Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Local Goes National

Yesterday I went back to the doctor for a post-surgical follow-up. Basically, almost nothing is wrong with me. I'm just not getting pregnant.

If I'd like, I can move on to the next step. "The next step" consists of daily injections for about a third of my menstrual cycle, coupled with getting up ultra-early each morning to go in and have my blood drawn and have people rummage around in my cooter. Yes, daily. I know. For at least a little while longer, I'm going to pass, and just Give Sex a Chance. But that's no reason not to buy myself lots of presents. Since I need to save my money in case I have to pay people to do extraordinary things to my poor little eggs, I've been investigating Stuff I Can Buy that is Cool and Doesn't Cost a Lot.

Like-minded Mrs. Harridan turned me on to a wonderful website: Etsy. It's essentially an emporium for handmade items. My favorites are of the variety that smell good. A lot of the sellers are moms running home-based businesses. A lot of the stuff is great. It arrives quickly and packaged nicely and often with personal touches, such as notes or samples of other products.

I'd like to think that this is part of a larger trend, that the Internet has made it possible for more and more men and women to have their own businesses, often home-based and with fairly low start-up costs, and to reach potential customers in new ways. It's common for the owner of the business also to be the one who packs and mails your products; the personal attention is unbeatable.

As a city-dweller, I find that customer service comes at a price. It's very common to be ignored or treated poorly at low-cost stores in New York. I try to support local businesses, both to encourage them to prosper and because I like being treated nicely, and buy lots of foods and household items and pharmacy items from small businesses where the vendors smile and chat with me. I'm simply not willing, though, to spend $300 on a skirt from a small boutique, or $40 for a jar of handmade cream, or $20 for a bar of natural soap, kind though the vendor may be. It's just not in my budget. And, frankly, some local vendors are jerks. Why should I pay a premium for their rudeness, when I really want to salute them with my middle finger and say, "support THIS"?

With these home-based businesses on the Internet, I have been able to purchase eau de parfum samples, handmade with natural oils, for $3, gorgeous-smelling natural soap for $4, hand-beaded earrings on sterling-silver French wires for $5, and a whole gift-packaged kit of assorted full-size natural products made from domestically grown lavender for less than $20 (I found the lavender vendor, Owl Creek Lavender, through an ad on Dooce, who herself has created a business of sorts). I have received two handwritten thank-you notes, a kind e-mail, several free samples, and beautiful packaging, and, believe me, all of that nicey-nice makes you feel a lot better than surliness when you're treating yourself to stuff because you're nursing surgical wounds instead of a baby. Plus, many of my purchases are helping parents make money while staying home with their kids.

If you're looking to treat yourself to nice little stuff, I recommend checking out the businesses on Etsy and Ebay. If you know of any other sites, please post 'em; I'm all ears.


Anonymous TB said...

Oh Arabella, I'm so sorry about the non-diagnosis. It is truly the most frustrating thing ever when there is nothing that can be fixed. I actually had someone say to me recently that we were so lucky because there was nothing wrong. Can I tell you how close I came to giving them that salute you speak of? What an ass.
My thoughts are with you and Ty.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

I don't have any good links for self-run businesses, but I love the idea. And I love the Hillside Trees linocut print on the front page of etsy. Thanks to you and Mrs. H for the tip!

(I was googling homemade pretty stuff and the first 5 links were porn. Not what I had in mind, but made for some interesting browsing with my coffee...)

12:15 PM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

OH NO! Now that I've discovered Etsy, I may lose even more time to Web surfing and shopping.

I just bought three bracelets from Daisy Bright jewelry as gifts. It was started by a friend who gave up a career to be a SAHM. She does lovely work and gives personal service.

4:11 PM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

Great! More sites to buy more stuff with money I don't have! I'm looking anyway!

6:08 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

I mostly buy books & soy candles online, and I've discovered lots of awesome little home candle businesses over the years.

(So sorry to hear about the medical situation...*hugs*)

11:14 PM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

sorry about your cooter and eggs. That's a bummer. But, it always feels good to spend a little money. My husband won't thank you for the tip, but I do!

12:28 PM  
Blogger Alli said...

Having your infertility catagorized as "unexplained" is such a bitch.

Good advice on the pampering treats. Can't wait to check out the site!!

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

Your diagnosis, or lack thereof, must be frustrating, but at least now you know. I hope Giving Sex a Chance works out for you :)

Thanks for the Etsy link. I have it opeb right now and have been looking all through it. It's so cool!

11:19 PM  

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