Today, I’m relaunching my Leaves of Glass jewelry shop on Etsy. The shop has been on a different site for the last few years, but Etsy is where I got my start and where I built my name and my business. As I’ve been preparing to return, it’s felt so good to be back in that home. There’s been a lot to do to get ready, but I keep getting sidetracked browsing through all the designs I’ve made and sold since my beginnings in 2007 (some of my old favorites are shown here). Conversations with dear friends I met through Etsy keep calling my name and reminding me of where I’ve been. Each piece of jewelry is a reminder of the experience that inspired it, and the people I’ve met who now wear the stories I made. One story leads to another, and to another, and I’ve had a wonderfully happy month turning the lights back on and sweeping the cobwebs away.
It has stung a little bit to be going through this process of rebirth just as Etsy has decided to do away with its user-curated home page in favor of one that’s generated by an algorithm. That twelve item format of community-built content was beautiful, and it’s led me to so many wonderful makers over the years that I probably never would have seen without it. The user-curated home page was a way to see through someone else’s eyes. It was one specific person saying to everyone who landed on that page, “This is what I find beautiful; these are the connections I see.” It was unique and profoundly personal, and I mourn the loss of that personality in Etsy.
Etsy gave me my introduction to the community of people who make things, and I’m forever grateful for that. When the home page disappeared, it felt briefly like the end of community to me, but I had that wrong. We build that community ourselves every time we make something. Every time we talk about what we’ve made, every time we put what we’ve made into someone else’s hands. One person to one person, community is forged. I love selling online more than through any other medium because it gives me such a long reach. I get to talk and listen to more people in more places in a more intimate way than I ever can at a craft show or in a physical shop. Story is the engine that powers me, and this is where it thrives. So I’m thrilled to be back at Leaves of Glass. The lights are on, the door is open, and I’m full of stories. Come and hear them. Come tell me yours.