Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Hand painted polymer clay earrings from Tiny Treats Boutique - made by crafters Alice and Caroline Ellis

Hand painted polymer clay earrings from Tiny Treats Boutique – made by crafters Alice and Caroline Ellis

Support local crafters

Etsy team member Caroline Ellis tells us how you can support local crafters and makers by buying from them online.

Etsy is an e-commerce website focused on handmade and vintage items as well as craft supplies. These items include jewellery, clothing, art, furniture, home décor and toys.

Etsy is a good place to buy goods made from recycled and upcycled materials, along with more unusual versions of mass-produced items. The unique nature of many of the items for sale is part of their appeal to shoppers. Etsy sellers range from hobbyists to professional artists who use the site to make a living. The website has been described as “a platform that provides meaning to people, and an opportunity to validate their art”.

Illuminated Z by Etsy Team Leader Emily Labyk Stone

The Hastings Etsy Team is a volunteer-led team of local makers and artists with Etsy shops. There are currently 207 members in the Hastings Etsy Team. It was first set up in 2018 by Emily Labyk Stone (Captain) and Alice Boland (Leader), and was inspired by the great success of the Brighton Etsy team. Amongst our group are individuals with a diverse range of skills and talents. The group is inclusive and supportive, and arranges regular meetups for networking, brainstorming and offering advice and encouragement.

Before Covid-19, we organised local craft fairs so that customers can meet our sellers in person and we hope to do that again. In the meantime, we have started running virtual markets – the last one was at the end of May. You can find out when the next one is via our Facebook page. At the end of every transaction, you will get something made with attention and care from an individual. We are all small local artisans who are proud of living in Hastings and St Leonards and of being part of the local community.

In a time of increasing automation, it’s our mission to keep human connection at the forefront of commerce and to help spread the ideas of sustainability and ethical responsibility, ideas that may not be a priority for larger businesses. Small business owners have a big advantage over large retailers, which is the ability to provide more personable, hands-on, and memorable customer service. We can make something special with a human touch, for those moments in life that deserve imagination.

St Leonards’ Sassy Luke is part of the Hastings ETSY Team

Behind every small business are real people. When you buy from a small business you are buying from someone just like you. Each purchase can provide pride, happiness, motivation and, of course, money to pay the bills. So shop small and support small business! In addition, when you purchase at locally owned businesses rather than nationally owned, more money is kept in the community because locally owned businesses often purchase from other local businesses, helping them grow as well.

Our first “Etsy Made Local” event was in December 2018 at the Stade Hall on Hastings seafront, where we also held a summer market in 2019. Another Christmas market was held at the Stade Hall in 2019 and an Etsy Made Local 2019 event was held at The Printworks the same month. The events were all free to enter and showcased the best in locally made gifts from the Hastings Etsy Team designer-makers, along with workshops, food and Christmas activities. There were goody bags for the first 50 customers and an after party to carry on the festivities.

Unfortunately, the Christmas Etsy Made Local event has already been cancelled this year by Etsy HQ, due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. However, look out for forthcoming online markets. There will be more information on the Hastings Etsy Team website, which you can find here:

To help the Hastings Etsy Team, consider purchasing from our sellers rather than from large retailers. If money is tight then you can help without buying by liking, commenting on and sharing our posts. Social media is very important to small businesses. The more people that highlight the value of supporting micro-producers and buying handmade and vintage directly from them, the better.

You can keep in touch with the Hastings Etsy Team through their Facebook page and via their website.

Some of the local ETSY crafters at an event in the Stade Hall

Posted 13:41 Wednesday, Jun 3, 2020 In: Shops & Things

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