Tag Archives: Etsy

American giving

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I usually love gift giving. Oftentimes its more fun for me to shop for other people than it is to shop for myself. This month, however, this wasn’t the case. Although I have been frustrated all month when shopping for myself, I just wanted to sit down and cry the other day when I was shopping for a friend’s birthday. I actually avoided going out to shop because I was dreading not finding what I wanted. For a shopaholic like myself, this is obviously a horrible feeling.

Eventually I forced myself out. All I really wanted to find was a pair of tights for Jennifer to go with the dress I bought her on Etsy. I really wanted to find a yellow pair, but considering the stores are packed with swimsuits at this point in the year, I knew the tights selection would be slim anywhere I went. So I remained flexible. Two hours and eight stores later, I finally left with a pair of grey tights that practically blended into the dress. But they were made in the USA and I had my shopper’s soul sucked out of me 20 minutes into the trip, so I settled on them and bolted to my car.Up until this point I was trying not to “settle” on purchases because I could technically do without them until next month. But since this was a gift, I didn’t have a choice. I cannot imagine how people who truly enjoy shopping could possibly attempt to shop USA for more than 6 months. I guess it comes down to what is more important to you – supporting the dwindling American manufacturing industry or recreational buying. And unfortunately it appears as if the shopper inside me is going to win out here. 

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March – Buy American

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image courtesy of Buffalo ReUse 

So, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve become really horrible about blogging about my experience.  This is partially due to the fact that I have returned to spending too much time on Etsy. And so I have decided that I am going to forego shopping on Etsy for the rest of the year, except when I need to buy someone a gift or I need something specific. Clearly one month was not enough time to gain perspective on that little bad habit. Coffee, on the other hand, I found that I really do need on certain days in order to stay awake. So I’ve taken that back up.

Which brings me to this month’s challenge – buying only items made in America. And when I say challenge, I do mean a challenge. I have learned so much already about what I buy and I still have over a week to go. I am currently debating over whether I will continue buying American beyond this month. More on this later on.

The first week of March I went to Target. First of all you need to understand when I shop at Target, I need to sweep the entire store. We’re talking a couple hours. The Jovovich-Hawk collection had just been unveiled and I was simultaneously really excited and really worried because Jennifer warned me that, although Jovovich-Hawk design in Los Angeles, they don’t seem to manufacture there. And she was right. It seems that virtually everything sold at Target comes from some Eastern continent. Occasionally I found a “Made in Uganda” or “Made in Argentina” tag, but Chinese citizens appear to be making the majority of what I buy. After reading that “Made in China” stamp for the 100th time, my shopping spirit was sucked dry and I took the only American made item that I found, a pair of blue tights, and sadly went grocery shopping.

Over the next couple weeks I would come to find that every retail store held a similar experience. Old Navy. The Gap. Anne Taylor Loft. My shopping trips quickly dwindled to 5-10 minutes per store, as I grew discouraged going through rack after rack of foreign made clothes. My Etsy shopping time increased though, because I can easily find stuff on Etsy that is American made. GO ETSY! However I think I’ve been overcompensating for the fact that I can’t spend a leisurely afternoon shopping in stores by spending my evenings on Etsy. I’ve almost been window shopping more on Etsy than I normally do in stores. Hence my giving it up for the year.

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More online shopping

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Due to the very limited number of magazines we could find in the Cancun airpiort, Megan and I put our last pesos together to buy an overpriced copy of Lucky magazine. Neither of us was too terribly excited by this purchase, but as it turns out there was an article entitled “The Best Websites You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of” that inspired me to want to do some more online shopping.

So what did I do when I got home? Settled myself in front of the computer and began checking out the sites I thought sounded most interesting. Within an hour of returning to my apartment I was already online window shopping. While I did find a couple new, nifty sites, like Reform School and Curiosity Shoppe, I really didn’t need to immediately look at them, but it was like a little project I assigned myself so that I could feel useful spending hours online. Less than two weeks into my Etsy hiatus I began noticing how addicted I am to simply being connected. I had spent an entire week with very little access to a computer and it kind of bothered me more than it really should have. This is why one month this year I will attempt to give up the internet. It will be interesting…

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Sun, sand and Etsy

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Since I was planning on leaving on January 5th for the sunny beaches of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico I really didn’t have much time to think about Etsy, aside from the planner ordeal. But my addiction would rear its ugly head even while lounging next to the pool at our hotel. I believe the Etsy poolside discussion evolved out of a greater discussion of interior design and how Megan and I would each like to decorate our homes. I’m sure I mentioned Etsy first, since I am the obsessed one, and she explained how she had only just recently discovered what a great site it was. As we continued to talk about the ins and outs of Etsy, I had an increasing urge to walk poor Megan over to one of the hotel’s guest computers (both of which were way too conveniently located right next to the pool, in an open lounge area) and share with her my extensive list of favorite Etsy artists. The thought would linger in my head for the rest of that day and every time we discussed interior design for the rest of the trip.

