What Would They Know? Emily Bidwell from Etsy

by | What Would They Know?, Wisdom

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Polka Dot Bride
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We’re excited today to introduce to you Emily, who is Etsy’s Senior Merchandising Specialist, all the way from New York. She has a dream job where she gets to shop on Etsy all day, looking for the amazing products people craft and sell on the site. There are so many gorgeous things to buy for your wedding on Etsy, it’s hard to know where to stop! As Etsy’s resident ‘style expert’, Emily gives us some insights on adding a handmade element to your wedding day.

Can you describe what you do in your job for Etsy?

I merchandise shopping content emails, such as Etsy Finds, and various curated experiences found throughout the Etsy website. I also make product suggestions for media placements.

How did you land the ‘coolest job in the world’ in one of the coolest cities in the world – New York?

I had been living in New York making jewelry, working at record stores, and eventually screenprinting tee shirts with my friend Matt Stinchcomb. One day, he explained to me that his friend Rob had a website called Etsy, and that it crashed for several days. At this time, Etsy was only several months old, so we set out to make tee shirts for all the sellers affected by the site outage. That was how I first came to engage with Etsy’s community, and I began working full time within only several months. To this day, the screenprinting press found in the Etsy Labs was the one Matt and I used all the those years ago.

Have you always had handmade things around you, and is that where your interest in ‘handmade’ started?

I studied fine arts in school, and since I was a child, I valued making my own things. I made an aquarium, an outdoor greenhouse, illustrated books and painted. My family is only marginally crafty, so I developed my own crafts projects at home, usually involving a flour paste and bits of twine found in the garage. What I valued about this, was a sense of independence and empowerment to create what I envisioned.

Please tell us about your favourite Etsy wedding stores.

This shop has wonderful favor ideas:

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Soaps from Seventh Tree Soaps

Custom wood guest books are on trend:

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Guest book from Lorgie

Vintage-inspired dresses:

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‘Audrey’ tea length bridal gown from Silver Sixpence

 

Invitations:

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Invitations from Lady B Paperie

 

 What are your current favourite Etsy Products?

I am loving white porcelain vases and cups, rose cut gemstone jewelry, leather tote bags and refurbished or upcycled furniture.

What do you see emerging as wedding trends to watch for, in 2013?

I think that instead of picking a color theme, the contemporary bride is going be mixing and matching patterns, like stripes, polka dots and Liberty-esque florals. The vintage bride is going to seek out 1920’s themes, like orange blossom headpieces, t-strap shoes and long sleeve dresses. Another fun trend for men is clever or humorous boutonierres, made with bottle caps or fish hooks. My favorite trend is outdoor lounges, where guests can take a break on sofas or in tents. These also make great photo opportunities.

Handmade weddings….what are we trying to achieve with a hand made wedding?

A handmade wedding is personalized.  It’s an expression of the couples’ interests and tastes, but moreover it’s an event that they have touched with their own hands, which makes the event itself a keepsake in a sense.

How can a bride ensure that a handmade wedding looks cohesive, rather than just plain…well, handmade?

Keep it simple and test your crafts before you commit. Don’t overreach your skill level, and make sure the craft is one that you make during  your busy schedule. Do a test run with your crafts long in advance, and calculate the time it takes to produce.

With the thousands of handmade products on Etsy, how does a bride decide on the products to source for her wedding? 

People find inspiration in many ways: sometimes one product will inform the direction of an entire event, but for most of us, I recommend choosing a theme to start out with. You’ll find many wonderful products along the way, but when you adhere to your theme, you won’t get distracted and end up with a mash-up of decor that doesn’t really fit together.

What aspects of a wedding are best left to the professionals?

Almost none, really. I think it’s really a matter of how many willing hands you’ve got. Lighting can be difficult and time-consuming, but if you’ve got the manpower, then use it. If not, I would let a professional help with lighting. Flower arrangements, table assignments and favor bags are essentially easy to put together, but it helps to have a coordinator to organize your staff of friends and family. I would have a professional arrange bridal bouquets, and floral headpieces so that they look full, symmetrical and consistent.

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Natural wooden tree slice wedding cake stand from Jekki Lu Handmade

If I could only have one handmade element in my wedding what should I choose?

If you could only have one handmade element in your wedding, it should be the favor bags. This is your gift and thanks to guests for coming, so making this personal means a lot.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Lately I have been making headbands using antique millinery flowers, house hunting, reading memoirs and hanging out with my two cats.

 

Thank you Emily for giving us some insights into adding a handmade element to our weddings. There are so many exciting wedding products on Etsy it will be hard to tear yourself away and get on with the more mundane chores!

 Image of Emily courtesy of Emily Bidwell

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