PHOENIX — There's nothing like the ease of shopping online.
You can do it from anywhere at any time and know you'll get it delivered to your doorstep. But, most people go to major online retailers for their orders, which cuts out the small businesses in our community, however, it doesn't have to.
Online marketplace Etsy.com has been a popular site for years. It features local artisans and craftspeople and provides an easy database to search for unique, handmade items.
Here's the best part: you can search for Etsy shop owners specifically by where they are located. This allows you to skip the Main Street stores, buy local products, and, possibly, get them at a better price because you are buying straight from the person who's making it.
Some sellers also give locals the option to pick up items and skip the cost of shipping.
ABC15's Fay Fredricks met with local Etsy shop owner Katonya Begay who runs her beading business through the website.
Begay, who is from the Navajo Nation, grew up watching her uncle create many traditional Navajo items, beading intricate designs onto them. However, she says she was too shy to ask him to teach her. "I remember seeing all his beads out and all the colors," she recalled.
It wasn't until she was working at a treatment facility, that she actually learned the technique from a co-worker. As a graduate student at ASU in social work, Begay recognizes the benefits of the craft.
"For me, beading is meditation... it's a form of medicine. It's a healthy coping skill," Begay told us. She also sees it as a way to connect deeply to her roots, "This tradition has been in our community for so long. I think it's a form of art; it's a way to express yourself."
Her beautiful designs and color schemes have earned her a loyal following on Etsy and Instagram. You can find different types of earrings and jewelry that range from $35 to $80 dollars a pair. That's significantly less than what custom pieces can run at major retailers. But, Begay also hopes buyers agree, it's not just about the money.
"My beading is authentic... you know it's straight from an indigenous beader. I think that's the biggest thing," Begay said of her work.
If you want to shop local on Etsy, here's the steps to filter:
- Search for the item you want to buy
- Click on the "All Filters" button
- Scroll down to "Shop location"
- Click "Custom" and type in the location (ie. Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale)
- Click "Apply" and search through the listed items
To get to Katonya Begay's shop, click here.
You can also see her past work on her Instagram page.
Katonya Begay grew up in and around the Navajo Nation.
She has also held the title of Miss Winslow Native American and her jewelry is inspired by landscapes from her home as well as traditional designs. Begay is also a graduate student at ASU.