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The New Domesticity: Homespun Rebellion or Retreat?

May 25, 2013

by Juliet Gorman

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Is the DIY movement empowering or shortchanging us? That’s the provocative question Emily Matchar tackles in her new book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity. Matchar describes a homespun rebellion taking place, as twenty- and thirty-something women (and some men) “embrace the domestic in the service of environmentalism, DIY culture, and personal fulfillment.” From backyard chicken coops to making your own soap or selling quilts in an Etsy shop, Matchar looks at the ways young people who feel failed by a stagnant economy and the corporate world’s inflexibility are trying to build purpose-filled lives.

To this movement, we at Etsy tip our hats. We agree with Matchar’s argument that people today feel let down by big institutions and mass culture and are seeking a more meaningful life and livelihood. We don’t see that trend limited to young people; on Etsy, the average age of a seller is 41, because the opportunity draws makers across generations. Like Matchar, we’ve noticed the explosion in artisan businesses across sectors, and that “the handcrafted look is actually beginning to be co-opted by big-box stores.” Where we part ways with Matchar is over the conclusions she draws, specifically about the political implications of pursuing domestic enterprise.

Matchar dedicates a chapter to Etsy and the rise of the craft entrepreneur, and she levels some criticisms we’ve heard before. Matchar suggests that Etsy is peddling a false dream: “Ironically, what started as a movement to empower women seems to inadvertently morphed into another low-margin pink-collar industry — enjoyable for many, lucrative for few, but ultimately falling far short of its promises.” Success at entrepreneurship has never been easy; but access to entrepreneurship is getting much easier. Etsy doesn’t have a position on what success looks like; that’s for our sellers to determine for themselves. Our data shows that Etsy is a factor in economic independence — while most of our sellers don’t earn their primary income from the site, the income they earn helps cover household bills while providing security and flexibility.

Matchar argues that by returning to the home in hopes of finding a more pleasant work/life balance, these women are stepping out the workforce and the public eye — to the detriment of society. As Matchar puts it, “While we want to believe that ‘all change begins at home,’ this is not necessarily the case; even if it were, all change needs to not end at home… If women cut back on their ambitions en masse, institutional change will never happen and the glass ceiling will lower. We need to be [in the workplace] to demand the equal pay, mandatory maternity leave, more humane hours.” We think that by participating in this revitalized economy of small business owners, empowered women (and men) are creating a new, strong, and visible alternative. The communications revolution brought to us by blogging and social media has given individuals a bigger megaphone than ever. Luckily, political power today doesn’t only reside inside traditional institutions like corporate workplaces.

We also disagree that running a domestic enterprise equates with less ambition. Across the board, Etsy sellers want their sales to grow. In a recent survey, we learned that the vast majority consider their shop a business, not a hobby — even those who have barely had any sales, yet. That is ambition.

The traditional workplace is changing, whether we like it or not. Jobs are not less secure because certain women are choosing to “drop out”; trends like the increased cost of benefits and technical automation are impacting a much broader swath of the workforce than the generation and sub-culture Matchar focuses on. Anyone who wants to be involved in collective efforts to change policies impacting solo entrepreneurs should get in touch with Etsy’s Public Policy Director, Althea Erickson.

That’s our take; now we want to hear what you think. Have you read Homeward Bound? Do you identify with the movement Emily Matchar describes? What do you consider success and ambition?

7 Featured Comments

  • valeriephoto

    Valerie from valeriestitchery said 3 years ago Featured

    I think Matchar may be seeing the picture as too black and white. Like many Etsy sellers, I don't make my primary income through my craft. Instead, I find that having a creative outlet fulfills a part of me that my lawyer job (which I absolutely love) does not. I agree that woman should agitate for better working conditions. I also agree that women should find fulfillment in their working lives, and that this can be accomplished by finding a creative outlet, and maybe even making some money while doing so. I think we can do both, and I think many of us are doing just that.

  • ArtyDidact

    Sharon Parker from ArtyDidact said 3 years ago Featured

    I have not read the book yet, so I appreciate this summary and critique. As someone who became involved in the consumer co-op movement back in the 1970s, I see the DIY movement as something very similar; it's about self-sifficiency and helping each other succeed, and choosing your own work conditions and priorities. If many of us choose not to be involved in corporate culture, I see that more as a boycott than as a retreat. The conventional workplace isn't meeting our needs, so we're making our own way.

  • WestwardNarrative

    Anne from FreeRangeCowgirl said 3 years ago Featured

    Having followed and written about work issues myself for a couple of decades, I'd surmise the that the truest view is clarified by AND. Ms. Matchar is spot on. AND, Etsy is too. Also, when it comes to "is Etsy selling a false dream that can't be reached?" .... Again we need to remember that across genres, platforms, ages, and decades 80 percent of businesses fail. This morning my third sale emerged from my shop, and the cold reality is that divided by the hours I've put in, maybe I've made 5 cents an hour. But it's laying ground work, I'm learning this framework, and I've great hopes for eventually garnering momentum toward my goal of geographically independent income. I'm glad that someone is out there giving voice to keeping women empowered in corporate America. Bravo to Ms Matchar!!! . . . AND . . .I'm glad to the expansion of tools that expand my reach to find my way out without "a real job." Bravo to Etsy.

  • haruaki

    Tiffany Key from resinjewelryHARUAKI said 3 years ago Featured

    What I have always found insulting is this notion that 'we' women should demand equality in a workplace that many of us have no interest in. It is not because I am a woman that I am not "aiming" toward a mainstream job; it is because those jobs are not for me. They are not for most conscious people. We accept them when we feel we must. And I am being inclusive of both sides of the gender divide. Some people find peace and joy in such situations, others wither. The local, handmade movement is not a retreat but an acceptance of the reality of our current world. Clinging to a corporate office culture that is obviously failing is naive. We should not be made to feel that we are the losers in a losing system. If we can liberate our lives and make choices that reflect our core values and intuition, that is a great task. It is greater than any corner office ambitions. Matchar's framework of what constitutes success is very limited. I hope one day she will be able to shatter her conceptual ceiling and see that humanity's potential goes far beyond pay scale and vacation hours.

  • BeccaBagsMT

    Rebecca Behrent from BeccaBagsMontanaMade said 3 years ago Featured

    The words "domesticity" and "homespun" have been used by some in a derogatory manner. How about this title instead: "The New Enterpreneurship: Creative Rebellion or Retreat?" My husband is a Professional Engineer who works from home in his field, as do I. Yet I would hardly refer to what he does as "domesticity" or "homespun"! Many of us on Etsy not only have educational backgrounds related to what we do, we have spent many years furthering our education and honing our talents and skills to put our best work possible out there. If I worked for someone else's company, I would be called a "designer". Because I work from home, for and by myself, what I do is referred to as "domestic" and "homespun"? Roget's Thesaurus lists some of the adjectives for "homespun" as "artless, homely" and "plain". Sales by Etsy members would indicate the opposite. Most people I know don't like to spend their hard-earned money on ugly, poorly made items. As for somehow "dropping out" of the "real" working world, rather than hang in and continue the battle that has gone on for generations concerning equal pay for equal work, many on Etsy have simply chosen a new way of battling against the status quo. We on Etsy are, for the most part , happy for the opportunity Etsy has provided us. Etsy doesn't set our prices - we do. Etsy doesn't set our work hours - we do. Etsy doesn't set our goals - we do. Etsy doesn't promise we'll reach our goals - that's up to us, as individuals. But Etsy will do everything they can to help us get there.

  • ep2175

    erin. from ep2175 said 3 years ago Featured

    I think the mistake Matchar makes is assuming that the only way for women (and men) to be political, ambitious, involved, and effective is by striving to "get in" to the institutions that already exist, excel in them, and work for important but modest changes to them. Equal pay, mandatory maternity leave, and more flexible hours are important -- but limited -- demands, because they are modifications of a system that exists rather than a more fundamental re-imagining and re-shaping of it. The movement she describes isn't (merely) about opting out; it is about building and participating in the creation of alternative institutions and alternative economies, which requires a great deal of ambition and even political foresight.

  • holliewilson

    Hollie Wilson from TheTuftedFrog said 3 years ago Featured

    I don't understand why corporate jobs are so commonly held up as the ultimate career. I'm convinced that everyone (with any amount of ambition) who is currently working for someone else is dreaming of the day when they'll be working for themselves. Creating your own income is not retreating - it's advancing. Running my own shop has in no way broken any "promises" - it's given me the freedom to make my own promises. Kept or broken, it's up to ME. And that's something you won't find if you're busy fighting for maternity leave.

296 comments

  • HoodVintageandWool

    Elisabeth Ryan from hoodwool said 3 years ago

    interesting ideas

  • NicolasKnitKnacks

    Nicola and Jessica Belton from CelticKnittingCo said 3 years ago

    Great blog thoroughly enjoyed reading it!!!

  • valeriephoto

    Valerie from valeriestitchery said 3 years ago Featured

    I think Matchar may be seeing the picture as too black and white. Like many Etsy sellers, I don't make my primary income through my craft. Instead, I find that having a creative outlet fulfills a part of me that my lawyer job (which I absolutely love) does not. I agree that woman should agitate for better working conditions. I also agree that women should find fulfillment in their working lives, and that this can be accomplished by finding a creative outlet, and maybe even making some money while doing so. I think we can do both, and I think many of us are doing just that.

  • jessgreenleaf

    Jess Greenleaf from GREENLEAFblueberry said 3 years ago

    I'm tending to agree more with Etsy on this one. People are voting with their feet, their forks, and their wallets. The children of the baby boomers got an up-close example of what workaholics look like, and so it's no surprise that as a result the 20 and 30 somethings are wanting a more active role in their home lives. This issue is more all-encompassing than being just about women and the workforce, however, in this, women uninterested in the alpha-female lifestyle shouldn't be faulted for embracing domesticity. The point is to have the freedom to make the choice you want. Alternative lifestyles that make sense are whats being explored by all ages and sexes.

  • PippaPatchwork

    Pippa Eccles Armbrester from PippaQuilts said 3 years ago

    Certainly a provocative question. It depends on what people how to achieve with their DIY endeavors. I think "false promises" is a bit too harsh, but certainly it's not easy to pursue full-time! Ultimately, I think it's hard to not see the DIY movement as overall very positive.

  • Waterrose

    Rose Waterrose from Waterrose said 3 years ago

    Another way to look at women staying home to create their handcrafted items...it also gives them an initial taste of running a business. It may be just the stepping stone that pushes them into creating a successful business and it may not be in the handcraft industry. It takes a lot of different skills to run an etsy business...accounting, marketing, production, organization... This experience may also show the handcrafting entrepreneur that they really don't like having their own business and would prefer working outside of the home, but they wouldn't know that until they gave it a shot. I think we all get to our careers in many different ways, with many different experiences and Etsy is just one of them.

  • studiorandom

    Dana Seilhan from studiorandom said 3 years ago

    Working for pay out of your home IS being in the workplace. I think it was a mistake to transform society to depend so much upon being hired by a boss or manager or corporation in the first place--to emphasize employment over entrepreneurship. It has crippled the entire population and left us sitting ducks for all manner of economic predation by those with more money than morals. We may sometimes (though I wouldn't) speak of people enrolled in anti-poverty programs as being "too dependent" but the truth is, any time you hand over the power to provide for yourself to someone else, you make yourself dependent on them. Imagine if we collectively decided to trade in our lungs for an artificial breathing apparatus that we could only maintain by purchasing parts and maintenance. How long would some of us stay alive and not die of asphyxiation? Look at what we've already done with things like food and shelter and honestly consider that question. But that's what we're doing with our economic security. It's scary. Being able to do for ourselves is actually better in that light. Like breathing with our own lungs.

  • SketchAway

    Suhita from SketchAway said 3 years ago

    I think of this movement as post-domesticity: you don't need to shun it anymore, but you're not bound by it, whether you're a man or woman. And, I love that I am the exact average age of an Etsy seller :)

  • sarahmoon503

    Sarah from Birchmoonrocksfibers said 3 years ago

    Not to be generalizing a complicated subject, I keep thinking that the most important thing about equality for me is to be able to exercise equal choice and not be faulted for it; if women chose to work small businesses from home all is well, if we chose to work in the white or blue collar realm, all is well.

  • admspeicher

    Adam Speicher from SpeicherBowTieCo said 3 years ago

    DIY MOVEMENT IS COOL

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat said 3 years ago

    Sounds to me as if Ms Matchar can't make stuff & is slightly envious of those of us who can, as well as somewhat bitter about anyone being able to make a living in any way other than the regular corporate grind. It's also very sexist to present online selling as something that is only (or even mainly) used by women. Etsy provides me with a large part of my income, my other, offline, business provides the rest. I run two businesses from home, does that mean I'm stuck in the traditional female domestic rut? My work consists of woodwork & driving, you decide.

  • ArtyDidact

    Sharon Parker from ArtyDidact said 3 years ago Featured

    I have not read the book yet, so I appreciate this summary and critique. As someone who became involved in the consumer co-op movement back in the 1970s, I see the DIY movement as something very similar; it's about self-sifficiency and helping each other succeed, and choosing your own work conditions and priorities. If many of us choose not to be involved in corporate culture, I see that more as a boycott than as a retreat. The conventional workplace isn't meeting our needs, so we're making our own way.

  • WaveSong

    ev from WaveSong said 3 years ago

    Oh how I wish I had had Etsy twenty years ago when I decided to be a stay-at-home mother. It would have given me a very important and viable outlet for my craft, as it does now. At least we Canadians do have decent a maternity leave now. A homemaker pension would also be an important addition. There seems to be such a backlash towards young women who are choosing to stay at home now. Sure it may be the purview of the middle class but it certainly has merit. I had not heard of Matchar's book. But it sounds intriguing.

  • TheGlowingSkin

    TheGlowingSkin from TheGlowingSkin said 3 years ago

    " Detrimental, false dreams, lack of ambition, settling down to domesticity", every label has been applied to those who chose to quit the work force and start something home based. People to decided to start a business while staying at home are not those who sold their souls to domestic slavery but driven people who take a detour to try out new career paths. I am grateful that there are people who actually realize that. Thanks for posting this.

  • StayArtisan

    J.K. Ramirez from HudsonBlueArtisans said 3 years ago

    It is all about a celebration of competence and a commitment to quality. Go etsy

  • JohnMetBetty

    Jillian Darnell from JohnMetBetty said 3 years ago

    I disagree, we are less ambitious - less ambitious?! Most of the people I know (including myself) who run an Etsy shop work day and night, creating & promoting. I consider myself MUCH more ambitious than some of my peers who have the types of jobs she is talking about. I have many people in my life who work in well regarded fields who have no passion for what they do and can't wait to get off work every day. I'm exhausted by the lack of support in choosing a career as an artisan. The more we focus on creating and manufacturing within the US the more jobs which are desperately needed can be created. Should we all just give up on our dreams, stop creating and buy crap made in China? I think instead of criticizing, people like Matchar could help propel someone's small business by purchasing items from them. We CAN be successful if there is support. I don't consider myself a homemaker. I was totally against staying home up until a few years ago. We moved to the US and I couldn't work here for several years. During that time I realized the life we had before was broken in many ways. Take out for dinner, laundry piled sky high, bills sky high, chaos. A few years later I've had some success on Etsy, doing craft shows and selling my work in galleries and shops. We now have a much more peaceful life. There is a healthy meal on the table at the end of the day, laundry done, clean house and I'm able to do something I'm really passionate about. Compare this life with two people working high pressure jobs, the cost of daycare for your children (if you have them), cost to your health by eating out or convenience foods every night. I say do what you love and follow your dreams. Take care of your family, your home, yourself, and your life will be much happier. ALSO if anyone cares, I'm bent over my sewing machine and cutting table all day long. I constantly have backaches but I'm not complaining (I LOVE IT) Just had to make it clear, I'm definitely not eating bon bons while my husband is a slave at work.

  • GracefullyGirly

    Kimberlee from GracefullyGirly said 3 years ago

    I haven't yet read the book so I can't comment on it directly, but based on the part shared here I couldn't disagree more with the idea that domesticity creates less ambition. I think running my own small business single handedly rather shows great ambition. I actually have greater ambition from when I was employed outside the home, as I have even larger goals and dreams and a larger personal stake in them. I have more responsibilities and have even more pride in my work now than I did before and I had a very fulfilling job as a teacher. I don't think women need to be in the workplace in droves to break the glass ceiling or to earn equal pay or humane hours. I actually think that eventually enough women (and men) will figure out how fulfilling it can be to work for oneself and consequently business owners may HAVE to pay those who are still left in the workplace more to keep them there. They inevitably may HAVE to offer more humane hours just to compete with the draw of working from home and all the perks it offers. Most importantly, being there for my daughter is in NO way leading to the detriment to society in my opinion; quite the opposite is true. She will see a strong, business minded woman running a successful business ~and~ family and I'm glad she will have me as a role model for being a complete woman (to the best of my ability of course), not just someone's employee. I see many creative small business owners as incredibly brave and ambitious!

  • newhopebeading

    newhopebeading from newhopebeading said 3 years ago

    Fascinating all around. BTW Thank you though Etsy for acknowledging that we over 40 crowd are here and happy (turning 46 here in a few weeks). As someone a bit older who has come at this from all angles -- first executive position in corporate American, then full time stay at home (by choice), now successful small business owner -- there is one thing I find troubling: why is it that we as women feel the need to put the decisions we make under a microscope and get into this "my decision is better than your decision" kind of thing? Seriously, men don't do that and I think we are our own worse enemy when we do that do each other.In my 46 years I have learned that as often as not it is not "the man" keeping us down but rather this microscope we allow ourselves to be put under.

  • newhopebeading

    newhopebeading from newhopebeading said 3 years ago

    oh typo lol should say "full-time stay at home MOM" :)

  • janetralexander

    Janet from MargueritesWoodShed said 3 years ago

    Very interesting thoughts by everyone. I look forward to the day when big business has to start offering decent pay and incentives to hire new employees. This will only happen when people have other income alternatives. I started my Etsy store to see if I could supplement my income enough to retire early. I'm looking forward to not being tied to a desk and telephone as soon as I can!

  • onionbagel

    Dave and Marie from onionbagel said 3 years ago

    There always seem to be people ready to tell me what they think I should do with my life. Oddly, they're never interested in what I think they should do with theirs.

  • janetralexander

    Janet from MargueritesWoodShed said 3 years ago

    I'm hoping to supplement my income via my Etsy store so that I can retire early. I have served my penance tied to desk and telephone. I want out as soon as possible! It's amazing earning money doing something you love.

  • NotTheKitchenSink

    Sara Carter from TheCostumeCafe said 3 years ago

    I would be just as proud of my daughter for designing a glass ceiling as I would be if she shattered one.

  • mirabellamorello

    mirabellamorello from mirabellamorello said 3 years ago

    Well, I am so happy to see that another person who doesn't know what they are talking about has had a book published! It doesn't look like I'll be spending any money at the bookstore buying this and from your critique, I am squarely on Etsy's side here. Many people are using Etsy as supplemental income while working full-time jobs, some have "quit their day jobs" and many, like myself, are happy that something like Etsy was out there to help pay the bills when the economy (which is still much worse in some parts of the US than others) made paying bills more and more difficult while not being able to find jobs. And THANK YOU ETSY for acknowledging the older people who participate in this community. I am in my 50's and here, my age is no barrier to what I can do and what I can accomplish. In the world of "real jobs", people my age are the last to be hired. I, for one, sincerely appreciate the opportunities I have to supplement our income, doing things I enjoy! And I have the best boss in the world - ME!

  • clareop

    Clare Parsons from thingbox said 3 years ago

    It's really important to consider history. Look at the Arts and Crafts movement of the19th century. A reaction to the growing industrial machine. There's a lot going on here. There's definitely a reaction right now to mass media, mass production, and world destruction.

  • Aristocrafts

    Aristocrafts from Aristocrafts said 3 years ago

    I disagree with Matchar. I believe that the handmade movement is empowering women (and men) around the world, and that it is in fact a way of "demanding the equal pay, mandatory maternity leave, more humane hours". By having a handmade business and being their own bosses, women are telling the world "I want to be able to work humane and flexible hours, I have the ambition to fight for the pay that I know I am worth." By having a home based business, sellers with children have the flexibility to spend more time with their kids, to better educate them and, ultimately, give society more balanced and prepared adults for the future. What Etsy offers is the perfect highway to building a business, with minimum risk (just put that first $0.20 bet on yourself) and maximum opportunity (learn, develop, grow, little by little, to reach your business goal, whichever that may be).

  • CharsPlainandFancy

    Charlotte Blum from CharsPlainandFancy said 3 years ago

    The only problem I can see with Etsy is that Etsy is getting bigger and bigger and we are getting more and more of the same Artisans that make the same items and we have to share and therefore sell less and less. I used to do Craft shows and enjoyed them tremendously, my husband worked and contributed some by using my Talents, then he had a heart attack at age 34 and I had to find a job. he got real sick and I had to quit working and stay home to watch him because he would pass out. So back to my crafts I went and it was a blessing to be able to sell some. Now I am old but I am not finished yet I still like to work with my hands and so I gave Etsy a try I can't do craft shows any more, but I sell a few things and thats Ok with me, it makes me happy to know that people like what I make. I don't sell much but I don't need to sell a lot because now I am retired. . Thank You Etsy for giving me the opportunity to make things that I love and be able to sell them to make other people happy.

  • WestwardNarrative

    Anne from FreeRangeCowgirl said 3 years ago Featured

    Having followed and written about work issues myself for a couple of decades, I'd surmise the that the truest view is clarified by AND. Ms. Matchar is spot on. AND, Etsy is too. Also, when it comes to "is Etsy selling a false dream that can't be reached?" .... Again we need to remember that across genres, platforms, ages, and decades 80 percent of businesses fail. This morning my third sale emerged from my shop, and the cold reality is that divided by the hours I've put in, maybe I've made 5 cents an hour. But it's laying ground work, I'm learning this framework, and I've great hopes for eventually garnering momentum toward my goal of geographically independent income. I'm glad that someone is out there giving voice to keeping women empowered in corporate America. Bravo to Ms Matchar!!! . . . AND . . .I'm glad to the expansion of tools that expand my reach to find my way out without "a real job." Bravo to Etsy.

  • theresatron

    theresatron from TheMonstersLounge said 3 years ago

    I'd be interested to read the book and to see if she really is summing what many of us feel is a hand craft revolution as dropping out. If that is the case, it seems that Matchar feels that something other than white collar work is somehow 'less than'. I agree with Etsy and many of the commentators above that rather than a return to domesticity, it is a means of picking up those skills that so many of us lost being wage slaves. It also takes incredible ambition to become less dependent upon a wage paying job and developing those skills needed to become a business owner. Yes women need to be in the workplace to change things, but I never felt more invisible than when I was working in an office. Not to mention that I wasn't utilizing the skills that I have. Now I have a voice, albeit a small one. I feel now, woman are creating the workplace rather than having to fight tooth and nail to fit into one that has been created by very wealthy men who like the status quo.

