May 2, 2011

Loco for Local

I've got my eyes on a handmade messenger bag from Cobble Hill, a winter knit hat and scarf combo from a mom on the Lower East Side, and a neat wooden toy train for my son from a wood guy in Jackson Heights. See, whenever I search for things on Etsy, I usually drill down using the "local items" filter because I like seeing things made by neighbors. Not neighbors in the literal, physical sense next door - but New York City artisans spanning all of the boroughs. Even better, the {NewNew} Etsy team has built a vibrant circle of creative entrepreneurs that is really fun to browse from. I am deeply invested in supporting nearby shops not just because of the staggering variety of choices, but also to contribute to the sustainable city's paramount ecosystem. Shopping local benefits our steel jungle in many ways, but there are three vital means we're making a difference with every purchase:

1. You are protecting local character -
New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world. In recent decades, it has been painted over with a haze of gentrification and commercialization. By supporting locally owned businesses, you are helping maintain the diversity and distinctiveness that has always existed and slow down the rampant transformation. Hey, we don't want to look like Times Square, everywhere.

2. You are stimulating local economy -
The symbiotic business-consumer relationship is critical to the survival of local businesses. Sure we can probably find heavily discounted goods in place of hometown goods but your dollars spent in local markets have a far more significant impact than that which is spent on outside businesses.

3. You are being environmentally conscious -
Local shops and artisans sustain vibrant foot traffic and face-time, which in turn is essential reduction in sprawl,  auto usage and pollution. Local artisans generally like using conveniently acquired materials to craft their goods promoting the community as well.

On May 7th you have not only one, but two opportunities to sample some local NYC Etsy shops. Only this time, you don't have to drill down from a search filter.  In addition to the Spring Handmade Cavalcade, you can also visit with our team of 5 Etsy shops that embody the very spirit of shopping locally from artisans to The Festival of Ideas Street Festival taking place along the Bowery in Lower Manhattan. Our {NewNew} lineup includes:

Through the Looking Glass - In The Raw
In The Raw  - Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn - Kelley shoots pictures from her travels. She believes the places she visits in her journeys are life transforming and self-defining. Her photography is a collection of life lessons.
Magic Vial Pendant - Izile's Oddities

Izile's Oddities - Bushwick, Brooklyn - Shop owner Stephanie wields the four elements, personal zodiacs and health/love/strength concepts to produce Magic Vial Pendants, blends of gemstones and herbs in oil. She's also brewing up a limited supply of cocktail inspired bath salts blended in recycled liquor bottles exclusively for this event.

The Owl and the Phoenix - Malathip

Malathip - Upper West Side, Manhattan - This is my wife's shop of artwork and stationery inspired by the fight to raise awareness for the plight of endangered animals. I'll be representing for her while she's sidelined with maternal duties. :)

Turquoise Dragonfly - Pretty Lovely Painting

Pretty Lovely Painting and MeliAnnaA - Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan - Meli is the proprietress of these two shops. She transforms recycled material collected from local businesses (as well as her daughter's school) into eco-friendly hand-painted key racks, coat racks, writing journals, canvases and wire wrap jewelry.

Light Fixture - Merrimack and Monitor

Merrimack and Monitor - Williamsburg, Brooklyn - Jason repurposes reclaimed wood, iron plumbing, copper, brass and other materials into a collection of hand crafted luminations, furnishings and accoutrements.

Nudo Brooch & Pendant - 4USimply

SimplyNu and  4USimply - Ozone Park, Queens - Elena and Sanver produce green, handmade products inspired by nature and informed by their combined art and design backgrounds.

Impressive right? I urge you all to come check it out the Festival of Ideas and find our Etsy setup. Admittedly, I'm a bit biased with my wife's work included. But like I said before, shopping locally is the way to go. It's not only convenient, but you can walk away from it feeling like you've done well for the city we all love - New York.

written by Richard Kriheli


Anonymous said...

great post - - thanks richard!!:) nothing better than supporting local, supporting handmade (and something near and dear to my heart) choices :)

Lu said...

Great article. Supporting local handmade rocks!