As if we all needed an excuse to shop from home, the COVID-19 pandemic has made many people turn to online shopping for basically everything.
From grocery runs and bulk purchasing to 3 AM shopping sprees you’re hiding from your significant other, online shopping has taken over how consumers purchase essential and non-essential items.
While it’s true stores like Amazon and Walmart have everything you could ever possibly need, all in one place, many consumers want to continue to support small businesses from the comfort and, let’s be real, the safety of their own homes.
Look no further than Etsy, the internet marketplace full of independent creators, artisans and small businesses. So full that In 2019, there were more than 2.5 billion active shops. To help narrow that number down a little, we’ve gathered our list of the 15 best small shops worth your hard-earned dollar.
RedwoodCoastalDesign was born from a desire shop owner Amy Toroni had to work from home and set her own schedule. Due to a rare kidney condition that makes working a traditional 9-5 difficult, she needed to work at her own pace, making Etsy the perfect choice.
Based on a mini-farm in Northern California, Amy creates works of art for your home using upcycled materials that are sustainable, reclaimed and eco-friendly. She also uses 90% reused and recycled shipping materials.
RedwoodCoastalDesign specializes in driftwood and sea glass creations but also offers succulents and exceptional giftable items. We love that there’s a little bit of that special California coastal feeling in every piece she creates.
Related: Where to Buy Succulents Online
When asked where she finds her inspiration, Amy responded, “Nature is my inspiration to the creative process. I love hiking the local beaches and redwood trails of Northern California. Taking photos of my art in outdoor settings really resonates with my viewers. Who doesn't love a sunset?”
Bring back the lost art of letter writing with personalized stationery from CurioPress. Alexis Austin, founder and “momboss” behind CurioPress has been selling on Etsy since 2013 as a way to make an income after a struggle with chronic pain and health issues.
What makes CurioPress so unique compared to other custom stationery vendors?
“The most unique component to my business is that everything is created, printed and shipped from my home…nothing is outsourced,” says Alexis. This includes everything from design work, cutting cardstock, even packaging.
And just where does Alexis pull inspiration for her designs? This self-described font addict shared, “...when I see a font I am in love with, I will often design something just to use it.”
Need a little more proof that this shop is completely awesome? A trip through the reviews reads like a love letter with many customers remarking on the incredible customer service and mentioning they are repeat customers.
Take the guesswork out of your first home garden. This shop provides everything you need to have a bountiful and healthy garden, no matter what size space you have, through super organized kits.
Shop owner Victoria from HortikiPlants has over 15 years of experience in sustainable agriculture practices. This is the person you want to build your garden kits, are we right?
In fact, these kits make the perfect housewarming gift and run circles around giving another tired potted-plant.
And if you find yourself having any issues sprouting your seeds, Victoria will hook you up with some tricks and tips to get those puppies growing. Feel confident in your first gardening foray with HortikiPlants in your corner.
ThinkingMonk is your place for heirloom tabletop gaming gear. While their Etsy shop is currently featuring custom Settlers of Catan or Catan items, their website does offer additional items and gaming possibilities.
An Etsy shop since 2013, ThinkingMonk was created after a visit to a local university’s Maker Area, and the potential for laser cut game merchandise was realized. Once their first product was prototyped, ThinkingMonk ran a super successful Kickstarter campaign for production and has since ran three additional successful campaigns.
When asked what gives ThinkingMonk inspiration, they noted, “We are a family of gamers that enjoy each other’s company....we play them all. Seeing the need for high-quality products made in the USA gives us the incentive to produce new items all the time.”
A student of the Montessori approach and teachings from child development master-mind, Magda Gerber, father and shop owner of LilyandRiver strives to produce intuitive environments for your children that will help foster development through play.
Inspired by his own children, David works daily in his Arizona workshop to create products that are not only fun and well-crafted but look great. These are not your plastic, primary-colored kids’ toys you may be used to seeing.
One reviewer notes that the best-selling Little Climber was “AMAZING! the best purchase I ever made for my daughter,” and one team member shared how much she coveted one right after she had her baby, and looks back on it as one of the things, “we totally should have purchased.”