  • NirvanaRoad

    Lisa from NirvanaRoad said 3 years ago

    Interesting read and thought provoking... but in reality it is just a recycled opinion. Why would anyone buy the book.

  • agebo

    Ann Cosgrove from acbcDesign said 3 years ago

    Today's economy has evolved: we can have more than one job and wear many hats. Like most things, you get what you put into it. Etsy provides a great platform and opportunity for people to share their creativity and get an income from it. What it's about for me is the empowerment as an individual to have something that is all my own.

  • AbleAprons

    Erika Kelly from PortlandApronCompany said 3 years ago

    I think there are many negative associations with people (especially women) who choose to be self employed and work from home. This appears to be a big reason for the "domestic" label, when if fact, if I opened a brick and mortar, would I be a "business woman" instead? The internet has drastically changed things in the last decade, and we are simply giving people what they want. Quality, and online shopping :-)

  • natureguild

    natureguild from natureguild said 3 years ago

    Nothing wrong with ambition either

  • ArtyDidact

    Sharon Parker from ArtyDidact said 3 years ago

    Clare Parsons from thingbox says: It's really important to consider history. Look at the Arts and Crafts movement of the19th century. A reaction to the growing industrial machine. ------------------ Excellent comparison, Clare!

  • auntjanecan

    Jane Priser from JanePriserArts said 3 years ago

    I haven't read Matcahr's book yet. For me, being an artist is not a choice I made. I was born this way. I did choose not to enter into commercial art or more mainstream avenues for being an artist.

  • haruaki

    Tiffany Key from resinjewelryHARUAKI said 3 years ago Featured

    What I have always found insulting is this notion that 'we' women should demand equality in a workplace that many of us have no interest in. It is not because I am a woman that I am not "aiming" toward a mainstream job; it is because those jobs are not for me. They are not for most conscious people. We accept them when we feel we must. And I am being inclusive of both sides of the gender divide. Some people find peace and joy in such situations, others wither. The local, handmade movement is not a retreat but an acceptance of the reality of our current world. Clinging to a corporate office culture that is obviously failing is naive. We should not be made to feel that we are the losers in a losing system. If we can liberate our lives and make choices that reflect our core values and intuition, that is a great task. It is greater than any corner office ambitions. Matchar's framework of what constitutes success is very limited. I hope one day she will be able to shatter her conceptual ceiling and see that humanity's potential goes far beyond pay scale and vacation hours.

  • agardenofdreams

    a garden of dreams from agardenofdreams said 3 years ago

    I think many people still view Etsy as a bit of a curiosity and though they like the many hand-crafted items, supplies and vintage collectibles- they don't really view the shops as "serious" businesses! ,,, and I am sure most shop owners would disagree!!!!

  • InMaterial

    Peggy McCallum from InMaterial said 3 years ago

    Women - and men - have so many options now to earn a living that it is really up to us to decide how much time and energy to dedicate to a career or business. Baby boomers such as myself have worked for decades for others, but are now finding new fulfillment returning to the crafts we learned as children from our mothers, grandmothers, and educators. And thanks to technology, we can earn money doing it, something that was very difficult to do before. There are always going to be women who are very driven to break through that glass ceiling and couldn't imagine making things. Isn't it wonderful that our world is so diverse?

  • WhiteCrossDesigns

    Jordan White from WhiteCrossDesigns said 3 years ago

    Wow -- so many really thoughtful and right-on responses! I think Jillian of JohnMetBetty said it best! I'm another corporate officer (finance director) who left the office with no looking back when we brought our youngest (adopted) daughter home from China. I'm just sorry I didn't leave it sooner! Spent the first year at home defending my decision to too many other women, and finally decideded it was just their problem. I've had three Etsy shops -- the first one failed because I didn't treat it like a businesss, and thought the "if you make it they will come" phenomena would take care of it. It didn't. I have two current shops, both of which are doing better each and every day, thanks to my awesome customers! I fully intend that my former income level can and will be replaced by these shops (and 6-8 craft shows per year0 within the next 5 years. Coming to appreciate the value and worthiness of the skills God has given me, and using them in my Etsy shops has opened up a wonderful REAL world for me, my beloved and homeschooled daughter, and my everloving husband. The book's writer obviously wrote from a pre-biased point of view, and chose not to do the comprehensive research that should have occurred.

  • PrayerMonkey

    Laura Fisher from PrayerMonkey said 3 years ago

    Don't forget about us in our 40's! We never had an Etsy-like opportunity when we were in our 20's. You literally had to pound the pavement to get your handmade wares seen. I am so glad that I finally have the ability to live the DIY life that I was always cut out for.

  • GeorgieGirlLLC

    D George from GeorgieGirlLLC said 3 years ago

    Peggy McCullum I do like what you are saying!

  • GeorgieGirlLLC

    D George from GeorgieGirlLLC said 3 years ago

    Peggy McCallum - I do like what you are saying!

  • hmmills

    Helen Mills from 1820BagCo said 3 years ago

    Interesting article. I guess I am the stereotypical seller: age, works another full time job searching for fulfillment elsewhere. I find that I work for my shop nearly as many hours as my full time job (ambition) and wonder sometimes what I could accomplish if I had more time. I see the word Hobby as a 5 letter dirty word and find at times that i cannot contain myself or understand why some would view my business as not serious....perhaps I should ask my nearly 200 customers....

  • richdon1

    Rich and Dona from TheCottageMouse said 3 years ago

    I have not read the book but I feel strongly that there is no right and wrong. We all have to do what is best for ourselves and our family and forget about what others think. I agree with a few comments that working at home is not a day by the pool. I am constantly painting, squinting, bending over canvas after canvas and all the while dreaming of success. Wondering if it is worth it. And than I get a kind word from a neighbor who admires my art, a favorite on Etsy and I find myself excited again and again. I was a single mother since my son was 3 months old, (he is now 27) and worked for others. I felt drained and scared depending on someone else to pay me. I LOVE the person who said above I make five cents an hour on Etsy but it is worth it. My father who turns 90 this month told over and over that life is only for a little while. Enjoy the time you have. Working for myself is an enjoyment that is priceless. I am happy. I know a few people working high powered jobs with high powered paychecks outside their homes and they are some of the most miserable people in my life.

  • deekish

    Deeksha Lakshmi from TheColorWagon said 3 years ago

    I think people are definitely moving away from mass produced goods and prefer hand made. The DIY culture does not mean that women who move away from nine to five jobs are losing out. The sense of purpose and satisfaction I get from making something myself and then selling it on Etsy is unmatched. A nine to five job can never give me that feeling of happiness - a joy to get up each day and say I want to work on creating something I love. I'm grateful to Etsy for that.

  • WackyWanitas

    WackyWanitas from WackyWanitaDesigns said 3 years ago

    It is intriguing to me that anyone could look at entrepreneurship, on Etsy or elsewhere, as less than ambitious. Everyone in the world has a dream. For many--if not most--the dream itself is the hobby; this is evident in the phenomenon of "big-box stores." Such large companies would not exist if they could not employ the throngs of people who are afraid to pursue their dreams, or else just continuously put them off for later. When my peers see what I am doing on Etsy, the first word from their mouths is "ambitious." I am asked how I can be so brave to put myself out there in the face of things like failure, rejection, the constant work and discipline it takes to keep at something day after day, something that may never lead anywhere... particularly art, in an economy where almost everyone works two jobs just to stay afloat. But I ask them back: What else is there? This is what I love to do. If I don't do it now, when will I do it? Matchar has a skewed perception if she truly believes that receding from corporate work flies in the face of all the work towards women's rights over the decades. Business women on Etsy answer to themselves; they set their own prices; they choose their materials, make their own schedules, and find the discipline to both work and carry on the lives that they dream. If that is not empowering, I don't know what is.

  • AllUsedUp

    Cindy Carrillo from SimpleChaosLab said 3 years ago

    Many of us Etsy sellers are doing both, which is exhausting and not doing either well. But that is the way it is. We need to work, keep our outside jobs but trying to work out small online companies as well. There is no good or bad being at home or out in the job force- both have their own issues.

  • jennifercoralie

    Jennifer from virgomoon88 said 3 years ago

    Women have always worked inside and outside of the home; look at history and look at many cultures today where women do the majority of the work, paid or otherwise. Etsy just gives us another choice. I don't see that there's an argument here. I'm sick of people telling me what I should or should not do. I have tried everything, and whatever I have done something has been sacrificed. We need more choice, not less.

  • patspottery

    Pat Parker from PatsPottery said 3 years ago

    I agree with you that the trend is not limited to young people, as I am 73:>) I feel truly empowered by my sales on etsy, and it has allowed me to do things I could never do before.

  • AllUsedUp

    Cindy Carrillo from SimpleChaosLab said 3 years ago

    Well put WackyWanitas!

  • PennyBirchWilliams

    Penny Birch-Williams from PennyBirchWilliams said 3 years ago

    Matchar seems to think women must be in corporate life as a duty, to further the social reforms that began in the 1960's and 70's. These were the years when I was growing up and the world was changing. I don't discount the sacrifices and efforts that many women (and some men) made over the decades since, to achieve a semblance of economic and social equality in the workplace. Perhaps many of us do take for granted what was so hard fought in those early years. However the world keeps on changing, and new norms emerge as old ones become outdated. Many of the sellers here on Etsy, male and female, have spent years on the corporate ladder or in the office trenches, many have worked soul-killing low wage jobs most of their lives...many are still there. I don't believe we owe the world those years to keep moving the politics of gender equality. If the younger generation is seeing the disillusionment of their parents generation as they lose jobs and become unemployable because of their age, why would they NOT question the value of following that path? Some of us in the growing handmade, home-based business movement have lost jobs or seen others struggle with unemployment, and recognized how we are dependent on the whims of employers for our financial security. We are empowering ourselves by embracing the online community and the many options we have through our own talents and creativity. I am one who lost my job, where I worked very hard to meet my employers needs, but was always a round peg in a square hole as an artist trying to be an office worker. Now I am a full time artist learning to be a business woman. I am not yet earning enough to claim financial success, but success is not defined only by money. I guarantee that for me personally, I am far more empowered as a self employed artist than I ever was working for big businesses over the years. I encourage my kids (in college) to consider starting their own businesses and developing their creative and business skills so that their lives do not have to be ruled by companies and bosses whose main focus is the bottom line.

  • WhisperingOak

    Quality Handmade Items from WhisperingOak said 3 years ago

    Well, its seems like the article overlooks the fact that businesses on Etsy are looking to growth. Many shop owners are using the skills learned in higher institutions to establish a business.

  • epicstitching

    Mel Ladner from epicstitching said 3 years ago

    An interesting read. I would say that selling on Etsy has helped me see that I myself can follow through and sell items as I've wanted to for years. Without Etsy to help with the building blocks and the community it would have been a lot harder and a lot more costly. Is it true that most Etsy sellers (myself included) don't sell as their primary income. Of course! But that doesn't lessen the income or pride we take in having our stores. Besides if that is true then the argument that women are disappearing from the workforce (which I think is silly) is not true. We are keeping our heads in the 'business' life of day-to-day 9-5 work while reminding ourselves that we are capable of bringing back to light those older, nearly lost traditions that we use to make our DIY items and crafts. Wouldn't this then mean that Etsy is actually allowing women to be successful and fulfill important roles in both aspects of life, business sector & home/private sector?

  • StanaDS

    Stana from Stanascrittersetc said 3 years ago

    this is such an interesting read. Perhaps my business will never evolve to the extent that I can quit my day job, however I have an opportunity to share my ideas, art, and designs with other people. Etsy and other online sites have given me the opportunity to be discovered by people whom would never see my work otherwise. And for that I am thankful.

  • AnnmarieScottSilver

    Annmarie Scott from AllAboutStory said 3 years ago

    Yes, isn't it wonderful! That our world is diverse, that we have work choices, that we have vintage finds that are given a new life, that we have artisan skill sets and creative minds to foster, encourage, admire and enjoy - that we may be life-long learners. Etsy encompasses 'community' - something that small businesses and handmade creators all need. I have 'worked from home' as a freelancer (for mainstream companies and organisations) since I graduated from College. It's another career pathway - it's what I still do, twenty years later! And I find Etsy a great avenue for exercising the wearing of my other 'hats' and for trying on 'new hats'! On-line education - without the full fees!

  • PinkPianos

    Hilary Hahn from PinkPianos said 3 years ago

    I teach art in the public and private sector. Etsy has empowered me to be more than an art's educator and has given me an online platform to BE an artist. I do not see what I do as a hobby AND I have more ambitions...thanks to Etsy! The notion that we women should join the workforce to fight for more equality is redundant....we have been doing that for years:) By becoming business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders in the handmade movement...we are choosing self determination, which is better than any ol' job in the workforce.

  • AllengroveVintage

    Mary from AllengroveVintage said 3 years ago

    The meaning of success and ambition are obviously unique to the individual. I would think that happiness is a major motivation when one maps out their life. Matchar's disapproval of this new domestic movement is ultimately attacking the individual's right to choose their own life.

  • lovelygifts

    Linda from lovelygifts said 3 years ago

    Etsy is a great outlet to explore your creativity in a way that you may never have been able to in the past.

  • xutian1

    ya mo from 2013color said 3 years ago

    What is a woman's greatest happiness, is a home, your husband, even if a full-time wife, most women are willing to

  • OliveSpoonStudio

    Michael and Erin Waite from OliveSpoonStudio said 3 years ago

    I have not read the book. However, as for our little family, I can say that leaving the workforce to earn our livlihoods at home has been the best thing we could have done. Mike worked 70 hour weeks, and pretty much missed the first year of our son's life. When our daughter came along, he knew he needed a drastic change. What had been supplemental income for the previous year, suddenly became our sole income. We work this shop together, selling worldwide via Etsy, and locally, through craft fairs, antique shows, and farmer's markets. We work hard. Possibly harder, and longer hours (combined) than previously. Each month is a wait and see as to income. We always make it. The blessings? Our children are by our side everyday, every moment. We chose this way of life - that of the independent craftsman - to make certain we did not miss out on raising and enjoying our children during their youth. No regrets. It's not easy, but there are no regrets.

  • TikiBarSoap

    Amanda from TikiBarSoap said 3 years ago

    So according to Matchar it is my duty to return to the work force to demand better maternity leave? That makes absolutely no sense. While I do feel that some of the "quit your day job" advice on etsy doesn't work for everyone, I am happier than I have ever been freelancing and spending time with my family, time that I would never be able to get back if I was still slaving away 14 hour days in the lab, making terrible pay and being super stressed out all the time. YOLO and I am not going to sit back and waste my life doing something that society or even my degrees "demand" that I do. I can make that choice for myself, thank you very much. So do what makes you happy, and stop doing what someone else wants you to do. You will find a way to survive regardless, and if that means crafting part time and taking a part time job, or doing your craft on the side at night and on the weekends until you have a viable business plan, then so be it. But I personally love my life now, as someone most of my peers consider "unsuccessful" while during the height of my "success" I was miserable. Success is in the eye of the beholder anyway, and some people like Matchar who ditch crafters may just be a bit envious that we have the gusto to go out on our own without fear of the unknown to make a go of it, rather than just accepting fate and doing the 9/5 corporate grind for the rest of our lives. Oh, and I agree with other comments, that if we all supported local crafters, artists, farmers, etc. instead of the big box stores the world would be a better place. There is nothing like the feeling you get knowing that something was hand made for you. At least, for me anyway :)

  • lauriemills

    Laurie Mills from lauriemills said 3 years ago

    While I was a born "creative" type, society around me made me feel art was not a viable career goal. I dropped out of an unfulfilling workplace when I had kids and only recently (I'm at the Etsy average age of 41) have I found validation and the confidence that this is what I was meant to do. Having a beautiful online shop has actually been the reason I have been able to get my paintings on display into brick and mortar shows, and has led to an interior design commission and licensing agreement. I'm really not sure I would have even known where to begin if it had not been for Etsy. It seems to me, if you can get a good start first in the online market, it only makes it that much easier to bring your wares into the offline market.

  • DonnaWalker

    Donna Walker from DonnaWalker said 3 years ago

    This topic appears to have hit home with Etsy sellers! This week I caught an NPR interview with Emily Matchar so this is a timely post, Juliet. It is interesting if you look at Matchar's bio- she had corporate jobs with a newpaper and later a magazine, then chose to go freelance....aka working independently of the typical American system. So I think the lifestyle of "working from home" appeals to her as well. I think her ideas about the causes of people choosing to drop out of corporate work are accurate, but she misses on the consequences. I worked for a small corporate company and slowly started my Etsy shop, always dreaming of taking it full time, which I did two years ago. So it is no longer a "hobby" or simply a way of dropping out of the public. It is a much better paying, more satisfying job than I could have gotten in the mainstream. And I will tell you, I had very little voice in a corporation. By staying in a deadend job, women will not be able to effect change so easily. If you have a dream, and the will, patience, stamina to pursue it....go for it....Women and Men are empowered by being creative and living a simpler life. It may not be easy, but it is yours!!! And that makes all the difference.

  • DonnaWalker

    Donna Walker from DonnaWalker said 3 years ago

    Way to go Laurie Mills, I agree with your comments. And I am, too, the average Etsy seller age of 41!

  • HappyEarthTea

    Niraj Lama from HappyEarthTea said 3 years ago

    I think small enterprise has been pushed to the periphery in modern times, but no, its not going away. I think Ms Matchar, and actually even us Etsians read too much into the so-called "DIY movement," as it is some recent phenomenon. One of first things I noted upon my arrival in America is the "craft show/festival" in every small town, village and city. Some of these big festivals have been around for years...even 30-40 years. So "crafting" is not something new being that is being adopted by women - and some men - and causing them to drop out of the conventional workplace. The market for handicraft will always be niche - by its very nature of production it has to be - and will always be there. In the meantime, the mass market will continue to meet most of our daily requirements. By the same extension, only a very small minority will be able to "choose" to make an income through their art. Not enough to really endanger the hard-fought and heard-earned social/political/economic rights of women.

  • amandaxmurder

    Amanda said 3 years ago

    I admit I may fulfill a certain stereotype in regards to the handmade, DIY movement. I'm a middle class, college educated hipster-esque person. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I don't sell anything on etsy, but I've been an avid crafty person (knitting, crocheting, sewing, embroidery, and now cooking) for almost 10 years now. I do it more as a creative and constructive outlet. I have always enjoyed the arts, whether it be music, theater, or visual arts. But I never thought I was talented enough to pursue any of these areas professionally. I'm a scientist by education, and my "hobbies" give me a creative outlet that I don't really get at my 9-5 job. Plus they come in handy too. My hand knit items keep me warm in the winter, and fashionable. And by now also being into cooking, I'm saving money by preparing my own meal, and I can make them more healthy too.

  • vobychrissie

    Chrissie Starkman from CharmingChrissie said 3 years ago

    An unintended consequence of two working parents is the vacuum created by an empty home. Corporate America has been delighted to fill the vacuum, not necessarily to anyone's benefit but its own.With no one cooking dinner, fast food has filled much of that vaccum, along with day care, long commutes, and "playdates." We've created an economy where two people HAVE to work, not CHOOSE to work. Home based businesses can fill the void and bridge the gap between work and family. It's not for everyone, but we now have a choice not available just a few years ago.

  • FunDeco

    Heather Stearns from FunDeco said 3 years ago

    I have not read the book, and I doubt I will. From this etsy review, it seems the author of the book equates domestic activity with decreased ambition. Like this article pointed out, doing your own business is very ambitious. I'd like to add something more to that. Who says that doing domestic things, even if you are NOT doing it as business, is not ambitious? Why does ambition have to mean money? There are things that are useful, fulfilling, give meaning to our lives, and bless other people that don't involve making money, and that does not mean there is a lack of ambition. Sometimes it takes more ambition to go against the flow.

  • SEOWebDesign

    Mary from WingsDoveSEOGuides said 3 years ago

    The key words in this article are "Success at entrepreneurship has never been easy." This is true whether the entrepreneur is in technology, runs a restaurant or makes anything handmade. The 80 - 20 rule in life applies on Etsy as well: "80% of the sales are made by 20% of the sellers." There is small percentage of sellers willing and able to put in the time and other resources to become successful. The rest are having a good time with their creative work.

  • LYee507

    Lina from TheChestnutTwig said 3 years ago

    This is a very interesting post and resonates with me. I am in the demographic (48), and on the cusp of making a decision to leave the corporate world, knowing full well it will be a big challenge to become a business owner - and that I may never earn as much as I am making now as a Sr. Client Solutions Manager. I am in agreement with the majority that ultimately happiness is a major motivation when a person makes a big decision like quitting the corporate world to strike out on their own, armed with nothing more than creativity, passion, ingenuity and a lot of guts. Life is too short to not pursue ones passion. Etsy provides a great avenue - and for that I am grateful. I salute everyone who signs up to the challenges of becoming a business owner - whether part time or full time.

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 3 years ago

    Interesting!

  • fulltiltboo

    fulltiltboo said 3 years ago

    Have not read HOMEWARD BOUND and am unfamiliar with Matcher. Still, I sincerely appreciate any dialogue even remotely concerned with the advancement of women. Haven't read LEAN IN either but did read the unfortunate wide variety of pre-critique about Sandberg's alleged inability to relay a constructive credo from such a point of privilege. As an artist-thinker whose preferred medium is the deconstruction of media - classic as much as current - I would be curious to know Matcher's frame of reference in defining gender equanimity in economy. With full deference to my ignorance of her work, I can only ask a question here: Is success defined by patriarchal norms, in particular a Protestant work ethic that was ironically funded originally by slave labor and inherited(either monetarily or socially)by the most common demographic of corporate boards who benefit from a bullet-proof glass ceiling? If that is indeed the model of achievement, it would seem her thesis is quite valid and platforms like ETSY deserve some indictment for failing The Cause. However, if the very notion of success is not at the mercy of an arguably, unhealthy paradigm that assumes work deemed 'feminized' - by nature of its production in non-industrial and therefore masculine-sanctioned spaces - is naturally inferior, than perhaps ETSY actually points to at least the possibility of democratizing the e-economy. Yin culture crashed the stock market in 1929 and stole it in 2008. Such instances, of course, were only the documented years or corruption. Yang culture is no matron by moral authority of historical oppression. Check Margaret Thatcher's tenure - to ironically enough - the irrefutable domestic doyenne, CEO Martha Stewart's jail time. Still, what is the nobler task here? Is it not wise to ask ourselves if boxing gloves in the boardroom are the best use of our resources when those very gloves are not stitched to conform to the contours of our complex digits? The first black millionaire was Madame CJ Walker. Her product? Hair care. The first black female billionaire was Oprah. Her product? Talk. Neither my be ideal examples of progress because they are anomalies. Further, the former encouraged women of color to conform to Euro standards of beauty and much of Winfrey's discourse seems to rely on the assumption that female esteem requires reinvention. Granted, there is substantive merit in the later mogul's ethos. Would the world have been more improved by Winfrey battling in broadcast news long enough to unlikely triumph Katie Couric's brief feat? Winfrey made a difficult choice with no proof of affirmation when exiting her co-anchor chair in Baltimore. Are the masses not far better served by Winfrey's freedom to air ideas past the headlines of the day(And now on her 'own' network - at that)? The answer is for every woman of conscience to consider. This consideration is according to her her own skill, intention in the execution of that skill, and qualified/quantified compensation upon which she must insist within the bounds of this confounded commerce of our Worth. Sounds like Matcher has published a conversation to move an aware citizenry. Every ETSY entrepreneur deserves inclusion in a movement no less thought-provoking.

