Shop Etsy

The Long View: Rob & Maria

Jul 9, 2008

by Rokali

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

REMINDER:  Rob and Maria will be in the Virtual Labs this evening July 9, at 7pm EDT. I’m moving the date up so this post sits on the top of the chronological heap. The following was originally posted on July 2, 2008.

In the following post, Rob Kalin aka rokali and then Maria Thomas aka pesmou speak their vision for the next phase of our company, our community and the marketplace. This was originally published on July 2, but I’m moving it up on the cue so it remains visible.

Hello out there,

Etsy just turned three, and we’re at a turning point. Some people reading this have been part of our community for all three of those years, and many are just arriving. This letter is the perspective of someone who’s been here for the full three years.

Etsy needs to change. Some of what worked for us two or three years ago doesn’t work now, and we need to shift how we do things. This seems obvious, but it’s easy to overlook that you can’t get to where we are now without the past three years.

Etsy up till now

In January of 2006. Etsy Inc. was just four people: myself, Chris, Haim and Jared. We were working for free, working day and night all the time, and there were about a hundred new forum posts each day. Etsy has changed since then: we’re now a company with 63 employees, a community that has seen 1,000,000 registrations in over a hundred  countries, and now there are 15,000 new forum posts every day.

Looking at changes in numbers is easy. How can I articulate the other changes?

I remember when Etsy reached 10 employees: it was the first big shift in our work flow. When you’re starting a company, you do what works. It’s tautological: how do you know what works? It works. This meant working seven days a week, around the clock. It meant skipping out on rent, foregoing regular meals, not seeing family or friends. (There’s a reason that small groups of people are able to launch things that large companies can’t.)

Once we hit 20 employees, we created teams inside the company. (These teams have evolved over time, but they still exist, and it’s how we group employees on our About page.) At the next stage of growth, as each team grew, we needed team leads, and a shared space to keep track of what everyone was working on (we chose to use a wiki with a ticketing system).

When you have teams inside a company, you have to be careful that silos don’t develop. People tend to work heads down on what their immediate tasks are. When you have team leads, you need to setup a reporting structure. As new employees come on, they are oriented inside the company. This may all sound obvious, but when you’re in the trenches at a startup, without someone who has done this before, you learn as you go. We have certainly done a fair share of what Oscar Wilde would call "conducting our education in public."

Alongside the company growing, the community grew. This was wonderful to watch, and it added to our responsibilities: the more people using our service, the more ideas for how to improve it. This is the beauty of the Web; it’s a permanent focus group. The tough part is meeting everyone’s expectations, and that will always require attention.

What will change?

Etsy Inc. has new leadership. I have been working with Maria Thomas since she joined Etsy six weeks ago. We’ve been taking a clear look at what works and what doesn’t work right now, and planning what we need to move forward. Maria brings heaps of experience with her, and her arrival marks a change in how Etsy is run as a company.

Her arrival also marks a change in my own role at Etsy. I am 28 years old. Before Etsy, I worked many jobs: cashier at a Marshalls department store, stock boy at a camera shop, freelance carpenter, lowest rung on the ladder at a demolition company, minimum wage floor help at the Strand book store (saving up to go back to college), amanuensis for an eighty-year-old philosopher from Vienna.

All of these jobs prepared me for being an entrepreneur and starting a company. Maria has the skills and experience required to lead Etsy through the upcoming years, and that is what she’s here to do.

Right now we’re focused on getting the right people and the right process inside Etsy.  We can’t make specific promises regarding when and what we will build – but I promise that your requests and suggestions and complaints and kudos have been heard.  The proof will, of course, be in the pudding, and rather than offer any more promises, we want to let the results of our organizational and structural changes manifest themselves in the most important real result: a great product, a great seller experience, a great buyer experience, and great customer support.

______________________________________________________________________

Dear Etsians,

A little over a month ago, after a year of watching and exploring, I joined Etsy to help lead the company. During that year I watched Etsy grow and its community evolve both as a marketplace for handmade items and as an intimate and sophisticated gathering place for people to connect, share ideas, learn, and experience joy in purposeful living.   

I became an Etsy member in early 2007.  My Etsy username is "Pesmou," which is Greek for "Tell Me.” I originally chose Pesmou because, as a Greek-American, it’s an easy word for me to remember. It now seems like a very fitting user name: I want the Etsy community to tell me what they want and need and how we can do better. In fact, I’ve spent most of my first month reading Forum posts and emails from Etsy members. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

My first Etsy purchase was a sterling silver Star of David pendant. I bought it as a Bat Mitzva gift for my college roommate’s daughter. I later learned that the maker is Etsy’s own in-house lawyer, Sarah Feingold!

