When I was growing up, long before Etsy was even a twinkle in anyone’s eye, “Back to School shopping” was a yearly event for my family. New shoes, new backpack, new clothes, new pencils and notebooks — all very exciting, but so much shopping was also extremely tiring and our days usually ended in my sister and I whining and complaining endlessly. Now you can avoid trudging around the mall by doing your Back to School shopping on Etsy!
To put a twist on this autumn tradition, we bring you an interview with TheCleverKitty, a leader of the EtsyKids team. EtsyKids is a great example of a successful global Etsy Team. Its members can be found all over the US and around the world, and they all feature items for babies and kids in their shops.
Sarawearsskirts (sws): What sparked the idea to start the EtsyKids team?
TheCleverKitty (tck): I love to make things for children, and I knew that there were many others out there like me. Etsy has so many wonderful shops with of all kinds of unique items for babies & kids, and I just thought it would be great to form a group for us to share our knowledge and pool our resources to help bring more of our market to Etsy. I never dreamed that what started out as a simple post in the Etsy forums and a handful of members would grow in less than a year to a group of 500+ members!
sws: What makes Etsy a great place to shop for children’s items?
tck: I think first and foremost, it’s the variety of items you can find on Etsy. There are so many talented artists and craftspeople with so many different styles, you will surely find something you love. From traditional and classic designs, to the modern and funky styles, and absolutely everything in between. And you can definitely find unique items that you won’t find anywhere else.
sws: What are some of the most awesome, unique items for kids that you’ve seen on Etsy?
tck: Wow, where do I start! There are so many, I could easily go on and on and on. For clothes, I adore LemonCadet‘s onesies and tee shirts, which are beautifully hand-appliqued with quirky little characters, and of course there’s also MamaMonkey‘s witty screen-printed onesies and tees. Among my favorite toys are SweetestPea‘s super cute fat stuffed creatures, and the wonderfully creative and educational block sets by StoryBlox. There are also great items that can be personalized with your child’s name like the embroidered pillows from SouthernSassyPants, and the hand-painted wall plaques and bow holders from MyLittleCuddleBugs.
sws: What do you find most challenging about being on / running a global Etsy Team?
tck: I think what’s most challenging is that we can’t just all get together in person. We’ve built a private forum that we require members to join so we can communicate with everyone, and have had chat room meetings, but it’s just not the same as being able to meet face to face.
sms: What’s most rewarding about the team for you?
tck: Just knowing that I’ve helped to bring so many people from all over the place together to support each other and work together despite being so far apart. Having a successful business of selling handmade items is difficult in this era of discount stores and mass production, and it’s helpful to have a network of friends who are in the same business as you, even if they are on the other side of the globe. Being a part of all that is definitely rewarding.
sws: What are the team’s general goals, and what do you consider success for the team?
tck: Our main goal is to work together to bring more buyers of children’s items to Etsy and our shops. We’ve had a committee working behind the scenes to build our own website — EtsyKids.com — which, if all goes as planned, will be up and running by mid September. We’re all very excited to launch the website, which will have a more in depth search feature allowing users to search for EtsyKids items on Etsy by product, size, gender, and theme, as well as profile pages with information on members. Once we have the website up, we will have an easy place to direct pontential buyers and can really start focusing in on marketing & advertising.
sws: How you balance running a successful Etsy shop and leading up a large team?
tck: It’s definitely tricky — especially when you throw a day job and a new baby into the mix! I try to just divide up my time between all of my duties as best I can. Rachel (SeasideQuilts) has been a huge help leading the EtsyKids team from the beginning. I couldn’t have done all this without her! We’ve also enlisted Donna (thequiltedlion) and Stacey (beadedsocks) to assist with moderating the forum, which is a big help. You really just have to set priorities for yourself, and delegate tasks when you can.
sws: Any other thoughts on Teams and Etsy?
tck: I’m just so glad to be a part of Etsy. It’s definitely much more than just a website — it’s a community. The Teams are a great way to meet other Etsians, and get involved in the Etsy community. I remember when I first started selling on Etsy, there were only Teams for states and cities. Now look how many Teams there are! It’s amazing how much Etsy has grown, and I’m sure that with the hardwork of all these teams, Etsy will only continue to grow.
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