lot about the handmade lifestyle that makes it softer on the Earth than the rampant globalized consumer catastrophe that it stands in contrast to. However, many sellers have gone further than this and are actively seeking ways of reducing their footprint through using organically grown or re-used materials, to give just a couple of examples.
So if you ever need a story or two to remind you that another world is possible, I suggest you check out the Etsy Featured Sellers Archive, and have yourself a better day.