You’ve gotten all the eggs, milk, and cheese that you can.
You’re rationing the toilet paper, you’ve seen every show on Netflix, and you’ve cleaned out the junk drawers and finally tackled the basement.
Even your inbox is de-spammed and folder-organized for a bright future ahead.
So now what?
You’re bored, stir crazy, and itching for a diversion, any diversion, to fill the time, to distract the kids, and maybe to tick a project off the to-do list.
But there’s nowhere open to go to, and you’re not supposed to go anyway. Nowhere interesting to shop. Nowhere to source the supplies you need, to get the birthday gift for your kid, to find the momentary distraction.
You even feel useless, like there’s no way you can help make this unprecedented time any better for you OR for anyone else.
So what do you do?
Well, you are stuck at home except for your socially distanced walk in the sun so…how about going for a virtual shop by browsing the world’s most interesting and unique market — Etsy*?
Hey, we all need retail therapy and a way to help working people out there.
What’s in it for Me?
Now, do I want you to shop at my Etsy Shop during the coronavirus threat? Of course I do! I always want shoppers else I wouldn’t bother having a shop.
But this plea is about far more than me, or my shop.
This plea is about the over two million sellers on Etsy who are open for business right now and needing to make a sale. With the worldwide coronavirus shutdown leading to uncertainty, panic, and stalemate, like other places, Etsy shop owners are getting hit hard.
But they shouldn’t. And you can help.
How? Buy from them.
Buy from them.
And here’s three great reasons why you should buy from them right now.
1. Putting the “Small” in Small Business
Interestingly the U.S. government characterizes a “small business” as a for-profit one with under 500 employees. And I can appreciate that, sure.
But contrast it with the majority of small businesses selling on Etsy, with under 10 employees. Contrast it with most shops on Etsy with just one person running the whole show.
Now that’s small!
Running an online Etsy shop from home, or supplementing their income by working another job and their Etsy shop, these small businesses are consistently churning out, curating, and otherwise bringing to market truly unique handmade goods, fabulous supplies for the DIYers out there, and, like myself, sourcing vintage finds.
The Etsy community of sellers represents some of America’s (and the world’s) most creative, intelligent, passionate, driven people who run interesting, agile, resilient businesses.
Given that they’re open rain or shine, season after season, at Noon or 3 a.m., in the midst of a bull market or a worldwide pandemic, and without a massive warehouse dependent on hundreds of workers who all of the sudden aren’t there, Etsy shops are ready to fulfill your unique orders right now.
So shop small? Not only should you, but you can…right now!
2. Unique Retail Therapy Because You Have the Money
According to economy and business writer Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post, tens of millions of Americans are still gainfully employed but simply working from home during the coronavirus threat.
Yes, Americans are being hit. But as with most economic disruption, that hit is disproportionately affecting those already in low-wage jobs, the service industry, and, interestingly, retail.
We’re all stir crazy, but according to Perlstein, a great many of us still have work, a paycheck, and thus income.
Other than perhaps higher at-home utility prices, we’re all driving less, eating out less, going fewer places, canceling hotel reservations, getting refunds for concert tickets, and otherwise kinda not spending while our income is still coming in.
Our kids are still growing into the next size, we’re still playing outside, and it’s planting season. Being stuck at home, we’ve got a list of DIY projects to do from finally covering that dining room chair seat to redoing the bedroom color scheme to getting our photos organized to hanging some kick-ass shelves.
And Etsy has millions of dynamic, individual, creative sellers who can help.
So if your income has not really been disrupted, and you’re eager to buy something and to help yourself and others, shop at Etsy for any one of these things and more.
3. You CAN Make it Local
If you’re already focused on the merits of shopping locally but are hamstrung during a local retail shutdown you do have some recourse to getting what you need and want while also helping your locals.
On Etsy you can search by geographic area (see my search function screenshot) to see if anyone local carries what you’re seeking. And before you buy anything, you can always message a seller to ask them to remove the shipping cost in favor of local pick up.
To be “socially distant” with the seller you can request that the item be left on their front porch/hallway for pick up.
In this way all those shuttered businesses in your own ‘hood that you customarily shop from, or other locals on Etsy that you didn’t even know about, can benefit from your sales while you benefit from their goods and from knowing you did something good — you helped a local!
How Etsy Helps its Sellers
Just so you’ll know, in the best of times the Etsy overlords have always been creative, helpful, and supportive to their platform of sellers. But today that really hit home when the CEO, Josh Silverman sent an email to sellers about what Etsy is doing to help out during this unprecedented time.
He wrote, in part, that,
“We are also taking significant steps to assist sellers in continuing to have a steady stream of sales and have more money on-hand to put towards their daily needs.
- Etsy will invest $5,000,000 over the next month to drive sustained business for sellers.
- We will also provide a one month grace period to any seller who needs extra time paying their bills.”
They’ve also created an online campaign for Etsy sellers to contact their congresspersons and senators to push for Etsy seller inclusion in any COVID relief bills.
As an Etsy seller what this says to me is that I’m not just another gig-economy cog doing digital sharecropping on their site. I’m part of Etsy because I believe in Etsy and because I get the very real sense that Etsy believes in me and its entire community of sellers.
A Word on Celebrity Endorsements
Not to unduly pick on the fabulous people, on the rich and famous…but you with influence, you with sway with the public, YOU can help keep small business alive in America and the world by simply buying from online Etsy sellers and/or encouraging others to do so.
Your word matters. What you want, others want. And you can use that for good. Yes, there are more urgent needs where influencers can make an immediate difference. And while sustaining small business might be less immediately urgent, it’s no less important, especially as time passes in this crisis.
So celebrities, please endorse Etsy as a wonderful marketplace with variety and great customer service.
Since Etsy is absolutely full to overflowing with creative designers and amazing makers and innovative inventors and charming curators and all around good folks — your endorsement would ring across this land and help a good many of them sustain themselves during this time.
Etsy Shops are Open
Again, I’ll emphasize that yes, I want your sales on Lady Virginia Vintage.
I’d like to get out of ghostwriting for others and exclusively do my own work as a vintage curator and write only on this, my blog, on the issues I care about — on energy, economy, and climate as it relates to re-using the massive quantity of amazing vintage stuff out there. That’s my longtime passion.
But that’s not what this is about. My ghostwriting paychecks are still rolling in and I’m not wholly dependent on my Etsy sales.
But many others are.
You can help them by bypassing the Amazons and Wal Marts of the world (even though, yes, they have people too) because those businesses have consistently sent massive quarterly earnings to their shareholders and will, in fact, weather this storm.
If you have disposable income, are feeling isolated and in need of a diversion, want to make a difference locally, nationally, or in the world, and have some kind of consumer need, then shop Etsy today.
You couldn’t make a better impact on a real individual’s working life than this. And then you get a package in the mail with something awesome to boot. Talk about a win-win!
— Lady Virginia