Etsy is fairly well known now - but those of you who aren't familiar with it, it is an electronic marketplace for sellers and buyers of handmade and vintage goods, and truly addictive for those who are looking for items beyond the ubiquity of the high street. There are thousands of sellers from all around the world who post their crafting magic on this site, and there are some beautiful, original pieces to be found. However, the sheer number of sellers can make it tricky to find things if you're not looking for something very very particular! It can be quite overwhelming to navigate, but slowly becomes engrossing - and then costly!
Over the last two years of trawling I have accumulated some favourite shops, so I thought I'd share them with you. I've had custom pieces made (particularly wonderful for gifts that are truly unique and personal). It's not quite as good value as it was when sterling was stronger (those were the days, sigh) but if you consider that a lot of the items still retail at Accessorize-level prices but are beautifully handcrafted, and often feature genuine gemstones and precious metals, it is still very reasonable indeed.
Bina is my favourite jewellery seller on Etsy. I love her pretty, dainty designs and own several pairs of earrings in this style, which I've worn and worn (I like a little drop on an earring in daytime, it's very flattering but not too OTT, but it seems you can only get studs or Pat Butchers on the high street!) Bina made me some custom versions with colour combinations I dreamed up whilst doing my PhD, and she was so helpful and patient with my fussiness. I've given several of her pieces to dear friends as gifts. She often has discount codes and always has free shipping so can't be beaten on prices either.
Last summer, I desperately hankered after the Prada SS08 collection (it still tugs at my heartstrings now). As well as the beautiful dresses, I adored and coveted the Fairy print tote. In my quest for alternatives, and following a tip-off from a friend, I stumbled upon this magical seller, who transforms gorgeous storybook illustrations into even-more gorgeous bags. Now, it saddens me to admit I don't own one of these bags, but I did buy one of the silk Alice pouches for a friend who did as I recommended and wore it to a wedding. Smug Rabbit. I love the Alice bags in particular, but the botanical and Japanese fairy images are stunning too.
This was another post-Prada find, again on the fairytale theme (though it's also theorist Barthes' fault though - I remember reading about his idea of fashion-as-text on my Greek tragedy course as an undergrad, and it has stayed with me - but a longer post on that to come). I love Madewithlovebyhannah's skirts, which she sews and screenprints herself. The fairytale, apple and winter woodland skirts are all favourites, but I only own the green fairytale forest one so far.
I've not bought from this seller yet (I've got a strict spending ban on at the moment!) but aren't these fascinators just stunning? They beat any of the high street offerings hands down in terms of quality, detailing and colours. It's going to be my first stop the next time I've got a wedding to go to!
So, there you are. I have many, many more sellers in my favourites folder, but I think I'll leave those for another day. In the mean time, happy Etsy shopping!