Etsy brings creators and consumers face-to-face at Edmonton’s pop-up market
From bomber jackets and drinking horns to ceramics and dog treats, if it’s something that can be made by hand, you will most likely find it at Edmonton’s Etsy Made In Canada market. Organizer Marissa Loewen warns to not let the name fool you. It’s not a gender-specific “glue gun and sequin show,” she says.
“Creativity has no gender,” Loewen says. “It’s really about coming in. And if you’re interested in working with something, this show is inspiration central.”
Etsy Canada is an online shop that provides makers an outlet to sell their handmade goods. Each maker creates an online “shop,” where customers can browse and buy items. The model is specific to personally-made and upcycled items, with the slight exclusion of photography also allowed.
Having run an Etsy shop herself for roughly seven years, Loewen says a lot of sellers appreciate the ease of using Etsy and the ability to run a business from home.
“It was a great opportunity to explore a handmade business that didn’t require any overhead. I could easily set up a store in less than an hour and be up and running,” she says of the shop.
Seller Kimberly Mah’s business model is larger than employing just herself and her co-owner while at home. Mah’s store works with local designers to create fabric for her pieces and hires other stay-at-home moms in the city to sew the clothes she sells. For just one Etsy store, Mah is employing multiple people in the Edmonton area.
Etsy has generated a massive following of online and in-person consumers that like to know from where and who their products are coming from. The e-commerce site has often played a large role in spurring on “maker economies” in cities around the world.
“One of the reasons we do this show is so that we can actually show our economic development in our city, that we have this thriving maker economy,” Loewen says. “It’s really about bringing options to Edmonton consumers about what they buy and how they buy it.”
The first time she realized the impact of this consumer-creator relationship was at a past market where Loewen met the person that not only hand-dyed, but hand-spun the wool for dishcloths she was selling.
“I had no idea not only who was making something as simple as my dishcloths, but I had no idea who made the threads in my clothes,” which Loewen says is a common situation.
For others, Etsy is about being able to fund their art. Although seller Damon Chan works as a full-time cartographer, he also devotes 10-15 hours a week to his shop that sells his own graphic design maps of cities around the world.
Fellow seller Sookham Singh also found the site’s reach to be more helpful than her personal website.
“Etsy has a huge base of customers all across the globe and your own website can’t really reach that many people,” she says. “Just my friends or people in my circle knew about [my website].”
As a juried show, the Edmonton market hosts vendors that have been chosen for their skill and craftsmanship. In their fourth year running, Edmonton’s market has 204 sellers—204 artists that may otherwise be struggling to get their creations sold.
Promoting local creation and helping drive artist’s careers is the main goal of the online platform, which is why 50 percent of ticket sales on Saturday will go to the Nina Haggerty to support Edmonton artists.
Sat., Sept. 23 – Sun., Sept. 24
(Sat. 10-6 pm, Sun. 10-4 pm)
Etsy Made in Canada
Shaw Conference Centre ($5)