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What is Etsy?

LONG LAKE Buying and selling products online has become as familiar as a trip to the mall. In todays world, the power of the internet has connected people to goods and services in ways that few could have imagined 10 or 15 years ago. Through the use of technology and targeted marketing, it has also helped many home-based businesses to reach a global market that was previously unknown. With that in mind, two area crafters have found their niche through a website strictly devoted to buying and selling all things handmade. Established in 2005 by Rob Kalin as a vehicle to market his own creations, Etsy.Com has grown to over 100,000 users worldwide, and has revolutionized the way home-based and small scale crafters choose to sell their products. Carol Murray of Long Lake discovered Etsy late last year and was astounded by the variety and quality of the crafts that were available. As a long time crafter, it wasnt long before Murray decided to open her own shop too. Ive been crafting for a long time and used to do craft shows before we moved to this area, said Murray. I quickly found out that this is a difficult area to do crafts in, for the most part due to the weather and the lack of local craft shows. For the last five years, and prior to Etsy, Murray has focused on selling her line of Adirondack neckties and potholders to the wholesale market but her recent discovery has led to an entirely new focus. When I found Etsy it really struck me as a nice place to shop but as I looked around, I started to think that it would be a great way to get back into retail, she added. I just opened my online shop in December and its already grown by leaps and bounds. This success motivated Murray to share her discovery with another North Country crafter, and co-worker, Faith Bedore of Tupper Lake. Bedore specializes in making birch bark frames, bookmarks, and gift tags to capture the beauty of nature she sees every day. I started crafting about three years ago after getting fed up with how many craft products were made in China, said Bedore. A friend and I started to make birch bark crafts and selling them in local stores and it just grew from there. After being introduced to the site, and learning about what it could offer her, it wasnt long before she had her own Etsy store-front up and running. I like Etsy because its user friendly, Bedore says. Theres a real sense of community on the site and you get some really great ideas by looking at what other people are doing and participating in critiques. Someday I hope to grow it to the point where its really successful, Bedore says. But for now, Im just happy to be a part of it and to think about where it can lead.

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