Handmade by shop owner and curator Daisy Kimbro in Beverly Hills, CA, Aromaology focuses on producing high-quality bath, body and home products from sustainable and cruelty-free ingredients.
On top of the collection of skin oils, body butter and scrubs, Aromaology also provides an impressive selection of smudge sticks and sage sprays for cleansing your home space and repelling negative energy.
This shop is known for its impressive customer service and has been selling on Etsy for a decade. Many of the five-star reviews note that any issues they have had are handled in a way that exceeds expectations.
We asked Daisy if COVID had an impact on her business, and she shared, “COVID has impacted my business in an unexpected way. My sales have soared since the pandemic started and still going strong. I am truly truly grateful.”
We love a pandemic with a happy ending.
Have fun & be colorful with temporary tattoos from Tattoorary. Based in the Netherlands, shop owner Wilma Boekholt seeks to be creative and inspired in daily life and loves to inspire creativity in others. All the images used are hand-drawn by Wilma and digitized to give each piece a realistic look.
Not only does Tattoorary sell the coolest temporary tattoos and tattoo sets, the biodegradable body glitter and nail decals had our team rushing for their credit cards. And no, that’s not a typo. You can have your body glitter and be kind to the environment at the same time; our minds were blown too.
While bright, vintage floral may be the attention-getting pieces, the beautiful hand-drawn white henna is like no other temporary tattoos available.
If vintage is your jam, then ShopOneMoment is about to be your new favorite place to shop. Shop owner Paloma Drehs lovingly selects, curates and presents customers with the most dreamy vintage collection we have seen.
Having escaped the corporate fashion industry after 15 years, Paloma shares her one-of-a-kind collection with a loyal following of shoppers. A trip down the review section instantly reveals that many of her customers are repeat purchasers, and that customer service is held high. More than one customer noted that their piece had to be returned and that her process was smooth and seamless.
Each vintage piece is carefully restored and packaged with clean hands, no thrift shop vibes here.
For the most beautiful jewelry pieces Etsy has to offer, look no further than the collection offered by OmiWoods. Each of the earrings, cufflinks, necklaces and pendants is made individually with ethically sourced conflict-free fine metals and fair-trade African gold. You don’t have to sacrifice style for a sustainable and ethical piece of jewelry.
OmiWoods creates heirloom-quality pieces that are intended to be worn and loved every day. Our favorite pieces are the necklace stacks that include chains that can be worn long or wrapped for multiple looks.
Shop owner and designer Ashley Alexis McFarlane shares her inspiration for her pieces:
"My Grandmother is the reason I started making jewelry and why Omi Woods is centered around heirloom heritage pieces. Her name means shalom in Hebrew and sälam in Ethiopian-Semitic languages. It translates to peace primarily, but also harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare, and tranquility. I reflect on these things as I learn about the cultures and histories Omi Woods pieces are inspired by."
Described simply as providing custom map and bridal cufflinks, TimberCreekCufflnks has some of the most unique cufflinks we have seen. With maps for most major US cities and university locations, as well as professions and hobbies, there’s a cufflink for literally anybody with cuffs that need linking.
TimberCreekCufflnks hand-crafts each cufflink for exceptional strength and durability and the images are sealed under crystal clear, unbreakable resin for outstanding clarity and durability.
When we asked if COVID-19 has impacted her business, they shared, “COVID has had a small impact on our more expensive items, and sales are down. Also, we could really tell a difference here in the cufflink shop with almost no large wedding orders. It's not unusual for people to order 4 to 8 sets of cufflinks for their groomsmen, and those sales happen routinely April through June, but not this year. We did only one large wedding the entire season.”
What started as a hobby making realistic play food for her daughter’s Barbie Dream House has turned into a full time booming business for shop owner Trina Moreau.
Self-taught through trial and error, each piece from DecadentMini is made from clay by hand. No molds will be found in this studio, meaning each piece is truly unique and one of a kind. This shop can also do custom orders, as proved by her strangest request for a Starbucks Frappuccino hearing aid accessory.
