Stop Nine on our Etsy Rhode Trip: Pennsylvania!

What's cooler than shopping at an eclectic store filled with a great variety of asian inspired items? Shopping there and knowing that a portion of proceeds go to help underprivileged kids in China get a chance at an education! Bamboo Village Press's shop is filled with everything from photography to gocco prints to yarns, and it's all of top quality! Buy now - Chinese New Year is right around the corner!

Bamboo Village Press

HT: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

BV: I'm Celeste, a 30-something, Chinese-speaking marketing professional and avid maker of things!

HT: How did you find out about Etsy?

BV: My journey on Etsy actually started almost two years ago as a customer. I don't remember how I learned about it, but ended up staying about 3 hours late at work the night I discovered it, I was having so much fun surfing (ok, and buying)!

HT: I noticed that a portion of your profits go to an underprivileged village in China – what a great cause! What inspired that?
BV: Thanks! I've spent quite a lot of time living in China, and last winter I went back to a small village in Sichuan for a visit. While there, I learned that many of the children I knew from just a few years before were feeling a necessity to leave school to go work in sweatshops. The economic pressures are enormous in the Chinese countryside, and it just broke my heart to see these eager youngsters I knew so well going to work under terrible conditions, far from their families.

When I got home, I thought that perhaps by selling some of my photography taken in Sichuan, I could raise money and help the kids stay in school. From there, Bamboo Village Educational Fund and Bamboo Village Press were formed. Etsy was the perfect venue, as it is easy to use, and the administrative costs are low. In July, 2007, we selected our first student, and have committed to sponsoring her through high school!

HT: Your shop has a great variety of items. What is your favorite craft?

BV: You're going to make me pick one? Won't the others become jealous? I think my favorite would have to be photography, followed closely by gocco and knitting. See? I can't choose only one!
HT: What aspects of your state inspire you?

BV: Pennsylvania has been my home for the last 4 years, and it's where I learned to knit! Local yarn shops like Rosie's Yarn Cellar in Philadelphia and the quilt shops in Lancaster County would be among the top inspirations, as well as my closest friend “knittah” and sister Laurie.

HT: What is the nicest feedback you have ever received for your shop?

BV: Feedback is so important to me, and I look forward to reading the recipient's reaction to my hard work! The ones that go straight to my heart are personal, and talk not only about the product, but about how it's used:
“These are our favorite glasses. They were a gift for my DH and he teared up when he got them. Beautiful etching on a top quality glass.”
“Thank you, dear girl, for getting me this yarn ! I now have the most wonderful 'stash' from which to pull my next fun endeavor!”

HT: Have you ever visited Rhode Island?

BV: Yes! I grew up in Massachusetts, so RI was right around the corner! It's a beautiful state., and Providence is definitely the friendly sister to Boston.

HT: Do you have a favorite item in your shop?

BV: It would have to be the Cricket notecard & Moleskine design. I pondered this 2-color Gocco print for a while and was very happy with how it came out. The response to Cricket made it my best-selling design ever! I created this design as a tribute to the courage and tenacity of our sponsored student, Zhang Lin.

HT: Tell us one surprising fact about you.

BV: I was raised to consider myself a citizen of the world, and began living that concept by spending a year volunteering at an orphanage in the Amazon (Manaus) region in Brazil. From then on, I knew that children, international development and social change would be central to my life.

HT: What is your favorite color?
BV: Black to wear, and brown to knit with, and red to print with! So many colors to love!

HT: What is your biggest Etsy goal for 2008?

BV: I'll be going through some personal change in 2008, including a long-anticipated move to Oregon! I'm looking forward to keeping the momentum I've built with Bamboo Village Press and keeping it cruising during the move. I intend to continue to develop interesting new products with an Asian theme throughout the year.
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