  • peaseblossomstudio

    Caroline from AnchorRoad said 3 years ago

    I don't feel I have an obligation to be in the workforce to fight the good fight on anyone's behalf. The best things in life are those that feed your soul, not your bank account, and certainly not your obligation to the sisterhood. *****"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!” – St. Catherine of Siena

  • AnastasiaBArts

    Teri Sheffield Tiffany Brown from AnastasiaBArts said 3 years ago

    The DIY and Handmade Movement is all about self-discovery, and empowerment of women that seems to be creating a beautiful shift in power for women around the world. Love it!

  • kateshanks99

    Kate Shanks from ShanksMade said 3 years ago

    In the Atlantic article, Matchar's main objection seems to be to the articles and books out there that offer up Etsy and/or handmade businesses as a panacea for the work-life problems faced by two-income families in the U.S., and, in that, she's got a point -- there are plenty of large-scale efforts to be fought for, like more opportunities for women executives and better family leave for everyone. Honestly, though, it seems silly and unfair to offer up Etsy as a foil for this discussion. Why not take on the libertarian rhetoric that is increasingly dominating political discussion in this country (coming from lobbyists, press and politicians who I assume, for the most part, are not Etsy shop owners)? Write an article on 50 ways we can fight for paid maternity leave, don't insult the small business I'm working hard to establish by dismissing it as "pink collar", ok?

  • richdon1

    Rich and Dona from TheCottageMouse said 3 years ago

    My father who turns 90 years old this June always tells me THIS about life, "IT'S ONLY FOR A LITTLE WHILE". He says yesterday he was 20 years old and with the blink of an eye he is 90. So, the motto to this is we all have to live our lives the way we want to. Not follow the leader or do what you think others would have you do. I am new to Etsy. I bend over a canvas for hours squinting thinking to myself is this worth it. And than a friend will have something nice to say about my work and I get excited all over again. I raised my son alone from the time he was 3 months old and worked for someone else half my life. Scared from week to week that I would not have enough money to put food on the table. Than one day I decided to work for myself and that is when I felt happy. I know many people with high paying jobs outside their homes who are miserable. Life is certainly not about pleasing the masses or being a cloned copy of the OFFICE WORKING WONDER WOMAN. It is about pleasing yourself and those you love. Doing what makes YOU truly happy with the precious time you have in life.

  • mlstotler

    mlstotler said 3 years ago

    I haven't read that particular book, but I have read another one on the handcraft movement. It's called "Makers: The New Industrial Revolution" by Chris Anderson. In it, he argues persuasively that we are moving from a time when big factories mass-produce stuff that is identical, to a time when everything will be individualized. People no longer want what everyone else has. They want things that reflect their identity, their values and their style. People can shop from anywhere in the world and find anything they want online and on sites like Etsy. In addition, digital printers and other technological wonders are making it easy to individualize anything at all. Makers Faires are sprouting everywhere, celebrating everything made by hand -- from sweaters to software. This is a movement, baby. Get on the bus or get left behind.

  • margaretgm

    margaretgm said 3 years ago

    There is no one right answer. Women and families need better choices than what being in the classic workplace offers. Its not a great deal in so many ways even in its best form. Its especially hard on families and children to have parents gone so much of the day, and it decimates our communities and isolates more than we acknowledge. Some pursue that by staying in the workforce trying to change from within, thank you. Some pursue that by blazing new trails and creating alternatives, thank you etsy and all your wonderful sellers for that. Incidentally, these are old 'new' trails; before the industrial revolution most people worked at or near home. Working at home strengthens our communities, and that is a powerful thing, especially if its facilitating spending more time with your kids. And double kudos to those who can do both. Finally, it would be nice if the writer had room for the concept that while money matters, there is more to life than getting the highest wage; ambition can take more forms than being CEO of a big company. Self determination, work-life balance, and the ability to pursue your passion as you define it, particularly in a creative realm, can have a huge positive impact on quality of life, mental and physical health. These new trails are redefining success in a world that badly needs it redefined.

  • FairyBubbles

    Amanda Michel from FairyBubbles said 3 years ago

    I haven't read the book. But I can comment on what drew me into finding a way to make income from my art/crafts. For over twenty years I have worked in a professional job. I make good money, I commute, I stress, I stress some more, I still don't seem to be really anymore ahead of the game than when I started. If fact I was happier when had less. Because of my out of the home professional job I have missed a lot of my childrens lives that can never be gotten back. Get out there, be more than window dressing, you can have it all, I remember the chant...but ya know what personally I have been unfilled for a long time. Way too busy trying to be what I was taught I should be, than being who I am. For me the DIY began years ago when I couldn't afford the luxuries, so I made it myself. Later I used the homebound example to express myself, I do many different types of crafts. And along the way I have found by doing what I enjoy, I have become a happier more balanced person. I wish I would have been able to do this when my kiddos were little. I admit, I am no where near walking away from my miserable professional job at this time, all the stress has created medical issues, and I am too close to a retirement check. But what Etsy has shown me through it all is...it is possible to do what you love. I hope one day to have an awesome online business to hand down to my daughters, or grand daughter, if that is what they want. I am tired of the rat race, the stress. I just want to stay home and whup up something that will make someone else smile. And that is the beauty of Etsy, that I can, all the way around the world:)

  • jennyhansell

    Jenny Hansell from SpinsbyNight said 3 years ago

    I use my art and craft as an outlet for creativity, and Etsy as a way to show case my talents. I am not seeking to become money rich because that is not where my heart is. I stay at home with my kids because I love it and because there is a lack of child care for disabled children in my area I cannot work outside the home. I feel a connection with an item after I wash a lock, card, dye, spin then knit it into a one of a kind item. I am not going to get rich selling my art but my house is full of love.

  • needleandfelt

    Amy from needleandfelt said 3 years ago

    Super encouraging to know the average age of a seller is my age - you would never, ever, ever, guess it by the weekly featured artists. To make sure it wasn't just my imagination, I counted 100 featured artists. I had to guess on a few, so it might be less or a little more, I don't think by much - only 10 featured artists were over 40. See why I was so excited? Please give us more love, Etsy!! We certainly love you! xoxo

  • emily8150

    emily from emilyemilyjewelry said 3 years ago

    now i also found and realized , life have many defferent ways , and also the job or manke money have many defferent ways , mentioned to the job or be asked "which king of job are you doing ? " , befr i had thought there is only one anwser " i do... i am.... " looks should be have a standard job , but in fact from this aritcal and from Matchar , tradiotional is changing , and we can have more choice and determine which way we like , outside work and free time work at home , they are all have two side , the point is we like and we select , partime or full time , but for me , nowe i have a job and open a shop in etsy , like Matchar said " what ever sale good or not or do not sell any thing , still hope it can grow , and also have ambition , hope can do it for a fulltime job .

  • christineshmisteen

    CHRISTINE SHMISTEEN from TheArtOfFinerThings said 3 years ago

    I would rather work my fingers to the bone 18 hours a day doing what I love than work 8 hours a day at something I hate.

  • desertrose0601

    Jennifer Maloney from desertroseknits said 3 years ago

    I recently heard an interview given by Emily and found her ideas interesting. While I don't completely agree w/ her premise that women today feel unfulfilled with modern life and that's why we're seeking tactile crafting, I have found this trend of craft/entrepreneurship very fascinating in general. I purchased this book but haven't read it yet, so look forward to investigating this topic more.

  • sararfernandes

    Sara Fernandes from guiandmi said 3 years ago

    Everyone has the right to their opinion, and so do I! Having work for 14 years being told what to do, dealing with customers and suppliers and at the end of it all losing everything to a crises in my own country? With politicians that would be better to stay at home and have craft... at least the damage wouldn't be as huge as it turned out! Not again thanks! yes I still have an almost full time job (in another country as it is literally impossible to live in my own country!), but I have time for my grown up kids that I didn't have before, for my home and most of all to do what I love... craft! I'm all new to etsy and I haven't sold anything yet... don't know if I ever will... but the chance to read about all the other stores on etsy is inspiring in itself... And although I love reading I'm very picky as to on what books I spend my money on... By the way... I chose not to take maternity leave and it's the thing I regret most... I hope my children will be wiser...

  • catchaleaf

    eva andrews from catchaleaf said 3 years ago

    Food for thought – the whole debate raises interesting points. The mentioning of the Arts and Crafts Movement especially, a valid comparison that until now, had not occurred to me.

  • jbwowdesigns

    Whitney Williams from TheWhitStop said 3 years ago

    In 2011 when my father passed I decided to stop working for corporate america. After a 12 hour shift in high pressure sales I would come home to my parent's house in MA and have a nightcap while watching Weeds and talking to my Dad. He was designing amplifiers for Bose and I was climbing the ladder in my field yet we both felt unfufilled. After years of conversations and ideas , " I wish's" and "If only's" I decided to follow my heart instead of my bank account balance. Though I'm only coming back to Etsy after attempting to build my website , I feel I have already found success. Yeah $67.00 in two weeks isn't much BUT it was enough to buy my business cards and run a couple facebook adds. Now that my views are starting to increase and so is my social media presence I can only imagine how far this will go if I stay commited. In the end , yeah you can make a little bit of money on Etsy , OR you can make a lot , it all depends on how much time you are willing to put into it and how involved you want to get in the Etsy community as well as social media. You can't just put up one lising and expect to make a million dollars by sitting on your bum. The key is to get out there , make treasuries , join teams , write blogs, share posts and pics and keep smiling the whole time because if you really put your heart into it one day you will be on the front page. But don't stop there, browse craigslist , get into the community, sign up for craft shows and showcase your creations in boutique or consignment stores. Your success is only limited to your own limitations. -Whit from The Whit Stop

  • irinisklavounou

    irini from IrinisWorld said 3 years ago

    How heartening it is to read such a full bodied and intelligent response to the questions posed by Juliet. Though coming from a collective group, one senses a strong sense of individual values and good honest opinion that is clearly based on direct personal experience. This kind of integrity is just what is lacking in mainstream society and if that is what is to be gained by fiddling around with ones hands, engaging in arts and crafts and bringing more personal creativity into ones lifestyle, what is there to criticize?

  • giggletree

    Claire Stubbs from giggletree said 3 years ago

    This tendency of some women to scoff at those who make choices they don't agree with damages them more than us. I've had 30 years in offices, now I'm in my own lovely home, looking at the birds and enjoying the sunshine, while I create something with my own hands. There's a bit of envy operating here, methinks. Etsy is what you make of it, you can keep it as a hobby or give it your best and make a proper business. Office lovers should enjoy their air conditioning, office politics and bashing their heads against the glass ceiling. We're happy doing what we're doing, and that's the important thing.

  • MadeByTrouble

    Made By Trouble from MadeByTrouble said 3 years ago

    Thank you for this article. I'll not be original and I'll say that happy people are those who are doing work what they love and are able to earn well enough to live a great life. But how many of us are the lucky ones!? :)

  • destroymodernart

    Ana Louis from destroymodernart said 3 years ago

    Ooooh. I was very very close to looking at this issue for an Anthropology project on "Cultures of Dominance and Resistance" at uni but something else popped up. I'm sorry :( I was able to pay a large section of this years uni fee's with money I'd made by selling my illustrations- not on Etsy but I get more for a image than I get for a whole month of work in a shop. As an artist I am in charge of what I produce, and get a decent sum of money for it which is empowering. But I can see the point about lack of an organised workplace that can fight back against government cuts etc and I can see how this could be used as a way to push women out of a workplace. This needs to be looked at further. I kind of wish I had done that project...

  • shecological

    Sheila Clancy from SheilaForever said 3 years ago

    I think it is fantastic that etsy provides not only great products for the marketplace,and positive opportunities for sellers ( artisans and a variety of other small businesses), but also a community and a forum for debating and discussing important social issues. Well done Etsy!

  • saraaires

    Sara Aires from saraaires said 3 years ago

    I couldn't agree more with the featured comment about the need of not putting this discussion into black and white terms... The idea that everyone or even a significant part of working women will abandon their jobs to exclusively dedicate themselves to craft from home is as unreallistic as the thought that the fight for better working conditions/ rights is only doable at a corporate workingplace. The great thing about Etsy is that it brought power of choice, hence democratized peoples lives. Not to mention the humane and social work involved too. Because this is another way of living and learning, one is not being a machine programmed to a certain number of product paid on a certain amount and leaving no trace in our mind, nothing evolved inside us... Now we are what we make, we meet different people and ways of thought, we have to better ourselves everyday, and not only, but ALSO. we can have both and thats the awesomeness of it all.

  • kathyjohnson3

    Kathy Johnson from kathyjohnson3 said 3 years ago

    After working in the Criminal Justice field for many years, the stress can eat up what's left of your sense of the world in general. I had worked my way up the corporate ladder and made good money but the hours and the toll it took just wasn't worth it anymore. My outlet was always creating with my hands, that's when I was happiest. I was doing internet sales part time (working full time) when the kids were growing up as I had 4 children to support. One day I just decided to go for it, made a few new creations and the rest is history. I have been working from home for 3 years now and have quadrupled my income. If I had known them what I know now, I would have done this years ago. I feel it's all about taking that risk, going for your dream. There are so many talented people here on Etsy it just blows my mind when I see the beautiful items that people create. Everyone I meet that has a talent I tell them to check out Etsy, Being a person who works from home is no less important than those who work outside the home. We all have to find our niche in life where we are happy, have balance and are able to contribute to society in some small way. I feel more empowered now than I ever did when I was working in the outside workforce. For some people it's great, but it wasn't for me. That's what makes this world so fantastic, we are free to make choices for what works for us and our families. When I get emails from brides who say one of my creations had made their wedding so special for them, it's then I know that I made the right choice, I am still helping people (which is what I think I was born to do) and also creating my own happy little world in which I now live. Thanks to Etsy I no longer have to commute on icy roads in the winter, get stuck at work during a winter blizzard and the list goes on and on. To each their own but I know for me this has been the right choice, I love it!

  • jgouveia

    Jacquie Gouveia from jgouveia said 3 years ago

    Very ironic, I came to Etsy's blog this morning because I wanted to read up on others who make a living full time with Etsy. I'm 47, have worked in the corporate world since I was 19 - and never want to work for someone else again! I'm so done with it. I will have to read this book.

  • freshpastrystand

    Deva America from freshpastrystand said 3 years ago

    Thank you for this review. I also have not read the book but would like to add my personal anecdote for the record. After college, I began work at a magazine owned by one of the biggest NY publishers. I really hated my office job and soon ditched it to move into the Hare Krishna temple. There I took up mopping and pot washing, eventually getting trained as an Ayurvedic cook. It was homey and creative. Upon moving out of the temple, I continued cooking, eventually moving to a small farm and starting a teeny tiny jam business. At this time, I was very focused on the home and my 2 toddlers. Oh, I guess I should mention that I went to college a year early and got a degree in English and Women's Studies. Blah blah blah. Last year I began selling on Etsy. Candles, cake stands, tea towels. Not jam. But everything is connected. It has all grown from another. Would love to share more but I need to go tend to my newest toddler. My point is, people's lives and careers and loves cannot be reduced/isolated to a specific moment in time or chapter in a book. It is all a process--organic living breathing. At 38 I look back on my journey not at the narrow pitfalls and specific disappointments but rather the ligaments and connectedness that unify my story. One thing leads to another. The stories people are sharing on this thread are testimony to that. Viva!

  • mags60

    mags60 from mags60 said 3 years ago

    Women have been the tenders of the home fires since the beginning of time. I think that's a powerful job.I don't need an analyst to tell me I'm making a difference for good in the world.

  • meanjeanarts

    Jean from Meanjeanarts said 3 years ago

    I have not read the book and I probably won't. There should be room for all sorts of opinions on the subject. I have been very interested in reading the variety of responses from Etsy members. I agree wholeheartedly with what seems to be the prevailing attitude. Entrepreneurship takes more courage, ambition, discipline, skill-building, and commitment while imparting a sense of achievement that a pay check can't impart. I am relatively new to Etsy with only a few sales, but each sale was accompanied by a thrill that really wasn't just about money. In a world where personal freedom seems to be diminishing, and jobs can disappear overnight; where families scramble to earn a living and dinner often happens at a drive-through on the way to somewhere else, it gives me hope to see so many people choosing to follow that human urge to create something meaningful, beautiful and useful.

  • Kaeti

    Kaeti from KaetiOriginals said 3 years ago

    So interesting. I think a point is missing here. I haven't read the book, yet, so am commenting on my thoughts to what is being conveyed here. I am one of those DIY child of the 60's and 70's when we were rebelling the Viet Nam war and everything from the establishment. We made our own clothes, bread, beer and wine, food, jewelry- everything you can can think of. It was a time of tree hugging, environmentalism -a return to the earth, " Flower Power, man! " We diverged from that in the late 70' when we lost our innocence and returned to corporate America. We lost so much as a generation when that happened. Everything was based on the almighty dollar. Nothing really had any meaning. As a counselor in a community college by day, artist/metal smith by night, I am more inclined to side with Etsy. I am grateful that we have a way to communicate our views through our art/handmade items. People are hungry for self expression and meaning in their life and hunger to find their voice. We have cut budgets in the schools, so children have no art or much music or physical education to learn how to be able to share their feelings and their view of the world. Instead, they turn to drugs, or other crazy behaviors because they also are hungry for self expression. Why do we cut the very things that enrich our lives when we get older? One reason is because we, as a society, do not value art, and yet, the numbers in Etsy, seem to say the opposite. I can't say now many times I am so grateful I had a wonderful art experience in High school. I went back to college 18 years after HS and was amazed at how little students knew about art and media and they were majoring in art! Etsy has given me a way to show my love of handcrafting and art and make some money in the process. I dream of doing this full time someday. People have a deep need to be able to communicate non-verbally, and through their eyes and hands, and souls, are able to do just that. Obviously, this must be true, for how many thousands of artisans have found Etsy and other online vending options to show the world their voice? How wonderful! It's the 60's all over again with an electronic twist! Thank you Etsy!

  • boutiquebohem

    Kim from BoutiqueBohem said 3 years ago

    The boutique experience is hot. Hotels, grocery stores all the chains across all industries are trying to incorporate a boutique feel with their ads and marketing material. People are looking for unique, niche and custom. We are bored with mass production and chains even though we still buy it. But people buy it because they don't know where else to go. If we could produce a modern/exciting campaign that advertised on television -- sales/traffic/interest would not just be good, it would explode. The market is ripe for handmade, unique goods they just have to get pulled into the site and our shops. Of course this is nothing new. Just thought I'd mention it. Now where to get millions of dollars...hmmm.

  • mylifeinviolet

    deborah jacobs from mylifeinviolet said 3 years ago

    my son is a stay at home dad, while my daughter in law works. all of my family constantly bother him about, when are you going to get a job? he HAS a job, being a parent 24/7. he has done so much to improve the quality of life of my grandsons. it's still a stigma. and worse for men. if he worked, what he made would go to daycare. i am so proud of what he is doing.

  • huajin723

    zhou zhou from MemoryZhou said 3 years ago

    Very interesting thoughts by everyone.

  • mylifeinviolet

    deborah jacobs from mylifeinviolet said 3 years ago

    these comments made me weep. i feel so much love for you all and how you feel. it makes me feel strong and necessary as a woman and strong as an entrepreneur and as a human being.

  • jilleyanbean

    Gillian Anthony from Englishtrifles said 3 years ago

    Well said Sheila Clancy! I myself have been a working chef for most of my adult life. I was laid off my corporate job (of 15 years) at age 58 and spent six months trying to find another culinary job. Not happening... these days, it's a job market for young people. Besides, I am tired. Etsy has given me hope, that I can still contribute to our family income, while doing something a little softer after years of hard labor. I get to remain creative, still use my business skills and I choose my own hours. Perfect! Not to mention, I have met a lot of really nice people, from all over the world! I refuse to believe that I can only make a side income selling online... I am gonna make it happen! After reading the responses to this article, I (we) see that there are many differing reasons why people sell on Etsy. Some may choose not to feed the corporate beast, but some of us have outlived our usefulness (but not our abilities) within that arena. Platforms such as Etsy, in essence mean that many women like myself get to remain productive longer and can feel less "Put out to pasture!".

  • boutiquebohem

    Kim from BoutiqueBohem said 3 years ago

    P.S. My conspiracy theory: the author was sponsored by a retailing conglomerate who sees their sales nipped at and heading in the small manufacture and distribution direction and is trying to stop it.

  • ArtYak

    Sara Cavic from inamber said 3 years ago

    I have not read the book. But I disagree with the idea that women who choose to enter into business for themselves, (whether they are ultimately successful or not) are somehow marginalized.

  • Lualdi

    Marina Lualdi from MarinaLualdiArt said 3 years ago

    Just like extra-curricular activities in school tend to boost academic grades and performance in other areas, an on the side craft business is likely to boost performance of your desk job or job as a mother. Variety of life keeps us from becoming robotic & boosts ambition.