“I am extremely thankful for your support in my business, " shared Trina when asked what she wanted to say to her customers. "Without your shares, likes, mentions, and purchases, I wouldn't be where I'm at in my business today. I'm so thankful that I can follow my dreams and do what I love as a business, and it’s all because of you! THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart.”
Artist and owner Renske Herder dreamt of living that sweet “artist life” but thought she would have a hard time selling her paintings online. So, ever ingenious, she started making pencil cases and zippered pouches featuring her work in 2018. Through that process she found that customers were super interested in her unique wall hangings.
You can now find her original paintings listed in her shop, ColorCookie as well. Based in the Netherlands, Renske makes her products thoughtfully and treats the environment with care, by hand, in her eclectic home studio.
“I’m inspired by ancient art, primitive art, folk art, even outsider art, and textiles,” shared Renske. “The basic act of making things throughout our history as humans is what I find very interesting.”
What makes LovelyEarthlings so, well lovely, is the diverse mix of people represented in the artwork. Born in the Republic of Panama and then living in Atlanta, Miami and New York, shop owner and artist Karina Daniel Parris, pulls inspiration for her art from the people of the metropolitan cities she’s lived in.
An Etsy seller since 2011, Karina suffered from an accident to her non-dominant hand and found herself with the opportunity to turn her hobby into a career. LovelyEarthlings produces art prints, tote bags and greeting cards displaying Karina’s work.
With so many incredible pieces to choose from, we wanted to share our favorite. Watering Plants is giving us serious stuck-at-home-but-still-fabulous #goals right now.
If no ordinary tag will do for your pet, may we submit for your consideration these hand-stamped ID tags from MJLessardArtisan. Each brass or nickel tag is stamped by owner and artisan
Marie-Josée Lessard in her Ontario, Canada workshop.
Working in leather since 1996 and running her Etsy shop since 2009, Marie-Josée also sells collars to accompany her custom ID tags.
Now, don’t think for a second, you have to sacrifice beauty for function. Tags can be stamped on the backside to include two phone numbers (and more on the larger sizes).
We love how just plain cool these ID tags for your dogs and cats are. From mountain scenes, stars and moons, feathers or hearts, there’s a design to fit each pet and pet owners aesthetic.
One reviewer shared, “Our 6 dogs (past n present) have had an MJ Lessard collar. Quality leather and beautiful craftsmanship. I will continue to be a repeat buyer.”
Keep your ball of string and your flimsy feather on a stick because StarkRavingCat is here to change the game for cat toys.
An Etsy seller since 2014 shop owner and creator Kate Heyhoe finds her inspiration from products that don’t look like cat toys.
We were lucky enough to get a little teaser on what customers can expect to hit the shop this Christmas: Fish-shaped kitty stockings, catnip peppermint candies, colorful mini-robots, gingerbread and snowmen gift sets.
Consider us teased.
A visit to the shop just to read the reviews and check out the customer submitted photos of their cats with the Original Catnip Joints is worth it. Come for weed humor, stay for the quality cat toys you totally won’t mind laying around your house.
From Consumer to Shop Owner
Etsy makes it pretty simple to get started as a seller. It takes a few minutes to set up your website and only costs $0.20 to list your first item. It is worth mentioning that when that item does sell, you’ll be paying transaction, payment processing and offsite advertising fees as noted below:
Sure the fees can add up quickly, but Etsy offers something that other online platforms just can’t match: Etsy is an internet marketplace, not just a platform for eCommerce. The promotion of your brand is done through the reputation of Etsy itself. Your items are searchable and available to a number of consumers coming to Etsy for the experience of shopping at a virtual craft show tailor-built to the individual shopper.
In fact, that’s the reason Trina Moreau of DecadentMini chooses to sell using the Etsy platform. “I love to use Etsy because the marketing is phenomenal. Most of my sales and new customers come from Etsy.” Trina shared.
Let’s Get Shopping
What are you waiting for? Grab your cozy socks, laptop, favorite credit card and start supporting some small businesses that provide some genuinely kick-ass products on our favorite internet marketplace.
You may also be interested in: 9 Items From Etsy To Elevate Your Home Décor
Our 15 Favorite Small Shops on Etsy: