Etsy has become the go-to place for all things unique and crafty. Local artisans all over the country can post their various specialties in the online marketplace for a worldwide audience. Of course, there’s some strong New Jersey representation on the site ranging from small-batch lip balm to high-end home décor.
Here are five Etsy sellers from the Garden State you should know about.
- Jen Sulligan of Little Batch
Jen Sulligan, Little Batch, started making soaps and lip balms as a weekend project while working full-time as a school librarian. She founded her Etsy shop, Little Batch, in 2009, and a year later, she was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “I got through treatments by looking forward to the days when I felt strong enough to make soap,” Jen recalls. When her cancer went into remission, she set to work turning her shop into her full-time job. “I made a pact with myself to do everything in my life wholeheartedly,” she says. “One of those things was Little Batch.” Today Jen’s health is stable, and she runs her booming business out of her basement laboratory in Flemington, New Jersey, where she lives with her husband and young daughter.
2. Jill Brodeur of Jill Brodeur
Old Tappan, New Jersey-based maker Jill Brodeur has always been creative. “Growing up, I was constantly making things—it didn’t matter what it was or what medium I was using, as long as it was creative,” she says. For college, Jill enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and promptly fell in love with accessories design. Following graduation, Jill embarked on a 10-year career designing mass-market handbags and other small accessories. She loved the travel and adventure that accompanied her work, but found herself longing to produce something more unique. “After years of seeing hundreds of a single handbag come off production lines, I dreamed of creating more specialized accessories that were not mass produced,” she says. Today, Jill runs her own business designing a line of custom leather accessories, and supplements her income by teaching accessories courses at FIT.
3. Michael Locascio of Dellamorte & Co.
Based in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, Michael Locascio of Dellamorte & Co. has been a sculptor since he was a child. In high school, thanks to the encouragement of a supportive teacher, he began to take art seriously, and went on to study fine art and art history at New York University. Upon graduation, he took a job sculpting for an action figure and collectibles company. “The company I worked for did very detailed and realistic stuff that pushed my skill in a different direction,” he says. In 2011, Michael struck out on his own and opened Dellamorte & Co. on Etsy, combining his classical training with the finely detailed work he’d been doing on collectibles. Since then, Michael has made more than 10,000 sales, working out of his home studio.
4. Becky of Dirtsa Studio
Somerset NJ-based artist Becky Garcia of Dirtsa Studio is the first to admit that for many, her former job as a display artist for Anthropologie seems like a dream gig, but while she loved the creativity, Becky knew she wanted something more. While on the job hunt for something more fulfilling, she began designing “school-age nostalgia”-evoking home decor items of her own—she opened shop on Etsy in 2008 to test the sales waters, and never looked back. “Soon I had so much business that I realized I had created a new job for myself,” she says. Eight years later, Becky has racked up more than 5,000 sales on Etsy.
5. Claire Verity of Claire Verity
New Providence, New Jersey-based knitter Claire Verity had never considered selling her knits to the public until a friend suggested it. “I only started to take her advice more seriously when people on the street would come up to me and ask where I got my hat or scarf,” she says. When Claire unexpectedly lost her job in 2011, she seized the moment and set up shop on Etsy. “While I was looking for another full-time job, I decided to take my hobby one step further and focus more seriously on my knits, and now here I am!” Today Claire knits up a storm out of her home studio. “I think it’s important for people to have connection to what they buy and know the people who make it,” she says.