  • CafePrimrose

    Amanda Gynther from CafePrimrose said 3 years ago

    I agree with both parties to a certain extent. Because I do feel kind of disenfranchised by Etsy, and yet it is the best soap box to climb on for what I do. There are also many features of Etsy that I like very very much. Though, I gotta say there is a certain degree of truth in the position she takes about selling a false dream. I get lots of great tips and pointers here definitely. But none of them are specific and no matter what I do or how much advertising I pay for it seems to bring people to Etsy rather than to me. I have seen my own photos used by etsy for advertising Etsy weddings on facebook, and when I clicked the link it took me to Etsy's front page rather than *my* shop. And though I feel honored to represent Etsy that way, I have never once come across any of my stuff actually on your front page, just in your advertisements to sell stuff for the carefully selected not me people for your front page. Yet my photos have still qualified as good enough for your right side facebook ads.... I mean to me, that does kind of smack of something a little fishy. But most important I think about Etsy, is the way it brings creative people together and that I can not say I don't appreciate. That is more valuable than all the gold out there. As it enriches all of us which then filters out into the work that we do. I find there is a certain amount of truth in both sides of the argument.

  • Ebrown2503

    Eleanore from FiberBeads said 3 years ago

    Our library does not own a copy but I've put in a request for it. I have one major concern about the idea of 'homeward bound' women or men. If their working life is consumed by a job that doesn't actually involve a formal paycheck that pays into the social security system, then these women who think they are contributing to their family are seriously setting themselves up for a dependent scenario into old age. I know, 20-30 somethings feel like it is far off in the future--but it is NOT. More often than not life will grab hold of these women and a glass ceiling will be the least of their worries. If a formal paycheck is part of their Etsy business and credit towards social security is being earned, then I'm their biggest fan. If they not earning social security credit AND contributing to an IRA or pension plan, then they are setting themselves up to be the bigger burden to their family than they can imagine. Read this book, but also factor in the future. No social security when you retire you say? That's an argument for quitters. Please think about your future as it applies to what you are doing today!

  • sheilabuckmaster

    sheilabuckmaster said 3 years ago

    How exciting to affirm the intelligence, heart, and thoughtfullness of the Etsy community. Reading reactions to Matchar's post confirms the importance of thinking for oneself and following the heart/soul unique to each of us. I "came of age" in the late rsixties, when "the establishment" was to be avoided and co-op food stores to be embraced. Small is beautiful was our beacong. Despite attempts of advertisers to get us to "need" what they are selling and pundits to say which paths lead to the best ends, values are personal. Indeed, how can you argue with the idea of creating and community? There are studies that show a palpable link between creating with one's hands and mental health. Makes sense. . . Thank you, Etsy, for adding to the conversation in a most meaningful and fun fashion. I cherish the opportunity to buy directly from the person who has created what I am buying. ALL of my Etsy transactions have been a joy. I adore each and every entrepreneur who has brought some joyful light to my home/life. . .and those of the friends with whom I share gifts.

  • irishandmore

    irishandmore from irishandmore said 3 years ago

    Time is my most valuable commodity, and I always try to use it thoughtfully. Because of this, I don't read all of the articles here, let alone the comments. But, this morning, I invested some of my time to read through these posts. I'm heading on to my studio now where I will think about what I have read while I work, and reap the immediate returns of this investment: Inspiration - so many wonderful stories of strong artists Inclusion - I am not alone Confirmation - the world is changing (for the better) Thank you, ETSY!

  • Motleycouture

    Motleycouture from Motleycouture said 3 years ago

    Etsy has provided a window to the world. One click and you are in countries where artists having amazing talents. To have Etsy provide an avenue to the many talented artists out there is wonderufl. Don't know what I would do without Etsy.

  • INeedAStitch

    Katy from INeedAStitch said 3 years ago

    Working from home selling your crafts IS a job. Etsy takes a lot of planning and hard work on both ends for the seller and provider. Everyone is allowed their own opinions though...

  • LaughingCrowKnits

    Jeannine Brogan from LaughingCrowKnits said 3 years ago

    As for me, I did not enjoy working outside my home, I did not enjoy being in the workplace at all! I needed to go home, reconnect with my femininity, my creative self, and (big shock) my family and my man. Going out to work was stealing my life away and I felt I was losing more than I was gaining. Staying home and crafting gave me a cozy, happy life and a little money to (yes) pay my bills! Now I can concentrate on writing and loving the people who matter the most.

  • ShoeClipsOnly

    kathy johnson from ShoeClipsOnly said 3 years ago

    Although it may be wonderful to have a great paying corporate job, it's still important to have the "people like us" selling from home, having a business on the web, it balances the workforce and workplace. I am where I want to be in life, living comfortably from my own home and I like it that way. It may not be great for everyone but for me it works wonderfully. God Bless America!

  • SweetRhymeDesigns

    Christine Roberts from SweetRhymeDesigns said 3 years ago

    "We also disagree that running a domestic enterprise equates with less ambition." Thank you for this! It's important to hear. :)

  • PammiRCreations

    Pammi from PammiRCreations said 3 years ago

    I am so tired of hearing that ambition is equated with abandoning the home. As a woman who appreciates the rights I have now, thanks to Feminism, I am a little tired of hearing that putting my family behind my career is also feminism. I thought being empowered meant not being restricted by society. Raising children and having a wonderful home they feel loved in does make me feel empowered. What makes me feel helpless is becoming the slave to the workforce I have had to become in order to pay the bills and keep my home. Etsy may give me a market in order to be empowered and do the job I feel, as a woman, I was called to do. Anyone that has been a stay at home mom knows it is a real job. The kind that takes real endurance, is extremely empowering and for which there is no PTO. Also the benefits are priceless and last for lifetimes, not just the calendar year. I thought this was about woman making their own choices, not having certain woman make the choices for all of us. Isn’t this how feminism started? We were tired of men making our choices and being our voice. A change in gender doesn’t change the argument against this sort of dictatorship.

  • llangendijk

    Linda from northseavintage said 3 years ago

    Don't people usually write books from their home? Maybe miss Matchar should write about how women shouldn't be writers.... Or maybe women should stop criticizing other women for their choices. No man would ever fault another man for starting his own business. I celebrate all women and men who choose to be independent from the corporate world. Even writers :)

  • MaryCaroleRose

    Carole said 3 years ago

    Matchar also seems to think that not making a huge profit is the definition of failure at small business, which is simplistic. Most small businesses don't turn a profit in year one, sometimes even year two, sometimes longer. Using up or not having capital is a huge reason for this - note, small business failures - not specific to Etsy, but all small business enterprises nationally, men and women alike - fail more than 50% of the time. Specifically in California, the rate of failure is actually 69% of all small businesses. The fact that Etsy provides a safe starting point to create and grow a business without all the associated costs of start-up should be an encouragement, not a dismissal of it's usefulness, and it certainly isn't indicative of "success" or "failure" on those terms.

  • GoldAdore

    Gillian from GoldAdore said 3 years ago

    Wonderful blog post. I love reading all the replies/opinions - lots of great stories here! As a full time Etsy seller, my shop is by far the most ambitious professional endeavor I have ever undertaken. I do much of the same job that I did in my previous 'day' job, just now for myself, on my own terms. Etsy provided me the platform to allow success, and break my glass ceiling. Rather than 'dropping out', I feel I've finally entered the workforce as an equal to my male counterparts (something that before I felt I was not).

  • BookCraft

    Courtney Rae Dydek from BookCraft said 3 years ago

    I've not read it so perhaps I'm wrong, but it does sound like she is assuming that owning an Etsy store doesn't just begin in the home, but also ends there. If Etsy store owners were stuck in their home period regardless of successes, it would be disempowering. But an Etsy business does not end in the home, it can expand until the women is not just a small business owner, but an employer. And I think creating women employers is a much greater leap towards equality than women fighting against their employers. Etsy doesn't promise that kind of success, anymore than Ebay, Amazon, or a Bank Loan promises that success, it is up to the owner to create that success. But Etsy makes it easier & cheaper than ever to obtain it. What some people don't realize, is that doesn't mean it is going to be easy & cheap.

  • susio

    Susanne Ryan from TheFeltedGnomeKnows said 3 years ago

    Creating an at home business has allowed me to be available for my special needs child. I had to make it happen immediately, not wait for a policy change in a corporation or be dictated by a higher up who was not interested in my home life. It has given me a chance to stretch in my creativity and my business savvy . I am far more ambitious in creating my own success because I believe in my art. I can't say that was the case working for a company.

  • nativestrandsjewelry

    Rachel from PeppersJewelry said 3 years ago

    Thanks! I like to think that people who prefer to do/make things themselves have a good eye for creativity. I think that they have an ability to see what could be, and decide to go for it. That attitude may well be some of the impetus behind the trend mentioned in the article.

  • Nemki

    Nemki from nemki said 3 years ago

    I;ve been thinking a lot about this subject recently. Thank you for this.

  • deadsetbabes

    dead set babes from deadsetbabes said 3 years ago

    really interesting read, thank you for sharing!

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger said 3 years ago

    I would never look at myself who left a corporate job, to be in business for myself as a negative thing. I look at self sufficient women as strong and powerful. I feel there is truly a trend toward people being entrepreneurs, whether they are women or men. There will always be women in the workplace demanding equal pay. In our society of many raising families on their own, there will be the need still, unless of course they become entrepreneurs too!!

  • theindiehandmade

    Ombretta from IndieLab said 3 years ago

    For may years world has ben running towards globalization and uniformity of people. A great part of it is still running this way, and won't stop so easly. But a grea part of it is changing to local and handmade, selfmade way of life. Could we find a good balance, where all people could choose their own favourite way of life, under the respect of the enviroment and human dignity?

  • woods2010

    Michelle Woods from PaperFolkGlasgow said 3 years ago

    As a female I get quite irate when women are only seen as having value when they are climbing the ladder in a corporate environment. I live in Britain which has laws about maternity leave/pay (including being able to transfer maternity leave to your partner) so maybe I feel less pressure in this respect. It also depends on how you define 'ambition'. I am a manager within a museum and I use Etsy as a place to engage with other makers and sell some of my products along the way. I don't think I need to do one or the other, I can do both -that's the beauty of being able to take on lots of different roles and challenges throughout your life.

  • kristinasmiley

    Kristina Smiley from CreativeEndeavorsKS said 3 years ago

    Interesting opinions! My use of my shops here on Etsy are as a creative outlet. My craft is ever evolving and it is great for me to see my own growth. I am a licensed teacher and my hubby is a farmer with his own landscaping business so we do not rely on income from here so I am able to reinvest my earnings into my craft endeavors. I have always been interested in handmade and feel blessed to have the talents to make useful and beautiful items.

  • bradleymaria

    Maria Bradley from MeryBradley said 3 years ago

    Interesting subject and opinions! I think that as everything in life, it all depends on what you value the most! Ambition is always oriented to catch up your wishes, so it will be different if you want one thing or another, obviously :) Personally, what I value the most are my family, my friends and my freedom, so I am really thankful to life for giving me the chance to manage my own small business from home. I really love my work, and even if my business is really really really small yet, I believe it will grow with some time, lots of effort and ambition, and of course enjoying it!

  • bryonraper

    Bryon Raper from PEOPLESLEATHER said 3 years ago

    I feel out of place literally. I have worked hard my entire life. Did 10 years in the Navy and cracked every book on aviation I could find in order to obtain my Airline Transport Pilot license. For what? I have found that I am nothing more than a part number in an industry that actually is showing an ever declining pay scale. All that work for nothing really. Accept a good dose of contempt and frequent reminders that I should be greatful I have a job. If you ask me, that is selling yourself short. My awesome wife works for a clothing designer that aside from college has never actually put in a day on the floor or I the ware house. Boss lady watches the workers over a camera system and will scold the, for removing clothing from packaging to put a tag on them. So there is Shirley, selling herself short and getting reprimanded for doing an awesome job. We started our ETSY shop with a clear set of goals. Start small and snowball it into a brick and mortar arrangement where we can suport ourselves and stand or fall on our own work rare than some idiots opinion who has never done our jobs. In just 19 months we have had enough success to purchase all of the equipment we will need for a store. I fail to see how anyone could write a book with that view point and actually have a straight face when she sells it. How sad it is that someone would make their living from writing down on others. We have added a goal. Pull and support as many people as we can UP. I don't want my legacy to be one of negativity and servitude to an uncaring master.

  • genisepark

    Genise Park from genisepark said 3 years ago

    Not sure she has really watched the job market evolve in the past 10-20 years. I would rather be my own boss then someone else minion. Working for myself makes me feel more empowered and happy than to work for a corporation and I have done it for years and love it. Did she write the book at home or for some corporation?

  • anordicrose

    virginie lykins from anordicrose said 3 years ago

    The world has changed. I have four children and a husband who works full time, if we tried to live off only his income we would not be able to cover the basic bills ( believe me, we have tried ! ) When my youngest was old enough to go to kindergarden I hit the job market. I've been working for a couple years, and at times I do miss being a home-mum who has sandwiches ready for her husband when he comes home from work. But, remembering how tight, and frustrating life was financially in those days when I had time to bake and clean.... makes me thankful for my present employment. I started my two ETSY shops, and website years ago... it's my creative outlet, and as I say to people who know me well ' My back up plan'. The illusion that I can make a living off of it... wore out pretty quickly when I realised that selling in US $$ was not going to cut it when I live in one of the most expensive country in the world- Norway. I have thought many times of just calling it ' quits' and putting more energy into finding full time work..... but then I would miss my customers, my creative outlet, and my ' back up plan'. As a busy mother of 4 children aged 7, 8, 9, 10, including two with autism, working as much as I am able, up to 80% at times, working on my site, and keeping up with two ETSY shops, a blog, and a local site similar to ETSY... who would dare say I am lazy, taking the easy road, or being less ' ambitioned' then any other professional !

  • emberair

    emberair from EmberandAir said 3 years ago

    I'm not sure I really agree with this per say.

  • BettyTurbo

    agnes barton-sabo from BettyTurbo said 3 years ago

    My feeling is that We Are Makin Our Own Rules Here, and that goes for all aspects of life and business! Previous definitions of and assumptions about "workplace," "the job market," and "business" do not necessarily apply. Creating your own alternative OR working to alter an existing system from within both have merit and the possibility to create change, whether we're talking about the business world or the homeschooling issue. Holding on to antiquated pictures of what "success" and "ambition" look like is part of the old school corporate mentality that praises aggressive extroversion above all other types of personalities. What luck for people who don't fit that picture that sites like Etsy allow a whole new way of doing business, on terms where one's own strengths and potential can lead to whatever flavor of success suits you best! I'm writing this from my HOME studio, by the way, where I work my ass off every single day. It's not for everyone, but it's CERTAINLY not "giving up."

  • MyFiberFolly

    Betsy Alspach from MyFiberFolly said 3 years ago

    I find the perspective that Matchar takes as being rather short sighted. To believe that society loses out when woman are no longer part of the traditional workforce seems to indicate that we must all spend our time following traditional jobs. We don't need to blindly follow corporate leaders in order to contribute to society, In fact one of the losses to our society has been fewer woman having the luxury of being able to volunteer time to causes that improve our society in unique ways. Stating that Etsy promotes a false dream indicates that people are incapable of figuring out for themselves what will work and not work. Etsy does not offer so-called home business opportunities that trick people into buying merchandise up front and then selling it themselves. It gives individuals the chance to promote their own businesses and then it is up to those business owners to do their best and see what happens. Does Matchar feel we are not capable of thinking or acting on our own, and contributing to society, if we aren't at the office every day?

  • AnnieHowes

    Annie Howes from AnnieHowes said 3 years ago

    Everything comes from nothing. Whether it's your kitchen, a spare room in your home, a studio, or a garage, a space is a space. There are no guarantees that being in any marketplace will bring success. There's much more to it that opening a shop. If there is any doubt about how the "work from home using your own vision" can be the change and opportunity one needs in their life, see if you recognize the names and companies in the following list: Jeff Bezos started his company in a garage. Steve Jobs started his company in a garage Walt Disney started his company in a garage. Google was started in a garage Harley Davidson began in a garage Hewlett-Packard was begun in a garage Lotus Cars was also founded in a garage Maglite began in a garage Mattel began in a garage Yankee Candle Company began in a garage If we are not to dream, then what? If these successful entrepreneurs had not acted on a dream, think of the vast number of people who might not be gainfully employed.

  • thevintagenestshop

    Jeff Lee from thevintagenestshop said 3 years ago

    I started my business a few years ago on Etsy under a different shop name and a completely different product line. That particular business did not produce enough income to be considered my full-time job but I worked hard at it and learn so much about presenting my product to the public, I improved my picture taking abilities, learned a lot about social networking, how to set up festival displays etc from being a seller on Etsy and hanging out in the forums. I was so inspired by the stories of success, My business toke many twist and turns over the last 4 years and I have now moved away from selling online (eventhough I would like to add that potiential revenue stream back by the fall of 2013) I now have two 300 square foot booth spaces at two different Antique/Artisan Malls and my own free standing shop/studio space in a quaint downtown and just hired my first part-time summer employee. So, I say that to say I may not be a Etsy success story and currently do not generate any sells via the site but it was here on Etsy that I was inspired and educated on running a creative business. Etsy lived up to its hype for me it's just that my business toke a different direction than online sells. I am sure there are other stories of how Etsy provided the low threshold to enter the creative business world and their business moved in a different direction but it turned into a full-time profitable, liveable incomce business. I purchase supplies from Etsy sellers, return to the site just for the inspiration and reading the success stories. There is always good information here too.

  • ItchinStitchin

    Amanda Wytas-Ackermann from ItchinStitchin said 3 years ago

    Oh my the author forgot to mention one key thing when saying "Etsy is peddling a false dream" - your shop depends on you! A dream is just that a dream unless you act on it. I know a couple people who started shops, took ok pictures, their homemade items were ok, and they were disappointed when they didn't sell anything the first week. Quickly they gave up. This is not the fault of Etsy but simply on society, where people want to put out as little effort as possible and get a big return.

  • stagebunnysyarn

    Catalina from SkeinDeepYarn said 3 years ago

    Specifically regarding the comment about women leaving the workplace and "the public eye", I can assure Ms. Matchar that I make myself and my business known to anybody who will listen. I am far more ambitious working for my own dream than for a corporation's coffers. And the "homespun" lifestyle is what I want, and I don't think my search for life/work balance is going to cause the collapse of society. Remember when they said women IN the workplace would do the same thing and we laughed (after we told them off, of course.)? But back then, it was never about forcing women into the workplace, but allowing them to choose. Shouldn't we keep feminism more about individual lifestyle choices than hive mentality? *To clarify, "hive mentality" being about society, not working for a corporation. If that's a woman's choice, awesome for her!

  • misspoppys1

    Marie Allen from misspoppys1 said 3 years ago

    For me, its never been a thought-out process, its all happened to me out of necessity or by accident. Im a 40 something, who was never able to get my career back on track after I had children. Due to the economic downturn, employment opportunities are even more scarce, so Ive had to take work where I can. I had to have a creative outlet which is what my etsy shop does for me. I dont expect to make a million pounds and what I put into it, I get out. I`ve met a heap of interesting inspirational people. If I carried on with my previous career, I would have never met them. Thats my choice though, everyone can make their own choices!

  • urbaneye

    Victoria Hopkins from urbaneye said 3 years ago

    Before setting up my shop in Etsy I worked as a Project Management consultant with a good salary. I quit my job because it made me miserable and set up my Etsy shop. I was planning to start a family and wanted my Etsy shop up and running inreadiness for motherhood. It has worked even better than I had hoped. I have a creative outlet, I can work my hours around my baby daughter and it gives my brain a workout so my world is not just nappies and toddler groups. I wanted to be a fulltime mum but needed to work too. Etsy has allowed me to do both. My shop is doing so well it is well on its way to providing me with the kind of salary I was earning as a consultant. I have not 'dropped out' out of the work place, I have stayed in it and carved out a role which suits me far better than a conventional job. Who said we had to work 9-5 to have a career. And heres another little nugget, if eveyone like me who owned their own business recruited one person, in the UK we would have no unemployment!

  • CrystalsDesignMind

    Crystal from IKANDiiAccessories said 3 years ago

    Most of the people my in my age group 20 to 30 are either unemployed or underemployed. I would rather us try and make and sell something of positive value rather than negative value. If everyone had an Etsy shop they would get first hand knowledge and skill on what it takes to even open your shop aka start your own business. As the article points out more retailers are pointing towards handmade style items. They don't do that because it looks nice, they do it because they have researched and found that handmade items make money and they are on-trend. I do agree with Matchar in the fact that certain markets are saturated, like jewelry, on Etsy which makes it harder to successfully sell your items. It just means i have to work harder and promote, promote, promote. I just wish I would have known about Etsy sooner than I did!

  • susio

    Susanne Ryan from TheFeltedGnomeKnows said 3 years ago

    Everything old is new again. I am 49 years old and in the 70s my mother took time off from work to take care of us. During that time she started a Village wide food coop, sewed our clothes, made puppets to raise money for our local school, started a garden and froze food for the winter. I believe that she accomplished more during that time at home then she ever considered economically. When my daughter was 5 I too left my job to grow my own food, sew her clothes, make her toys and yes, start a business. Not so different from my mother in the 70s. The only way I can see as a woman to balance both worlds of family and work is to integrate them and I think in my world all are better for it.

  • realfaery

    realfaery from realfaery said 3 years ago

    I started Etsy as a hobby, but a few years ago I decided to follow a dream and ended up here as a business owner:) Last year my husband joined me and we opened up our supply shop too. This is not an easy life, as we live out of Etsy. We also invested a lot into materials, fabrics, wool, silk etc. There is no weekend when we do not come here to do our daily job. THere is no vacation when we do not come here on a daily basis. Although we became the slaves of this online business, it gives us the biggest freedom. We can move around the world with our nomadic lifestyle, I can sit under a tree during rain in France, or on the beach at the sea in England, or on the roof of a house scaring away monkeys in India, Etsy comes up the same on the screen of the computer. Isn't it great? But we still have a long way to go develop our business here. But we work on it:)

  • dominna

    Katrina Dzerkale from Dominna said 3 years ago

    DIY most defiantly empowers me as a woman and as a person. And everyone, who compliments or supports this part of my life, is giving me a mental fist-bump, saying ''you go girl ! '' . And Etsy is amazing place where to look around on your fellow sellers, get inspiration and see, that - yeah, you are not alone and you can do your own thing.

  • HomesproutKnits

    Allison from HomesproutKnits said 3 years ago

    This girl is popping up all over the place in my newsfeed. She visited a food swap that I also attend. She seems a bit confused about why women have chosen "etsy like" employment. For me, I have a full time job as a teacher, and a part time job as a wedding photographer. I'm definitely working outside of the home. I just really love to knit, and to garden. It just makes me happy. Really, that's all...

