Website Turns Crafts into Cash

December 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A Valley woman is using the internet to sell her creations around the world. In just over two years, her one-time hobby has turned into a full time business.Visalia native Alana Little began her jewelry making business, Make Pie Not War, in 2007, after first giving a career in accounting a try. "I had been working as a corporate accountant. I had just had enough of that life. And I had decided that I wanted to do something different, so I quit my job." said Little.

Later that year, Little began selling her jewelry on Etsy, an online marketplace for all things handmade. Two years later, she's sold nearly 1,400 pieces through the site, with orders going out to people all over the world. Little makes it all in a corner of her living room, where she combines vintage style with gemstones to create jewelry for what she calls the "radical lady".

Little's sales quadrupled in one month after being mentioned in a popular blog for Lucky magazine and later, the magazine itself. "I have a lot of dedicated customers in Australia, in the London area. I sell to China, pretty much anywhere," said Little.

Etsy lists 45 Fresno area crafters. All pay a 20 cent listing fee for each item and another 3.5 percent is charged when it sells. Madera native and artist Sylvia Chenault uses Etsy to sell wearable art made from her own illustrations. "A lot of European countries like this stuff. But Japan tends to be one of the big ones. I think it's because of the illustrative style that I've been using and the bright colors. That tends to be really popular there," said Chenault. Chenault says she hopes her art spreads joy.

Little, meanwhile, has also used her talent to give back to the world. She just recently returned from Thailand, where she taught children at a Bangkok orphanage how to make jewelry in hopes of keeping them out of lives of prostitution and servitude. While "Make Pie Not War" may not change the world, Little hopes it could change some lives.


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