Fun and Fundraising: Esty Craft Fair Raises Money for School

P.S. 11 in Chelsea was alive with the buzz of crafts, food and activities on Saturday as the people gathered for “Crafts in Chelsea,” an annual event with Etsy New York designed to raise money for the elementary school.

Vendors sold hand made products including jewelry, clothing, and clothing to wide-eyed adults. There was also plenty of activities to entertain children.

“I love the food, all the decorations, and the fun they have here. The bouncy castles, face painting, I wanna get popcorn!” Sophie Henson, 5-year-old student of P.S. 11, said excitedly.

The New York Etsy street team is a non profit branch of Etsy, a for-profit website that focuses on cultivating a global marketplace where entrepreneurs can sell and their own products. It is a diverse collection of artists that showcase their craft and business ability to the local community.

“Crafts in Chelsea was made eight years ago. One of the board members from Etsy New York decided to work with the PTA [of P.S.11] to make a fall street fair. The vendor fees from occupying the space go to fund the school,” said Etsy NY events coordinator Jenny Topoloski.

“The benefits to the vendors are advertising exposure, testing product, and selling,” Topoliski said. “Most vendors are on the NY team, they’re friendly. I try not to put the same products near each other but there is competition. You have to be confident that you are selling a niche, have good customer service, and make yourself stand out.”

Jen Curio, a 46-year-old from Long Island City, was one of those vendors. A seven-year veteran of the festival, she sells handmade cat accessories and toys.

“Interacting with customers, seeing what sells, getting market research — it’s nice to be out and connect with others,” said Curoi.

Curoi said that while she holds a masters and bachelor’s degree in painting, she wanted to make something more accessible than fine art.

Sienam Lulla, PTA Vice President for funding, said the profits generated by the fair contributes to the $700,000 target that the school must raise annually.

But there are other benefits besides helping the school.

Lulla also described how the festival gives parents and children the chance to do entertaining activities, such as chess battles and face painting.

“I feel like I wanna stay here, I never want this day to end,” Sophie said emphatically.