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How a crafty creator took her business online while Broadway’s dark
Feb 22, 2021

How a crafty creator took her business online while Broadway’s dark

Amy Price set up an Etsy shop and used her Broadway costume-making skills to sell face masks — and more.

My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

Etsy has added at least 1 million new sellers to its platform since the pandemic began. We’ll find out the latest numbers when the company reports earnings this week. One of those new sellers is Amy Price. She’s a Broadway costume designer. Or at least she was when Broadway shows were running. Now, she’s turned her stitching to face masks.

As part of our series “My Economy,” here’s the story of how Price got an online business up and running. She started with her local Facebook group in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

A headshot of Amy Price from her home, where she sells merchandise like earrings and face masks on her Etsy shop.
Amy Price (Photo courtesy of Price)

“I thought it would be something that would keep me busy for a week, maybe two weeks,” Price said. “And every week, it just kept doubling and doubling and doubling.”

Price was taking orders on the go, so she created a system to track orders on her phone, using an Excel notes sheet and emoji.

“I had a little code,” she said. “If I had a lobster-patterned mask, I would use a different emoji in my little Excel document on my phone.”

Two weeks in, Price had received at least 400 orders and realized she needed a system that didn’t involve so much messaging and so many emoji. So she switched to Etsy in April.

“The fees are quite high, but also, there’s a level of [search engine optimization] marketing that Etsy does for you once you hit a certain engagement level,” Price said. “Everything is an algorithm — Etsy is an algorithm, Instagram is an algorithm. You just have to figure out what that is.”

Price is planning to create her own website this year. She also expanded her inventory and is making eco-friendly ceramics and earrings, which now make up 65% of her revenue.

Price said that she made more money in 2020 with her online store than she did in 2019 as a costume designer, and that the whole experience has made her rethink her work.

“I want to be a small-business owner,” she said. “I want to be my own boss. Theater will then be a complementary thing, where I can be a little bit more selective about the work that I do once it is back up and running.”

A photo of Amy Price's working station at her home, where she prepares packages that will be ready to be shipped to her Etsy customers.
Amy Price’s workstation, where she prepares packages to ship to her Etsy customers. (Photo courtesy of Price)

Related links: More insight from Meghan McCarty Carino

The e-commerce platform Shopify has also received a boost from all the small businesses migrating online. Another thing Etsy and Shopify have in common? Both had their stock prices temporarily boosted by a mention on Twitter from Elon Musk. He apparently bought a Marvin the Martian helmet for his dog on Etsy, and he said SpaceX uses Shopify. But CNN reports traders have been led astray by taking their investing cues from Musk’s Twitter feed after he tweeted the cryptic message: “Sandstorm is a masterpiece.” Shares momentarily soared for a Canadian gold-mining company called Sandstorm, which probably wasn’t what he was talking about. But no one’s really sure.

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The team

Molly Wood Host
Michael Lipkin Senior Producer
Stephanie Hughes Producer
Daniel Shin Producer
Jesús Alvarado Associate Producer