Now I still have 10 days of Etsy abstinence left, but I can pretty confidently say that this day most accurately illustrates the frightening attachment I’ve developed to this web site. There I was in beautiful, sunny Mexico lounging luxuriously next to the pool and all I could think about was how fun it would be to spend some time on the computer perusing my Etsy favorites with Megan? What is wrong with me? There is not a web site in the world that should trump relaxing in the sun in January for any winterbound Chicagoan, yet thoughts of Etsy successfully managed to disrupt my tropical escape more than once. I’m still processing this self-observation…

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The first instance of withdrawal

On January 1st I almost made the mistake of logging in, but fortunately I only made it as far as my own store (which I had already closed) before I remembered. Thats just how routine my Etsy mornings had become. Unfortunately, I was also kind of bad and I did a bunch of Etsy shopping the last two days of December, so I had some email messages from the sellers about my purchases and it made me want to sign on too. But I resisted and simply emailed them back instead.

I also desperately needed a weekly planner at this point and this is when I experienced my first true withdrawal symptoms. I do attempt to buy things on Etsy whenever there’s a good selection to choose from and I knew I had some planners in mind but now, due to my chronic procrastination, I couldn’t buy them. The idea of buying handmade has become increasingly important to me in the past year, so now I was forced to find another source for my planner.

Thus I began spending time browsing other stores and galleries for a weekly planner. So now that I couldn’t shop on Etsy, I was simply finding substitutions to fill the same blocks of time I used to spend on there. And I realized this very early into my quest, so I did spend maybe a little less time than I would’ve on Etsy but not much less. For me a weekly planner is something I would normally invest more time than most folks would in looking for the perfect one because I’m horribly indecisive, but also because I have to stare at this thing for 52 weeks. It needs to be something that will make me happy for an entire year. Finally I ended up choosing this Little Otsu beauty  from Buy Olympia

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Why Etsy?

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First of all if you’ve never heard of Etsy or visited the site, you really should do that now. It is an amazing resource for handmade items from all over the world and its getting better everyday.

Now why I chose to give it up. I have been selling my wares on Etsy since January of 2006. The attention I paid to Etsy in general and my store specifically has ebbed and flowed since then, but in the summer of 2007 I really began to spend an increasing amount of my spare time on Etsy. It started as soon as I got up – I would grab some breakfast and login to Etsy. Every morning. I would do this under the guise that I was checking to see if I sold anything, but I receive email notifications for sold items so that was a poor excuse. Really I was just slowly, but surely becoming addicted. I would shop, or browse the forums, or worst of all – create treasury lists.

In the fall of 2006 Etsy launched a new feature called the Treasury. Basically it is a large rotating collection of lists of items that users create to highlight things they like. Etsy provides many different, interesting ways for users to shop, but the Treasury is unique in that it allows any registered Etsy user to kind of “show off” the fun items they’ve found. And then usually Etsy admin chooses different lists to feature on the front page. So now I had incentive to spend additional hours pulling items I had bookmarked into Treasury lists.

And then, even before the Handmade Pledge, I decided that I would attempt to do a primarily Etsy Christmas. I do rely heavily on Etsy for a lot of my purchases now, but this goal, again, just provided yet another excuse for me to devote time to Etsy. I was rather successful (I’d say about 70% of gifts were from Etsy), but I was definitely getting burnt out on Etsy by the end of December.

And so I chose to give up my treasured handmade shopping center for the month of January. I am kicking myself for not regularly blogging about this experience, however I will try to highlight the process thus far and begin blogging every day now.

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My first entry (a little late)

Hello all! I had planned on beginning my blog on January 1st, but unfortunately due to the holidays and my Mexico vacation I wasn’t able to do that. However now that I have returned from being much less digitally “connected” on the beaches of Playa Del Carmen I am more than ready to begin journaling my monthly abstaining. This month I have chosen to give up Etsy. Why, you might ask? More on that soon…

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