Green Biz: Etsy Empowers Earthy Artisans
Lately, indie craftspeople are finding it easier to earn a living, thanks to Etsy, an online marketplace that exposes their wares to millions. Unlike eBay, where sellers often offload unwanted junk, Etsy is a virtual craft fair. Artisans set up online "booths" to hawk quirky pieces (e.g., clocks made of hard drives). And it's growing fast: Etsy's sales doubled to $180 million in 2009 over 2008, and the site now hosts 250,000 merchants.
Many Etsy sellers integrate eco-practices into their works. Margaret Kasper, owner of Mountain Girl Clothing in New Hampshire, turns thrift-store finds like old sweaters into, as she says, "more stylish, modern, and versatile pieces than what they started as."
Christy Schwathe of Hu.made
creates accessories from vintage clothes, recycled scraps, and
sustainable new materials. She operates from her house at the foot of
New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo Mountains. "This is the way I live," she
says of her earth-conscious habits, "so why wouldn't I apply it to my