Vintage display in very modern marketplace

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FROM Clothing to jewellery, and from crockery to cards, Yorkshire-based sellers of handmade goods and vintage items are using a New York-born website to reach a worldwide market.

Etsy.com is an online marketplace which was founded in 2005 to allow people around the world to buy and sell goods directly from each other – anything from food to furniture.

The concept seeks to give independent, creative businesses the tools to be successful.

Laura and Terri Bradley, a mother-and-daughter team based in York, use Etsy to boost the sales of their vintage clothing business, Love Miss Daisy Vintage. They launched their own website in September 2008. “Mum had run her own business for 15 years before selling it on, and wanted a new challenge.

“I was tired of working in TV and PR and this was a dream of mine,” said Laura.

“I’ve always bought and worn vintage, and my mum was a girl of the 1970s and really into fashion at that time.”

The pair spent a year preparing, collecting clothes and researching before the launch.

Laura added: “We started selling on Etsy as it’s a site we’ve always loved. We know there’s a huge vintage-loving community and we were eager to be part of that as well as selling on our own website.”

And they are not the only ones making use of the Etsy platform to grow their business.

In 2013, Etsy sellers sold nearly $1.35bn worth of goods and 14 million new members joined the marketplace, boosting its global community to 36 million.

Etsy has one million active ‘shops’ worldwide and has offices in New York, San Francisco, Berlin, London, Dublin and Toronto.

Mother-of-two Sarah Zemura, who is based in Thorngumbald, near Hull, works two days a week at a local children’s centre and uses the rest of her time to create jewellery, crockery and cards for her venture Oswell & Rose.

“When I first joined the world of Etsy I was working full-time and busy with work and children.

“By selling on Etsy I have managed to grow my business to such a point that I have slowly reduced my hours at work from 37 to 16, which makes my work-life balance so much more manageable and enjoyable.”

Former graphic designer Jane Tibbetts, in York, uses Etsy to sell posters via her business, Chatty Nora, and Clare Worthington-Breen, in Leeds, is behind The Crypt of Curiosities.

Ms Worthington-Breen started her online shop five months after she lost her father to a heart attack. He was 53.

“He had always told me to try and do a job I loved and had a passion for and to just go for things in life as it was too short.

“He was right of course and his loss caused me a lot of heartache and health problems.”

She had to leave her full-time job in retail due to ill health. “This shop has been a life saver ever since,” said Ms Worthington-Breen. “It has paid my way in life for two years and I honestly do not know where I would be today without income from my store.

“I just hope he would be proud that I work for myself and take orders from nobody but myself.”

Ms Worthington-Breen has her own website, but started using Etsy to reach a worldwide market.

“My shop is a secret garden of bats, bones and ravens. Oddities and magic for children of the night,” said Ms Worthington-Breen.

Other Yorkshire-based sellers using the Etsy marketplace include Shawnna Rennae Porter, who is based in Harrogate and sells digital graphics via her venture, Lovely to cu.

“There is an enormous amount of pleasure to be had in running your own business,” she said.

“I enjoy every day and the challenges it brings, and I work harder for myself than I ever have for anyone else because at the end of the day I only have myself to answer to.”

Matt Doris, of Etsy UK, said: “I would encourage anyone interested in selling on Etsy to give it a try. You’ll find a wealth of support from local community members in your area. Our Yorkshire-based team has more than 400 members.”