It's the Anna Pereira "Prosperity" custom t-shirt JWoww of MTV's "Jersey Shore" wore while punching the Mike the Situation in season one. The shirt was not for sale on the boardwalk, the local mall or department store. It's available on handmade marketplace Etsy.com.
It all started with a leap of faith. Pereira, who has been on Etsy for a little over a year, gifted the t-shirts to the cast hoping they would wear them.
"I've seen a few more sales on Etsy since the 'Jersey Shore.' But, it was never mentioned on the show where to purchase the shirts, since I wasn't a paid sponsor. So, most of my marketing has been through Twitter. Twitter and Etsy are a great combo, " says Pereira.
Call it the eBay for the arts and crafts world. Etsy has been on CNBC's companies to watch list since summer. And, the holidays are shaping up to be its merriest time yet.
Etsy offers mom and pop stores a way to survive against the major retail chain stores. The handmade marketplace beating up the beat this holiday season.
And, there appears to be no grenades here. The company is on pace to blow away its 2009 record of $181 million in gross merchandise sales. It has taken in $235.9 million so far this year versus just $166,000 for all of 2005. All the October figures represent new Etsy records.
Company spokesperson Adam Brown says, "Given that the holidays are our busiest season, we have high expectations this year."
Tracey Rediker, of the Jersey Shore, is banking on Etsy. She operates her shop, TraceyKnits, solely on the site. Rediker hand knits golf club covers, hats and sells her original patterns on it. She says orders have more than doubled so far this year. They've included requests for a custom golf club cover for a FedEx commercial and a hat for an NFL player's son.
"People go to eBay looking for a bargain and Etsy for something different - something they can't find in a big box store, " says Rediker.
While Rediker focuses on expanding her knitting business on Etsy, Pereira is proving Etsy to be more than just a shore thing and can compete. And, she's giving a whole new meaning to "t-shirt time"—whether you're a "juicehead, "guidette," or not.
Stephanie is Squawk Box producer and senior NetNet retail correspondent. Follow her on twitter @StephLandsman
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