That first purchase got me hooked. It was fun to browse Etsy’s pages and admire the high quality handmade items described so passionately by their makers. I experienced the joy of discovery and the satisfaction of offering a truly personal gift while also supporting someone’s craft.  Over the next few months, I found myself visiting the Etsy site not only to buy beautiful things but also to participate in the burgeoning community and to read the engaging, creative content in the Storque blog.  

Over the course of a year, I had the opportunity to on several occasions visit Etsy’s offices in Brooklyn, NY and get to know a few Etsians, including co-founder Rob Kalin. I was inspired by Rob’s vision of a global marketplace full of handmade items, stories, sights and sounds.  

I also began to understand the challenges presented by trying to advance the young company beyond its start-up phase. It takes time, focus and investment to build a lasting and profitable company.

What do I bring with me to Etsy? Nearly ten years of experience operating consumer-oriented Web-based businesses at Amazon.com and NPR.org.  I have learned that building a great company requires more than just a great idea. It requires an organization that knows what it wants to achieve, and is staffed properly to reach those goals.  It requires a relentless, detailed focus on execution informed by constantly listening to customers.

My current goals at Etsy are:

 * People: seek deeper experience to lead Etsy through things we’ve never done before.
 * Process: create a disciplined approach to planning and execution.
 * Product: build the best marketplace for connecting makers and buyers.

Above all, my goal is to get things done. This ranges from improving the user experience on Etsy, to communicating more consistently, to adding more sophisticated analytical tools so that we can measure our performance.

First, I am listening: to our members, our browsers, our fans, our critics, our staff, and our investors.  I am actively reading the Etsy forums and sitting side-by-side with Etsy customer support representatives.  I am reading emails and blogs to understand the needs and desires of people who sell on Etsy, who shop on Etsy, who browse Etsy, who love Etsy and who bash Etsy.  

I am studying other companies that have successfully (or unsuccessfully) combined discipline and hard work with "keeping things human," as Rob says. I am talking to a lot of talented, experienced people and looking for a few of them to join Etsy and help us more quickly and successfully do things we’ve never done before, while continuing to celebrate Etsy’s creative, quirky and independent culture.
 
I am looking closely at how work is organized at Etsy.  My experience in Web-based businesses is consistent with my early observations at Etsy:  there’s always a giant list of things to be built to make a better Web site that people want to visit regularly.  Many of these desired features or functionalities involve technical development and therefore draw on a limited pool of resources to help accomplish them.  

Thus, another part of my early agenda is to develop a well-understood project prioritization process inside Etsy.  That process should take into account the need to build a highly reliable and scalable technical infrastructure and one nimble enough to accommodate the dynamism of a business like Etsy’s.  

It takes time and talent to fully realize the power of a great idea. Etsy is on its way, but there’s still much to do.

There are many great discussions going on about Etsy, both on our site and outside of it. We’d like to engage with them. To start, we’ll hold office hours in the Virtual Labs’s Treehouse Room on Wednesday, July 9th at 7-8 pm EDT. This will give everyone a chance to talk to us directly about what’s going, and share their thoughts.

161 comments

  • stonesoupjewelry

    stonesoupjewelry said 11 years ago

    I'm so very happy to hear from Maria Thomas. I understand that she was able to shake things up a bit at NPR Digital media, and I hope that her business experience, web experience and focus will drive Etsy in the right direction. I'll look forward to seeing the evolution of the site from here on out...cautiously optimistic.

  • EyePopArt

    EyePopArt said 11 years ago

    Nice to meet you, Maria! Thanks for the letter, sounds good, and I'm excited to see what happens!

  • dangerousmezzo

    dangerousmezzo said 11 years ago

    Thank you, both of you, for this wonderful piece. I am now more hopeful than I have been for over six months. I love Etsy, and want it to succeed with my whole heart.

  • dancingcircle

    dancingcircle said 11 years ago

    What immediate steps will be taken to protect/salvage Etsy's reputation? Also - the interactive labs you offer - will they be held/repeated for those in different time zones?

  • Beadymonkey

    Beadymonkey said 11 years ago

    i what an upbeat and inspiring news post! Now I wanna go and create more stuff! Thanks for the update and introduction!

  • ClaudiaLord

    ClaudiaLord said 11 years ago

    Maria, I think its great that you are sitting with the Etsy employees and learning about what they all do. I'm excited about the direction Etsy is taking!

