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Olson’s 2007 Holiday Gift Guide: Buy Handmade at Etsy

Posted on December 14, 2007

Buy HandmadeBetter late than never, right? I can’t believe I almost forgot to post a gift guide this year. However, I am glad I waited to write this post. Typically my mind would head straight to cool gadgets and things of a technological nature when putting together a gift guide but this year I have become enamored with handmade goods and, specifically, Etsy.com.

One of the major themes in my musings on business, as long time readers will know, is that I really believe business should be more about people. Sure, everyone always says that their company is about people and that people are what make the difference and are what truly matter but, unfortunately, I don’t see a lot of companies actually implementing anything that would make those statements true (to be fair a lot of businesses are doing good things in this area).

Of course the tough part of people is that they don’t necessarily scale. That’s a whole other post though. Back to handmade goods and Etsy.

I have known about Etsy for a long time but I had never really spent a good amount of time on the site. I always knew I loved the concept though. This year things changed. I decided to join folks like Fred Wilson and take the handmade pledge and I was glad I did.

I spent a lot of time on Etsy’s site over the past few weeks and was astounded at what I found. There was something for everyone on my list and the items were top quality. Not only that, most of them were one-of-a-kind adding to the cache and they had a great story behind them (another thing I like to see). There is no question that the people that place items on Etsy are very passionate about their various crafts and their passion permeates the shopping experience.

In the end of the day I walked away with some of the best and most thoughtful gifts I have ever purchased. I’d write about them here but I don’t want to spoil the surprise for my family.

So this years gift guide is simply to tell you all to buy handmade and to do so via Etsy. Sure, you won’t find the latest gadget there or an LCD TV but what you will find are great items made with love and passion and, after the purchase, you can interact with the artisan bringing back the human feel of business which I find is lacking in today’s world (most of the folks I purchased from pinged me to let me know the items were on the way and made themselves available for any questions I had).

That said, there are a lot of neat visualizations and technologies behind Etsy so the techie in you won’t be disappointed. For example, you can check out the Showcase for the 36 top items of the day, Pounce to check out what just sold and find things like it from the same artist and the Time Machine which is a great visualization of the most recently listed items. Still having trouble finding the right gift? Try the Gift Guides or the search feature.

I hope you are able to find your last minute gifts on Etsy or at least are able to buy handmade elsewhere. I know I loved the experience and I am sure you and your family and friends will as well.

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