The online community for indie business, particularly for handmade and vintage, is pretty darned incredible. I grouse about Etsy's infrastructure or business strategy from time to time, but I am beyond grateful to Etsy for many things, particularly the relationships I've been so fortunate to develop (including all of you!!!).
Case in point - how luck was I to spend time with Allison (monkeysalwayslook) this week? Someone I didn't know existed just a couple of years ago is now a fast friend. And to spend an afternoon and evening with Dennice (fringe), creative mind behind one of the first Etsy shops that I fell in love with - sheer heaven (and very special friend of my heart).
We members of the handmade/vintage community are a pretty lucky lot. We meet like people via our shops, forums, blogs, twitter, facebook, other venues. We meet colleagues with similar raison d'etre, taste, business sense. We speak a common language. We support one another despite not having met one another in person. And when we do meet in person, there's very little awkwardness. It's such a wonderful sense of "Ahh, there you are, my dear friend. Just as I imagined and yet so much more."
I think the magic happens where the meeting in person occurs. You might spend time with one another via Skype, messenger, chat rooms, but standing in the actual same space, hearing the snores of three great danes in person (loooove those puppies!), seeing this and this and that for real ... I know it sounds simplistic, but you connect!
I love the instant moment of joy when I recognize Wendy's sweet voice and beautiful smile at another craft show. The excitement when I see Lisa again after far too long! The happiness that fills me when another artist at a craft shows introduces him or herself by shop name, followed by their real name, and another piece falls into place - another virtual connection becomes real.
Dennice and I talked about how we got to know to one another and our other Etsy friends. Often, our relationships started via the Etsy treasuries - more about that later this week! I think all of my Etsy friendships started via social networking: the treasuries, street teams, blogs, twitter, facebook, flickr. This makes sense when you think about what we do: home based online business. Connecting with each other virtually makes so much sense. And connecting in reality is icing on the cake. :)
I so want to meet all of you in person! For sure, you can meet me this summer at the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco! Sam (inklore) and I are sharing a booth - I truly hope you'll take a few minutes to introduce yourself! Of course, you'll hear a lot more about Renegade ... I need to start prep!
I'm going to be musing more on this and would absolutely love to hear your thoughts and experience about your Etsy virtual and in person/reality-based friendships!
Images: friendship necklace DNA and RNA base pairs by molecularmuse; bff cork necklace set in test tubes by uncorked