Regret me not

Humor site Regretsy lampoons, celebrates odd Etsy finds

From embroidered toilet paper to "Christmas nativity meerkats," is full of intriguing items. Some such creations, deemed worthy of extra attention, show up on Regretsy , a blog that pokes fun at Etsy's offerings and has taken on a life of its own.

Cheekily subtitled, "Where DIY meets WTF," Regretsy is the brainchild of Los Angeles comedian/writer April Winchell, who calls it "a marketing tool, a humor site and a community of creative, funny people."

She created the site last fall under the pseudonym "Helen Killer," inspired by some of the comically strange, creepy or just plain baffling items she stumbled upon while browsing Etsy.

"I didn't have much purpose at first beyond making people laugh," Winchell said.

She left out sellers' identifying information, not wanting to embarrass them.

"I thought ... readers might write to the sellers and start trouble with them," she said.

But about a week after the site's launch, Etsy sellers themselves gave the site a real purpose.

"I started hearing that the sellers actually wanted to be linked. They saw this as an opportunity. When I started linking, things started selling pretty briskly," she said.

The formula for Regretsy is simple: Post a link and photo of an amusing Etsy item; write a brief caption mocking it; hilarity ensues.

"Some of the highlights for me have been an oil painting of roadkill on a Pennsylvania highway, a taxidermied fish head grafted onto the body of a squirrel and a woman who makes embroidered toilet paper. My favorite Regretsy purchase so far is a small sculpted head of British actor Bill Nighy, glued to the metal workings of an old wind-up toy. It's fantastically peculiar," she said.

The site was an instant hit with viewers and Etsy sellers alike.

"In that first weekend it just exploded. It was everywhere, in all kinds of traditional and new media. The Wall Street Journal covered it twice in two weeks," she said.

The blog now has new items added and linked daily.

Winchell has even compiled a Regretsy book, due out April 6, showcasing some of the favorite finds with her trademark snarky commentary.

"About a third of the book is laid out like the site is. I've also written some long-form pieces that I hope people will enjoy," she said.

The book also features a sellers' guide of participating Etsy shops, as well as comments from sellers.

"They all share their experiences and their thoughts on criticism and creating," she said.

Any profits earned through Regretsy, such as through advertisements and merchandise, go into the "Regretsy Alchemy Fund."

"I don't keep a penny. When I reach $200 in profits, I hire an Etsy seller to make handmade items for charity. There are actually quite a few charities that solicit handmade goods," Winchell said.

She said Etsy has taken the creation of Regretsy with good humor.

"To my surprise, they had no interest in shutting me down. They simply asked that I add a disclaimer stating that we were not affiliated in any way, and that I change some of my colors to help separate the look of the two sites. They could not have been nicer about it.

"We do fill a need, in our own weird way. We send millions of hits to Etsy and drive a lot of business to sellers whose aesthetic isn't exactly their front page," Winchell added.

"It's another place to get your work featured," Etsy spokesman Adam Brown said. "It's supposed to be funny, and it is."

Related story:

- allows local artists to share their wares in an online market


Like this comment
Posted by Elayne Boosler
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Regretsy is the funniest book guaranteed to make you laugh. April Winchell does amazing charity work with her Regretsy auctions. She just helped my Tails of Joy save scores of animals with a Regretsy purse auction. So, laughs and charity, what better reason to support Regretsy?
Elayne Boosler
comedian/President, Tails of Joy

Like this comment
Posted by Skully
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Together we warm.

Like this comment
Posted by Clay
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Mar 26, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Love the site, can't wait for the book!

Like this comment
Posted by Jennifer Moore
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I don't sell on Etsy any longer, but I'm friends with quite a few sellers there, and I still purchase there.

Regretsy is a really great site. April (Helen's) sense of humor is just amazing. I cannot look at a Regretsy post without laughing my butt off.

So happy she is using the proceeds for charity! WTG, and thank you for an aweseome web site!

Like this comment
Posted by stretch65
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2010 at 3:40 pm

See you at the Booksigning April 6.
Also a dream come true - Im on top of Elaine Boosler!!!


Like this comment
Posted by MissMary
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 26, 2010 at 4:03 pm

I love this website, and Helen Killer is so charitable. Snarky and awesomesauce is what makes Regretsy so so utterly wicked awesome. Wicked wicked awesome.

Like this comment
Posted by Eternalgreenknight
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2010 at 5:39 pm

I love regretsy, it's so whimsicle it will blow your mind- seriously!! Say what?

Like this comment
Posted by valevortex
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 26, 2010 at 5:57 pm

I am valevortex, I sell on etsy with this name.
I have to be the bigest seller of all the sellers that been on this website.
Last fall, i sold 12 big oil paintings, i have to say that it was because of regretsy.
It is awesome, thank you.

Like this comment
Posted by nitebyrd
a resident of another community
on Mar 28, 2010 at 5:23 pm

When life becomes too hard to bear, visit Regretsy. You'll forget why you were so miserable and wonder why you're now laughing like a lunatic and buying weird stuff!

Like this comment
Posted by Kym @ Crafty Is The New Black
a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I am so excited to say that I am local (Saratoga) and one of my creations (Vasectomy Vern) is featured in the Regretsy Book!!!! Some crafters take "issue" with Regretsy but I think it is about the funniest d*mn website I have ever read and April does a lot of really good work with the proceeds from the site. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the book. I hope Vern doesn't go "all hollywood" on me.

Check out Vasectomy Vern and all his other adult themed BooBoo MOnster friends in my Etsy shop - Craftyisthenewblack

Like this comment
Posted by vale vortex
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 7, 2013 at 10:43 pm

To be an artist

No art is created in order to hide it
The purpose of art is to create a different feeling
To wake up something in you
To open people’s eyes
To reveal the world fearless and naked
An artist sacrifices the most important things he possesses
The images from his dreams, mind and his life
He puts everything out there, in the open
In the hands of those who might destroy them
To take that chance, to risk your criticism
Is to be an artist Vale Vortex

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