The Etsy Blog

Featured Buyer: Jay McCarroll handmade and vintage goods

This week’s Featured Buyer is Jay McCarroll, fashion designer and winner of the first season of Project Runway, and now, fabric designer. Read on to find out what inspired Jay to pursue a life of creating, and check out his Etsy Christmas list below!

I was born in a little town in Pennsylvania in 1974. I was the last of six children. My father made septic tanks. My mother had a delicious hall closet stocked with remnants of fabrics and tins of buttons and bags of yarn. This was my favorite place in the house. My sisters were in the high school marching band and my brother was on the football team. I made myself costumes and twirled batons in the front yard. I suppose this is where it all started.

From my very early memories of watching my father sharpen pencils with a knife and my mother crocheting afghans, I have always been fascinated by what people are able to accomplish with their hands. It’s so organic and natural and beautiful and goes back to the very beginnings of time.

I made everything with my hands for the first 15 years of my career, and it is the one thing that brings me the most joy and satisfaction to this day. Sure, it’s gratifying to see hundreds of something I’ve designed with a label with my name in it, but it’s really special to see a one-of-a-kind item that my very hands have created.


I really tried to come up with a common theme for my picks… but  there’s like a trillion and a half amazing items on Etsy! If I went with an all green-y, organic-y  theme, I would be neglecting my super-poppy plastic friends, and if i went with an all red theme, I would be neglecting my awesome pukey-yellow friends. In the end, the commonality is the personality I found in each item; either the seller or the work itself. …Oh and color! I am very simple that way: great color is a deal-maker or breaker for me.
Rectangle Moss Ring by AdornJewlery

I love this ring because I think it reminds us to stay close to nature. I wonder if you can grow mushrooms in there?

Oh Deer by soop

So cute! I want to wear a whole farm on my finger. I wonder if you have to have a light finger like ET to achieve the full translucent effect?

Hand Etched Wind Farm Brooch in Sterling Silver by ashhilton

So simple and beautiful. I want a whole set of dishware or wallpaper with this motif. It reminds me of this big ole windmill farm in Palm Springs, California, where I hung out for a few hours one afternoon this summer. Mesmerizing.

Nels the Narwhal by skunkboycreatures

Never in all my years on earth have I seen anything narwhal. I can’t help but think that the creator must like the B52’s as much as I do.

Original Tree Branch Buttons by thebuttonshop

Um…yes please. Send me a box of these ASAP!

Blue Bear Button by poodlebreath

This turquoise bear would look amazing sitting atop a pukey mustard, deliciously heavy knit scarf or shawl.

Blue Eyeball Earrings by KnitKnit

Seriously, who wouldn’t want a pair of eyeball earrings? These are sold in a cute shop here in Philly called Mew Gallery. I am always drawn to them.

Will You Please Put Down That US Magazine and Listen To Me by mincingmockingbird

This is a very cute bird. I would hang it up on a rough wooden wall somewhere. Yes, I am drawn to the painting, but I am more drawn to the titles of this sellers work. So smart and sweet and weird.

Hand Silkscreened Designer Button – Ophelie by kinos

I want to take all the buttons off of a boring blazer and replace them with these colorful little works of art. This is why I love Amsterdam!

Hand Painted Earthenware Mug by houseofharriet

So weird. Wasn’t there a Go Go’s cover like this? It’s the perfect cup to serve some tea in on a spa day with your gal pals.

Yellow and Black Stripe Short Glasses from kitschcafe

These cups remind me of my high school. These were our school colors. Isn’t it amazing how you learn to just hate those colors? I am just now getting used to liking black and yellow together. This is also my buddy Drew’s Etsy shop. Visit his site at

Is Is Cake Time Yet by mummysam

This piece has the cutest little story behind it. I love the colors and the teeny tiny little fork and knife and tea cup. Adorable!

Max by morningglori

I wish we had creatures like this inhabiting earth with us. I could think of a couple awful human types that I would gladly trade in for this yummy little guy.

Tatto Climber Mutant Toy by doinkydoodles

Weirdest guy in America! Again, lets trade in people who litter and mean cats that pee on your comforter and bears that attack people for this super weirdo creature face.

Wildflower Windmill Print by dutchdoor

I am a sucker for all things that look like this. It must be the close proximity to Lancaster Amish country times. It also reminds me of my time spent in Amsterdam. Missing you!

Bird Brain – Surreal Collage by dollfacedesign

Um, yes; when can you have a whole flock of birds living in your hair? This would be so tickley and fun!

The Mulit Soopa Chain by Yokoo

Can we say I wants to marry me this girl? If I were straight, I would love girls like this. I am simply obsessed with her work, her color palette, her photography, her look. I hope she finds me and we can be bffaeae!

For Jay’s latest creation, check out his fabric line, sampled below:

The line was inspired by all of the little yummy creatures who live at flea markets and estate sales in basements and in boxes with dust on their heads who need a good home. I have no intentions for an end use for my fabrics. I want people to buy them and use them with their greatest imaginations. I am so very
excited to see them pop up in a quilt, bag, creature, dress, card, circle, square or triangle, I am giddy with anticipation.

Thanks to Jay for taking the time to get to know Etsy and share his finds with us! Need more of Jay McCarroll? (We don’t blame you!) Check out his site, this documentary, and his clothing line for QVC. 


Looking for past Featured Buyers? Check out our archive!