Mother and daughter, Anna and Ilze Zurina, of SmArtJewelry are among dozens of artisans of Etsy Team Latvia preparing for the world’s largest craft party.
In St. Petersburg, Florida, 5,233 miles from Riga, Adam and Coryn Enfinger, of Dark Cycle Clothing joined 60-plus artisans and vendors in the Coliseum as part of the sixth annual Etsy Craft Party 2015.
Billed as a global celebration of meeting and making, Etsy Craft Party encourages artists and craftspeople worldwide to make, sell and buy unique goods and wares on a designated weekend.
Kaleidoscope: Paper Taking Shape was this year’s theme. Each year, Etsy invites communities worldwide to organize and host the event. In 2014, over 8,500 people participated through hundreds of host parties.
Hosted locally by Tampa Bay Etsy Crew (TBEC) and its founder, Clearwater-based jewelry artist Julia Richarme and St. Petersburg Greenhouse & Strands of Sunshine, the event is moved to different locations each year with raffle proceeds benefiting local charities. Pet Pal Animal Shelter of St. Pete was this year’s recipient.
Determined to support local businesses and vendors, Richarme enlisted only local vendors for their crafts, 18 craft demonstrations and make-n-take craft projects.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Etsy, a peer-to-peer e-commerce website based in Brooklyn, New York, focuses on handmade and vintage items, supplies and unique factory-manufactured items.
The organization continues to grow and evolve. TBEC, considered one of Etsy’s largest teams worldwide, now has 1,196 members and continues to grow.
As does Dark Cycle Clothing, who donated swag bags to the event’s first 100 attendees.
“I consider Dark Cycle to be one of Etsy’s best success stories,” Richarme said. “The bonus is that they are really nice people.”
After a chance meeting at a Christian punk rock concert in Brandon years ago, teenagers Adam and Coryn dated, married, started a family and in 2009, started Dark Cycle Clothing.
“The idea kind of started during what some people might consider a hardship period,” Adam said.
While Adam was working as a screen printer in Oldsmar and Coryn practiced as an esthetician, Adam’s vehicle surrendered to time, leaving the Seminole Heights’ resident without a ride to work.
“I had 100 bucks, went to Walmart and bought the cheapest 10-speed bike there,” Adam said.
The 34-mile round-trip each day afforded him the time to brainstorm on quirky ideas for t-shirts.
“Animals on bikes evolved from that,” Adam said. “It all began with the giraffe on a bike and we started wearing them around, peddling them at local punk shows and people responded to them.”
Now the couple devote themselves full-time to Dark Cycle Clothing. Adam said he draws the designs and does the printing while Coryn “makes the magic happen” handling all aspects of the business end.
Their three children, Ella, 8, Ransom, 5 and Arrow, 3, act as inspiration and models.
Continuous nudging by Adam finally convinced Coryn to open an Etsy online shop.
Dark Cycle Clothing now sells globally and promotes their “Shirt of the Month Club,” featuring a new animal. Dark Cycle Clothing has since branched out to include housewares and accessories.
The company received an added boost when their shirts were worn on the hit television show Modern Family three times last season. Instantly, traffic to their web site increased.
Continuing to operate from their home-base, the Enfingers now employ three people.
Boasting a large demographic, the couple continue to introduce their wares at conventions and trade shows including Wizard World Comic Con Chicago and Philadelphia.
Richarme is already contemplating next year's world craft party.