I have a really amazing circle of friends and family. Because of this, I am always on the lookout for great gifts that are easy on the wallet, and that hold to my buying philosophy: buy from mom-and-pop shops over chain superstores whenever possible. While I definitely have some San Francisco stores that I frequent in order to find unique gifts, my obsession lately has been Etsy.
Etsy is an online marketplace of over 100,000 sellers who sell all things handmade.
I’ve had particular luck using Etsy for my food-loving friends.
A couple of months ago, I purchased the above apron from Bella Bee Designs. Wendy at Bella Bee uses fantastic fabrics, and is currently selling aprons, napkins and totes. As has been the case with all of my Etsy transactions, customer service was friendly and she even worked with me to get a gift out very quickly to a friend. The friend was thrilled, and by the time I saw the apron I was jealous that I hadn’t bought one for myself. I am really looking forward to buying more gifts from Bella Bee Designs.
This necklace was a purchase for myself about a year ago. It was made by Rachael Sudlow, and I love wearing it to the farmers market during sweet pea season. Sudlow also makes this cute cupcake necklace.
Sumiko makes really beautiful pottery including the sushi set above. I was so pleased when I purchased this gift for a friend. Not only was the sushi set exactly as advertised, but the wrapping and attention to packaging detail was impeccable. I have my eye on this olive plate as a purchase for myself.
It’s hard to go wrong with Etsy. It seems to be a relatively safe buying environment, and I’ve never had trouble receiving a purchased item. I keep an eye on ratings and feedback which are available for every seller. If I’m purchasing from a seller with relatively few ratings, I use a little more caution than I do from sellers with many high ratings.
In gathering links for this story, I came across several new Etsy items that I’d like to purchase including a hemp tote bag from Uzura, this “pretty peas” bag from dailybread, cute floursack towels from YourWayEmbroidery, this lovely soup bowl from kimwestad, and this gorgeous bag from iragrant.
It’s easy to spend a lot of time on Etsy. One search leads to another, and two hours later you are still clicking around looking at beautiful items. Etsy provides some tools to help you refine searches.