BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — More than 500 people attended Etsy's Third Annual Craft Party in Brooklyn Bridge Park Friday night, joining upwards of 16,000 people in 1,300 cities who were also crafting at local parties sponsored by the online DIY company.
"Etsy is ultimately a company that believes in a global community," said Etsy's events manager Sara Cohen. "We want to engage people around the world to be expressive and creative."
Founded in 2005 and based in DUMBO, Etsy is one of the largest employers in the neighborhood. The tech company allows creative entrepreneurs worldwide to start businesses selling their handmade clothing, jewerly, arts and crafts in an online marketplace.
Etsy also hosts "Do It Yourself" educational labs and events that "focus on teaching people how to make things from screenprinting and knitting, to photography and bike repair," according to the website.
The theme of this year's craft party was "wish you were here," and Etsy, with the help of Michael's Arts and Crafts, sent kits of supplies to locations all over the world with the tools needed to decorate totes, messages in a bottle and postcards.
"The kits gave people the ability to craft while also leaving the power in each party's hands to create projects unique to their city," said Julie Schneider of Etsy. "The theme 'wish you were here' fit well with a global party."
Crafters in Australia began tweeting about their Etsy crafts 12 hours before the party started in Brooklyn. Later participants from Manila, London, and Tokyo also tweeted about their own parties.
In Brooklyn, the party was in full swing with food trucks, bands, and a photo booth, plus numerous tables for crafting. But some attendees were disappointed with the crowds and planning.
"I waited over a half hour before I decided my time would be better spent wandering around the park in general," wrote JB Miller in a comment about the event. "Very poor planning."
Others, though, were just excited about the ability to do free crafts.
"I appreciate the fact that Etsy does these FREE events," wrote Monique, who did not give a last name. "I always walk away with a bit more creative food for thought. To me, that's what really counts."