Etsy Holiday Market more popular than organizers expected

Photo by Emilia Zibaei
Photo by Emilia Zibaei

As a very conscious spender, I have always been taught to really evaluate my shopping decisions. I think deep down, my parents just believed me to be the child to uselessly spend $100 on trinkets. And they weren’t wrong.

My motto is, more is more. So when the Etsy Holiday Market came to the Waterloo Region, I knew I would be tried and tested. What I didn’t expect, but should have, was the number of pregnant women and new born babies in attendance.

Etsy has always had a very interesting position in the online retail market – it seemed like the perfect place for your aunt to sell her yarn accessories and hand-made jewelry. I was expecting a quaint turn out, however, I was soon surprised with the 20-minute line-up outside of Forbes Hall at Rim Park in Waterloo.

What began as a small website soon grew to such a scale that entrepreneurs were leaving their corporate jobs to pursue their dreams.

“I realized my goal and my heart was with entrepreneurship … I worked in HR. I was not contributing to people’s wellness. I just felt this dichotomy,” Sarah Healy, designer at luxe.zen, said.

Selling gemstone jewelry to promote meditation and wellness, Healy was premiering some exclusive jewelry that customers seemed to swarm towards.

Etsy, like many online e-commerce platforms, enables sellers all around the world to reach an audience and enables those who may not be able to maintain a full-time job to create their own revenue streams.

“I was a stay-at-home-mom … and that’s still what I do — still a stay-at-home-mom and run my business,” Erin Hall, designer at I Can Craft That, said.

This seemed to be an evident response from many vendors at the holiday market. It seemed like they all have been able to take this grassroots approach to selling their crafts online while also creating a sense of community amongst each other – gaining insight and guidance from more experienced Etsy sellers.

Among the sellers was a Laurier grad who was selling very intricate wall hangings made from real flowers.

“I studied history and political science and then a minor in English. I worked at Ernest & Young. Everybody thought I was a little crazy when I left, but still supportive,” Helana Haase said.

The uniqueness of every piece and the locally-made aspects of the products struck a chord with the Waterloo crowd, as lineups to get in did not subside even after the morning rush.

Although Etsy is an e-commerce website, and these items were available online, there was still a need for consumers to hold the items in their hands and judge the quality for themselves.

It was clear that shoppers still enjoyed making a day of sifting through the trinkets and apparel available, even if online shopping has become the new trend.

Buying local, like through Etsy, has been on the rise, so it’s no surprise that this event would attract Christmas shoppers who’ve put off the shopping this late. Whatever the reason, Etsy is no longer a tender website looking to make its mark.

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