image via Etsy Labs on flickr - click for more info

“Etsy… is a place?” One of Megan‘s students asked her.

“Yes, it’s a place,” she replied.

Etsy is a marketplace, a state of mind, a verb, and, yes, a very real place in Brooklyn where everyone looks so very, well, Brooklyn.

Traveling up the elevator, walking through the industrial hallways, entering the Etsy Labs, I couldn’t help but think how far things had come since my mom was putting food on the table through her sewing business. Could she have even imagined in 1992… or 2000… or 2004… that there would be a multi-million dollar company that encouraged people to come, hang out, and craft at their headquarters?

I think not.

On Tuesday, I had the privilege of attending the Etsy Success Symposium organized by the lovely daniellexo (above) and facilitated by many other fab Etsy admins.

Right now, I find myself in the midst of a rather beautiful & expansive discussion of social media – it’s relevance & “realness” – and my experience at Etsy just makes me more confident of my theory:

social media is as real as you make it.

I can tell you that when I hugged daniellexo as soon as we met, it was real.
I can tell you that when people said, “Are you…. Scoutie Girl?” adding how much they loved the blog, it was real.
I can tell you that when I put faces to Twitter handles and Etsy shops, there were no strangers, only friends.

The gratitude I feel for all the relationships I have nurtured through digital means is very real and very deep.

To me, arriving at Etsy was both a manifestation of a lifetime spent making, doing, and appreciating craft and a reminder that I have much (and many) to be thankful for.