etsy mom photos
In houses throughout Naples - and across the country - there is a phenomenon occurring. Rooms are becoming crowded with beads, photos, rocks, paint, jewels, canvas, and ceramics among other countless materials. It’s not crafts gone wild (although that would make a good TV show). It’s Etsy.
“I first heard about Etsy after seeing an item in Real Simple magazine,” explains Kirstin Sawicki, a mom of two from Sanibel Island. “I looked up the site and fell in love with the easy layout. I had been a fan of eBay for years, and this was the eBay of arts and crafts and handmade items.”
According to its website, Etsy was founded in 2005 and bills itself as ‘The World’s Handmade Marketplace.’ You’ll find everything from suede shoes to stoneware bowls to black and white photos on www.etsy.com. All the items are handcrafted by photographers, jewelry makers, clothing designers, potters, and other artisans who sell them on individually named shops like Sawicki’s ‘SunnyinSanibel.’
Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of Etsy is that it has given moms an outlet to boost their creativity and their family’s income.
“I started an Etsy store for a little extra money,” says stay-at-home mom Sawicki whose shop features note cards of nature photos she has taken on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. “I have always loved photography and this was an easy outlet for my creativity.”
Making crafts and money
Bethany Holtet, a stay-at-home mom of two girls from South Riding, Virginia, says Etsy offered her the chance to make money while doing something she loves–crafting. “I enjoy making things for friends and family. My mother was always making things growing up so I think being exposed to that led me to want to do it also,” Holtet says. “I made one of my designs for a good friend’s wedding and got a lot of compliments, and decided to give Etsy a shot.”
Etsy isn’t just for stay-at-home moms. Linda Fraine of Naples has two grown children, a grandchild, and a thriving coffee distribution business. She appreciates the expanded marketplace Etsy has provided to sell her acrylic paintings and pen and ink drawings.
“I have been an artist all my life and as the internet grew in our society I found it, like many other people, a great vehicle to advertise,” Fraine says. “I thought that having an Etsy website would give me an easier site for selling my art as they have PayPal and credit card payment ability.”
Finding a balance
Regardless of your stage of motherhood (or grandmotherhood), balancing the demands of an at-home business with your at-home life can be tricky and it takes a certain amount of self-discipline and understanding from your spouse and children, says Fraine. “Working at home only works when the person is totally devoted to their home-based business. Mundane household chores will start calling to you and you will find yourself cleaning the house, doing laundry or dishes.”
Caring for your kids while you should be crafting, or vice versa, adds an extra level of stress for some Etsy moms. Both Sawicki and Holtet admit that that balancing act is a constant struggle.
“I try to wait until they are asleep before going on line and uploading photos, tweaking them and creating the note cards,” says Sawicki. Her children “are at an age where they don’t like sharing my attention with the computer.”
Adds Holtet, “I try and work on my site and items during nap time. That isn’t always possible since nap times don’t always happen at the same time. Or I work on it when the girls go to bed, which takes away time from my husband.”
Compounding the angst of nearly every Etsy shop owner is the fear that their items–into which they poured money, time and sweat–may not sell. “You may only ever get one sale,” states Holtet. That is an especially bitter pill to swallow considering it costs every Etsy shop owner 20 cents to post an item and, once it sells, Etsy pulls in a 3.5% commission.
There are ways to succeed though, even when you have a full-time job, like third-grade teacher Nikki Greer who works for the Collier County Schools. Greer adheres to a pretty fierce schedule during the school year to ensure her students get her undivided attention and her Etsy shops, Nikki’s Uniques and Crafty Nikki, thrive.
“During the school year from the time I get up until around five o’clock, I dedicate all my energy to my third graders,” says Greer, who then goes to work in the evenings, making jewelry and handmade cards and gift tags and fulfilling orders. “First, I fulfill any sales that came in overnight or that day. Then I work on any outstanding orders. Monday and Tuesday nights I also devote to taking pictures of my new pieces. Wednesdays and Thursdays are for designing. Before I know it, it is seven o’clock and time to eat dinner with my husband and cuddle with my cat until bedtime.”
Bringing the family closer
If you’re a grandparent like Fraine, Etsy may help you develop a unique relationship with your grandchild. “Jazmine actually likes to hang out with us,” says Fraine. “The nice thing is that she likes to paint and draw and do most of the things that we like to do so she is usually in my studio with me. This gives my daughter extra time to work out of her home, too. My family works well together and we are closer for it.”
Etsy counts 17 million members but it may be impossible to ever know how many shop owners are moms or grandparents. However, there is one thing that’s for certain: somewhere, sometime, is a mom huddled in her crafting room trying to find the perfect balance between being creative and bringing home a buck.