I loved the whole idea of Etsy when I first heard about it (over 5 years ago). In case you don’t know about it – Etsy is the website where artists and crafters sell their wares. When I first began ordering my kefir grains from it, it was relatively small and low tech. Now, it’s huge and it has become the fifth most visited marketplace site in the U.S. after Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Best Buy. I have interviewed many home cheese makers who sell on Etsy (not their cheese, no!) but their other hobbies.
Other than the kefir grains, I had never ordered anything from Etsy. And, I have to say, my experience was mixed with the kefir grains. I ordered 4 times in 5 years (for gifts and for myself) and some were dried up little teaspoons while others were containers with a good amount of grains in them. The last time I ordered, the amount was generous and the grains were beautiful, but the sender is now out of business.
This summer, I moved from a very small house to a much larger one and I was faced with the task of furnishing it. I decided I wanted everything to be handmade and I began with Etsy. I started with the lighting and I ordered several new and used lights- no problem. Then, I ordered a custom made hanging dining room light made of wire and paper. This took over 2 months to arrive and when it came, it was damaged. So, that went back and over a month later, it came with what I consider to be defects. In fact, I actually cut off part of it which was hanging from the bottom and you know, that’s not good!
But, during the time when I was first waiting for the custom light to come, I ordered a bed frame and 2 night tables from a woodworking shop in Snellville, Georgia – Plane And Square. It wasn’t that expensive, actually-a little more than if I had gone to a discount furniture store. I wasn’t expecting much, but I was determined to support small artisans and I really wanted my new house to look fabulous. I didn’t realize that I had stumbled into the best buying experience of my entire life (64 years worth).
Before I actually ordered, I asked the owner of Plane and Square, Steve Deafenbaugh, if he could make an oak bed frame and 2 matching nightstands with a natural finish. He could, so I asked him what the shipping would be from Snelling, Georgia to western Massachusetts. The first price he gave me was high and I wasn’t sure I could afford it, but he did some research and found a way to ship it for much less. So, I placed my order.
Soon after that, he called me with every question imaginable about the height of our mattress, the height of our box spring, the height we wanted the bed to be off the floor, the height of the backboard and foot board, and the distance between the mattress and the foot board for tucking in the bedspread! I was pleasantly surprised by his questions and beginning to feel good about this.
After we made it through these decisions, he began to send me pictures of his progress with the bed – every step of the way. It looked like he was doing a great job, but I couldn’t see it up close so I didn’t want to get too excited.
While he was sending the pictures, a few months went by. I was starting to wonder if this was a scam and we would never get anything but bogus pictures. In light of everything else that was going wrong with our move, this seemed entirely plausible.
Finally, Steve e-mailed me that he was getting ready to ship the bed. He had assembled it and taken pictures of it for my approval:
He sent me a picture of the 5 packages on his front lawn so I would know what to expect. He gave me the weights of the packages so I could arrange for help getting them into the house.
When the packages came, they were wrapped so carefully, they could have been made of glass and they would have been undamaged. Steve had drawn little arrows to the screws that needed to be removed when opening the wooden boxes.
Now, get this- In the box marked “Open First” Steve had sent us a thank you card and a DVD he had made for assembling the bed! The bed was easy to assemble and it proved to be even more gorgeous than I had hoped. It’s as solid as a rock. At this point, I knew I had won the Etsy lottery.
Yes, there was a bit of a wait, but it was definitely worth it. This furniture is heirloom. We wish we could fill our entire house with furniture by Steve. When we win the actual Massachusetts lottery, we will!
Plane and Square