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51 Etsy Shopping Tips | The Strategist

Photo-Illustration: Strategist; Photos: Courtesy of Retailers

Verbo Studio Classic Caprani Desk Lamp

Shipping is lightning fast from Denmark and free, and the seller is so communicative and helpful. —Lauren Ro

Yayi and Pony French Blue Linen Dress

Linen Clothing By Anny Custom Slim Shoulder Linen Dress Made to Fit

In general, I’ve found searching by manufacturer rather than designer turns up more fun surprises — try Artemide, Cassina, and Kartell. Some great stores include Kooloo Modern, Midage Vintage, Retroxl, and WestEst Studio. Glas Atelier 69 is especially good for lamps; try Franzs Favorites for handles, drawer pulls, hooks, and other small home-décor items. —Erin Schwartz

Kooloo Modern Wink 111 Lounge Chair by Toshiyuki Kita for Cassina, 1980s

Retroxl Oram Minispot II

Franzs Favorites Vintage 1980s HEWI Furniture Handle

Big Stuffed Big Original Whale

My family has an “original” whale and an albino beluga in our home menagerie, and I can’t recommend them enough if you want to splurge on a gift for an extra-special kid or ocean obsessive of any age, as they would look just as handsome as a sculptural throw pillow on a well-appointed sofa. —Jen Trolio

Shared Walls Vintage Anchor Hocking Vintage Carafe Orange Juice Pitcher

Most are made by Anchor Hocking and Libbey (the latter of which still puts out some of our favorite glassware), so keep an eye out for those brand names and then just pick what you like best. —Emma Wartzman

Batterby House Hudson Vintage Cartier Sterling Vermouth Dripper

One recently sold on 1stDibs for $320 more than what Batterby is asking. —Chelsea Peng

Saving the item also means you’ll get notified if it goes on sale. —E.S.

Petit Pays Vintage 1960s Brown/Green Check Nylon Shirt – 10-12 Y

Hooked on Honey Vintage Sequin Black Star Moon Dress by Modi

Lady and the Leash makes custom patches that you can iron or sew onto sweatshirts, bags, or whatever else you like (I got one for each of my two cats and stitched them onto Christmas stockings). I also adore the custom stained-glass portraits from Mind and Mineral, which once lovingly captured my sister’s dearly departed Saint Bernard, Charlie. —J.T.

Mind and Mineral Custom Pet Stained Glass Portrait

My personal favorites are the peanut butter and jelly couples costume and the chef hat. I’m sure these could fit some smaller dogs, too. —Brenley Goertzen

Miss Maddy Makes Peanut Butter and Jelly Couples Costume for Cats

Miss Maddy Makes Chef Hat For Cats

[Editor’s note: The owner of Miss Maddy Makes is currently taking a break, but they expect to reopen in June 2023.]

ElegantPet1 Addams Family Braided Dog Wig

It’s home to the mouse Strategist writer Lauren Ro put her littlest one in for his first Halloween, and the sweetest strawberry that the head of public relations at the Sill approves of. —Ambar Pardilla

All Stitched Up By Joan Baby Mouse Costume

MumDesignGifts Halloween Strawberry Costume

Check out Depot Sauvage, Fairly Naff, SC Vintage Store, Wonmore, and Fad Archive. —E.S.

Depot Sauvage Vintage Armani Low Rise Pleated Miniskirt

Wonmore VNTG 2000s Vintage Utility Pants

Hooked on Honey 90s Vintage NYC Silk Shirt by Nicole Miller

I own three of these shirts with chaotic prints of postage stamps, tennis gear, and Christmas brownstones. It’s my favorite lesser-known Etsy fashion niche, and one that’s fun to revisit when brainstorming gifts for friends with particular interests. There’s one seller called Hooked on Honey that typically has lots of options in stock. —Caroline Weaver

Bathen co-founder Hannah Zisman has a pair from a trip to Marrakech and also several from Etsy, which she says are just as lightweight and stylish. —Arielle Avila

Marrkesh Souk Babouche Slippers

Marrkesh Souk Custom Babouche Slippers

Slipper Home Personalized Red Leather Slippers

I had red-leather shearling-lined ones made for my family with a silly crest embroidered on them and was blown away by the quality. It’s the only option for custom slippers I’ve found online that aren’t cheap hotel-style ones! —C.W.

Toile de Jute Vintage German Army Trainers Original Grade1 GAT

I just can’t pay for designer sneakers when they so closely resemble the much cheaper original. —Chris Black

SASAKIYOHINTEN Mitsugu Sasaki/Czech Military Vintage Padded Jacket

This Japanese seller reworks vintage European and Asian workwear using boro patchwork and sashiko embroidery in a palette of mostly indigo and neutrals. It can be hard to find vintage workwear in petite sizes, but the patched and visibly mended jacket I bought from them is a perfect fit. —Winnie Yang

Elsy Marie High Cut Cotton Underwear

Egretta Garzetta Medium-high Waist Rust Red Panties

They are handmade in Latvia from fabrics like GOTS-certified organic cotton and merino wool. —W.Y.