  • dmriceart

    dmriceart said 11 years ago

    Thank you both, Rob and Maria. I am looking forward to the next year! I have been here awhile, and it has been a roller coaster ride with highs and lows... but mainly highs. I do understand that a strong foundation under any tall building... is well worth the time it takes to build said foundation. Etsy is one very tall building, and I am willing to wait for the foundation to be completed... It is good to know you are working together...Rob... love your energy, and big ideas! Maria, sounds like you have a good handle on the needs to make the foundation of Rob's energetic ideas solid. Have at it... and do enjoy the process! Thanks for listening, and moving in a positive direction. Sincerely, Debi Rice... dmriceart

  • abitabite

    abitabite said 11 years ago

    I was hoping "to communicating more consistently, " would also meant more appropriately. Then i read the people who bash etsy comment. I dont think people bash etsy. Etsy (inc, founder, admin) has said and done inappropriate and incosistant things to it's customers. And it is understandable that people get frustrated. People complain because they care about the betterment and wholism of the community. They complain because they care. Not because they dislike etsy, but because they like it so much and want it to succeed.

  • Explorations

    Explorations said 11 years ago

    Thank you for this update! I think it is well written and a wonderful start. I wish you much luck Maria and look forward to seeing Etsy grow and evolve. Etsy is an amazing idea with so much potential and thankfully the next step is being taken to, hopefully, ensure even greater success in the future.

  • esdesigns

    esdesigns said 11 years ago

    thank you, i enjoyed the article!

  • bonspielcreation

    bonspielcreation said 11 years ago

    I'm so proud to be a part of Etsy and I'll be here by your (virtual) side watching it grow. It's so exciting!

  • stellaloella Admin

    stellaloella said 11 years ago

    dancingcircle said: "Also - the interactive labs you offer - will they be held/repeated for those in different time zones?" This is definitely something we will keep in consideration when planning future workshops. We specifically scheduled this one to accommodate people with day jobs and those in the international community. abitabite said: "People complain because they care about the betterment and wholism of the community. They complain because they care." This is exactly why it's important for us to pay attention to what critics say, which I believe is the point Maria was making.

  • Galeana

    Galeana said 11 years ago

    Thank you so much for this article! It is always a breath of fresh air when you hear how much the admin. cares about us all. Cheers!

  • SeaFindDesigns

    SeaFindDesigns said 11 years ago

    thanks guys! glad to know you listen! very satistifed seller here!!

  • BeaG

    BeaG said 11 years ago

    Thanks for this great article! I love how Maria has come in with her rucksack full of valuable experience to help Rob and the other founders of Etsy to continue to outbuild their dream. Maria, you sound like you are definately up to that job. Glad to have you on board. I wish you lots of success and I hope to be part of the Etsy community many more years to come. I'd like to thank the Etsy team (again) for giving me the opportunity to run a successful little business from home (because of serious chronic health issues and the way they limit my capacities, there is no way I could have reached this level of success in another way). Yay for Etsy! BeaG

  • crochetbouquet

    crochetbouquet said 11 years ago

    Nice to meet you Maria! Thanks to you and Rob for this article, and for scheduling the virtual lab office hours next week. Long Live Etsy !

  • westcorinthstudio

    westcorinthstudio said 11 years ago

    We are excited about the direction that Etsy is moving in, and are thrilled to be a part of it. Welcome, Maria; and thank you Rob!

  • melissakate

    melissakate said 11 years ago

    Nice post guys! I like how businesslike it sounded. Maria seems very organized which makes my heart glow with love! 'keeping things human' + 'project prioritization process' = bliss

  • angelstuff

    angelstuff said 11 years ago

    Thank you for this article. I mentioned this in a thread, but I thought I should also mention this here: Maria, I hope you've looked at Google as a place that keeps things human. They have thousands of employees and everyone I know there is happy to be there and believes in the company (much like etsy employees). And they still have a lot of fun (much like etsy employees). I'm looking forward to seeing how things go.

  • molecularmuse

    molecularmuse said 11 years ago

    I'm sure many Etsians can understand the growing pains of a start-up into a larger business. Congratulations for taking a step back to figure out how to go forward! We all want to see Etsy last and its ideals more fulfilled!

  • abitabite

    abitabite said 11 years ago

    I hope so Stella. Bash wasn't an approriate choice of words in my opinion, just because it makes those who are vocal about change seem like they are considered troublesome to Etsy inc. Which is certainly not thier intention.