  • mizdarlin

    Wendi from mizdjewelry said 3 years ago

    Although I'm outside Matchar's age-targeted group, I have to disagree with many of her conclusions, as presented in this short article.. I have been a Maker all my life, and started selling my work as a teenager (in the '60s) and continued to do so into the 70's and 80's...long before Etsy or any 'movement'...but I always worked outside the home as well... Now I am retired from a full-time 'career' at least as defined by Matchar... and engaged almost full-time in the 'career' that was always my desired one..that of creating, and, hopefully selling... Etsy has never been, for me, a great selling place..I've learned to accept that..I sell regularly at the various outdoor farmer's markets/craft fairs and indoor venues quite regularly, where I live, and consider myself a minor success..and that is enough for me. Etsy serves as a great introduction to my work, and a landing site for anyone who wants to see more than they do at my various markets, or order later... I crafted before, during and after my 9 to 5 days were over, and will probably continue to do so until I die. Or paint, or design, or something...it's always about those primary human tools, eyes and hands, for me.... To imply that we are somehow 'betraying' our sisters who choose the corporate world is as wrong as possible...what happened to "you can do it all.." as a mantra...? I found that I could do it all....just to varying degrees of dedication, over the years. I admit, I have not read the book, but the conclusions, if they are indeed as the author of this critique states, sound more like the frustrations of someone who remains outside the creative process.

  • tracyfalbe

    Tracy Falbe from tracyfalbe said 3 years ago

    Participating in institutions that you wish to change is not necessarily a good use of energy, which is limited. People turning to alternatives to pointless insecure jobs that contribute nothing to humanity or the ecosystem are seeking to develop a new culture, a new way. If enough people abandon institutions that will change them or hopefully make them fail so new and better institutions can arise. I also disagree with the notion that women and men embracing a domestically oriented existence is a step backward. Consider that leaving your home and family for extended periods every day for the majority of your life is not the foundation of a good culture. It's people scrambling around a rat race with little time to think. I joined Etsy not thinking that I would make a bunch of money. I joined because I wanted to be part of it.

  • PaperWoodVintage

    Kristy from PaperWoodVintage said 3 years ago

    I think every woman needs to do what is important to her, whether it be going to work every day outside of the home or working from home. And, working from home can mean anything from caring for your child (which is a lot of work!) to running a shop here on Etsy or both. I do not think that this is any less "empowering" to women. I agree with Juliet. The fact that more and more women are starting their own businesses is pretty darn ambitious....and, I dare say more empowering. Heck, I am my own boss, I answer to no one. I am constantly thinking about how I can improve my business...what can I do to stand out? what can I do to attract more customers? what do I need to change? You never want to be stagnant. I am developing mad thinking skills. :) And I must add: I am a firm believer that change begins at home. I also firmly believe that my most important job is being a mom and a wife. That doesn't say I contribute any less to society than someone who works outside of the home. My husband, children, family, and friends have a great respect for what I do. How can one say that one job is less important than another? My husband and I have a partnership. As much as he would love to come home to a wife in kitten heels that brings him his pipe and newspaper it ain't gonna happen! I don't let him smoke in the house. ;)

  • FoxyGloves23

    Marie Cashin from MEmbroideries said 3 years ago

    Retreating into your inner life is a good thing, especially after doing some activism to make the world a better place. Knitting, here I come!

  • SassySisterVintage

    Kim Strozewski from SassySisterVintage said 3 years ago

    I am who I am and doing what I Want to be doing and I'm HAPPY. Happy that I can stay home with my kids, happy to have an awesome supplement to husband's income, happy that I can pay for vacations, happy to be my own boss and No one else is telling me what to do. If this equates to less ambition then Matchar doesn't know what ambition is. This business has been more successful than I every imagined and I'll be the first to be laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Mindtheowl

    T. Rebel from RebelHooksV said 3 years ago

    I do not like the equation "women working from home = hobby" nor I like the word "domestic" with its negative connotation. I think the whole things goes beyond sex distinctions, this modern society has turned people into slaves working all day for somebody else and I see no reason to consider the diy / self entrepreneurship thing as a "hobby for bored women". I met many artisans or professionals - males and females - working hard to create their own business, from IT professionals to linguists and artisans, and I personally think that being your own boss is a great way to earn a living. A difficoult and passionate path with risks and satisfactions. Of course I think Etsy has to sell itself as the best place for crafters which want to gain customers and visibility but I find the whole consideration about it offensive for all the people which work hours and hours to create their handmade biz. It is not something about bored stay at home moms but about PEOPLE just wanting to create something, be it just pretty items or a consistent income. Sorry for my English, I am Italian ;) T.

  • Maeg8

    Maegan Heise from UndertheStars8 said 3 years ago

    I am trying to be an at home crafter after spending nine years as a cook in a wide variety of kitchens. The work paid garbage and the amount of harassment and abuse I had to tolerate in my field of work was disgusting. I was fired when my son developed severe pnumonia and I had to stay home with him for two weeks. After that, I threw my whites and apron away and have just recently began to try to support my house this way. Chances are, it'll probably be a side hobby if things don't turn out, but am I hopeful!

  • muddywaterscc

    Diane Waters from muddywaterscc said 3 years ago

    I agree that each Etsy shop owner defines their level of success. It is true that few of us will be able to earn enough from our shops to quit our day job, at least within a short period of time. If you go into this venture with unrealistic expectations, you will surely be disappointed. However, Etsy allows us to expand our exposure beyond our immediate neighborhood and community. It also gives us access to other people, like us, who are artists, craftspeople, collectors, etc. who are interested in handmade, or vintage. This community bond is valuable all by itself. As for success, I personally am more interested in the act of creation. But, there is only so much you can sell or even give away to your coworkers, friends and family. Etsy allows me to recover some of my costs, which is useful. But, perhaps more importantly, it gives me pleasure to send my items to someone who really likes and admires my work. To me, that is success. I know that I will never earn enough from my Etsy shop to quit my day job, but that's OK.

  • seasidecloth

    seasidecloth from seasidecloth said 3 years ago

    So many great comments here..still reading through all of them. There's a snippet of my thoughts in so many before, so I'll just add this; It's great to have a forum and feedback that presents both sides and as a seller we can make our own decisions that best suit our goals and lifestyle.

  • PreciousLostThings

    Kristi Howard from PreciousLostThings said 3 years ago

    As someone who has withdrawn from the corporate world to focus on home and my passions, I never did so with the idea that it was my path to great riches, at least not the monetary kind. I believe she might be slightly missing the point. Withdrawing from the corporate world and as much as possible from a consumer economy in favor of DIY and self sufficiency is not something that you can turn around and measure the success of by looking at monetary gain. I feel as a woman, I have been sold somewhat of a bill of goods; the idea that my worth as a woman and my success is measured by how many hours of the day I am killing myself to turn a profit for someone else, and how much money I am earning doing so. I spent years doing this before I wised up to the idea that MY life, MY family, MY stuff was way more important than my employer's bottom line. So selling things online, and making art, and running a home business....that is only part of the picture. It's the part that helps me buy groceries, but I'm also striving not to BUY as much, not to need as much. And I never went into the idea of that thinking I was going to be making tons of money because that isn't the point. There are plenty of things in the world more important than money, and that is what women and people in general are waking up to.

  • ArtofMelodious

    Melodie Papp from ArtofMelodious said 3 years ago

    That's to problem with our society... it's like there's always a 'right way' to do things. I think its empowering if women can work from home and be good mothers. Honestly what is more important than bring up an emotionally healthy secure child? And giving them the tools to go out and work and love and give to the society. Etsy is a wonderful way to generate money and do what 'you' want to do.. instead of having to work some part-time job that's draining on your marriage, friendships and life. Perhaps I am bias because that's been a dream of mine and having Etsy as a tool to pursue a dream... heck I think it's a wonderful thing.

  • daniellevmt

    Danielle from RiverValleyJewelry said 3 years ago

    I disagree with Matchar that women working from home on their own businesses is somehow "lowering the bar" for women in the workforce. I built my business with my own 2 hands - I helped RAISE the bar. And "stepping out of the public eye"? I've never been more IN the public eye since I started my own business. I'm most proud that I wrote a successful business plan, stuck to it, and can now support me and my son with my domestic enterprise. I've never been more ambitious, excited or passionate about anything else in my life. And I have a huge heart for what I went to school to do, so that's saying something, trust me. Best point made in article, each Etsy artisan defines their own success. Whether you make $100 or $100,000 a year, the individual goals of each shopkeeper determine whether or not their shop is a success. That's what I love the most about this community.

  • H88255

    H88255 from HillarysSuperfoods said 3 years ago

    I think that it is empowering to both sexes! Most importantly, it allows people do what they love to do and find their passion. What could be more rewarding than that?

  • madedivine

    Crystal Thomas from madedivine said 3 years ago

    "Each Etsy Artisan defines their own success."

  • BeccaBagsMT

    Rebecca Behrent from BeccaBagsMontanaMade said 3 years ago Featured

    The words "domesticity" and "homespun" have been used by some in a derogatory manner. How about this title instead: "The New Enterpreneurship: Creative Rebellion or Retreat?" My husband is a Professional Engineer who works from home in his field, as do I. Yet I would hardly refer to what he does as "domesticity" or "homespun"! Many of us on Etsy not only have educational backgrounds related to what we do, we have spent many years furthering our education and honing our talents and skills to put our best work possible out there. If I worked for someone else's company, I would be called a "designer". Because I work from home, for and by myself, what I do is referred to as "domestic" and "homespun"? Roget's Thesaurus lists some of the adjectives for "homespun" as "artless, homely" and "plain". Sales by Etsy members would indicate the opposite. Most people I know don't like to spend their hard-earned money on ugly, poorly made items. As for somehow "dropping out" of the "real" working world, rather than hang in and continue the battle that has gone on for generations concerning equal pay for equal work, many on Etsy have simply chosen a new way of battling against the status quo. We on Etsy are, for the most part , happy for the opportunity Etsy has provided us. Etsy doesn't set our prices - we do. Etsy doesn't set our work hours - we do. Etsy doesn't set our goals - we do. Etsy doesn't promise we'll reach our goals - that's up to us, as individuals. But Etsy will do everything they can to help us get there.

  • elisabethringewald

    Elisabeth Ringewald from MaineCoonCrafts said 3 years ago

    The Indie movement is a quiet revolution against the corporate GMOing of America and it's middle class. Unlike the hippie, flower child rebellion of the 60's, today's movement is coming from the homestead. Those of us who are in our 50's, unable to find work because we are no longer considered viable contributors, young people like my son, who graduated with honors, has 2 degrees, but strives for something better for himself and his family. He plans to homestead, become totally self sufficient and gathers knowledge to do so like a sponge. We are gaining recognition for our own work, putting the efforts and hours that are good for us, not a corporate giant who subsequently wants more. It may be a difficult way to earn a living, for many it fails, but at least you own it. The people who are guaranteed a good living off of diy are the ones writing "how to books, blogs and websites". I just love the constant sayings, list 100 items and the magic happens, (laughing). I feel that it actually empowers women, emphasizes self esteem, and self reliance. Yay to the movement, it is time to bring the manufacturing process back to America, and the local vendors of Main Street, USA...

  • PomDecors

    ElleJay from 20thCenturyKitchen said 3 years ago

    " If women cut back on their ambitions en masse, institutional change will never happen and the glass ceiling will lower. We need to be [in the workplace] to demand the equal pay, mandatory maternity leave, more humane hours.” Oh, please! The last full year I worked for a Fortune 100 company I had exactly 54 days off, out of 365. This included a 3 week trip out of the USA, and even then I had to leave contact numbers for all of my hotels. Two female members of my staff were on maternity leave, and a guy was given the ok to work no weekends because his wife had recently given birth. When I said I couldn't work for weeks at stretch without a day off, it was suggested that I have a baby!

  • bandaheads

    Melissa Brown from MyRockinHeart said 3 years ago

    While I find all of the above interesting. I tend to think it's the economy, and disenchantment with big companies, and poorly made goods that has caused so many people to return to crafting. Most of us are creative first, and like someone said above, my family has been involved in the arts, or making things to sell since the '70's. But when I go to the fabric store, or Hobby (big box) store, there are more people than were there just 10 years ago, and I'm sure it has tripled since the 1980s. This has to have something to do with people trying to find positive, and economical projects to do, with and for their families. And of course the whole upcycle movement, of which I belong to, is amazing. People are doing really creative things. But I think the old adage, "necessity is the mother of invention" says it all. I came up with my headbands, because I needed something better than what is out there.

  • sandrostumpo

    Sandro Stumpo from GalleryDiModa said 3 years ago

    When I found out about Etsy it was a dream come true. I think women and men benefit tremendously from Etsy. It is fun, inspiring, social, and sometimes you actually make money. It is actually the best place to go shopping for goods for great prices on things you can't find in stores. My mother chose to stay home and do a daycare business and take care of the home/kids, then went on to get a Phd and teach. When you ask her she will tell you that staying home was the most difficult and fulfilling job she has had. Life is subjective.

  • Ghadah1

    Ghada Hassan from MyGDesigns said 3 years ago

    I don't see us, Etsy sellers, as less ambitious. It's less ambitious to accept a mediocre job in a cubicle that doesn't satisfy your desires and enslaves you. Mass production enslaves people and eliminates individuality and creativity. We usually buy stuff made by children in poor countries for high prices. The big guys get the money, we're getting poorer and those children are deprived of every joy in life. For how long will women who choose to work from home or take care of their kids be put down and looked down upon? We, human beings, are supposed to be free and choose the way we want to live but in reality we're being judged if we don't conform to what society tells us to do.

  • fineartstoneware

    fineartstoneware from fineartstoneware said 3 years ago

    This is all very interesting. I went to school as a fine art/ceramic major, and I have spent the past 30- some years making and selling pots Some of us have been successful- as in that we were able to live our lives in the way we wanted.

  • celticbubblewands

    Jackie Scruggs-Jimenez from celticbubblewands said 3 years ago

    It's like the old adage, "Everything old is new again." The DIY movement is nothing new. When working from home was gaining momentum about 10-15 years, that wasn't new either. Nor is this new "eco-friendly" movement new. It's the "corporate" world that, in the long history of civilization, is new. For hundreds, nay, thousands of years, most families worked from home and "did it themselves." They grew their own food, raised their own livestock, made their own clothes, soap, tools, furniture, etc. They recycled everything. Most people were self-sustaining, only needing to go into town for a few provisions, or visit a blacksmith or such to do jobs they couldn't do themselves. Then, that evil (sarcasm) industrial period came, and people moved to cities and began to rely more on others (and government) for jobs and money to buy wares from others rather than do for themselves. I'm glad to see more people actually making things and fulfilling themselves, doing it on their terms, while providing unique, quality items to others...and making money in the process (gasp). I've done corporate and worked for others, but being my own boss and working on my terms while taking care of my family, even if I'm not rich or famous for doing so, makes me endlessly happy. And isn't that what life is really all about...being happy for the short time we're here?

  • punkish

    Rachel Atwood from Wildflowered said 3 years ago

    I finished this book last night and a lot of it hit home for me personally. I'm just starting out with my shop, and I'd love if I could run it as a business and my sole source of income, but there are bigger things out there I want to achieve as well. I want the social changes Matchar talks about in a mainstream workforce, and I want the future to be a place where work (even if it's not your dream job) isn't a complete nightmare.

  • EclecticHome

    Paul and Ellen Gorton from EclecticHome said 3 years ago

    " If women cut back on their ambitions en masse, institutional change will never happen and the glass ceiling will lower. We need to be [in the workplace] to demand the equal pay, mandatory maternity leave, more humane hours.” I don't think writing a book is something you do in the workplace. Seems like she has made the same decision (as many etys people have) to work for herself.

  • basicblack

    basicblack from basicblack said 3 years ago

    That book sounds like my mother-in-law wrote it. Sorry -- that's ex-mother-in-law :-))

  • paintandpaws

    paintandpaws from paintandpaws said 3 years ago

    Admittedly, I haven't read the book but it seems the author defines success in the very narrow scope of a corporate or mainstream established business environment.As many in creative fields, I don't necessarily feel commuting to a cubicle, engaging in office politics, chasing promotions or working in a business someone else created is somehow more commendable or more legitimate a career option than designing and marketing your own product from your home. these days it is certainly not more secure. I don't feel women are obligated to remain in a workforce where, as the author points out, there are so many inequities to "forge" ahead for others- I would much rather see a woman create and grow a successful business where she can implement such equality from the top, lead by example and call the shots, even if only a handful of women will achieve this- it's a start. Secondly, there has been such a "mall- like" homogenization of goods and products in this country, it leads some to seek out more unique or handcrafted items thus creating a niche for skilled artisans whom the author suggests have "dropped out". Etsy promised me nothing- but an outlet to economically showcase my work to an audience I wouldn't have been able to otherwise in a supportive and collectively creative forum. Any false dreams would be resulting from my own naivety.

  • tomsgrossmami

    Tom's Grossmami from tomsgrossmami said 3 years ago

    Great discussion and statements.

  • WingedWorld

    Vickie Moore from WingedWorld said 3 years ago

    I continue to have a regular job and work 30 hours per week in mass communications while also taking care of my family and running my Etsy shop. In no way have I dropped out of the outside world. While my day job allows me to be part of a larger enterprise, with Etsy, I am the finance director, purchaser, inventory control manager, PR director, packager, shipper, customer service representative, designer and creator of products. I've gained more skills and confidence through Etsy — while being part of a large circle of Etsy friends in the most supportive, encouraging and positive “workplace” I've every encountered.

  • NeedLoveVintage

    NeedLoveVintage from NeedLoveVintage said 3 years ago

    Guess I could say I feel failed by the economy, but on the other hand, I never wanted to be part of the corporate world. I came of age during the 70s, learned all sorts of creative skills (thanks, Mom and Goddard College), believe in responsible use of the world's resources, etc. I earned an advanced degree and have taught for several years, hoping to instill in young women (especially) the notion that they can be anything they want. The corporate world never appealed to me, though I can admire those who do wish to be a part of it responsibly and without harming others. I was amazed to find Etsy only a few years ago, and wish I had discovered it at its beginning. To think that there are so many people out there working hard to make beautiful things fills me with joy. There is hard work, integrity and a desire to fulfill the creative urge that is ever so much more meaningful to me than saying I spent 25 years clocking in to the office tower downtown. I am pleased that my children recycle, care about the world, its people and resources, and do not feel they need the latest phone, car or handbag!

  • Fairiemoon

    Erin from Fairiemoon said 3 years ago

    I embrace the ethics of the DIY movement and love the concept of a homegrown business, making my own hours, etc, but this movement and my attempted participation in it comes at a time when my family needs a consistent income coming in from two working parents. Unfortunately, my Etsy shop is not successful enough to fill this gap and the time and money it takes to make new products and, maintain and advertise it versus the money I am getting out of it, doesn't really add up. What I know is that going back to work will be hard after being a stay at home mom for 15 years and that at 45, with teenagers in the house with all of their appointments, games, dances and events, I will not have the time and energy to pursue much crafty stuff if I go back to work. It saddens me as I would love to encourage and support a slower, simpler, less materialistic way of life. The other thing is that the ethic of buying and making hand made doesn't really provide for all of my family's need nor is it affordable on one income...or really even two. Not only that but the cost, for me, of buying the supplies and the time it takes to make my goods means that I have to make prices really high. In this economy, the majority of people would rather buy a cheaper item at Walmart than a hand made item from me. That having been said, I will continue to buy and make hand made things as much as I can because I think it is a pursuit that is worthwhile. I just don't see it coming back to me. Sorry to sound pessimistic, that has just been my experience. As for the feminist issue...it kind of boggles my mind that we as women don't support each other in the choices we make. I think it is equally as significant to be a successful business woman as it is to be a stay at home mom. I have asked myself many times, what is our most important resource in this country... and I continually decide that it is our children. Not only that, but I am quite disappointed that after having been a stay at home mom for 15 years, no one wants to hire me, as if there is no honor or challenge in being a mom. It is the hardest job I know and after having done it, I am pretty sure I can do almost anything given the time to learn.

  • prettyware

    Barbara Mahan from prettyware said 3 years ago

    I have so much to say on this subject. I am 55 and owned my own small trucking business as a driver/operator. For 33 years, I kicked down "Boys ONLY" doors and pulled them off the hinges behind me...and then spent the countless thousands of hours waiting in line with embroidery or crochet in my hands. Wonder what Ms. Matchcar would have to say about that . In October of 2009, my husband became ill with end stage kidney disease (He's still here and doing ok,) but it became clear to me that there was a strong possibility I would need to stay home at some point. So, for 3 years, I worked 12 hour nights trucking and another 2 or 3 hours a day at home building some etsy and eb*y sales and after 3 years, was actually able to replace my income and happily and steadily so. I started with eb*y with my buckets of embroideries laid on a spare bedroom bed and moved gradually into my own shop outside the house. I never borrowed a dime from my paycheck or family. It is entirely possible to make an at home business succeed if there is patience and the willingness to keep learning every day. I don't think I "bailed", which is what I think the implication has been about women working at home.

  • sarantos

    sarantos from SARANTOS said 3 years ago

    New? I've been doing this way before she was even born and decades before Etsy existed. Who cares what anyone else thinks. Being true to yourself is the best accomplishment you can make.

  • RavensCrafts

    Jane from RavensCrafts said 3 years ago

    Matched liked so many women in the work place we women who stay home as not working as hard or less ambitious because that's what our culture has taught them. She's flensing for the party line as it were. I think a lot of people period are getting tired of big corporation lifestyle and want to get back to the basics. Getting back to a simple lifestyle shouldn't be looked at as ruining women's chances at breaking the glass ceiling.n if th women who are in corporate America can't do that with out the help of others who choose a different lifestyle then maybe they are doing something wrong, not the people who are choosing a more fulfilling simpler life. Creating and working from home are more rewarding than any job I've held outside the home. I'm consciously trying to simplify my life and get back to basics and nature. Big business has done nothing to help the individual out. I'm a mom of one of the disenchanted young and I understand.

  • jesshulburt

    jess hulburt from charliehorsevintage said 3 years ago

    All I know is it wasn't until AFTER I quit my grueling, stressful 9-5'er and opened an Etsy shop that my husband started calling me "Business Lady". I've taken to the title quite nicely, thank you very much!

