Karen Lee, a mother of two in Valhalla, began knitting scarves when her kids were in grade school. She had pockets of extra time while waiting for her kids at school pick-up or on the sidelines of their sports games and she wanted to do something to pass the time. Knitting led to other creative pursuits: She started designing jewelry (like the lovely necklace below) and DIY beauty kits (think: homemade lip gloss!). Today, she sells all of her products on one of her three Etsy stores – EcoKaren and HerbanCrafts.
Etsy, an online global flea market that features all things handmade and vintage, has become big business in recent years; it gets over 42 million unique views each month. Think of an Etsy store like a stall at a flea market: You pop into the seller’s Etsy page and see everything they have for sale.
“It’s so easy to launch an Etsy business,” says Lee. “You can start with low inventory. You can work anytime. Many stay-at-home moms work on their business when their kids go to bed.”
If you enjoy being creative in any way, then you could be making money on Etsy too. Busy moms, working or stay-at-home, are using Etsy to sell their goods across the NYC metro area — and they’re using the site to launch second careers centered around creative pursuits. I’ve bought ikat throw pillows, cheery handmade yellow curtains and even a fall wreath on Etsy.
Lee (above) is now teaching other Westchester moms how to start Etsy businesses of their own. She was trained at Etsy’s Brooklyn headquarters to become one of 15 “certified” Etsy educators around the nation. “The class is for anybody who is interested in selling the things they make,” she says. She’ll cover everything from the basics (how to log in) to more complicated subjects, like how to price your goods.
Lee is currently offering four “Getting Started With Etsy” separate classes. The first is on September 25 from 9:30 to 11:30am at the Mount Pleasant Community Center. On October 6 from 9am to 12pm, she’s offering a similar class at Westchester Community College in Ardsley. There is also a class on October 13 from 10am to 12 at the Mount Pleasant Community Center, and November 3 from 2 to 4pm at the North Castle Public Library.
The class is perfect for moms interested in fulfilling their creative side. And hey, a little grocery money doesn’t hurt. Says Lee: “There’s definitely an opportunity to make money on Etsy.”
For more about Lee’s work, visit her website Joys of Handmade.
The Hudson Valley area has an Etsy Team so you can shop all local Etsy shops. Check it out!