BasicLee’s Unique Balls

In 2016, Lee Chipman, a Massachusetts mother of six, opened up her Etsy shop, “It’s Basic Lee Designs”, after encouragement from friends and family. Lee was known in her town for her festive, homemade felt garlands and unique decorations, and eventually selling them to friends and neighbors by request.

felt balls.jpg

Lee’s Christmas Garland on sale for 11.99

Lee has totaled 114 sales, most of which were custom orders, and 88 “admirers” which is exactly as small as you think it is. Lee is fortunate enough where her livelihood does not depend on the small-scale operation, but if it were, the competition would be crushing. Her Instagram, though public, is more of an attempt at mommy-blogging than highlighting her work.

Target sells a similar Christmas garland for $10 and Michaels has one on sale for $8. Michaels, Jo Ann Fabrics, and a variety of other crafting stores also sell all of the materials needed to make your own version of any of her products.

Etsy tries to combat this obvious competition by highlighting all of their shops as “small businesses”, aggressive e-marketing on Small Business Saturday, and curating “gift guides” for every occasion possible.


Lizard Candle Hold $7.20


Loose Felt Acorns $8.00


14″ Felt Wreath $60.00






Many creators on Etsy have their original designs or ideas stolen and mass produced by companies so large, a lawsuit is far too expensive or out of reach to pursue or because of their smaller outreach than places like Amazon or Walmart, their high quality or unique products fall by the wayside to cheap, generic alternatives.

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