Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How An Etsy Sale Created an International Friendship

It began simply with thread--27 vintage wooden thread spools:

I'd inherited these from my mother, an accomplished seamstress and crafter (talents I unfortunately didn't inherit) and after joining Etsy as a seller, I set aside some of her vintage sewing items as possible offerings. Finally I pulled out a bunch of colorful spools and put them up for sale.

A number of potential buyers and fellow Etsians "favorited" and treasuried the spools. Then one day I received a message saying "Hi, there ~ I love these vintage spools so much! Want to know if there's a way to minimize the shipping costs to Indonesia, South Asia?"

The request came from Henny Augustien, another Etsy seller who's a quilter and seamstress and sells her lovely items here.

So I got out the spools, put them in a mailer, weighed them on my digital scale, and pulled up to calculate a price to Indonesia.  I found I could only lower the shipping costs by a few dollars and messaged this to Henny, saying that I could put the spools on reserve for her if she still wanted them.

She did. I messaged back saying that the spools had belonged to my mother, who had been an excellent seamstress and crafter, as Henny was, and that while it was a little hard to part with her things I was happy to send them to another talented seamstress and was sure that Mom would have been too--and amazed that they would be traveling so far around the globe.

Henny wrote back that she, too, was amazed that she would ever purchase thread so far away and guaranteed me that they would be used for making beautiful things. She wondered if my Mom was still healthy. Her own mother, she wrote, had Alzheimer's and Henny really missed talking with her as they used to do. "Talk to you soon," she added.

I wrote back telling Henny about my Mom, who had lived with us for the last 8 months of her life and died in 2007 at the age of 85. I went on to tell her a little bit about my family, and then Henny wrote back telling me about her family, and before long we realized we had a lot in common, despite a gap in our ages and our locations on the globe.

We exchanged our blog sites (hers is here and her craft website is here) and I gave her a link to our film site (Either/Or Films) and our first feature ("The Sensation of Sight"), we found each other on Facebook, and our conversations happily continued.

Henny invited me to visit her in Indonesia and tour Java Island, and I invited her to visit us and tour New Hampshire.

Amazing what a few spools of thread on Etsy can do!

p.s. After I wrote this post, Henny received her thread and wrote a story back, with pictures, on her blog ~ nice!


  1. great story! there are so many helpful, generous and just plain nice people on etsy. when's the trip to indonesia?

  2. I'm ready now! Alas, our bank account isn't...maybe with a few more Etsy sales :)

  3. How fun to get to know someone half a world away! And you know those threads went to a good home.

  4. What a lovely and heartwarming story!

  5. Amazing! Thanks for sharing your story!

  6. I found this blog through a discussion thread on etsy team, and had some really interesting reading here. It's amazing how things like etsy and blog would connect people literally thousands of miles away... ^___^