  • dingo

    dingo said 11 years ago

    This is the right thing to do and it takes some maturity and foresight to do it. Good move, rokali. And γειάσου, Maria!

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 11 years ago

    Great picture of the two of you~ Looking forward to a bright future for etsy and the community as a whole, nice to meet you Maria~! Think how far you've come in a short time, can picture you guys, yourself, chris, haim, jared in those infant days, staring at the puter screens. Look at what an awesome creation you've all designed by hand...ETSY...~! Can't wait to see what happens next. :)

  • womenswit

    womenswit said 11 years ago

    Looking forward...

  • modflo

    modflo said 11 years ago

    welcome, Maria! thanks for introducing yourself and your goals for Etsy.

  • CottageGardenTherapi

    CottageGardenTherapi said 11 years ago

    It is great to be a part of something as it grows and develops not only for their better good, but as a platform for our own growing businesses!

  • ThePeacockFeather

    ThePeacockFeather said 11 years ago

    I also posted this in the ongoing thread. I for one, am happy with the article. It shows me that this place is moving forward and up. those that have been here from almost the beginning, change is always hard. Ebay went thru the same thing. The more people that joined and the larger it got, the more it HAD to change or it would have gone under. You can't have a home that fits a family of four in it and move in ten extra families. You HAVE to change things. I am also really, really, REALLY happy that Rokali hired Maria, who has experience, understands this business and is interested in making Etsy the best it can be. KUDOS to both Rokali AND Maria THANKS!!

  • JeweledAmbrosia

    JeweledAmbrosia said 11 years ago

    Wonderful and Thank you!

  • SoCaliGirl

    SoCaliGirl said 11 years ago

    Thank you for a little bit of insight. Welcome to Etsy Maria, and I am glad that you're not dismissing the critics.

  • charmerzII

    charmerzII said 11 years ago

    I hope that another article follows soon that outlines more specific goals for Etsy in the next year.

  • InfiniteCosmosHemp

    InfiniteCosmosHemp said 11 years ago

    wow, etsy only has 63 employees? how the heck do you keep up with all the emails and such??! It sounds like Maria has a lot of experience and will be a very important asset in moving Etsy forward. Welcome to the wonderful world of Etsy, Maria!! I look forward to seeing how things evolve around here now that you are here to help. And may i just say, Rob, you're very handsome ;-)

  • Odannysgirl

    Odannysgirl said 11 years ago

    Great to hear! I'm excited to see how Etsy will grow from here. It's great to see both Rob and Maria addressing the community. Many thanks!

  • starfishbarbados

    starfishbarbados said 11 years ago

    Great article, thank you!

  • starfishbarbados

    starfishbarbados said 11 years ago

    And as infinitecosmos said: And may i just say, Rob, you're very handsome ;-) How come I never saw you at the Strand??? I would have bought more books!

  • dottyral

    dottyral said 11 years ago

    Feeling very optimistic here. Thank you both!

  • mizusugi

    mizusugi said 11 years ago

    Thank you for all the behind the scene work. And let's keep Etsy moving forward! :)

  • GreenMamba

    GreenMamba said 11 years ago

    I echo the sentiments of dingo and SoCaliGirl. Willkommen, Maria, and Danke!

  • SalmonStreetStudio

    SalmonStreetStudio said 11 years ago

    Thanks for talking to us!

  • GreenMamba

    GreenMamba said 11 years ago

    Rob, you wrote: "Her arrival also marks a change in my own role at Etsy." Then you go on to give a brief job history, but never actually explain *how* your role at Etsy Inc. will be changing. Can you shed a bit more light?

  • mandinka

    mandinka said 11 years ago

    Well done.

  • hobbledehoy

    hobbledehoy said 11 years ago

    thank you for introducing yourself, Maria! Glad to have your talent and experience on board with Rob's enthusiasm and vision.

  • MetalheartDesign

    MetalheartDesign said 11 years ago

    i have had a great etsy experience so far, and am thrilled to be part of its progressive changes. viva la etsy!

  • loosewirestudio

    loosewirestudio said 11 years ago

    Pleasure to meet you! I feel inspired. :) Looking forward to watching and again being a part of Etsy's wonderful growth. I feel optimistic about Etsy 99% of the time. That's pretty darn high! Go Etsy!!! :D

  • PillowMonsters

    PillowMonsters said 11 years ago

    Awesome. I'm excited to see what happens.

  • daisycakessoap

    daisycakessoap said 11 years ago

    Welcome Maria. Sounds like you're the right person at the right time. We're lucky to have you both.

