Monday, May 26, 2008

The Global Marketplace

I had this whole diatribe planned out on the global economy and how it affects our little craft businesses, but then I took far too long getting it down and it's flown out the window. So, I think I will just try to wing it.

If you're reading this from inside the States, you are probably aware that our economy is in a bit more than a downturn, but what you may be less aware of, is that we are not in fact the only large, stable, industrialized nation on the planet. We are simply one of a great many countries that stand on their own just fine, and right now, many of those other countries are not only doing better than us, some of them are growing at astounding rates. If you are reading this from one of those other countries, you are probably aware of this as well. In my limited experience our international friends tend to be more informed on global matters than we are. Look, I'm not trying to diss the America, I love it here, I just don't buy into the "we're #1" mentality. This is not a worldwide competition for King of the Planet, our economies are merging and if we don't start playing together well, we are doomed.

So what's the point I'm trying to make here? Well, unless you are only selling domestically in the states, the national economy is not the only one you should be concerned with. We need to embrace the interconnectedness of our world and use that to our advantage. If you aren't making sales and you don't ship internationally, perhaps you should start. If you sell knit scarves and you are dreading the slow summer months, perhaps you should start listing during prime Australian hours. Look at the geolocator on etsy, you may be surprised at the large number of international sellers and I imagine that there are just as many worldwide buyers out there.

While I haven't done the proper leg work to claim this as fact, I think there are still a lot of people that live and die in the same town that they were born in. In the past this would have meant that they would probably not be at all concerned with the world around them. Today, the Internet has changed all that. You can never leave your house and still be a part of a world with very few borders. Embrace this brave new world and make it work for you. Our economy will get better and others will get worse as part of this new global climate, the trick is to see the bigger picture. If you can do that, perhaps you can ride the waves with a little less stress.


Wonderfully Sew Knit said...

Great post! I'm not of the "we're #1" mentality either.

Elaine said...

I get to have a fairly unique perspective on this - I have my own new, Canadian Etsy shop and an older, collective shop I run with an American friend from the US.

For both shops - all for my CDN one - a good chunk of the sales are from International locations. The US shop, thats Singapore and Canada primarily. My CDN shop, so far AU and US.

I notice Americans forget that the economies here and in Singapore (for example) are doing very well and that items priced competitively in the US are bargains here and there. Shipping that seems horrifying to the US (and gas prices) are considered a bargain internationally.

The Internet has been a way to meet such a variety of people - I'm happy Etsy encourages the trend, at least a little.