  • lindyjean

    Linda from bitsokits said 3 years ago

    i have a few thoughts on this....... i think we do what we have to do what's best for our family. sometimes that means staying at a dead-end job, or a job that doesn't fulfill something inside us. you put on your big girl panties and do what needs to be done. i think it is a luxury to stay home and pursue your passion----and even if you do, there's no guarantee that others are going to be just as passionate about what you create, so, you can't expect to make a living wage at your art. if you can, more power to you.... i sew and craft because i enjoy it......that's all.....it's great when i sell something, but i'm not going to quit my day job for it. i'm realistic about my limited abilities. i know i'm doing it for me, no one else, and i'm okay with that. i took a silly personality test in a women's magazine once, and i was labled a "Phoebe" after Lisa Kudrow's character on "Friends".....it said that Phoebe was more interested in doing what made her feel good, than what other people defined as successful....that's it, in a nutshell. that's me....my artisitic success is measured not in how much i sell, but how happy it makes me to be creative. as for other areas of DIY----hey, if you can have a garden, raise some chickens, recycle and be home for your kids, you are way ahead of the game in raising healthy kids. you are living the life i wanted-----my kids are grown now, but i'm still stuck here in tract home heaven, so chickens are out of my reach, and my black thumb prevents me from raising many edibles. but i was home with my kids for the most part, and i cooked meals every night, made their school lunches, helped with homework, and read to them at night. my kids turned out great. they are stable, they are loving, they know who raised them and are now, as adults, aware of the sacrifices we made for them. sorry if doing what's best for my kids has thrown the women's movement back to the dark ages......i was there for the beginning of women's lib, and while i supported the cause, it wasn't for me. i would hope those women would support my choice in kind. i think the world will be a better place if more women choose to be home with their kids and spend whatever free time she can find (ha ha ha) doing something that makes her happy. yeah, sure, it's not glamorous, but i didn't have kids to be glamorous. i had kids wiht the sole intent of raising them to be productive, compassionate human beings. a favorite saying of mine is, "no one ever laid on their deathbed wishing they'd spent more time a work"......

  • lindyjean

    Linda from bitsokits said 3 years ago

    i have a few thoughts on this....... i think we do what we have to do what's best for our family. sometimes that means staying at a dead-end job, or a job that doesn't fulfill something inside us. you put on your big girl panties and do what needs to be done. i think it is a luxury to stay home and pursue your passion----and even if you do, there's no guarantee that others are going to be just as passionate about what you create, so, you can't expect to make a living wage at your art. if you can, more power to you.... i sew and craft because i enjoy it......that's all.....it's great when i sell something, but i'm not going to quit my day job for it. i'm realistic about my limited abilities. i know i'm doing it for me, no one else, and i'm okay with that. i took a silly personality test in a women's magazine once, and i was labled a "Phoebe" after Lisa Kudrow's character on "Friends".....it said that Phoebe was more interested in doing what made her feel good, than what other people defined as successful....that's it, in a nutshell. that's me....my artisitic success is measured not in how much i sell, but how happy it makes me to be creative. as for other areas of DIY----hey, if you can have a garden, raise some chickens, recycle and be home for your kids, you are way ahead of the game in raising healthy kids. you are living the life i wanted-----my kids are grown now, but i'm still stuck here in tract home heaven, so chickens are out of my reach, and my black thumb prevents me from raising many edibles. but i was home with my kids for the most part, and i cooked meals every night, made their school lunches, helped with homework, and read to them at night. my kids turned out great. they are stable, they are loving, they know who raised them and are now, as adults, aware of the sacrifices we made for them. sorry if doing what's best for my kids has thrown the women's movement back to the dark ages......i was there for the beginning of women's lib, and while i supported the cause, it wasn't for me. i would hope those women would support my choice in kind. i think the world will be a better place if more women chose to be home with their kids and spend whatever free time she can find (ha ha ha) doing something that makes her happy. yeah, sure, it's not glamorous, but i didn't have kids to be glamorous. i had kids with the sole intent of raising them to be productive, compassionate human beings. a favorite saying of mine is, "no one ever laid on their deathbed wishing they'd spent more time a work"......

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger said 3 years ago

    I feel women are showing how strong and important by starting their own businesses and being successful on their own. I don't look at it as being week or damaging by any means.

  • gennifermajors

    Gennifer Majors from VinylOwl said 3 years ago

    I agree with Matchar that nothing can change for women in the outer workplace unless they fight for it, en masse. However, I do believe that she's blatantly overlooking a portion of the population, namely, the portion that is active in endeavors like those presented by Etsy. Not everyone wants to work outside of the home. They don't necessarily have to be concerned with the workplace well-being of women because they are creating their own workplace, one that is incredibly fair and reflects the ability and capability of each individual. Personally, I'm pursuing my own path to working at home and being self-employed. Not only do I run a shop here on Etsy, but I'm about to being graduate classes that will eventually allow me to run my own textile conservation business. I believe that Matchar needs to change her viewpoint of "if you're not with us work place women, then you're against us". My brothers didn't even finish high school, but were still successful in their own right. The "norm" doesn't fit for everyone, and we still have a terribly hard time recognizing that. Not all women want to be stay-at-home moms, not all want to be business women, not all want to run their own business. There's no need to criticize someone who is following their own dream just because they aren't helping out your personal cause.

  • Gaufried

    Jeffrey Hull from GaufriedPhotography said 3 years ago

    Some folks have taken to Etsy and other venues because they literally have no other choice but to try and make their way as individual capitalists. They have been refused or cheated by the standard corporate or employment or whatever paradigm of society. Thus they become forced to do precisely for themselves what this mercantile culture tells them it values. Yet they are doing so via their own honest & artistic craft and according to what actually serves their needs. No expert or pundit or whatever, whether male or female, ought then to hold them in contempt. Rather, these folks should be lauded.

  • PixelAndPint

    Mara Fields from PixelAndPint said 3 years ago

    I don't see how having an opportunity to take initiative and run a business is counter productive for women or women's rights. I believe it is quite the opposite. Women starting their own businesses- whether they are hugely successful or just bring in a few extra dollars a month- is a pretty big step in the right direction. It also gives women a chance to determine their own working conditions. Not to mention, it's not all quilts and jam (though those things are wonderful). I would hardly consider welding, sculpting, or building furniture to be "domestic" in the classic sense of the term. "Working from home" is a good deal different from keeping house while the hubby is at the office and I find it rather insulting that someone would imply that I need to put on a pant suit and rush off to the office in order to sustain my rights. The author is neglecting the fact that the situation isn't business woman vs macrame owl maker. Etsy is freelance web designers, highly skilled painters and sculptures. Etsy is women who know how to use power tools AND have a degree in psychology. Etsy is female lawyers who celebrate the day when they can quit the job they have and make things with their hands instead. I'm 24, am a successful graphic designer working in an office, and I WANT to work from home. And trust me- I am not domestic, you should see the state of this house ; )

  • Iammie

    iammie from iammie said 3 years ago

    Interesting.

  • mcfarlanedianne

    Dianne McFarlane from mcfarlanemetal said 3 years ago

    A good discussion to be having. Work life and how success is defined is a huge part of our society. What kind of a society do we want to live in? I have been a woman in a suit and that was fun for a while but then my situation changed and my priorities too. I want to be flexible enough to base my worklife around my child and health. Etsy is just a small but really enjoyable part of this. My husband is not happy with his 9 - 6 job and it looks like my business may be able to offer him a job in the next couple of years as well as providing freelance work for other crafts people. So I've got business growth, fun and the pleasure of growing something while still getting to be there while my daughter grows up. And showing her that mum works and work is great. It was easier in lots of ways to have a job with regular income but not as satisfying.

  • jazziones

    jazziones from LittleBlackVanities said 3 years ago

    Did the author write her book as a corporate job or did she do it at home in her spare time in hopes of making extra income ? She is a good example of exactly what she is complaining about .

  • kayscrochetpatterns

    Kay Baxter from kayscrochetpatterns said 3 years ago

    The author is subscribing to the myth that women can have it all. Just not true. You cannot work 40 plus hours per week, be a good mother, wife, friend, sister, etc without one (or several) of these things suffering. I think all of us are finally realizing the huge cost that "doing it all" has on ourselves and our families. And thankfully we decided to put ourselves and our families first before breaking any glass ceilings. Another part of the equation not brought up is the economy of the last couple years. Many of us lost our homes and jobs (husbands lost jobs) and had to pull ourselves up by our bra straps and find another way. The only jobs to be had in my area were part time minimum wage jobs. I opened on Etsy with about 150.00 in inventory (my last 150.00) and a strong work ethic and ambition. One year later I am now making a full time income and my business is still growing.

  • SilverFoxDesigns6

    SilverFoxDesigns6 from SilverFoxDesigns6 said 3 years ago

    I haven't read the book, but my personal take on the issue is that it takes more courage, hard work and guts to be an entrepreneur than to go out and get a job working for someone else. Choosing to work from your own home is a career choice - you are not opting out of anything. You are still contributing to the economy. While I can't say with authority, not having read her book yet, so I could be very wrong, but from this blog, I think she is not looking at the whole picture and has taken this one piece of a much larger puzzle and looked at it out of context. I look at Etsy as one source of income from my handcrafted jewellery business. It is not the only source (that would actually get boring), so it is hardly a "false dream". Life is too short to spend the bulk of it trapped in a job you hate. It is the difference between a job and a career - the first you do because it puts food on the table - you often don't want to get out of bed to it, the other doesn't feel like work because you love to do it, even if it is more work and not a guaranteed income.

  • glowdecor

    glowdecor from glowdecor said 3 years ago

    Most people who "drop out" are dependent upon a husband/wife/parent/unusual living situation that allows them to bypass paying the fixed price of housing, utilities, food. The corporate workplace is the only option that offers affordable healthcare (sometimes), relatively predictable income, unemployment benefits, and social security accrual. Why is the corporate workplace so heavily incentivized? Why don't we push beyond simply "dropping out" and push for programs like single payer, employment-independent healthcare, basic income guarantees, etc.? I hope we see a widening of activism to cover these economic aspects in the future. It's obvious that people are full of work ethic, discipline and creativity that are not dependent on the carrot on a stick approach of our economic system. In the meantime, I say drop out if you can!

  • glendalee

    glenda puhek from glendalee said 3 years ago

    I concur with Haru Ak. I remember this argument back in the 1970's, when I was employed for the first time—in an office. At that time, Women's Lib was getting really big — the idea of paying attention to the issues women had/have when they WANT to achieve corporate success in their lives. The sexual revolution was part of this—and that revolution is another whole can of worms still crawling around today. My mom was a stay at home mom once me and my brother came into the picture. She loved having that role, we felt secure and loved her being there. My mom and dad are the reason I'm an artist/maker today. It kind of rankles me when I hear "women should push together and hold the same definition of what success looks like"…what?! Define yourself, work hard, don't be afraid of your dreams, love for real, pursue goals you are proud of… Yes, support the goals of other women…but only take them on if they suit you. My Etsy shop is really a way for me to help keep my mom's creative head in the game. The doll clothes we make came directly out of HER doll collection. We do not make any kind of living…our shop is an outlet for my 91-year-old mom, and this is the goal. I don't have a glass ceiling to break, I have garden of creativity to tend with a wise little elder.

  • thunderpeep

    Michelle Reaney from thunderpeep said 3 years ago

    The beauty of etsy is it's a platform for anyone to use, to any level that they wish to. Where in the world would anyone think that making the decision to work for yourself at home isn't ambitious. You have to have balls to make that leap and I admire anyone who takes a chance on themselves like that.

  • ep2175

    erin. from ep2175 said 3 years ago Featured

    I think the mistake Matchar makes is assuming that the only way for women (and men) to be political, ambitious, involved, and effective is by striving to "get in" to the institutions that already exist, excel in them, and work for important but modest changes to them. Equal pay, mandatory maternity leave, and more flexible hours are important -- but limited -- demands, because they are modifications of a system that exists rather than a more fundamental re-imagining and re-shaping of it. The movement she describes isn't (merely) about opting out; it is about building and participating in the creation of alternative institutions and alternative economies, which requires a great deal of ambition and even political foresight.

  • catherineporche

    Catherine Porche from CWPorche said 3 years ago

    "If women cut back on their ambitions en masse, institutional change will never happen and the glass ceiling will lower. We need to be [in the workplace] to demand the equal pay, mandatory maternity leave, more humane hours.” I am disgusted at Matchar's opinions as quoted in the blog. Stating that working on self sustainability isn't ambitious. She has clearly never tried it firsthand. Planting an idea seed that we women who seek our own path "need" to be in the workplace and insinuating that the shoddy conditions that result from our absence is in some way our fault and not the fault of the perpetrators is also a mis-laying of blame. I will not take responsibilty for that. I am a manager at a big box store. I am at the peak of a career. It makes me feel like a failure everyday. Selling things I loved making is true success. I do it in person. I use etsy. I am scrappy and innovative. I am a 43 year old fighter for my own success and the success of my family and my country. Ms Matchar's ideas on the DIY movement sound more like the same old corporate supporting lines that they used to herd us like lemmings into someone else's idea of success. and that's a shame.

  • HideaHeart

    MCatherine from HideaHeart said 3 years ago

    As a 66 yr. old woman and totally involved in the original movement + a practicing Women's Libber, I say it's the EMPOWERMENT of choice to do one or the other or both that is the point.

  • FrillRide

    Sally Yon from FrillRide said 3 years ago

    I find it interesting that my 22 year old highly intelligent daughter who is pursuing a double major and at present studying abroad told me that her dream is to be able to work from home one day. Here is a thoroughly modern young adult who, while not having any need to 'retreat', sees an alternative lifestyle.

  • MossAndBerry

    Tasha from MossAndBerry said 3 years ago

    I was there. I worked a mid-level corporate job and tried to be super-mom...It didn't work and I eventually burned out. I commuted 600 kms per week, spending hours in the car; left my kids at daycare and rushed everywhere I went. When I decided to leave, I received a backhanded compliment that my choice to stay at home was "wasted talent". My hobby (which kept me sane), turned into an Etsy shop. I've expanded my horizons and am looking for ways to continue this journey as my children grow older.

  • recycledwares

    Nerrissa W from RecycledWares said 3 years ago

    For me, it's about being able to support myself with my own hands and helping the environment while I do it. When I worked for someone else I had little say about what chemicals were used, how much electricity was spent, and what could be recycled. I feel I am making a difference, no matter how small.

  • holliewilson

    Hollie Wilson from TheTuftedFrog said 3 years ago Featured

    I don't understand why corporate jobs are so commonly held up as the ultimate career. I'm convinced that everyone (with any amount of ambition) who is currently working for someone else is dreaming of the day when they'll be working for themselves. Creating your own income is not retreating - it's advancing. Running my own shop has in no way broken any "promises" - it's given me the freedom to make my own promises. Kept or broken, it's up to ME. And that's something you won't find if you're busy fighting for maternity leave.

  • purlsofcolour

    Purls from purlsofcolour said 3 years ago

    Haven't read the book, but for me to leave the typical 9 to 5 work was an affirmation that I didn't want to be a cog in a wheel, not a retreat. I see craft an an expression of my ideas, an alternative lifestyle to big business and financial greed. Doesn't stop me from getting involved in politics though, and it can be quite radical to bring my knitting to political meetings...

  • guineverepalace

    Jennifer Klemp from bellacornicello said 3 years ago

    I loved Haru Aku's comment. Great comments featured.

  • twynmawrmom

    twynmawr mom from Twynmawrmom said 3 years ago

    I haven't read the book yet but now I totally want to! It is good to think of it in the framework of the entire society - but what's great about the movement is that it is giving individuals an OPTION to find their own way. There is neither guarantee that your own work will succeed, nor that you will succeed in the corporate world. ETSY has contributed part-time income for me at my own schedule, and I have only spent part of my time on my ETSY work.

  • guineverepalace

    Jennifer Klemp from bellacornicello said 3 years ago

    Sorry. that was meant to be Haru AKI .... :)

  • tamar1959

    tamar1959 said 3 years ago

    I haven't read the book, but I've heard of it, and similar arguments. I'm afraid the argument gets me very angry. This has a lot to do with my being an academic feminist, a literary critic who has published a lot of feminist criticism, and has been doing so for around 25 years. Because I am myself a feminist scholar--and because I also tend to stress the complexity of life in my own work--I am highly offended by the tired, simplistic dichotomy a book like this seems to draw between the "real" workplace and an artisanal, homebased one. I'm also fed up by the even more problematic divide between "work" and "domesticity" that used to be more common in feminist thought but which has, happily, become more complicated lately--but which seems to inform this piece. The argument seems to be that if one doesn't succeed in a corporate environment, or at least one defined as the antithesis of the domestic, one is not advancing the cause of women. Wrong! Here's the thing: life IS complicated. The feminist movement in its most authentic sense--or at least I believe so--is about choice. Choice to work outside the home or within it or a combination of both there is inherently no gender and no inferior status to ANY type of work. Traditional women's work is precisely that--work--and a form of art. To choose to do this type of work is not reactionary. If this is what feeds your soul, and you can earn the money you need at it, you are blessed, not oppressed. Now it is true that we have to think about the economics of all kinds of marketplaces, and how fair and safe they are. But in today's society especially, with jobs evaporating right and left, many are finding that they need to think outside the box of corporate work anyway. If there are problems with DIY businesses for women--and I would never say there aren't or couldn't be, depending on the situation--they tend to be problems with the larger economy and society and the way workers, both male and female, are treated in that society. Oh, and one reason I love vintage: I discovered something about those old, supposedly "reactionary" days that I'd never really known. Yes, the 1940s and 50s--my favorite period aesthetically--was steeped in lots of gender prejudices and inequality. But this is also a period where many enormously gifted women are creating their own successful businesses--and they are doing so by creating everyday art with materials traditionally associated with women and domesticity. Vera Neumann, Eva Zeisel, Tammis Keefe, Mariska Karasz, Barbara Willis, Hedi Schoop, Susie Cooper, Clarice Cliff . . . the list goes on and on. I'd personally much rather hang around with women like these than the self-righteous-sounding author of this work.

  • LaughRabbitJr

    Delma from LaughRabbit said 3 years ago

    I have raised more than a few eyebrows when I have called myself a liberated woman since I am a stay-at-home-mother of six. However, woman's lib was/is about women having choices and being able to choose the life they wanted. I am down to one kid left at home and am able to still be here being the same stay-at-home mom my oldest child had when she was in high school. I can volunteer for his teams, be helpful to his school and listen when he wants to talk - not when I want to listen. Being an Etsy seller allows me to sell handcrafted items all over the world and be here when aging parents needed attention, be here when two grandbabies were born and transferred immediately to the NICU, here making money to help with college costs for another kid. These are my choices. If we learn nothing from years and years of the mommy wars can we at least learn to be happy for someone else's happiness rather than trying to make others conform to one standard of a woman's life. Is my life for everyone ?- surely not; but nobody else's life is for me either. Thanks to Etsy I have connected with people all over the world and have joined a community of like-minded people selling wares. Everyone else can find their own happiness - best wishes!

  • jillverbick

    Jill O'Leary from fiberluscious said 3 years ago

    Haven't read the book, but the many ideas and opinions expressed here pretty much sums it up for me. Makers are both male and female. Gender is invisible here. We all have our own goals and dreams. We all want the freedom to reach as far as we want to go. We have choices when there are places like Etsy. As a disabled artisan, I love that my shop is what I need it to be. My sales grow depending on the time and energy I put into it. I am a maker who loves to make. I have the option to sell my work on Etsy at my own pace. After years of trying to make a living as an artist in local galleries, I found that my ambition was wholly dependent on the gallery's ambitions. I am grateful to Etsy for the freedom it's given me to be a part of the global economy while making money and making things. Who could ask for more?

  • Dovecotedesign

    Dovecotedesign from DovecoteDesign said 3 years ago

    The contradictions discussed in the book are real, and Etsy in some ways exemplifies the conflict between big business and creativity. The more successful Etsy gets, the more it focuses on the larger, less creative shops on the site, presumably because those are the biggest money makers. Let's face it, mass production is quicker and cheaper than things that are made by hand, one at a time. And corporations, no matter how they start out, end up gravitating toward quicker and cheaper. As for the book, well I haven't read it and don't feel comfortable opining on something I haven't read.

  • 4oldtimesandnew

    Ann from 4oldtimesandnew said 3 years ago

    Wish I had found Etsy earlier! Of course when I was starting in the work-world online businesses (online anything) was a thing of the future. I've seen first hand how technology and movements such as Etsy have opened doors, empowered, and encouraged people- men and women - to broaden their horizons and challenge themselves. Etsy is just one avenue that enables, or at least makes it easier, for people to think outside a "job", use their imagination and creativity, learn and develop skills ( business skills as well as DIY abilities)

  • bethanyguentherpeter

    Bethany and Bekah from FadeAndGlow said 3 years ago

    I love tamar1959's comment above! My master's thesis was on the fabulous novelist Carol Shields and her whole life's work was about this dichotomy between "real" work outside the home and creative work within. One of her strongly feminist novels, A Fairly Conventional Woman, centred around a woman who finds empowerment through quilting, and the sale of those quilts. Shields, a Pulitzer prize writer and scholar, probably would have loved Etsy!

  • CRAZYCOOLSTUFF

    Dawn Beckwith from CRAZYCOOLSTUFF said 3 years ago

    The fact is that the world NEEDED Etsy, as proven by its stellar rise in popularity and the raw numbers of sellers. People are smart. If they don't already know that being on Etsy does not guarantee financial independence any more than any other type of entrepreneurship, they will as soon as they begin trying to sell. The world of consumers was crying out for the Etsy experience, for ANYTHING handmade and genuine, as also seen by the raw number of sales. Whether or not someone can make it their sole source of income is purely up to them. Etsy is a tool. YOU have to do the work. You won't be successful on Etsy any more or less than anywhere else if you don't put in the hours, have a good saleable product, learn how to market, etc. What I'm grateful for is that there is a place for those of us not cut out for corporate life (been there, done that) either through psychology or biology. There are also a ton of women who always wanted a way to make some income while being at home with their children. Now they can. I don't have kids myself, but Yay, Moms! Those who needed "flextime" and have had major struggles with dividing home and work life - Etsy offers you a new option. We no longer live in the world of the gold watch at retirement, the golden parachute or any other reward given for long-term service to ONE company because really that type of security doesn't exist much any more. The only "stability" now is making your own way. If the corporate sector cannot provide security and some loyalty to us, do we "owe" them to be in the marketplace and make the workforce a better place? I owe my allegiance to my family, to myself and through Etsy I have made friends and helped people all over the world. My reach is far greater than ever before.

  • kathleenwagner457

    Kathleen Wagner from PuppieDogTails said 3 years ago

    "If women cut back on their ambitions en masse, institutional change will never happen and the glass ceiling will lower. We need to be [in the workplace] to demand the equal pay, mandatory maternity leave, more humane hours." Oh, I see: I'VE got to be a wage slave so SHE has more clout in the workplace. And this is empowering me . . . how, exactly? I don't work for Emily Matchar's benefit, I work for my own, and that's tough cheese for her if she doesn't like it.

