Crafted luxuries

Kingston artisans sell their goods around the world thanks to Etsy

Meaghan Gauthier-Maroi used Etsy to trade one of her knitted pumpkin hats for a variety of bean, spinach and tomato seeds.
Meaghan Gauthier-Maroi used Etsy to trade one of her knitted pumpkin hats for a variety of bean, spinach and tomato seeds.
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Local artist Meaghan Gauthier-Maroi traded one of her pumpkin hats for a variety of 10 different seeds.

Transactions like these became possible in 2005 with the creation of Etsy, an e-commerce website, with upwards of $300 million in sales in 2010. The site allows artisans to sell and trade their hand-crafted and vintage goods.

Gauthier-Maroi is a recent seller on Etsy who took her love for knitting online and started the online shop Cutie Patootees. Gauthier-Maroi’s creations include an array of handmade knitted hats, as well as fruit cozies to prevent bruises on apples and bananas.

“I actually really like the whole idea of having vintage items and handcrafted items, a lot of it seems more environmentally conscious and of higher quality,” she said.

Etsy is a favourite for local senior citizens who can’t make it to shops and trade shows. Local artist Joanne Kane sells handmade jewellery on Etsy. Women see Kane’s goods online and then she travels to Kingsdale Chateau retirement home to show her goods up close.

“These ladies have difficulties to shop but they still want to buy pretty things,” she said.

As a Kingston resident, Kane said she first contemplated starting up a shop on Etsy after she began making jewellery pieces for Kingston craft shows.

“I was thinking about selling them somewhere that would be more permanent but I would be able to keep the inventory in my possession,” she said, adding that she chose Etsy because she wanted to keep her jewellery at her home.

Because her jewellery isn’t sitting in store displays, Kane said she’s able to use several websites and local craft shows to reach a larger audience. “I like the idea of having worldwide shipping. It broadens who you’ll sell to,” she said.

Queen’s student Dianne Lalonde is an avid Etsy user, purchasing handmade items including clothing, jewelry and other accessories.

“I think the appeal to me is that I tend to find things which are more unique,” Lalonde, ArtSci ’12, said. “I can learn about the person who made it and track their work.”

Though she’s made some ill-fated purchases that no longer fit, Lalonde is still a frequent user of the site.

“I think a big reason an individual wants to go to the store is out of a fear for online shopping, which I get and in some cases is valid,” she said. “But I love to online shop and Etsy is just another avenue to do it within.”

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