Etsy turns 3 years old on June 18, 2008. We decided it was the perfect time to contact some of our "Elder Etsians" and pay them a little tribute. ChristineRenee of Chicago, Illinois joined Etsy on June 18, 2005, and clocks in as the fifth person to join Etsy. And as you can see if you click through and see her shop’s url, her user id is number 100. Rob, Chris, and Haim — Etsy’s original founders — are numbers 93,94,95 (1-92 were test data). It’s your moment to shine, ChristineRenee!
Please introduce yourself and talk a bit about what you make.
My name is ChristineRenee and I make a hodge podge of stuff — mostly with recycled materials. But I am best known for my Zombie Escape Plan Journals, which were inspired by a crazy, late-night thread in the Etc. forum. (See, hanging out in the forums does pay off sometimes.) I also make buttons, magnets, pocket mirrors, patches… and whatever else pops into my head.
Hearken back to the old days of Etsy…Any fond memories?
I remember signing up for Etsy on a whim, thinking it was just something fun to do that wasn’t going to cost me anything (there weren’t any fees back then!) and being surprised a few days later when someone actually bought one of my button sets. I was hooked!
It is amazing to think of how much Etsy has changed since then. I remember when there were only a few hundred items in each category and looking at each and every one of them in one evening was possible. (I dare anyone to try that now!)
How has what you create changed over the past few years, if at all?
When I started out on Etsy I was just making buttons. I had one 1-inch button machine and that was it. Now I have a whole arsenal of crafty machinery to make buttons, magnets and pocket mirrors in three different sizes and spiral-bound notebooks.
I’ve also started doing more gocco printing lately. I had my Print Gocco long before Etsy was born and hadn’t used it in years. But all the great gocco art here inspired me to get back into it again. And I recently opened a second shop — ChristineRenee2 — for my original collage art.
I love that I can come up with an idea and test it out on Etsy to see if people like it before investing a lot of time into it. (I get A LOT of ideas, and believe me, they aren’t all good!)
Do you have an anecdote that crystallizes how you think about the Community on Etsy?
Last year I had the opportunity to meet a lot of fellow Etsians at Renegade Chicago. And I realized that after admiring their work here and getting to know them in the forums I had built them up in my mind to be mini celebrities. So meeting them and putting faces with names was a major thrill. I was way more excited about meeting Stellaloella in person than I would have been to meet someone like Johnny Depp or Oprah.
Do you see yourself on Etsy for the long haul?
Definitely! I can’t imagine my life without Etsy. I even left my job in October 2006 thanks to Etsy. (My shop here isn’t my sole means of support, but it was a major factor in my decision.)
Who knows what life will bring, but I see myself always having a shop here, even if it’s just as a hobby.
Anyway, I HAVE to stick with it, because the longer I’m here, the cooler it is to say that I’ve been here since day one.
What have you learned about selling?
I have learned that repeat customers are golden and keeping them happy is priority number one. If you can do that, then you will build a steady customer base that will keep growing as they tell their friends about you.
But it won’t happen overnight.
What do you want for the future of Etsy?
I simply want Etsy to continue to grow and be successful without losing its soul.