Welcome to The Storque, Etsy’s new and eagerly awaited e-zine! (Which is really just a fancy way of saying super-duper blog.) We’re excited about our latest feature, and we hope that you will be, too.
Over the past two little years of Etsy’s existence, we’ve tried to make the goings-on of the company as open as possible, share interesting stories from the community, announce important site info, and also be silly. We are officially retiring the Etsy Garden blog (though its posts will remain online), moving from horticultural to avian metaphores… The Storque is now, finally, being pushed out of its nest and we now have a place to handle all our communications wants and needs in a more organized way. The Storque can act as your gateway into site news, into some of the great How-tos the Labs are doing, into our video content (http://etsy.blip.tv), our photos (http://flickr.com/photos/etsylabs), web resources we’re taking note of (http://del.icio.us/tag/storque), and into the online social activities chatted about and organized in the forums.
Even more importantly, we now get to hear your voice. The Etsy admin will be producing content for The Storque, but the Etsy community and friends will now be able to contribute stories, photo essays, videos and audio podcasts. There’s a pitch form integrated into The Storque; you can send us your fleshed out pitch or simply tip us off to something you think we might like to cover.
If you’re not interested in producing content for The Storque, there’s still another way you can participate. You might be keen to buy a spot on the Storque Showcase, a new addition to Etsy’s cooperative advertising program. (wink, wink)
So what’s the focus of The Storque? We like to think of ourselves as taking part of a larger movement. Starting with Etsy members and branching out to other small business people and artists, The Storque aggregates valuable insights into the practice of being an entrepreneur, artist, and conscientious consumer. The Storque covers all things handmade and inspiring, not just Etsy-centric items. We hope to gain a participatory readership made up of curious people who want to take part in commentary, stories and goings-on. With you, our friends, we hope to foster the Handmade Enlightenment!
And just show how much we’re feeling it, here’s our debut Storque Newscast. We’re feeling very local news meets cable access greenscreen effects (enjoy).
The Storque has two “featured”spots on the homepage. It is also composed of eight sections, like in an old-timey newspaper. Here are some of the things we have in store for you:
If you’re looking for technical info about the site, customer support updates, community and site policy announcements, NEWS is the section for you. Late-breaking updates on contests, announcements on Showcase sales, posts about Etsy in the press and important summaries of forum threads can be found in this section.
• Dispatch from the Engineer Room—RevolvingDork and his crew report on site issues and hopefully rarely use that dreaded Haim on Fire graphic. Announcements about site features go in this section, too.
• About Us—We’ll have a series of profiles on our admin, so you can get to know who does what around here and who might be the best person to contact should the need arise.
• Sarah Says—SarahSays, our in-house council will be sharing legal info of interest to the community and to small, indie business people and creative types in general.
• Etsy in the Press—We’ll keep you posted on coverage of Etsy and Etsy sellers and link to our press page from here.
• Community Voice—The Community Team crystalizes the debates from the forums and the concerns of the community and brings them to a wider audience here.
• Customer Care—The Customer Support Team gives updates and guides newbies through Etsy with useful tips.
• News from the Labs—Updates from the Labs folks.
• The Other Corner—Here Rokali speaks in thought-provoking metaphors, as he’s wont to do.
So many charming personalities with amazing stories, so little time! In the Spotlight section, we’ll be doing our best to shine the spotlight on people, groups, activities and items on Etsy.
• Featured Buyer—We were kinda wondering what Ms. and Mr. Fabulous would buy on Etsy if we gave them carte blanche.
• Trends—Etsy is a test bed of raw creativity, the motherload of imagination. Here we ask intrepid trendspotters to tap the source.
• Street Team Profiles—Sarawearsskirts will be bringing us the stories from the Streets (Teams, that is). Team members can also send us a pitch to profile themselves.
• Recommended Blogs—Share the wealth, people! What’s your favorite blog and why?
• Etsy Newbie—Everyday talented people get started on Etsy and bring something completely fresh.
• Quit Your Dayjob—”How I did it” accounts from fulltime Etsy sellers.
• Etsy Finds—Those items on Etsy that make you gasp. Or squeal with glee.
THIS HANDMADE LIFE
This section really gets our juices flowing because it hinges on the common handmade philosophy that draws so many Etsians together. We all see the world through handmade glasses. This Handmade Life features original minidocumentaries, interviews and stories that reveal unique and remarkable places, objects and their creators. They don’t have to necessarily be involved in Etsy, but something about them should inspire Etsians and get to the root of what draws us to handmade things and the practice of making.
• The Handmade Tourist—Glimpses into nooks and crannies of handmade places, stumbled upon by chance or approached by way of pilgrimage.
• Minidocumentaries—Videos that will turn you on to something new!
• Story Behind the Photo: Find an interesting flickr photo or Etsy item at random. Now record a phone interview with the photographer/maker. Voila! Instant tidbit of interestingness.
These articles bring attention to socially conscious projects that do good. Ideally, these articles focus on organizations or projects that involve making things by hand, sustainable living, supporting local business, and/or humanist politics. The groups or individuals featured in these articles don’t need to have a presence on Etsy, although it would be great to get them involved!
You know, reviews of products, equipment, bands, movies, books, galleries etc. As long as they have a handmade or indie twist!
• How-tos from Etsy Labs, Burda, Make, other friends and from you!
• Tips—Marketing tips, DIY PR tips, small business tips. What else have you got for us?
• Indeed, we’ll even share educational info about media production for those of you want to generate content for The Storque (and hopefully for your own blog too!).
• Street Team Trunk Shows at the Labs: postings and footage from the events!
• Craft Fairs: Footage from ones attended, postings and calls-for-entry.
• Non-craft-specific events of handmade-interest.
Of course we have a spot for silliness! Ask Etsy, jokes, cartoons, trivia, weird recipes…
So if your interest is piqued, submit to our pitch form! Here’s our handy laundry list of guidelines to keep in mind as you pitch. Each piece should be:
• Accompanied by your name so we know its your idea!
• Noted with which section of the Storque your idea would be good for.
• Tagged with keywords (Including location for eventual integration with ShopLocal/Cityguides/Geolocator.)
• Somehow related to the culture and lifestyle of handmade. It can be related specifically to Etsy or crafting, but it doesn’t have to be, as long as it relates to handmade, indie, or socially/environmentally conscious issues.
• Short and sweet. (As a general guideline, no more than 1200 words at the most, though of course there are always exceptions!)
• Have at least one high-res photo or graphic with a link to its origin.
• If possible, include tie-ins to Etsy shops, teams, items, promotions, or events.
• At one of these stages when initially pitched:
1. Just an idea I would like to do for the Storque
2. Just an idea I’m suggesting someone else do
3. I’ve already got the raw footage/writing/photos but it needs some editing/shaping/excerpting
4. I’ve got a finished piece I would like to share with you.
• We encourage multi-media!
2. Podcast or audio clips
6. Whatever the hell else you can think of!
Other things to think about:
• Serialized, series or one-off: Is this something you want to do regularly or could spread into a few segments over a period or is this best as a stand-alone piece?
• Make it user friendly and useful! Include further resources and links for public consumption.
• Be an upstanding citizen and do it on the up & up:
1. Get permission from people interviewed. We have video release forms.
2. If it’s not a photo you took and it’s taken from flickr, it should have a creative commons license. You can do an advanced search for this.
3. Use creative commons music or ask Etsy’s Matt for some of his tracks
We can’t wait to hear your feedback and fresh ideas. We’re only just getting started.
P.S. Storque showcase spots will be on sale after The Storque has been up about a week, to make sure it’s stable. Check back for more info!