Given its homey, “handmade” folksy feeling, Etsy might seem to be a place you might find all kinds of original things. Unfortunately, for the most part, that isn’t the case.
Clicking around on the site, there is an alarming “sameness”—no shortage of delicate faceted gem stone jewelry; bountiful crocheted baby hats with cutesy ears; endless boring, beige and powder blue-ness–
and so many silhouettes of birds that
the “aughts” will certainly go down in history as the decade of vague avian imagery.
The first time I encountered Scrabble tile charms I was, well, charmed—adorable graphics decoupaged to the backs of the game’s wooden letters. Then I did a search for them and found hundreds. HUNDREDS! Granted, those hundreds of Scrabble tile jewelry makers are all selling their little tiles like proverbial hotcakes, which I find vexing. Why do people want so much of something that everyone else has? If they were shopping at the mall, I might be able to understand. But they’re shopping on a site that prides itself on the original!
In celebration of this sameness, I created a “Treasury” on Etsy—a Treasury being “an ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery of handpicked items”—of what I consider to be Etsy clichés: the aforementioned bird silhouettes, crocheted baby hats, chunky cowl neck scarves and owls, another inexplicable common Etsy occurrence. I titled it “Oh So Etsy.”
Following up on my initial foray into Etsy slams, I came up with another treasury that featured nothing but jewelery made using one particular little bird charm; I called it “A Not So Rare Bird.”
There are dozens of these little bird necklaces and earrings online, many of them virtually identical. (Words of advice: if you’re going to use such a common, iconic component in your “creation,” for crissakes make it different in some way!) And, believe it or not, doing a search on Etsy for items tagged with the word “original” actually brought up one of these totally NOT original pieces of jewelry.
As I said, it’s a rare thing to discover a truly original item. But it does happen, and when it does, it makes me smile! Check back next time when I chat up a few “chicks” who actually managed originality.