Online shopping was just taking off when online retail powerhouse Etsy burst onto the scene in 2005. The site, which originally sold exclusively handmade items, reclaimed an element of the personal in increasingly impersonal sales transactions where it was suddenly entirely possible for someone to order, pay for, and return an item without ever interacting with another human being.
The nature of Etsy’s homemade products meant that online shopping suddenly felt human again. In the intervening years, hundreds of thousands of people have created and sold handmade products with that same personal touch and ended up merging their own business and personal lives as a result.
For many Etsy entrepreneurs like Jenna Crucitti, the story is a familiar one: a personal project which quickly turned into a full-time career. Crucitti is the owner of Jenna Caitlin Designs, an online Etsy shop that creates personalized tumblers for weddings and other occasions.
“It just started to become more lucrative and more enjoyable than my actual full time job so I took the big step, quit, and have been doing this full time for 10 months now.”
“Last year I made some really cute tumblers for my girlfriend’s bachelorette party,” says Crucitti. “I was her maid of honor. And everyone loved them so much I decided to put them up on Etsy…It just started to become more lucrative and more enjoyable than my actual full time job so I took the big step, quit, and have been doing this full time for 10 months now.”
For Crucitti, that leap from side gig to full-time job paid off. Jenna Caitlin Designs has rung up over 2,700 individual sales and hit some big sales goals, too.
“My proudest moment since running my Etsy shop full time was when I hit $10,000 in sales, “ Crucitti shares. “That was just insane to me, that I could make a tangible amount of money through something I enjoy.”