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The Etsy experience

By on Jul 22, 2014 in The Red Buffalo Trading craftsmen | 5 comments

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I have been very absent from The Red Buffalo’s Road lately. The reason for this absence is that in my flurry of blogging and working on the online store day and night during May and June I managed to give myself golfer’s elbow. At one point I was not even able to hold a cup of coffee in my right hand without pain all the way up my forearm.

Needless to say I had to slow everything down and focus on doing rehab exercises and generally just taking a step back from the all consuming Red Buffalo. What I did in the meantime was shop. Lots and lots of shopping, not for finished products or tribal embroidery as in the past, but rather for fabric and zips and hooks and lining and batting and leather.

The Etsy experience -  The Red Buffalo's Road

Up until now I have either been buying products for the Red Buffalo directly from artisans in Kunming or I have been commissioning items to be made especially for the online store. The problem with doing things this way was that I really struggled with stock stability, as most things in the store are completely unique, I would stock one of something and then not be able to get it again. This makes the store really unique but also somewhat frustrating as I never felt that my work on the website was finished.

Another problem for me was that seeing all these artisans create things made me rather jealous. I am a very creative person and up until the time I left university I was forever making things; pottery, paintings, beading, mosaicing, sewing… With the start of my work career in South Africa these time consuming hobbies fell by the wayside and with the move to Asia they fell off the wagon completely. Life as an expat is often frustrating since you never know when you will be leaving one place again needing to pack up all your belongings and haul them off to some new place. But for us, Kunming has become a bit of a more stable place to stay and that meant I could start to gather and nest.

The Etsy experience

This meant that I could slowly get back into my crafty side, I bought oil paints and an easel, I bought reams of paper and bags of beads, and then Pete got me a sewing machine for my birthday this year and I lost  myself in fabric. You know how much I love the tribal textiles from this region, and you know how much I love handbags, so can you imagine how ecstatic it is making me to be able to create my own ideas for bags with my own style for the first time in years! I love the freedom of being able to imagine a bag and then make it myself with all the little details just how I want them.

Perhaps it is the control freak in me that so love being able to control every single aspect of my new Etsy shop, from the idea of what to stock to the design to the creation of the product. Either way, I feel as if I am entering a new dimension with Red Buffalo Trading on Etsy, and I am loving every moment of it!

pink and caramel mosaic


  1. Jodi

    July 22, 2014

    Post a Reply

    Wow, Corlie! Your bags are beautiful! Good work. Love the totes.
    How exciting. Good luck with the new shop. :)

    • Corlie

      July 22, 2014

      Post a Reply

      It has been rather exciting thanks Rachel :) The arm is slowly getting better, I mostly use my left hand for daily things and type with only one left hand finger which is a pain. I save the right arm for making stuff at the moment hehehe. Hope all your moving preparations are going well!

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