Etsy, online marketplace, attracts local vendors

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Jess Galvan had worked in the fashion industry for years before she started selling her own line on the online artisan marketplace, Etsy. The Evanston mother of three, who creates made-to-order appliquéd children’s clothes, started her Shugie Shop (www.etsy.com/shop/shugieshop) three years ago, and she uses specialty fabrics her sister designs in England in her pieces. The business comes in handy when her own children need new outfits, too, Galvan said.

“My son was just like: ‘I just want Batman shirts!’ And I was like: ‘Oh my goodness, I can’t find that many Batman shirts,’” Galvan said.

So, she made them for him instead.

Galvan’s not alone. Etsy vendors based in the northern suburbs are creating apparel and accessories from little girls’ tutus to handmade wedding gowns.

In Barrington, Lena Kim designs funky, colorful earrings, necklaces and bracelets for her online shop nicelena (www.etsy.com/shop/nicelena).

“I used to be a painter; and then, my kids came along,” Kim said. “I just didn’t have time to focus on that so I wanted something smaller.”

Through Etsy, she’s sold her most popular line — pieces that use bright origami paper — to customers in Australia, England and elsewhere.

“That’s really fun when I find an order from somewhere like that,” Kim said. “It’s brought my line to the global market.”

Though Galvan and Kim count buyers across the country and around the world as clients, many of their fellow artisans are right here on the North Shore.

Here are a few other local Etsy vendors that offer unique and fashionable finds:

VINTAGE

· Factory Vintage Clothes: Caitlin Stephenson curates a diverse collection of retro pieces such as 1950s gold-trimmed leather gloves or 1970s floral cheongsam out of Evanston.

· Pupule: Recent finds at this Evanston shop include vintage cat-eye glasses and snakeskin Dan Post cowboy boots.

· shopNov: You can find a beaded 1980s blouse, a 1960s prom dress and a mod hammered gold necklace, all out of Highland Park.

JEWELRY

· Gray Raven Designs: Mosaic artist Wendy Gray Raven creates cufflinks, earrings and pendants in Evanston.

KIDS WEAR

· Frosting Shop: This Park Ridge shop offers whimsical tulle tutus and fairy-like dresses perfect for flower girls or playing dress up.

· Little Humans: This shop owner in Morton Grove designs miniature menswear, i.e. precious bowties and formal vests for young boys.

CUSTOM

· AvailCo: The designers here also operate a bricks-and-mortar store in Evanston. Check out the extravagant custom bridal and evening gowns or specify your own on Etsy.

· I Felt Unfettered: Find artsy textured shawls at this shop based in Lake Forest.

· BebzLeisureTime: Based in Park Ridge, this shop sells knitted scarves, hats and the occasional sweater or skirt.

BY GWENDOLYN PURDOM