Where to Find 8 Things You Need (Even If Your Store Shelves Are Bare)

In the last few months, many of us have found that our lives have changed dramatically because of the Coronavirus crisis. Global supply chains have been disrupted. As a result, many of us haven’t been able to find essentials we need.

But maybe we’re looking in all the wrong places.

Even if your local store shelves are bare, you’re likely to find that micro-niche businesses have all the supplies you might need — and you can find many of them available for sale on Etsy.

Check out some of the possibilities:

1. Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is available for sale at Etsy -- Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Hand sanitizer is available for sale at Etsy — Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Quite a few Etsy shops have alcohol-based hand sanitizers available for sale. Some of the current bestsellers include this one and this one.

If you’d prefer to make your own hand sanitizer, you might find it helpful to purchase a hand sanitizer recipe.

2. Paper(less) Towels

Whether or not you’ve been able to find paper towels at your local store, I have a suggestion: Grab some environmentally-friendly cloth paper towels. You’ll be glad to have them if you run out of the paper kind. I think these look good, but you’ll find bunches of different options if you shop around on Etsy.

3. Garden Seeds

If you didn’t already buy your seeds this year, you’re probably having a hard time finding them now. Many local garden supply stores are totally sold out of them; and virtually all of the best-known online suppliers I’m aware of for heirloom seeds have either been so overwhelmed by demand that they’ve had to close their stores (temporarily, I hope) or made the decision to only sell their seeds to farmers.


What’s a gardener, or aspiring gardener, to do?

Well, that’s an easy one. You can buy seeds on Etsy.

In some cases, the sellers on Etsy are farmers who actually grew the seeds themselves. I’ve been compiling a list of them because I want to buy seeds from them, myself. Here are a few that I have bookmarked:

4. Gardening Tools

I recently bought a couple of garden trowels on Etsy and can highly recommend the seller who made them available; at the time of this posting, she has more of the same trowels available for sale. They are super affordable, with lovely wooden handles, and made in the USA. I think they’re a great deal for the money — in fact, I bought 2 of them. However, if they’re sold out by the time you read this, don’t hesitate to shop around on Etsy for other possibilities, because I found many other options that I thought looked wonderful. The selection of vintage tools is always changing, so this is something to check on frequently, especially if you’re in need of tools you can’t easily get locally.

5. Gardening Instructions

One of my favorite craft authors is Stephanie Rose, whose business name is GardenTherapy. Stephanie has an Etsy shop, where she sells her craft and gardening books and tutorials. I highly recommend her work!

6. Planters

Gardeners around the USA are reporting that their local sources for planters and pots are sold out. However, talented artisans on Etsy are making a broad variety of beautiful planters available for sale. Check out some of your options HERE.

7. Essential Foods

You might be surprised at how much food is available for sale at Etsy. Some of the food sellers are small farmers who are selling their own crops directly to the public on the Etsy marketplace. Others are talented chefs who are selling their concoctions on Etsy. Here are a few possibilities:

8. Indoor Things to Do

If you’re like most people, all of a sudden you’re finding that you’re spending a lot more time at home than you used to. Perhaps you have bored kids at home, too. Etsy is a fantastic place to load up on craft patterns, craft instructions and craft supplies for keeping everybody busy and productive.

And if you’re feeling a bit down, you might also enjoy checking out the Etsy Editor’s picks for fun, cheerful items that will make you smile!

Etsy Is a Trusted Source of Income for Small Businesses

Remember, too, that Etsy isn’t just a marketplace where you can buy things you need. It’s also a marketplace where you can sell your own handcrafted items, your best vintage finds and any craft supplies you’re not planning to use. If you’ve lost your job or suffered a major reduction in work hours, Etsy could be a lifesaver in helping you bring in some of the income you need to keep going. Many of you have crafting skills that could be put to use in making and selling much-needed items such as hand sanitizer and items similar to the others listed above.

If you’re a crafter in need of additional income right now (or any time), you have my permission to use any of my crochet patterns from this site and Knittingandcrochet.net to make items for resale — You can use any of the patterns with my by-line (Amy Solovay) if you’re interested. Etsy is the ideal venue for selling your finished items. I give almost all my patterns away for free, so all you’d need is yarn and hooks to get started (You can get those on Etsy, too — search here for hooks and here for yarn). But whatever your particular talents are — whether you crochet, knit, quilt, sew, make soap or do some other craft — Etsy welcomes your creativity and gives you access to a valuable source of potential buyers for your handcrafted items.

I hope this information is helpful to you as you attempt to navigate the “new normal”. The floor is open for comments if you have other recommendations for great Etsy sellers who are making essential supplies available for sale right now. Thanks so much for your interest, and for any recommendations you have to share.

This page was last updated on 8-1-2020.