  • WolfHouse

    Rita Clancy from WolfHouse said 3 years ago

    As a college student, I am surrounded by the grey cloud of an unemployed future that looms over myself and my peers in such hard economic times. However, I have never felt that looming fear as strongly, because I know that I will always have Etsy. Its a beautiful thing to be able to get out of it exactly what you put in. During the school year, I put my shop on the back burner and use it to pay bills and for food, and during break times, I make it a full time commitment and try and put a little money away for myself. Nobody else my age can say that they have that kind of flexibility and security at their jobs. I am studying to get my product design degree, but even with all the possibilities that opens up, I still can't find a job that compares on the sustainability factor, which is the most important thing at any job. Etsy has helped me grow from a teenager into a self-sufficient and confident adult with some very unique skills that I will carry with me the rest of my life - and I am eternally grateful!

  • amth13

    Marcia from 13Alternatives said 3 years ago

    I've seen both sides. I worked full time in a very demanding job when my eldest daughter was 4 months old, through to when she started high school. All that hard work did not get me a promotion, a pension or any real job satisfaction. In fact it very nearly cost me my sanity and health. My second daughter is autistic and I've been unable to return to work due to the lack of any child care for special needs kids. So working for myself is the only alternative I have and running a business is just as hard as employment within a company. This picture of a pretty lady in a 1950's apron making trinkets for pennies is an insult. The reality is long hours spent making and marketing, not just on Etsy, but other web sites and fairs. Only to see mass produced products flood the market unchecked and handcrafted imagery being stolen on mass by the big companies.

  • cb80085

    Clara Belle from clarashandmade said 3 years ago

    I am certainly "...seeking a more meaningful life and livelihood." and I am much below the average age of 41 on Etsy this does not mean I am dropping out of the workforce or society it just means I am trialling an alternative to the options given to me at school that included working full time at a job I will never enjoy.

  • caridadisabelbarraga

    Caridad Isabel Barragan from BarraganPaintings said 3 years ago

    I am a Painter. I am ambitious. I am a woman and I don't want to be equal to a man because frankly, I'm better! New technology, internet, social media has opened up many possibilities for artists. Etsy is allowing me to reach clients globally without having to move from the wonderful Italian countryside where I've chosen to live. Having an Etsy shop means putting in long hours in promoting, writing to bloggers, networking locally, becoming media savy and slowly getting where I want to be.

  • ssguzart

    Savannah Schroll Guz from SavannahGuzArt said 3 years ago

    Yes! I agree with Caridad and others here. Etsy gives us the choice to be globally self-representing (even if we also have regional representation, too) and directly reach out to buyers around the world. This is something that just didn't come as easily to artists 10 years ago. Now Etsy provides regular traffic (of course we need to do our own advertising efforts, too) already prepared to find/actively seeking handmade goods and original art. It does empower us to work from home, and this is such a beautiful thing.

  • MessyInspiredDesigns

    DebRAHHH from MessyInspiredDesigns said 3 years ago

    I love the fact that society is moving in this direction. Not that women working is a bad thing. I'm quite independent and driven myself, but having mothers at home is a wonderful thing. So along side working, women can nurture and care for children or their husbands. Since the average age on etsy is 41, I would assume many of the women sellers are in one of these life stages. Also, I am so thankful to be an artist in a time period where it is so much easier to promote your artwork and get many more eyes viewing it. What a privilege.

  • ForgottenRetreat

    Melian Aldalome from ForgottenRetreat said 3 years ago

    No one is good at everything but everyone is good at something. Once you find what you are good at, it will give you so much enjoyment and fulfillment that you will do everything to make it work. Once it works it is a ticket to happy life and freedom. Cannot help but think that this is how it always meant to be, no corporations that feed only few pockets at expenses of thousands and environment, but small produce and craft based communities where everyone does what they love and are good at and every pocket benefits.

  • cambridgeStdesigns

    Rebecca from dellabellaBoutique said 3 years ago

    Interesting arguments although somewhat short sighted. There are many of us sellers who are people at home with small children who are looking for another revenue stream without having to put our kids in expensive daycare. There are also those of us who had brick and mortar stores and are looking to reduce overhead costs by moving our businesses online. I would call all of these people highly ambitious, and entrepreneurial. Being an entrepreneur and having a desire to make ones own path should be seen as a positive trait, not a copout. Long live artists and entrepreneurs!!!!!!!

  • genevradaley

    Genevra Bell from genevrabell said 3 years ago

    As a woman I feel like everything has come full circle. I have a choice. I choose to work with my hands and be an artist/artisan and not work in a company for someone else. I have my own company and I get to be an entrepreneur as well as an artist. It's a choice, and that's what counts. The choice.

  • blainedesign

    Karen Brown from blainedesign said 3 years ago

    Lately, I have begun to regard The Atlantic as a generator of straw men and false dichotomies. To the extant that is true, the magazine and its contributors risk appearing out of touch and out of date. As Anne said, we are in an era of “both/and” not “either/or”. In a post industrial age, absolute dependence upon jobs that are subject to macroeconomic forces (and corporate shenanigans) places individuals and communities at increasingly greater risk. I am always heartened to see people methodically cultivate more than one income stream –– perhaps a job AND a small business –– BOTH to fulfill their creative potential and to buffer them against the impersonal and sometimes devastating forces of the current economy.

  • RachelleD

    RachelleD from RachelleD said 3 years ago

    Haven't read the book, don't care too! Just looking at this lady's face gives me the sense of bitterness. She writes as freelance (hypocrisy already) and targets etsys name to get more publicity for herself.. You can make a living and have a very fulfilling life working for yourself! Done with this lady and her lame book, lets move on and create!

  • ThePaintedGoddess

    Pearl Whitecrow from PearlWhitecrow said 3 years ago

    I find it rather ironic that the author says this movement is 'women cutting back on their ambitions'. Really? Because for me it's all about following my passion and having a truly happy life doing what I love everyday instead of chasing the almighty dollar and being someone elses disposable grunt. I got sick and tired of listening to people that told me what I ought to be doing, instead I listened to my heart and trusted in MY ambition, not the ambition I had been TOLD to have. At this point my business is my sole source of income and I am pleased both with the financial success I have and the much happier life I am now living since cutting loose from the corporate world of hotel management. Ambition? It's rather anti-feminist to insist that ANYONE gets to tell me what I should aspire to and what I shouldn't. Oh and I would also like to say that I am hiring my first employee this month. P.S- I make my living as a visual artist. (Yep, THAT impossible task) Talk to me more about how I have low ambition. :)

  • 118jan

    Janette from AmericanDollClothes said 3 years ago

    Being able to be my own boss, doing something I love to do and being able to make money doing it, that to me is empowerment!!

  • pachamamalove8

    Manjit Perry from PachamamaLove said 3 years ago

    Obviously Ms. Matcher do not know how to dream. Life is too short girl, DREAM and who decide what a false dream is YOU???? Etsy come in the right time and we all appreciate the platform and the opportunity etsy created for talented, creative and AMBITIOUS men and women to live out if what they love doing. I believe all of us know what it means to get up in the morning and spend your very precious hours with lousy co workers, office politics and horrible boss for a pay check you even can not live of comfortably. It about time for DIY movement.

  • bedouin

    Nicole from bedouin said 3 years ago

    I've been an etsy seller since 09 and feel that its enriched my life giving me tools within its interface to organize and be more confident. Etsy, like art is ageless allowing room for everyone. Lets just be careful where supplies are being bought for our diy lifestyle so that we are not being counterproductive in harming others who may have a dream too.

  • alidada40

    whispering cloud said 3 years ago

    Emily Matchhar points out that we are "chasing a false dream"? However, It is my choice of a dream to chase. We as women are stepping out of the workforce and are damaging womens corporate advancement? Huh? Since when am I working for advancing others? Is Emily currently employed within a corporate field and helping with the advances of others? I feel as if I sense someone playing the hypocrite. I,for one, Grew tired of corporate grind. I have a wonderful and down to earth family. I also have the freedom to choose what I want to do and not to become a corporate robot. For her to place blame upon a company such as Etsy goes in the opposite direction of rational thinking. I see Etsy as a platform for me to reach higher and a choice of a path for me to follow. I am here to care for my family first and foremost and I am not controlled by CEO's or supervisors. I am being what we have been put on this earth to be and that is.. Ourselves. Independent I am. Strong I am. and I feel that I am much more happy with my family then I would be authoring that book.

  • phyllisflowerpot

    Phyllis Flowerpot said 3 years ago

    Wonderful. Here comes another person that wants to tell us how we need to be as a people. I look at the way and simplicity that has been explained to me by my parents. I often wonder why situations have to be difficult today. I don't feel as if anyone should dictate what we are doing wrong as women. We have a choice as to whether we want to be corporate zombies or follow our true dreams that come from the heart. If your dream is to be a corporate zombies then I say best wishes to you. My dream is to control myself and my own direction. I have read reviews for this book and good job to Emily on her diligent research. My question is what are you trying to say. Am I letting down the entire female gender by staying at home and totally enjoying what I do? Maybe it's time to throw in some sincere sarcasm and apologize to the entire female population for slowing down your growth in the corporate world. I guess I'll just go back to planting my garden and fixing dinner and working on my computer and bow my head in shame. I have never been as happy as I am now doing the things I want to do.

  • BeadLady74

    Amy Spock from BeadsandThreadsbyAmy said 3 years ago

    "Matchar argues that by returning to the home in hopes of finding a more pleasant work/life balance, these women are stepping out the workforce and the public eye — to the detriment of society." Why on Earth would women returning to the home be a detriment to society? I work full time at a job I absolutely love, and I craft in my spare time. If I were able to craft full time and stay home with my family teaching them how to be incredible human beings and creating a loving home, I would be doubly blessed! Why would that be a detriment to society?

  • lufkinconnie

    lufkinconnie from WearMeofMoab said 3 years ago

    Thank you for all the good thoughts. I worked in the Womens' Movement in the 70s in Hono. We women got the word and the word is women. I call myself a feminist, and the word isn't used much these days, but the work we did for all of us keeps on working. I've been thinking about Etsy, now I'm going to do something about it. Even an 'in the day' feminist needs a push along the way. Mahalo, Connie

  • lessthan3chrissy

    Chrissy Carney from sugarcubecorner said 3 years ago

    I don't agree that more women need to be in the workplace to fight for things like maternatiy leave, fair wages, or humane hours. Men are perfectly able to fight for those things as well, they're not idiots. All people should have access to fair wages, humane hours, and maternal/paternal leave.

  • wynvogel

    Wyn Vogel from WynVogelArt said 3 years ago

    I think the thing that I really appreciate - it the fact that the DIY and Etsy's support crosses all boundaries - age, capability and caring - being part of a community of wonderfully capable people gives an appreciation of what is new, trending and current - I am a full time artist and have strutted my wares for many years - but sharing on Etsy keeps me in touch with a wide world!! Cheers - I think perhaps what Emily Matchhar might be missing - is that it is the mix of things we put together in our lives - that creates success!!

  • debragalbo

    Debra Galbo from HowCuteAreYou said 3 years ago

    Etsy peddling a false dream? Nonsense! Etsy has been a dream come true for me. I have not only national but international exposure, I have been featured in a national magazine and sold items all over the world. Without Etsy how would that have been possible without huge capital and investors. I started my little shop with very little computer knowledge, a love of crocheting and a camera and built it into a reliable source of income every month. If you find your passion you will be successful no matter if you are in the corporate world or producing items by hand. Success is subjective and not to be judged by an outsider.

  • beebracelet

    beebracelet from thebeeteam said 3 years ago

    This is very timely and interesting to the bee team. Etsy isn't peddling a false dream. Rather, competition is competition, and in a world where everyone--retailers and independent craftsmen both--are fighting for the same dollar, let the best man win. As such, we're closing our shop at the end of this month, but our time at Etsy has been a wonderful opportunity for which we are very appreciative. Where else could we have set up shop for less than $5.00 a month? A pittance for which Etsy has provided the same customer service to us as to their top sellers. Best, we've had a barrel of fun, met some great people, and concluded that while making bracelets is a good creative outlet, it isn't our passion. Bravo, Etsy! Thank you!!!!

  • erikarossoart

    Erika Rosso from erikarossoart said 3 years ago

    I would like to read this book. My priorities are my baby girl and my art. Etsy allows me to fulfill these two things without compromise. It also allows me the flexibility to take vacations, go on hikes in the mountains during the day and stargaze....and all of these things inspire me as an artist. While working other jobs, I always felt stuck and had no energy left at the end of the day for painting. Although I do not earn a full salary on Etsy at the moment, it is building, and I believe I will be making the same amount I made working cafe's and other dead end jobs by the end of this year(I have only been seriously working on my Etsy shop since fall 2012). Art, undoubtedly, contributes to society as a whole. It is an important piece of who we are as a people, whether it is represented through quilting, painting or woodworking.

  • superitems

    Ann W from BinkittyBoo said 3 years ago

    . I enjoy my work but I also enjoy the idea of sharing and admiring the work of others and I truly believe that society needs artistic outlets. To me Etsy is an artistic outlet online and one of the few of such that is growing rather than fizzling out. Why add domestic to the word art? Does that change the word? To me arts and crafts and being able to share are human traits enjoyed by both genders.

  • Ravenglass

    Ravenglass from Ravenglass said 3 years ago

    I'll be honest here - when I was a child, I HATED having to do all the household things my grandmother and mother thought I should learn - canning, cooking, cleaning, sewing, embroidery. But as I got older, I embraced them. In college, I crafted, making things for myself and others. Embroidery was the the first thing that came back into my life, then I taught myself to crochet as my kids were little, and started sewing and selling my things through craft sales. Through all this I finished college, finished college again, became a teacher. Sewing, crocheting, knitting, embroidery - it was a way to keep sanity during a busy time. Selling my items was a way to have extra money for fun things. After working in a living history museum, I opened my own business and became a professional milliner - using all the sewing skills I'd learned as a child, embracing them. Over the years, I've sewn many hats, costumes, crocheted many toys and blankets, made quilts, canned a lot of food. And yet, at the same time, I was a professional out in the workforce. Now I work several jobs, each of them helping me embrace what I want to be - I'm a journalist, a professional photographer, run a millinery business and my shop here on Etsy. I'm a homesteader with grown children, dogs, chickens and a garden. My husband I are NOT the type of people Emily Matchar thinks we should be - we've left the corporate world behind, and yet, we are still professionals in business. Perhaps authors need to stop insulting the lifestyles they don't understand, and start making an effort to learn what drives people. I'm not the housewife of my great grandma's generation, and to imply that our daughters - and ourselves - who are choosing to be multifaceted people who can do more than just a job in an office are no longer valid is not acceptable.

  • MariaHelenaPhoto

    maria helena from MariaHelenaPhoto said 3 years ago

    A very interesting article, and it seems to have hit a nerve at Etsy HQ. This is the first time I've seen Etsy take a stronger stand, as Etsy often comes across as a "Let's make pretty things for our wedding" website.

  • ESTATENOW

    VINTAGE NOW from ESTATENOW said 3 years ago

    Speaking about my self, I've been knitting since I was nine years old and it's my relaxing time, while my husband watches tv I listen to it and crochet at the same time, we are ALL entitle to do whatever we can to keep sane.

  • bobbiohlinger

    Bobbi Ohlinger from LittleTownSquare said 3 years ago

    I thought it was more the trend towards artisanal, not domesticity.

  • vintagemaison

    Carol Dent from Vintagemaison said 3 years ago

    I'm 57, live in a foreign country where the economic situation is worsening for employment - who is going to give me a job? Selling my vintage stuff online is my job, gives me my income, and I pay taxes too. My kids see me working at home, and they are beginning to do the same as me as well as going to university - I tell them, never rely on someone else for your income. Perhaps Ms Matchar should learn to knit...

  • underneaththeoaktree

    Natalie Atkins from underneaththeoaktree said 3 years ago

    A very thought provoking article. I haven't read the book (and don't really intend to) but she does seem to be a bit confused. I don't see running an Etsy business as domesticity at all, its business! And since when did that equate to lowering ambition. A lot of women are taking up the hilt of a new kind of domesticity (i.e. the chicken coop, making clothes etc.) but this is a completely different thing to stepping out of the workforce and hiding away behind a sewing machine and a pair of knitting needles. In my mind it is a powerful and radical lurch in our society. Its the anti-consumerist revolution baby!

  • DivineOrnaments

    Carrie Story from DivineOrnaments said 3 years ago

    I agree with Natalie Atkins (last comment). IT IS A BUSINESS. I am an entrepreneur. I am building my business by starting on Etsy. Would Matchar like all women to be employees vs. owners? I wonder. I intend to have employees of my own someday. I left the corporate world to start my own business, not the other way around. I guess you could say I am taking offence to this :)

  • rutheshop

    Ruth Claydon from MothandMagpie said 3 years ago

    This has probably already been said, but the concept of long term employment in an office environment as the norm is relatively new in the history of work. I beleive it started in the 19th century during the Industrial Revolution. Etsy is a way of doing business as it has always been done-the individual using their own skills to provide a more authentic product. What has changed is we can reach a wider market.

  • valerieoutlet

    Valerie from vtylercollection said 3 years ago

    Rebellion or retreat were definitely words I found thought-provoking. I question myself whether I'm now running this business full time from home as a retreat from jobs where I was uncomfortable, unappreciated, or where I couldn't meet my full potential or did I do it to be a bit rebellious and take an even more proactive stance against bureaucracy and inefficiency and illogical work situations. This almost hearkens back to the feminist debate. I always questioned how if I wanted to stay at home to raise my children, to run my *own* business that still somehow included my family around me, how I was somehow failing to advance the rights of women that way. How is pushing ahead in the workplace asserting womens' rights if I feel like it is impinging on what I feel is my own right to live my life the way I want to which includes being at home? With my first child on the way, I'm sure I will be meeting new challenges and truly seeing what levels of work this will involve to still be successful. The mandatory maternity leave mentioned above even has me laughing a bit as I ponder how as a self-employer I will ever manage my own maternity leave at the busy holiday season. A home based business most certainly does not equate less ambition! The sky is the limit when you are an entrepreneur and in charge of your success. It may equate a greater risk taking behavior, as there is no set salary, no set hours, no benefits package, no safety net--but we know few business ever grew to great success without an element of risk.

  • AudreyKerchnerPhotog

    Aud Kerchner from AudreyKerchnerstudio said 3 years ago

    I worked in corporate america for years successfully but I was unfulfilled so I left. It wasn't the economy it was for me. I think those types of companies and jobs need to change, So we as women should lead the way AWAY from corporate environments and show others, women and men of all ages, theres a better way to make a living and live. Im still an outlier, a trail blazer and extremely ambitious Im just choosing to do it where I am fulfilled. Let them create their ceilings and their boxes. I will live and flourish outside of it all and I hope it shows and inspires others how to as well. Aud

  • ASHWoodshops

    Alan Huey from ASHWoodshops said 3 years ago

    I have not read her book, but did read the article in the Atlantic. Unfortunately she paints a bad picture of a person, man or woman, creating their own opportunity. If she believes that the government will "fix" the issues facing women in the workplace, then she operates in a dream world. The issues are a political volleyball and if they were ever "fixed" then what would the politicians have to argue about. The folks in government choose NOT to fix issues like this, and many others. The government fails in every aspect of solving problems, they become part of the problem, not the solution. But about her comments related to scale... She misses that virtually every large business that exists in America (or anywhere else) today were started by a person or persons wanting to do something on their own. They dream on the back of a napkin and start. Perhaps small in their own kitchen, living room or garage. And yes, if their product is successful, need to find a way so scale up, if they choose to. Yes, some won't be successful, but that is true in the Corporate world too. But then again, many will succeed. They may go from a one person craft shop to a product that is made by many for the masses, if that is what is desired. You certainly won't succeed if you don't try. So, be inspired! Be ambitous. Create!

  • margaretgm

    margaretgm said 3 years ago

    I just love reading these stories!! You guys are so inspiring. The really fallacy of the book is that there is one right way. Its that judgement thing that people need to put out there that is so unfortunate. We absolutely do need people redefining the 'workforce' world from within. Its not family friendly, its not even people friendly for the most part. Women are just getting crushed trying to be super woman - juggling care taking (of all sorts, mostly of kids) and careers (not to mention still having much care of the home in their court and commuting and in their virtually non existent free time maintaining personal relationships, community, free time, creative time...). I am one, I've found a model of working more like 4 days a week that sort of works both places (up from 3 when I was a new mom), and I counsel lots of new working moms on this. This took pioneering, persistence and employers (now partners) willing to be flexible. Its what I want to do, its rewarding to me, and its exhausting even so. Without this actually being my passion (and I am truly lucky in that), I don't know that I could have stuck it out. The women's movement got us into the workplace, which was awesome, then sadly, it stopped. It failed to deal sensibly with the full time jobs we already had at home, and our roles as mothers. In essence it bought into the male view that devalues motherhood. It also failed to deal with the fundamental flaws of the 'workplace'. That's now on us. As much as we need people fixing what 'the workplace' means, we need people creating new paradigms, setting new examples and creating alternatives. One size fits all just doesn't work. You don't have to go to the office and collect a paycheck to be a success. We need new paradigms to address incorporating work with flexibility, life balance, creativity, personal fulfillment and self determination - things seldom found in the corporate world. These things have real value and greatly impact quality of life, as does the money folks can earn. Its so sadly narrow minded to dismiss these alternatives as falling short. First, its a young movement, second as these entries indicate, for many people its not falling short, its salvation. Etsy is helping to make one new paradigm possible at a whole new level by eliminating barriers and solving the distribution conundrum. Go etsy!! Go etsy sellers and shoppers!! And go vicarious crafters - that's me. I just love seeing all that creativity and someday when the other demands abate, as they will (children do grow up, though hopefully not too soon) in my next chapter, I will more than dabble in my crafts, I too will have an etsy shop :) Thank you all. You are doing great work in so many ways. You are changing the world for the better.

  • AmbersGemGarden

    Amber Strong from AmbersGemGarden said 3 years ago

    From the viewpoint of someone in their early 20's, with a decent degree (BSC International Relations with History) that I loved studying at the time and a highly entrepenurial family background , I have fumbled(or something a bit more eloquant than that) through door-to-door sales jobs where my compeptitiveness fought against the soul hammering aspect of nearly a hundred negative responces a day and the knowledge that my job was essentially to harrass people into buying a product they didnt really need. In the end, after a full week of walking door-to-door in the rain I had the worst bought of flu I can remember and was miserable. I quit. Yet I felt I would be letting myself down by applying for and getting a retail or waitressing job after going to the trouble of getting a degree. I had two jobs for a while, but after six months of only having a day off about once a fortnight I learnt there are things more valuable than money. Namely, time and the satisfaction that comes from making things. I might not have a high end or graduate job, but I am proud of what I do.

