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On Thursday afternoon, representatives from Etsy Canada, local artists and bloggers gathered at the Curious Cafe for a maker/seller meetup.
Etsy is an online marketplace that specializes in handmade and vintage goods that are ethically created, and hosts artists and creators to sell their pieces to buyers around the globe.
The website not only offers artists and sellers the opportunity to get their product out into the world, but to make a living off of their creations. Sellers gain 3.5% commission after they sell a product and are only charged a fee of 20 cents to list an item.
Kelowna is known for a vibrant community of artists and crafters, so naturally, it made the list of pit stops for Etsy Canada Managing Director, Erin Green.
“I think that B.C., in general, has a very vibrant maker/artist community, and we really want to foster that community by getting to know the makers and hosting more of these meet-ups,” said Green.
“By doing this event, we are trying to connect our artists to the media and different bloggers to really just give them a sense of the rich maker community here in Kelowna,” added Green.
Green feels as though the website’s large international reach will appeal to local artists, as it offers up new demographics and a further reach for their customer base.
“Knowing that we provide this platform for them is a good start, and we encourage our local sellers in Kelowna to host events to help and prepare new up and coming sellers on the ways to best benefit from the platform, and get their work out there,” said Green.
The desire to shop and support local businesses in Kelowna is strong, just look at the strength of small to medium size businesses and our farmers market. With local creators taking advantage of the Etsy platform, they are able to benefit highly from this desire, not only in Kelowna, but around the world.
“Now, more than ever, we are seeing an emergence and real appetite for holistic and local purchasing, and my goal is to help connect Canadian buyers to Canadian sellers,” said Green
“I think there is something special about getting one of these makers' products and knowing that you’re getting something that someone has put their blood, sweat, tears and passion into,” added Green.
Local artist and owner of the Ellis Art Studio, Brazen Edwards, attended the meet and greet event as well as invited the group over to tour her studio space afterward.
Edwards has been selling with Etsy for seven years and is a local advocate for the site as she coordinates the Artisan Etsy market and other workshops in our community.
“I started out just painting watercolours on my kitchen table and selling those on Etsy and it eventually got to the point where I was having a lot of success selling my work internationally, and then they contacted me about four years ago to curate the Etsy show they host in the Okanagan,” said Edwards.
The Artisan Etsy Market, hosted during Kelowna’s cultural days, boasts the original works from creators across the B.C. Interior, who are selling everything from leatherwork and paintings to jewelry and body products.
As a seasoned veteran of the Etsy marketplace, Edwards is an advocate for the site as well as for promoting and supporting local talent.
“I think it's important as an artist to put your branding and marketing into your design and website and Etsy is a great tool to help supplement all of that work. It's how I got my start from working at my kitchen table to now owning my own studio,” said Edwards
The next Artisan Market is taking place September 30th, 2017 at The Ellis Art Studios.