It has been said that the Internet is making the world a smaller place and a more interwoven community. This couldn’t be more true for Jasper County artists and craft-makers, now outfitted with a convenient tool to market their goods not only around the country but around the world.
One such artist is Sara Price, the owner and designer of Whym, which is her second job. The items she has sold around the world and at home include handbags and purses, passport covers, tablet sheaths and a number of other leather containers and accessories.
“My first sale on the site was actually to someone in Ireland … I’ve sold items to people in Thailand, Pakistan and other places,” Price said.
Price markets her good through Etsy, an online retail website which is geared mostly towards handmade items as well as vintage items and other arts and crafts.
While she sells her leather goods in a consignment store and through word of mouth to people in the area, Price believes around 75 percent of her sales are through Etsy.
“It’s really fulfilling for me,” Price said. “I’ve got a lot of support from friends and family… a lot of sales to people I know, but when someone you’ve never met from far away buys something, it feels really good. It’s like a vote of confidence, letting you know that they actually like what you make.”
Price, a Newton native and Iowa State University graduate, worked in retail after she completed her apparel design program. She wasn’t fully satisfied with her career and knew that she wanted to keep developing her skills, so she applied and was accepted into the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
It was during her studies there that she discovered her affinity for leatherworking and making bags in particular.
Now that she is back in Jasper County, she knows that she needs to supplement her sales because there isn’t enough local interest in her work. That’s where the online retailers come in.
“It’s not the complete solution … some companies can sell everything online, but small businesses like me do better if we use a number of options,” Price said.
So for now, Price will continue to carry her items in consignment stores, attend flea markets and other events, market through word of mouth and sell her goods through Etsy.
The end goal, however, is to someday have her own storefront, with retail in front and a personal workshop in the back.
Price’s online store can be found at etsy.com/shop/whym. Other notable Etsy accounts by Jasper County residents include a jewelry shop at etsy.com/shop/Silveradojewelry, a craft store at etsy.com/oddsnendsgenstore and greeting cards at etsy.com/craftsbychar.