I have extremely niche interests. The few things I'm obsessed with, I dive hard into. Those two things include movies, journalism and photography. So what's a girl to do with those three niche interests and retailers that don't generally sell accessory items to fulfill those interests?
One word: Etsy.
Etsy.com was launched in 2005, but only in the last few years has it really attained widespread awareness.
Shown are a pair of handcrafted earrings, perfect for film lovers, sold on Etsy.com.
The website is like a giant e-community yardsale, where crafters, antique collectors, artists, seamstresses - just about every type of crafter imaginable - post their unique, beautiful creations and items for the world to buy.
Categories expand from men, women and children, to home, beauty and jewelry, vintage, weddings - and tons more.
It has a search bar at the top ... type in a specific item or interest, and voila - specific, niche items tailored to your interest.
Last Christmas, I knew I wanted to find a newsprint messenger bag for my laptop.
A new-to-the-job journalist, I felt it would be perfect for me. I like to express my interests in any way I can.
But I couldn't find one that I liked anywhere ... the few newsprint laptop bags that were on Amazon.com didn't have straps or were too small.
Someone suggested Etsy. I found something I loved right away from a bag-designer who lives across the globe - a woman named Doris from Taiwan.
At first I was a bit skeptical, but Etsy provides an almost Facebook-like profile for the sellers, where I was able to learn about the designer, her background and her specific creative process, including photos of the process and of her studio.
I realized what I was buying truly was one-of-a-kind, handmade "with love" - as many of the sellers claim.
I paid $55 for my one-of-a-kind newsprint laptop bag, and although a bit higher of a price than I had wanted to pay, I knew the original, handmade design would be worth it. And it was.
For my love of movies, I found handmade earrings of movie film and even handmade clocks made from old film reels.
The website also helps guide you toward things you might enjoy, if you're not sure what to search for right away, with sections like "Community Tastemakers" which offer inspiration from Etsy members' top picks.
Additionally, for the artisans out there looking to sell work, Etsy is a great place to start. It's like having your own shop, without all of the hassles of a brick-and-mortar location.
Check Etsy out at www.etsy.com.