Forgotten Foundries Griswold #5 Cast Iron Skillet w/ Slant Logo

You can restore a rusted skillet yourself with some time and elbow grease, but there are plenty of sellers who will do the hard work for you (and charge accordingly), using century-old cookware that is lighter and thinner and has a smoother cooking surface than what you find in new cast-iron pans. I got my beautifully restored Griswold skillet from Forgotten Foundries, but Cast Iron Archaeology is another highly rated and knowledgeable seller. Just be sure to check sizing info before buying, since old cast iron generally follows a numbering system. —W.Y.

Nicklon Treasures 90's Ikea Stoja Memphis Milano Style Desk Lamp

Tiny Life Things Chinese/English Bilingual Baby Board Book Bundle -

I’ve been eyeing these from a Vancouver-based Etsy shop called Tiny Life Things to give to my cousins’ kids, who are learning English as a second language. —Kathy Li

Last Piece of the Puzzle Toddler Name Puzzle
Very Good Deal

Store of Texas 13 Break Open Large Geodes Combo Pack

I recently learned through one of her Instagram stories of Everwood Friends, maker of a wide range of wooden toys like gem blocks and animal-themed blocks. —W.Y.

Everwood Friends 8-Piece Bright Large Gem Building Blocks

Coach Amber Designs Purple Rainbow Skating Dress

If you buy new, most sellers will allow you to customize the fit and sleeve length, and you can add extra rhinestones for a fee. —K.L.

Blue Corduroy Yellow Baby Sun Hat

Listings with poorly lit, low-res snapshots with little to no editing — that’s where you’ll find the real hidden gems. —Kitty Guo

Sheer Potted Plants Glass Pot Planter with Drainage Holes and Tray

Sheer Potted Plants came through with a modern glass option that includes a saucer and is a fantastic upgrade to plastic nursery pots. —J.T.

Crocheting By Rose Personalized Crochet Name Doily

The Stationery Manor Midori Chiratto Rainbow Colors Planner Index Tabs

Jazz up rolling luggage, your AirPods case, or any other smooth, nonporous surface with your name or initials. —J.T.

Monogram It Darling Double Layer Vinyl Monogram Decal Sticker

Monogram It Darling AirPods Case Double Layer Vinyl Monogram Decal Sticker

These are some of his favorite makers: Simply Living Shop Inc., Wallace Wood Ornaments, and Dinosaurnaments. —L.R.

Simply Living Shop Inc. Personalized Baby Babys First Christmas Ornament

Wallance Wood Ornaments Personalized Boy Bike Riding Christmas Ornament

Dionsaurnaments Personalized Trumpet Christmas Ornament

Studio JJK Shop Custom Illustration

Author Minh Lê turned us on to these portraits painted by award-winning illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka when we spoke to him about the best gifts for grandfathers. —A.A.

Sharlene Lisanne Large Moody Country Landscape Oil Painting

Kultura Design Pamilya/Family Handwritten Baybayin Script

I ordered a batch that said “Family” for my parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents a couple years back from this seller in the U.K. and it was a hit for Christmas. —A.A.

Annette Rawe Mobiles Mobilé AKI Colorful

Floating Art Mobiles Abstract Art Hanging Mobile

Unmeasured Event ROMY Bee Baby Shower Invitation Template Set
Very Good Deal

They range from the generic to the very specific (like if your friend is wanting a honeybee-themed shower). —A.A.

Sian Zeng Magnetic Mountains Wallpaper

Cuckoo Walls and Floors Black Dots Removable Wallpaper

3 Thimbles and a Needle Gee's Bend Cotton Quilt

Hazel the Pirate Vintage Wamsutta Rainbow Flat Sheet Queen Size Bright Colors 94 x 90 Inches

I like kitschy ’70s Wamsutta designs or anything old Marimekko. The Wamsutta “tomorrow’s rainbow” pattern is always a hit, if you can find it in reasonable condition at a good price — it was featured on Stranger Things. —Katherine Gillepsie

Polo Mocha Vintage Colorful Geometric Stripe Collared Sweater Cardigan

Histoire Retrouvee Ring at the Firmament Attributed to Marie Antoinette

Hannah Naomi Ultra Thin Sterling Silver Stacking Ring

It has lived on my left-hand middle finger for close to a decade now, as bright and shiny as the day I bought it. —Kitty G.

Belinda Avant Wide Red Velvet Headband

Design by Hummingbird Beige Flower Head Piece Fascinator

Loeffelland Sardine Siphon, WMF 400

These wide, multipronged forks are just perfect for lifting long and flaky little fish from the tin without it falling apart. In the meantime, there are loads of vintage sardine forks and lifters on Etsy. My favorites are the mid-century German kind with actual fish-shaped handles (here’s mine, currently sold out). —Katherine G.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.