On Friday I noticed in one of my emails from Etsy something about a worldwide craft party, intrigued I clicked through, several clicks later I ended up on the Meetup page and discovered that there was party on in Tokyo and at a time where I would actually be able to attend. Usually when I see these kinds of things they are on a week night which makes it impossible for me to attend. It did mean that I would have to take Ebi-kun with me but that seemed to be OK.
It was held at The Pink Cow in Shibuya, I have vague memories of going there before but it was before Ebi-kun was around, they have a lot of artsy events, wish it was a bit closer!
I guess there were about 30 people there, I didn't get to talk to everyone but what surprised me was that only one person I spoke to actually had an Etsy shop, some were interested in opening one or interested in meeting up with other creative types.
I got the feeling that the main issue people had was the postage but I have to say that I have had very few problems with the postage here. I use airmail as the standard, if the weight of the package exceeds 2kg then it gets sent EMS (recorded) or if the order is high in value then I offer the customer the choice. I also make it clear that I am not responsible for items lost in the post. I do expect to have some things go missing and so I build that into the shipping costs.
There was a good mix of Japanese and foreigners and I was surprised to see so many men there, not sure why, maybe because all the people I know with Etsy shops are female. Another issue that sellers seem to have is language, having the confidence to sell your good in a foreign language and this is one of my problems too. I think there is money to be made by someone who is bilingual in setting up a service to market handmade goods to Japanese stores, I would be happy to sign up! any takers? It is also an issue for Etsy that only people who are comfortable using English are going to use Etsy. I would say 99% of my sales go overseas, the ones I have in Japan tend to be people who approach me through the blog.
When we first arrived there was a bit of an intro and then we had lunch, the Pink Cow famous burritos, they are really good, I shared with Ebi-kun but they were a bit spicy for him, so he scoffed all the salad and a bag of sweet potato snacks I had in my bag, bit of an odd lunch. Then we got down to some craft making, there was brooch making, I took a bit of the Dragon Slayer fabric and the print turned out to be just the right size, I love the dragon. Christi was running a ring making class (which I forgot to take photos of) and there was a lot of chatting as the making was going on. Ebi-kun joined in and afterwards said it was a fun day, he was expecting it to be as big as Design Festa though.
When we left, I thought we would drop in at the Metropolitan Kids Hall so Ebi-kun could have a run around but when we got there it was closed due to the effects of the earthquake, I can only assume that the building is damaged. So, we headed back to the station, on the way we passed a graffiti wall, so we added to that.
We also ran into a demo against nuclear power. It was a good day, I met some great people and hopefully there will be more meet ups in the future.