The New [Homemade] Economy
By: Emma James
In the hubbub of daily Internet commerce, homemade products and crafts tend to get lost in the shuffle. Enter Etsy.com, a virtual marketplace that allows Baton Rouge entrepreneurs that feature homemade products and art to get their fair share of time in the spotlight by connecting them directly to buyers.
Sarah Haviland utilizes Etsy.com to market her Think Brand Products, all-natural cleaners she makes at home in her kitchen and sells in local stores—from which a portion of the proceeds go to helping those living in poverty. She currently has seven products listed for sale online and two more in the works.
Although her online sales are low—only three sales have been made since she joined the Web site in January—Haviland says Etsy has helped the visibility of her products and identifying her market area.
"Now I can direct people to my Etsy site and they can actually see it," she says. "It’s user-friendly and even though I will have my own Web site, I will continue to sell my products with Etsy."
Grace Emden, owner of Cakes of Grace, a Baton Rouge-based business that specializes in made-to-order cake design, has utilized Etsy and her own Web site to spread the word of her business locally. The results, she says, have been good, netting between two and three orders.
"Obviously, sending a cake through the mail has issues," she says, although she has had a handful of orders through the Web site. "But I can post pictures and show people what I am capable of. They can see what I’ve done and contact me directly if they are interested." —E.J.