Introducing: The Glasgow Etsy Community
The marketing slogan goes, "People Make Glasgow" but there's never really been a better way to sum up our dear green place. Glasgow comes with a community spirit unlike no other - if we're not rallying around and fostering the buds of new design talent, then we're supporting the craftiest creatives with independent events such as the Makers Market or a Pop-Up Shop aplenty. For lovers of all things craft, there's undeniably only one online destination - Etsy. But in a world where living behind a screen is the norm, it can be all too easy for small independent creatives to feel isolated.
Enter the Glasgow Etsy team - fronted by five volunteers: Trudy, Lynne, Mairi, Katherine and Lynsey - the quintet are at the forefront of rallying the Etsy community, helping to nurture those both new and established within the local scene.
"In Glasgow, we have over 1,500 members. We meet socially and hold events - we're lucky to be able to count a wealth of experience amongst our membership." explains Katherine, "Our volunteer run teams are supported by Etsy, so we can support those building up their creative businesses on a local basis. The events allow crafters to meet with like minded people and share advice, support - and even make new friends!"
December 2015 saw the launch of the first team-led Etsy Made Local fair, where artisans were invited to sell their wares to the local buyers in the markets. Since the launch, the community has continued to grow from strength to strength, with various events organised throughout the year, but most reliably, the first Wednesday of every month being dedicated to a makers social meet up to encourage members to share ideas and techniques.
"Our first Made Local fair was a roaring success. It was held in the Briggait, with 60 Glasgow based Etsy sellers showcasing at the event. We'd put months of hard work into planning the event and it really paid off - when we went to open the doors, there was a massive queue, and we ended up with nearly 3,000 people visiting during the first four hours."
One year on, the leaders of Etsy Made Local have just about recovered from their roaring success which concluded 2016 - a fair, much like the first in 2015 - this time accommodating double the number of sellers, across two days.
"Our makers we're so hands on with our 2016 fair! Nikki McWilliams (of biscuit cushion fame) gave us some great props for a publicity photoshoot and the bar staff on site created delicious Tunnocks themed cocktails to accompany the theme. Other members like Ange Sewell (from Weft Blown) gave a weaving demonstration, whilst Melissa Watt (of Misty Concepts) taught origami," explains volunteer Katherine, "But if that wasn't enough, Rebekah (of Rebekah's Attic) demonstrated how she makes her beautiful felt flowers, whilst Claire and Julie Sheridan from Paper Street Dolls helped us to decorate the venue and undertook a paper workshop. It was a real knowledge share and a great way to help the public engage with people who largely operate from behind a screen!"
The 2016 event amounted to an impressive figure over 2,700 visitors on each day.
But perhaps, the biggest success of all, was not only the raised awareness in the public eye, but the individual success stories, which the event helped to propel emerging creatives into entrepreneurial opportunities.
"There were so many success stories from the day. One in particular that sticks in my mind is of Tori Gray who runs Harbour Lane Studios in South Queensferry who came along to our event spotted a couple of our vendors in our Etsy Made Local line-up. As a result East End Press and Kenneth Made’s products are now stocked in her shop!”
They say in a modern day, running a small business has never been easier with the aid of the Internet. However, in order for emerging creatives to truly grow, collaboration is the key - of which the Glasgow Etsy Community plays an integral part in helping to foster and nourish.
Over the coming year, we're truly excited to see how Glasgow Etsy Made Local will help up and coming creatives to spread their wings. Want to find out more about the Glasgow Etsy Made Local scene? Follow them here.