The Etsy Bitsy Shop

by Amanda Bedgood

Ecletic finds at your fingertips

There's no place for eclectic finds like Etsy. The online marketplace for shops selling everything from handmade lace pants to speciality invitations for children's parties is a sort of arts and crafts fair meets fashion palooza accessible 24/7 with zero membership fee. The marketplace defined by unique wares of every variety is more mainstream than ever with a million-plus shops including local retailers like Sky Blue Clothing Studio and Red Arrow Workshop utilizing the love of Etsy to send Louisiana's singular vibe into the world.

"Sky Blue launched an Etsy site about a year ago to help meet the demand for requests to buy our vintage online," says Laura Hebert of Sky Blue.

The local store that carries a hybrid of new and vintage finds as well as reconstructed vintage pieces has found a natural home at Etsy - the place "to buy and sell handmade or vintage items, art and supplies" - a place that sold more than $1.35 billion worth of goods in 2013 and to date boasts more than 40 million members.

"Etsy is an online marketplace specifically for handmade items and vintage, so it is the perfect avenue to reach our customers," Hebert says.

For Red Arrow Workshop, a River Ranch shop where many items are Lafayette-made and Cajun-centric, owner Jason Brown says they've only recently delved into the Etsy world.

"Red Arrow launched its Etsy page in April. It's not something we focus very much on at this time, but we find that it's a great way to access customers outside of our area who share our enthusiasm for Louisiana," Brown says.

Over at Sky Blue, however, the Etsy shop has been a task to undertake.

"Creating the online shop, adding and maintaining the listings and fitting it into our daily business was no small feat, but now that the Etsy shop is established, it is a natural extension of our brick and mortar store," Hebert says.

Like the Parc Lafayette location, the Sky Blue Etsy shop includes vintage goods that have been procured, mended if needed, researched and measured before being photographed and uploaded to the online marketplace founded in 2005.

"Since beginning the online shop, we are now able to reach vintage fashion lovers all over the world. We've shipped to customers all across the United States and to several other countries. The Sky Blue Etsy shop has been a great addition and we believe the joy and hard work that goes into it is the reason for its success."