ATLANTA — There's an emphasis on craftiness this holiday. But there's no need to slave away with knitting needles or the glue gun. It's easier than ever to give crafty gifts without lifting a finger — except for a few clicks of the mouse.
The $30 billion crafting market has been heating up since craft-selling site Etsy debuted as a public company in April. Etsy, Amazon, eBay and others are all stepping up their homemade offerings just in time for Christmas. Shoppers say they like being able to give personalized gifts even if they don't have the time -- or talent -- to invest making something themselves.
"I love to craft but I don't have a lot of time to do that," said Kim Pavlick, who bought monogrammed sweatshirts for her 15- and 20-year old daughters on Etsy. "This is a way I can give something personal, something that you're not going to find in a big box store."
Justin Strauss, from Woodmere, N.Y., bought his wife a $50 cutting board for Hanukkah that he had engraved with the logo of her cooking blog.
"It's more thoughtful, she can have it forever and know it came from me," he said. "It's a gift she'll remember more than something generic."
Here's a look at what the sites have to offer.
Founded in 2005, Brooklyn-based Etsy sells everything from an $110,000 antique desk from the 1800s to a $20 handmade antler pendant, and everything in between. In 10 years it's grown from a scrappy startup offering craftspeople a way to sell necklaces and needlepoint online to a marketplace of 54 million members that generated $1.93 billion in sales in 2014. It allows some vendors to use pre-approved manufacturers, but generally things are handmade or small batch on the site. For the holidays this year, Etsy has a curated holiday gift guide on its site which highlights trends. And this year its working with delivery app Postmates for same-day delivery in New York. Etsy says so far this holiday season popular items include oversized knit throws and blanket scarves, as well as personalized gifts like monogrammed jewelry.
HANDMADE AT AMAZON
Amazon in October debuted Handmade at Amazon, a site that highlights handmade crafts for sale to Amazon.com's 285 million shoppers. The site includes about 10,000 sellers from more than 60 countries offering 200,000 items. All items sold on the site must be "factory-free" and not made by manufacturers. The Seattle-based retailer's site carries everything from $30 walnut cufflinks from Australia to $325 handmade quilts from Wisconsin. During the Black Friday holiday weekend, Amazon spokesman Erick Fairleigh says holiday decorations and ornaments, artwork, pendant necklaces, including a $20 nameplate personalized necklace, and handmade prints were popular. The site also features a gift guide of gifts under $100.
EBAY'S ARTISAN COLLECTIVE
EBay in November launched a microsite that highlights handcrafted goods for sale on eBay. The site includes home decor, jewelry and fashion, health and beauty and other categories. It features about 20 small businesses like Milk and Honey luxuries, a Richmond, Va.-based company that makes hand-stamped silverware and other goods. Over the Black Friday holiday shopping weekend, top sellers included an $18.99 set of four coasters made from nautical rope by Mystic Knotwork, a small Connecticut company that sells nautical knot-related goods; a $28 knitted pom-pom hat and a $22 placemat and napkin set.
San Francisco-based Minted is an online marketplace for stationary, art and home goods. Designers and artists submit designs to the company, and Minted members then vote on the designs. Minted creates stationary like holiday cards and home goods like pillows and artwork based on winning designs. The company said this holiday it is seeing demand for its custom silhouette offering. Users can upload a photo of a child, pet or other person and the company will turn it into an art print. Holiday cards, including ones in non-traditional colours like neon pink and mint green, and personalized products such as custom photo frames are also popular.
Mae Anderson, The Associated Press