Okay, this may seem like an odd statement, but I have learned a few things over the years by watching American Idol contests unfold. Most recently I have seen parallels between the public voting habits and how I pick sellers to buy from on Etsy. I know I should be ashamed that I am a dedicated Idol fan, but everyone needs a guilty pleasure and this is mine, so here goes.
People like to help people, but more than that they like to help people that seem to really need help. If a seller is too confident, has it all together, lots of sales, etc., then they don't need me and I will probably only buy from them if their product is awesome or exactly what I was looking for. Basically they won't get an impulse sale from me. I saw that in the bottom three of Idol last week. No one thought they needed help, so they didn't get votes.
Conversely, if the seller has little talent or a generic product, but needs the sales, I'm not biting. The person people want to buy from has talent, modesty and you feel good about buying from them. I think we also love to say we were there at the beginning of a potentially big career. I remember voting for Kelly in the first season, (don't worry, I don't vote anymore) and thinking how awesome it was to help such an amazing talent get started. Somehow we can then feel partly responsible for their success. I feel the same way about buying from people like Lollibomb, TimothyAdamDesigns, StilettoHeights or a dozen others I've bought from in the couple of years. I think, man I must own something from them before they get too important for the likes of me.
Of course that's the great thing about buying handmade, you get to buy from a person who cares that you bought something from them. It's not really true of Idol that you make a big impact like that, but in a small way you still get that satisfaction of knowing you had a part to play in someone else's success. I imagine a few of us hope that karma will reward us for our good deed, but isn't the reward an amazing handmade product and maybe a new friend....who might buy something from you later?