The Etsy Texas Crafters Team is taking Brooklyn by storm this weekend, and they’re kicking things off with a trunk show at the Etsy Labs on Friday evening. I had a chance to ask their fearless leader, Milly of Thistlecraft, and their Trunk Show coordinator, Danielle of FabFrills, some questions about running such a large location-based Etsy Team. The Etsy Texas Crafters Team currently encompasses teams for the entire state of Texas. You can find out more about the team and their current projects at http://www.etsytx.org.
What’s most rewarding about being on an Etsy team for you?
Danielle: Lots of things! I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other crafters in my area, and all around Texas. It is really a nice group of people we have on our team. I also appreciate how much Milly does in marketing the team and all of our activities. I’m not so good at the whole marketing thing mostly it’s related to the limited time I have after my full time job and my family. Participating in the team events has helped me with that aspect.
Milly: I have to agree with Danielle there are many rewards from being on an Etsy team! I really enjoy getting to know our members, providing and receiving support both professional and personal, and working together to get the word out about Etsy and especially the Etsy Texas Crafters Team members. We are quickly approaching 300 members. This may seem like a lot, but it is much more manageable (and tangible) than the 75,000+ sellers currently on Etsy.
What are the team’s general goals, and what do you consider success for the team?
Danielle: Defer to Milly on this one!
Milly: Our goals are simple: To promote Etsy, the Etsy Texas Crafters Team, our fellow team members, and ourselves! What do I consider success for us? Having close to 20% of our team members send items for a Trunk Show in New York! Holding monthly sales/promotions events (ETC First Mondays) that continues to grow each month in number of participants, number of sales, and in number of new shop hearts (nearly 1/4 of our members participated last month!), having new members continually requesting to be a part of our team, having members volunteer not only to participate in our various activities/events but to also take on leadership roles for them. It is true that not all of our members are “active” but we have a very large core of members who are incredibly active and supportive of one another, and that is the best success of all!
How do you all delegate work among the team?
Danielle: I think when Milly needs our help, she asks for volunteers that’s how I ended up coordinating this show. I’ve taken that same approach with the work for the trunk show. I tell them what we need and ask who can do that. Most of the time, there is someone who jumps right in. There are also frequently suggestions from the team on what should be done, which is really nice! Working on this show has been a very collaborative effort from the team.
Milly: I do exactly what Danielle said, whenever there is a need, I simply ask for volunteers. And most of the time, I get them! Recently, I asked for volunteers for a project, and had to turn down folks because I received more than twice as many volunteers as I needed! And oftentimes, a member will contact me and simply ask, “How can I help?” And I work with them to find the “job” that best fits their time and interests. This really is a team effort!
In what ways does your team communicate? Do you communicate daily, weekly,etc.?
Danielle: Milly arranged for the team to have a website she can give you details on who to give credit for that piece of work! Part of the site is a bulletin board. We’ve used that extensively in planning this show. I check it daily for new info and comments. Prior to the bulletin board, we had a yahoo email group.
Milly: We initially used Yahoo! Groups for team communications, as well as a team email distribution list (to which only I have access). However, this really wasn’t meeting our needs, so one of our members (Robert aka goldenhour) contacted me about creating a website for us http://www.etsytx.org. Our website includes a calendar of events, an articles section, a blog (we have several volunteer bloggers), and our bulletin boards (forums). I still send team announcements to our email distribution list, but most of the day-to-day communications goes takes place on our website’s bulletin boards.
How do you balance running a successful Etsy shop and leading up a large team?
Danielle: Actually, I’m not so sure you can call my shop successful yet! I’ve been a neglectful shop keeper this last couple of months. I don’t know how Milly does all that she does on a longer term basis! I think she really could answer that question better than me!
Milly: I have been our team leader and our team shop manager since March. I have not yet learned to successfully balance leading our team, managing our team shop, and creating for & managing my own shop. But I’m working on it! I will be looking to delegate more team stuff so that I can spend more time on my own crafting.
How excited is the Texas Team for the Trunk Show?
Danielle: Hmmm….not sure how to quantify that….but here goes… So excited about it that I probably bugged the heck out of Michelle with hundreds of questions and details! So excited about it, there are 50 shops participating! Getting all the details worked out and shipping items to be included in the show has been no small undertaking! So excited about it that we had a huge response of swag to put in the swag bags, I can’t wait to see them in person. In the pictures that were taken by the person who collected all that stuff and put the bags together, they look amazing! So excited about it that I was up all night last night getting all the last minute stuff together to bring with me…on top of the boxes I shipped yesterday! So excited about it that several people have gone above and beyond to help with the planning and execution of the show. Overall, I’d say we’re really excited about it 🙂
Milly: Danielle’s answer is perfect. I can’t think of anything to add!
Which sellers will be coming up to Brooklyn for the show?
Any other thoughts on teams and Etsy?
Danielle: I love the idea of the teams, and feel very fortunate to be involved with such a great, supportive group of people (the ETC team). There are a couple of other teams that I’m interested in, just haven’t had time to really look into them yet…much less participate! I’m also quite happy to be part of the creative community that Etsy has facilitated/created. It’s nice to know there are lots of others out there like me 🙂 Can’t wait to see the labs!!
Milly: I, too, love the idea of the teams! As I mentioned earlier, teams make the vastness of Etsy more manageable/tangible. While the original intent of the Etsy teams was to help promote and spread the word about Etsy, it has evolved into a wonderful system of promoting, marketing, supporting, and teaching/learning. It is, by far, my favorite aspect of Etsy! And I am thrilled and honored to be a part of such an amazing team! I am also just as thrilled and honored to be a part of Etsy! No, my shop is not one of the most successful ones out there. And I may never have an item featured on the home page or be selected as a featured seller. But that’s okay! I get to have my very own online shop, and make my crafts available to the world Ã¢ï¿½ï¿½ without having the headaches of running/managing the website! It is an amazing venue, and I have been able to get involved in some incredible projects and work with some of the most amazing people….things I would not have been able to do without Etsy.
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