I have a problem...an addiction, if you will, that I must learn to temper. Just lately, I spend way too much time in the Etsy forums. After many months of insisting to myself that I should be using this valuable resource, I now find I indulge too much of my time reading the posts. However, there's so much knowledge to be gained! I'm a sponge who constantly wants to learn more. There are so many beautiful, talented people out there who are also trying to make a mark with what they create and Etsy's forums are such a great place to share with each other. There's an endless supply of helpful information, marketing ideas and just plain old support and incredibly inspiring talent.
Today, one Etsy shop owner, Elan Vital Anthology, started a thread entitled, "Why do you LOVE Etsy?" At first, I thought of it as one of those fun, little chit-chatty threads that people sometimes post, however, not much by the way of useful information. As I'm trying to control an addiction, perhaps I should have skipped it and moved on to more directly business-related topics. Nonetheless, I clicked on it and read her post. Before I even began to read, I started to think about why I love doing what I do and the post became even more profound to me, forcing me to think about why I invest so much of my time in my jewelry. I truly love what I do. I'm passionate about it. Much more so than I actually verbalize. I'm terrible with face-to-face self promotion (and I'm a very outgoing person otherwise). It feels like bragging and makes me feel very vulnerable at the same time. Maybe because I'm exposing a part of myself and the fear of rejection is too great in person. Subsequently, I posted my response:
As an independent artist rather than someone with huge corporate backing and an exorbitant marketing budget selling mass-produced items, that connection provides validation, that what I create with my own hands matters to others. The fact that other people are personally affected by my work, enough to purchase and wear it thus defining their style or give it as a thoughtful gift, is such a high compliment. As artists, we put a lot of who we are into our work, consciously and subconsciously. It's very personal. Every time someone buys a piece of my jewelry, it's truly humbling...and very flattering. I suddenly have a little personal connection to someone I've never met and likely never will, something shared with the one who chooses one of my pieces. Etsy allows me an outlet to share not only my work and business ideas, but also a venue to share the personal side with other people who understand and feel the same way.
Another poster wrote, "I love knowing that things that I've made are now in Norway, Ireland, Australia and more!"
Yesterday, I packaged up my much-loved emerald earrings to send them to Illinois. As happy as I am that they've found a home, it truly made me sad to see them go. That little piece of me is on it's way to Illinois...sigh. At the same time, that little piece of me matters to someone in Illinois...JOY!
I went to Elan Vital Anthology's Etsy shop. The opening line reads, "Welcome to our niche in this world." Doesn't that just say it all? Every little thing we create becomes a little mark in our little corner of the world. As our pieces find new homes, it's only left to be seen how great that mark might be and how far in this world that personal connection might extend.