(Credit: Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)
The Etsy pop-up shop — the first of its kind outside the US — is the Etsy website (or an episode of Portlandia) come to life.
Theat 74 Castlereagh Street has launched, and it's a wonderland, a veritable cornucopia of every idiosyncrasy that defines the online marketplace's style. Birds? Check. Bright colours, particularly orange? Check. Moustaches? Oh boy howdy, check.
Its tag line, "Where one-of-a-kind gifts come from," calls attention to its purpose: a Christmas showcase of its creators' works. Because, make no mistake, this isn't the usual kind of "shop". In fact, we'd almost hesitate to call it a shop at all. Although its plywood-lined walls and shelves are artfully stocked with hand-made goods, they're not for sale.
Not in-store, anyway. Instead, visitors are encouraged to touch and feel the items and take their own photos. Etsy staff will be on hand so that, if you see a particular item you'd like to buy, you can be directed via iPad to the seller's Etsy store to make the purchase online.
It seems to be more about the "Etsy experience". Throughout the store's 15-day stay in Sydney, a number of workshops, talks and food tastings will be held every day. While you're there, Ruby & Rach is circulating some amazing Reuben and Rachel sandwiches, Brookyln Boy Bagels is serving up pieces of bagel with custom cream cheese and Trolley'd is pouring cocktails made from "locally foraged" ingredients, such as lemon myrtle.
In the lead-up to Christmas, it's odd to see a store that isn't all about selling you stuff but rather about providing an experience that demonstrates what the brand is about. It's a pleasant enough way to while away an hour or two — and who knows, maybe you'll get more out of it than you bargained, even if it does feel a little achingly hip. We'll certainly be seeking out more of those delicious sandwiches...
Check out the event schedule on the Etsy Christmas pop-up website here.