As parents, putting family first can make us feel like our own interests and hobbies are pushed to the backburner. However, sometimes you meet a mom or dad who carves out time to pursue their passions — and make a living from it, to boot. While compiling this list, we’ve had the chance to hear from incredible parents around the globe. What they all have in common is a love for beautiful things — and the savvy to share it with others on Etsy.
The shops on this year’s list are as diverse as the sellers behind them. From couture kids clothes to vintage home goods, each object showcased here is a representation of the creative stories behind them. Warning: this is online shopping, taken up a notch. Prepare to become addicted! (And if you think we missed a shop, nominate it in the comments!) — Amy Levin-Epstein
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Owner: Paul Cunningham, dad to Grace, 13, and Lucy, 10, living in New Jersey
Shop here for: Custom, engraved, vintage-style leather footballs and baseballs
Signature Item: Handsome Dan Leather Head Football, $125
If you often dream about heading out back for a real, old-fashioned catch, Paul Cunnigham’s shop is for you. Paul named his shop after the first thing he sold on Etsy: a vintage-style lemon peel baseball. The former Major League Baseball photo editor is a self-taught leather worker whose items haves been featured in various national media outlets — that aren’t traditionally interested in craft products: Men’s Journal, ESPN the Magazine, GQ and Playboy, to name a few.
While he currently dabbles in mostly footballs and baseballs, Paul just added a basketball to the store, and a soccer ball is in development. His most famous customer is Joan Cusack, but his favorite fan is someone a little closer to his personal life. “My business has been profitable from the beginning, but I have to give credit to my wife and her career for giving me the financial security to pursue leather work as my career,” he says.
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