In a community space in the heart of the Annex neighourhood of downtown Toronto, budding creative entrepreneurs literally stood behind their products as they displayed their jewellery, vintage clothing and other must-have items on tables at the city’s 4th annual Etsy market. Displays were filled with unique and eye-catching items ranging from earrings that not only look like but smell like donuts to vintage purses to framed pop culture sayings cross-stiched and ready for display.
This fair was the product of an online network of crafty creatives brought together on and offline. This is the stuff of Etsy, an online marketplace f
or buying and selling handmade and vintage items, art and supplies.
The website, that claims to be “the world’s most vibrant handmade marketplace,” is not just about connecting online. Much like on Scott Heiferman’s Meetup and Barbara Pantuso’s Hey Neighbour! As the Toronto Etsy Street Team showed at their 4th annual Etsy marketplace, these communities also connect in real life. According to Alic, there are 5,000 of these teams around the world, sharing ideas and connecting in real life.
“I love that it’s a novel thing to unplug,” says Alic an employee and avid user of Etsy herself. “We’ve gotten so far into this digital world that it’s almost trendy to connect with people face to face.”
What happens when small businesses networks with large audiences? How can we get more creative with how we connect with online communities?
Find out in Nada Alic’s full interview with rdigitaLIFE below and hear from her at this year’s NXNE Interactive.
By: Ishani Nath (@ishaninath)