Sunday, 8 July 2012

Is there a 12-step program for Etsy addiction?

My name is Beverley Mitchell and I am an Etsy addict.

There. I've said it. The whole world knows (well, the three of you who are reading, but y'know, anyone could know if they bothered to check ...)

It started out with just a few gifts for friends and family, here, there. Then, frustrated with missing out on things I really wanted in eBay auctions, I started to prefer the surety of an outright purchase rather than bidding for vintage items, even if it did mean paying a slight premium: if I paid, I got it, end of story. Instant gratification plus postage delay.

Then things got kinda crazy. Obsession set in. It doesn't help that I live in a regional centre where, if your proclivities run to the slightly eccentric like mine, you can't just walk into the shopping mall and get that perfect thang for an upcoming event. Yes, I shop for vintage on a pretty regular basis around town, but it's a lottery. Etsy gives a better chance of success in the search.

And then the killer blow: I got engaged. I would love to know what percentage of Etsy's turnover is wedding related. Hell, even the search stats would be mind-blowing I'm sure. Plus, once married, I will apply for permanent residency in my beloved's home country - Canada. Cue the hunt for a whole new wardrobe to guard against the cold. My vintage tropical sun dresses that are so perfect for Cairns just won't cut it in a Montreal winter, so it's lucky I am stockpiling a substantial wardrobe there already even though it is probably about 15 months until I am likely to move. I have also purchased all our wedding decorations, my wedding dress and a vintage map pdf to use on our invitations on Etsy. Ob.Sessed!

And then to crank it up one notch further, I opened a shop. This has actually been a blessing in disguise. Now, instead of spending hours a night trawling favourite shops or searching for knee-length 50s skirts with a 26-27 inch waist, I am sneaking a peek at my shop stats - visits, favourites, listing views, watching the difference it makes when I list new things or someone else puts one of my items in a treasury. This is good because it stops me spending money. I also have an excuse now to buy the great things I see in op shops that don't fit or suit me: "Oh, I'll just get it for the shop," is my new enabling phrase.

Not everyone loves Etsy, though. I did peek at the dark netherworlds of the rather bitter sites such as Regretsy, but ya know what? While I concede some points about crappy or inappropriate handmade items, the market will deal with those, and I think I'd rather hang out with the happy people, thanks. There's lots of natural lighting and everyone I've met has been really lovely. Ah, Etsy! It's fun, it's pretty and it's not hurting anything but my PayPal balance. Favourite!

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