  • debragalbo

    Debra Galbo from HowCuteAreYou said 3 years ago

    Etsy a false dream? Etsy is the dream! I am at the age where I no longer want to work in the business world but wanted to do something that allowed my creative side to expand and do what I have a passion for. I started my shop as a whim, I loved to crochet and Etsy afforded me the ability to show people who I would never be able to reach my work. Due to Etsy, I have been featured in a national magazine and I have had sales all over the world. I make a nice income and work when I want. My days are mine to schedule as I like. Etsy has been a dream come true for me.

  • beadloverskorner

    Gari Anne from beadloverskorner said 3 years ago

    Wow, I wish i had time to read everyone's comments!! I have not read the book, either, but I worked for many years in a "corporate" environment, then moved to a smaller privately owned company. Putting in my time and gaining all sorts of knowledge and experience. Only to eventually find myself as the senior person in a company who was now run by youngsters who didn't have a clue and had never done my job. That and impersonal technology made me hate a job I had once loved. I felt suffocated and trapped. So I quit and "retreated" into a world where I work all day and all night and it doesn't seem like work. I don't have anyone breathing down my neck and the sky is the limit. Every day is a new day and holds unlimited possibilities. I would like to make a little more money, but that is why I work so hard at it every day. The rebellion part is about those of us not wanting to conform to a corporate world anymore!!

  • AmyMeredithHutson

    Amy Meredith Hutson said 3 years ago

    The Etsy community is inspiring to those of us who agree that we should work doing what we love; money isn't everything and time isn't infinite. If you feel trapped by what you do, which you can't ignore since many of us spend more time at work than anywhere else, take a chance and chase your dreams. Love the post! Amy Meredith Hutson

  • magyartist

    Magdalena Rendula from magyartist said 3 years ago

    Great blog! I did not read a book and I only know that Etsy brings me joy and inspirations, my love for creating is growing and thanks to god, after years of "vegetative existence", gifts that I was born with dont sleep anymore..I hope and pray god to direct me more and more on the road that will fulfill my life. Thank You!

  • emilysmeese

    Emily from onewomancatpack said 3 years ago

    I look at it as a rebellion, and all of the genders are doing it. The DIY movement is catching on so well because people are so ready for the change. I went to the mall the other day (which is very unusual for me) and thought for the whole time, "I could make that. Not only could I make it, but I could make it with quality materials, meticulous attention to detail, and my own personal, one of a kind aesthetic." Being in retail stores makes me feel like I'm being herded through a circus that has been set up for the sole purpose of making me spend money on things that are not responsibly sourced and not going to last. When it comes to clothes, I'd much rather make them myself or buy them from thrift stores (and probably alter them to make them my own). Of course, the "new domesticity" doesn't only apply to clothes, but that's the track my mind is on as a sewer. It is truly a rebellion. It is a rebellion against big business, conformity, and the traditional domesticity that was/is more oppressive than it was/is ethically and economically responsible.

  • do7mi2ni9qu4e

    Sally from BloomingtailsDogDuds said 3 years ago

    I couldn't understand what the author meant in parts of the article. For example, "Have links between listing pages." Huh??? Exactly where would those links go? Thus, sorry to say, I was not too impressed with the article.

  • lauraprill

    Laura Prill from lauraprill said 3 years ago

    Etsy is primarily a community, then a marketplace for me. I am finding that each one is an art in itself and I am grateful for the relationships with buyers and sellers alike.

  • Dogdohr

    Joanne Dohr from Dogdohr said 3 years ago

    Luckily there is room for everyone, the go-getters, the home-bodies, the make it themselves and good old consumers!

  • jenindafletcher

    Jeninda Fletcher from DeckleStudio said 3 years ago

    Sorry if i repeat others comments as I havent read Emily Matchars book or all of these comments but its a subject that I have much interest in and will go back to read them when I can. Something that I think about is that this movement towards the more traditionally female role in the home by both genders

  • halliefranco

    Hallie Franco from HallieJohanna said 3 years ago

    This topic is something that my husband and I have discussed. Increasing domesticity, when chosen rather than forced, can be a beautiful and indeed empowering thing! What a wonderful thing to be able to whole-heartedly embrace the DIY culture that Emily Matchar elaborates on. Thanks for a beautiful read!

  • jenindafletcher

    Jeninda Fletcher from DeckleStudio said 3 years ago

    Is linked to a shift in values rather than Women chasing the traditionaly male jobs to prove they can do them in an industrialized/capitalist culture where self worth is in a work place that is driven to in a city.This is changing Women and men might be finding that geat value can be found in traditionally female roles and rethinking/finding lots of new ways, a progression on from industrial/capitalist model that cosiders environmental and

  • mandykillorn

    Amanda Gallant from MamaMonstersClips said 3 years ago

    An absolutely great and thought provoking read I must say. I believe sites like Etsy and home craft businesses does nothing but empower sellers and offer a chance for great ambitions, ambition in the form of growing your business, ambition in the form of continuing to learn, ambition in growing your social network, and the list doesn't stop there. I think the women's movement has some what hindered us in the thought that those who do choose to stay home are sometimes frowned upon or the worth is seen as lesser to some. It should be an option and a choice to stay home and that's why I love Etsy, craft shows and craft shops, you are supporting peoples dreams and sometimes helping offering the chance to choose between the stay at home or continuing to stay in their current day job or even pursue a new passion and career, an option that many don't have but should be open to them.

  • buffalogirls

    Ludmilla from buffalogirls said 3 years ago

    These are interesting times. I am thrilled that the young generation is embarrassing DIY movement, seems similar to (our) food coop movement of the 70's. Blended with the ever evolving technologies I am hoping we are on the right path- one owl at a time:)

  • VintageandVisions

    Vicki Doyle from VintageandVisions said 3 years ago

    Like many, I lost a corporate job that I dearly loved during the housing crisis. I was an interior designer for a homebuilder and even though the commute each day was long, I loved my job and income. I had defined myself by my work successes and was at a real loss on how to define myself after this job ended. Etsy has given me the opportunity to redefine how I see myself as a "successful" person. I have taken my corporate-learned skills and put them to use in my new, independent, business. I have taken my love for good design and transferred it to designing jewelry. I have learned through Etsy how to be more proficient on the computer, a skill imperative today. I live in a very small town and am warmed by the new friends I've made through the Etsy community. Some months I barely make enough money to cover my materials costs and strive to make my shop financially lucrative. I'm 65 years old and have reinvented myself, learning and growing through my new entrepreneurship. I always shop Etsy first (and encourage other Etsy shop owners to do the same) in order to help other enterprising women (and men) pursue their dreams. I learned a great deal from my corporate life, and am now learning and growing in a new, independent, venue.

  • selkielassie

    Jennie from SelkieMum said 3 years ago

    I haven't read the book, but I am interested now. Thank you Etsy for pointing out that running a "domestic business" doesn't equal a loss of ambition. What kind of false standard is that? I want to raise my own children; that's an ambition. I don't want to be a lawyer. Never have. I want to be my own boss. Isn't that pretty ambitious? As far as gender lines, my Etsy shop is part of a larger program that my husband and I are trying to put together to support us so that he can work from home, too. It's a little awkward for us to feel like we are part of a larger movement, but I guess it's true. If my peers don't want to spend 75% of their waking hours working for someone else/commuting, away from their families, apart from their interests and beliefs in some cases, I don't blame them. Neither do we.

  • DaniiMH

    Gatinela from gatinela said 3 years ago

    I haven't read the book, but I find it ridiculous to believe that a company will give you success. Only the individual can build their life towards success. To say that a company will promise you success of any kind is simply unrealistic. No company will say "you WILL be the CEO one day" instead they say, "you CAN climb to the top of the ladder" (keep in mind you don't know how long the ladder really is). All that is around us are simply tools to enable us to build success. The individual determines what success is and how big or small their ambitions are, but most importantly how far they are willing to fight for what they desire. Nothing in life is easy. It's all earned through hard work whether it be for a company or for your own home based business.

  • Wazzy

    Serra from Wazzy said 3 years ago

    It's quite ambitious to be happy, considering the tragic number of unhappy people there are walking around in this world. I don't believe this book is anything that hasn't been said before, let alone dis proven. The bottom line is that women must take themselves seriously in all that they do and pursue it with the greatest passion they can muster. I personally believe that all of us (not only women) involved with the handmade movement are doing just that. We create equality with our passion. What Matchar is missing (based on the excerpts shown here) is the fact that the very essence of true equality is the freedom to choose who we want to be.

  • John8eight

    Michelle from SimplyJoiDesigns said 3 years ago

    When did choosing to stay at home become a bad thing? Maybe I'm just one of those rare women who was born in the wrong time period, but being a housewife IS my career. I enjoy what I do and put in a lot of work to keep my home running smoothly. I do not feel like I lost anything b walking away from the 'desk job'. Am I less of a woman for not wear power suits, having a corner office, and not fighting everyday to play 'equally' with the boys? Sorry, I have much better things to do. If you love the corporate world, its lifestyle and all its trapping, then by all means, continue to do so, but please allow the rest of us the right to love our way of life as well.

  • lifemeetsart

    Jolynn from lifemeetsart said 3 years ago

    My husband is the primary bread winner as far as a regular job goes but our daughter has a number of medical issues and tending to those would be impossible if a had a regular 9 to 5. I think Etsy allowed me to do something completely ambitious and start my own business. I do intend for it to grow and I am completely empowered by having my own two hands and resourcefulness be the driving force for my success. What planet does Matchar live on that she doesn't see that as a good thing? Of course there are differences among shop success based on their individual products and learning curves. Some will do better than others, that is how the world works.

  • kerriari

    Kerri from ResparkableVintage said 3 years ago

    i haven't read the book, but after reading this and many of the comments that followed, it's on my list! i'll check back in after i read it maybe, but for now i'll just say this. for me, etsy makes it possible for me to try to make a business out of one of my passions from the comfort and security of my own home! before etsy, i'm not sure how i would have gone about it. not only is it providing a place i can sell things, but there are so many helpful tools (forums, blogs, visiting and shopping at other shops, etc.) that is providing lots of learning just when i need it. so for now, i'm just getting my feet wet, earning just a bit, but i'm ambitious and have high hopes for where it will lead me! i'm a huge, huge fan of etsy. i wrongly assume everyone knows about it by now...but often, someone will ask me where i'm selling my jewelry and when I say "Etsy" they have no idea what it is. I'm almost jealous of them for getting to get on their computer for the first time to discover it! but i'm just shocked loads of people still haven't heard of it!!!!

  • brinsonian

    brinsonian from brinsonian said 3 years ago

    I've read the book (in fact, I preordered it, I was so excited about the premise). It's unfortunate that many commenters are writing "Homeward Bound" off entirely, I think many of you would find it very interesting and inspiring. Matchar isn't against Etsy as a marketplace or the idea of people making money off their crafts. Rather, she points out that while people who opt to earn their living through venues like Etsy may be making a political statement for themselves ("I want to be able to work humane and flexible hours, I have the ambition to fight for the pay that I know I am worth" as Aristocrafts says), in doing so they are only helping themselves. It's not innately a harmful choice, but in the aggregate, women removing themselves from the workplace do a disservice to other women in the workforce who aren't able, for whatever reason, to make that same choice. The end result is less bargaining power for all of us. Obviously, that doesn't mean we're all obligated to take full-time jobs to support the sisterhood. We have to do what is best for ourselves and for our families. But I hope those of us (and I'm including myself here) that purposefully "opt out" of certain kinds of work will still agitate for improved conditions (maternal/paternal leave, equal pay, health care, etc.) for those who haven't.

  • Ivystable

    Julie Barnes from Ivystable said 3 years ago

    I think Etsy is a wonderful platform to experiment and engage with a potential audience. Personally I work and I am also self employed with children as well. Sewing is my passion and always will be. I don't see women leaving the workforce in droves to start up on Etsy, businesses take a long time to truly craft. Besides, what's to say that a successful Etsy seller can't take on staff of their own one day? I've not read the book by the way!

  • kittykate2000

    Kate W. from KatesPointOfView said 3 years ago

    I have read this book - my review is online at http://www.nudgemenow.com/article/homeward-bound-why-women-are-embracing-the-new-domesticity-by-emily-matchar/ - and think this article is not summarizing the whole book. I understand folks at Etsy feeling defensive about a lot of the content of Homeward Bound because there are a few direct slams. (You could also view the book as a pretty good endorsement of the book since so many of the crafters she interviews also sell on the site.) Author Emily Matchar did a pretty great job of trying to present many different perspectives. I found myself incredibly angry at some of the people she interviewed because I so disagreed with them, but even those interviews got me thinking more about why it is that I craft and why I try to sell my creations. Commenters here seem pretty angry about the book, which many have not yet read. I suggest giving it a read. Truly. I enjoyed it.

  • huntkathleen

    Kathleen Hunt from KatsKoolStuff said 3 years ago

    All is well :) Be Happy !

  • TokyoBlossom

    Julie Fuller from TokyoBlossom said 3 years ago

    While I sincerely believe that everyone's public work sotuation is very different, resulting in different responses, for me personally, working from home while having my toddler close to me, is a dream come true. I worked away from home for a very short time, and it was noy for me. Between tutoring music and selling on Etsy, I am able to work from home on my own schedule. I don't know of many jobs that would let me take off every Friday to take my son berry picking at a local farm, put him to bed for nap time myself each day and have a home cooked dinner ready for my husband each evening, do you?

  • erinpeters5

    Erin Peters from Andere said 3 years ago

    I have come to accept, without having read the book, that in business you are exposed to all sorts of things. In any marketplace, there are those that are better than others at a given craft, service, product, etc. - and that there are those who are better at economics than others. Either one, or worse BOTH, can devalue what another is attempting to achieve when it comes to profit margin, and therefore income generation. So, while one may not have a lot of sales due to price point, choosing to spotlight quality and build a brand, another person may be looking to make extra money quickly, pricing lower to get things out the door. No one can say which is right or wrong, but in the end, this marketplace is just a venue to provide access to those with available funds. The review just makes it sound like someone is bitter about not succeeding because everyone else is undercutting her or something. So, I guess I will have to read the book. For me, being new to Etsy still working on that first sale, I continue to keep a positive attitude because I think ANY resource can provide the right person with tools to achieve success. It's using what you've got to make it BIG (even if "BIG" is allowing you to be home raising your children) - and anyone can do it.

  • rigdonia

    Dianne from DianneRigdonDesign said 3 years ago

    I can't help but laugh at her point of view - let us all sacrifice our own dreams and goals to hold miserable, meaningless jobs so that those who want to live a corporate life may do so more easily? Sorry - that's just stupid. I can't imagine any woman saying "Oh hey let me forget about personal fulfillment and my own creativity so that I can be a placeholder for some other future woman who wants to live a life that I don't."

  • anaiaia

    Ana Paula Zonta from anaiaia said 3 years ago

    I think reach success is hard both ways. We have to put our soul in what we believe and love. For me it was impossible doing that working for companies.

  • DesPetitesMerveilles

    Meg from DePetitesMerveilles said 3 years ago

    I haven't read the book but it seems to be interesting based on the summary here. I think that running a business from the home is as challenging if not more so than the more traditional workplace because you are essentially doing everything by yourself. From making the product to marketing to selling and the after sales too! I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have the different forums and blogs of the others who are doing the same.

  • HeatherMcCawArt

    Heather McCaw Kerley from PithAndRootStudio said 3 years ago

    Two years ago I gave up a "high powered" career for a constellation of reasons. For one, I wanted to marry my longtime, long-distance boyfriend who is in the military. I also wanted to pursue being an artist full-time. The happy side effect of this decision was that I now have a very flexible schedule and time to do more cooking, gardening, and home projects. As a result, I am a much more well-rounded, happy, and free person. I don't think the desire for such a life is a tendency of just women, as I know stay-at-home dads who have embraced the same lifestyle. However, I think women, especially, need to be conscious of the economics of labor. The work you do, whether it is running a business from home or raising children, has monetary value, whether you are being paid for it or not. I see many Etsy sellers who undervalue their craft and don't pay themselves enough. I think the trouble is that some crafters/artisans do not fully make that transition between hobby to business owner and occupy a hazy in-between stage, even though they do not label themselves as hobbyists. So we are really talking about two different things here; a lifestyle where you get to do more of the things you love or believe in versus building a career as a maker. If this book makes people more aware of the gap between the two, I think it is beneficial.

  • byvala

    Barbara Pater from byvala said 3 years ago

    Ambition = to set goals and work towards achieving them. Success = when you achieve your goals. Your goals can be anything and everything you want, whether it is to be the best woman in your office or to be the best stay-at-home-mom. Both can be very ambitious and successful. I think the challenge for women today is that we want it all. And people expect us to do it all. If anyone has an amazing solution that enables women to do all (preferably at ones), please contact me.

  • SciFiKnits

    SciFiKnits from SciFiKnits said 3 years ago

    I think the author may be correct if you measure success only in terms of money. Most of the Etsy sellers I know measure it in personal satisfaction and joy at creating new things by hand. We are our own bosses and I can't think of anything more satisfying than that. I'm growing my business slowly, but that was always the plan. I learn something new every day and enjoy making things that bring happiness to others. That's the kind of "job" I've always dreamed of having, so I think, like feminism, it's success has to be measured by the individual and what their goals and expectations are.

  • GiftedGrifter

    Stefanie from BookishBright said 3 years ago

    I'm really surprised by the comments on this article, with so many making horrible insinuations about the debate that Matchar is framing as if it is a personal attack on their choice to sell crafts from home. I'm currently reading the book (unlike so many commenters that have decided to adopt willful ignorance based on few out of context blurbs conveniently framed by a defensive company), and the author presents a well-thought out and researched argument that highlights the difficulties as well as the advantages of choosing to opt out of our consumer and corporate culture. Currently, our economy is broken and the system is particularly difficult on women (and families). The question becomes "Do we try to fix the inequities inherent in the current system, or do we opt out?" There are many ways in which opting out serves to re-inforce and maintain inequality on the basis of class/race/gender/disability/etc, and many ways in which opting out provides freedom from the constraints and inequalities present in the mainstream economy. Etsy is simultaneously praised AND criticized in the book for various reasons (e.g. how many of you sellers have lost business by because someone sells a similar product "for fun" or "as a hobby" instead of attempting to create a price that reflects a working wage for the artisan?). Personally, I think that Etsy and businesses need this sort of debate and constructive criticism in order to become healthy, maintainable economic venues for artisans from every background. The book is a though-provoking read, and the context in which it is presented makes me weary. Remember, Etsy is a very profitable company, and as such, they must protect their interests. That being said, I am happy that they have offered a space to open up a dialog on these issues.

  • shelbasplace

    shelbasplace said 3 years ago

    This is a very old issue. Bottom line: it is about attitude. If I am happy at home creating/growing/selling or gifting what I do, the person who believes I need liberation from such will never see that I am happy. It has something to do with their level of unhappiness. Much like the definition of poverty 20(and even 10) years ago was a person who hangs clothes on a line and eats what they grow themselves, wears what they make, and so on. Now this is often seen as affluence by our culture, while it was considered affluent by third world cultures for generations.

  • laramored

    Anemone from AnemoneReadsVintage said 3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing and commenting on the article, Etsy. I had many more comments, but most have been said above by others. Thank you also, Esty, for existing, and for creating great opportunities for women and men to empower themselves with the choice of self employment.

  • sunworx

    Sam Valenti from Sunworx said 3 years ago

    Etsy allows people to find a degree of productive sanity, a life absent the corporate insanity literally forced upon us at every turn. Handmade is a vote for life and living on a human scale. A new economy that inverts the triangle and places people at the top, encourages and accepts difference as important, thrives on creativity, and life at a slower pace. In part it is a spiritual journey, a common sense environmental journey, and a way of associating with like minded people. It is a choice, a course change, a path to meaning. It breaths life beyond the death culture. It recognizes that it's the little things that give life meaning. It's a decentralized lifeway where everyone's voice is meaningful. It's a transition, a path to a new more sustainable and healthy life. It's a place where buying and selling is much more than buying and selling. It puts love back into the marketplace.

  • AmyLueP

    Amy Lue Patrick from AmyLueP said 3 years ago

    Pricing is very important. Just because we have low overhead, it does not mean you can't charge for your time. You time is worth a lot. Of course you cant make a living if you charge China prices.

  • MariaHelenaPhoto

    maria helena from MariaHelenaPhoto said 3 years ago

    Excellent comments from both Stefanie and Amy Lue Patrick.

  • EvesLittleEarthlings

    Eve Geisler from EvesLittleEarthlings said 3 years ago

    I think we could all do with a little less "ambition" if that means being more humble, needing less money to get by and living a little closer to nature. I suppose I could get a job somewhere, but I am happy doing what I do and feel that I am contributing positively to society by repurposing used items and promoting the use of natural materials for playthings.

  • catydid86

    Caitlin Wilhelm from caitlinwilhelm said 3 years ago

    I am a homemaker, and consider my greatest job in life to be raising my children. I opened my Etsy shop after my first Craft Fair turned out to be a giant fail. I sold practically nothing and wanted to see if my items would sell online. Most of my items didn't sell, but I quickly sold some paper circles garland. Those first couple of sales turned into custom orders, and my shop morphed into a paper party supplies shop. I love it! I've never really enjoyed all the jobs that I had before becoming a mother, but I've always loved to create and craft! Etsy has given me a way to do both, be a stay-at-home mother, while making a little extra money selling things at I love to make. I wish more women saw more value in child-rearing.

  • Fimigal

    Voneen Pryce from Woolby said 3 years ago

    Interesting blog. I enjoy reading all the thoughtful comments.

  • amzcreations

    Ami from amzcreations said 3 years ago

    Loved reading the response from Juliet. First off, I am so happy to be a part of this wonderful group of artists around the world. Thank you all for posting your comments, I am following so many of you today onwards... I wish there was a like button like on FB. :) Wish we can all stay in touch ! As a kid I was always into art and music, I missed it more and more as I grew up to compete in academics. Like many others, I came to the States on a dependent visa, could not work for several years. I was a lawyer in my country and have been working to be one here as well... somewhere along the path I discovered my artsy self again.. started making jewelry.. knitting and crochet accessories and bumped into people who would not stop complimenting me for my creations. I still love the law, I could not be anything but a lawyer.. and yet the kind of happiness my stores have brought me is inimitable. When I heard of etsy, it was the ring of opportunity for me and I have great plans for my shop this year. I am thrilled to meet all of you and hope we all can grow together with our ambitions and holistic approach to life.

  • rachelmulleryarns

    Rachel Muller from TheKnittingHour said 3 years ago

    I haven't looked into this, but I speculate that a big corporation paid her to write that book.

  • korenkwan

    Koren Kwan from GarasuWonderland said 2 years ago

    interesting article, really enjoy reading it!

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