  • Slowshirts

    Slowshirts said 11 years ago

    "Slow like growth" We read that little quote you have tacked to the wall of your old apartment Rob, and we now say it to ourselves quite often. You're sticking with that idea, and that's why we love Etsy. This is exciting. Welcome Maria!

  • foxaz

    foxaz said 11 years ago

    Nice communication, folks! I, too, look forward to hearing more about what Rob's new role will be. And more specifics on the changes to come. Alerting us in advance is always better than trying to clean up the mess afterwards. Welcome Pesmou! You have a lovely smile!

  • muchachak

    muchachak said 11 years ago

    I've been here for three years, for the whole journey so far. In light of many recent frustrations, I appreciate the tone of this piece, and the overview presented and look forward to more details at a later date when it is feasable to give them. I'd rather see no promises at all, than promises that can't be followed through on. All in all I think this is a great starting point, and look forward to more communication... And it's nice to get to eyeball Maria :) Hi Maria!

  • woolpets

    woolpets said 11 years ago

    I second the notion of "nice communication". It's great to hear from both Rob and Maria concerning the future of Etsy. It's very exciting indeed and I look forward to seeing how Etsy progresses. My own business started on Etsy and is now a full time job for my husband and I. I hope we continue to grow with you - thanks for the opportunity.

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 11 years ago

    Thanks for posting- both of you. And it's nice to have you here Maria.

  • silentlanguages

    silentlanguages said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing with us the ways in which you are changing -- how exciting for everyone here!

  • artbynaomi

    artbynaomi said 11 years ago

    Thank you Rob and Maria and welcome/all the best to you Maria. I'm encouraged by your positive and "let's roll up our sleeves and get the job done" attitude. Etsy is a wonderful idea and place, I'm thankful for it and all those that work so hard behind the scenes. Hopefully the growing pains will not be to painful. Some things are definitely worth all the pain and hard work needed to see them succeed. naomi

  • Blueshine

    Blueshine said 11 years ago

    I'm new to Etsy but feel SO much a part of it already...it's great to know you are part of new beginings and growth! Welcome Maria!!!!

  • colorada

    colorada said 11 years ago

    I appreciate the update on things ! It will be fun to see the changes you'll be making. Welcome to Maria!

  • pulchritudinous

    pulchritudinous said 11 years ago

    how exciting! i appreciate that you have been here for a year, Maria, and that you are taking the time to listen to etsy's fans and critiques. too many times, on here, people are quick to silence those that address concerns. i'm very much a cheerleader, and a concerned seller who has every intention of continuing to grow my own business, and would like etsy to play a valuable role in that. i look forward to seeing positive change within etsy. thanks a bunch! -stace

  • pulchritudinous

    pulchritudinous said 11 years ago

    can i get a clean up in isle 4? my trigger finger must have slipped. :)

  • Jmacc

    Jmacc said 11 years ago

    Thank you for introducing yourselves and detailing your job descriptions. It is nice to see you together. I look forward to watching you work and grow to make etsy a great shopping experience.

  • AlteredStatesClothin

    AlteredStatesClothin said 11 years ago

    Thank you both! I strongly appreciate your hard work...

  • FrucciDesign

    FrucciDesign said 11 years ago

    thank you to both of you and all who will help you/us in this new adventure

  • Junienone

    Junienone said 11 years ago

    Thank you both for your hard work and for this article. As a seller here it is wonderful to have such a great inside view of what's going on with etsy.

  • AutumnLeavesJewelry

    AutumnLeavesJewelry said 11 years ago

    Wonderful news to wake up to after a nice DC dog day afternoon nap, preceeded by a lot of torching and hammering metals. It's nice to hear from you Marie. I'm glad you lurked for a year...and then you stayed!!! I've seen amazing changes on Etsy with its policies/Admin support since I've been here. Looking forward to watching Etsy grow and change along with the ebb and flow of the economy! Rob thank you for creating this wonderful environment where we can sell sell sell! And for working all your obvious long hard hours as your baby grows! I hope you get some time off now and then!!!

  • strumpfkunst

    strumpfkunst said 11 years ago

    Maria, welcome to Etsy! I believe we were working for Amazon at the same time... I was part of Martine Ferment's team in The Hague, till Diego broke us up in 2001. Still in touch with many of those people, as Amazon was one of my working highlights - as I am sure Etsy will be one of yours. If it wasn't for local commitments, I would have booked a flight to Brooklyn ages ago - working for Etsy must be amazing. Enjoy your stay!

  • SnappyBibs

    SnappyBibs said 11 years ago

    Υποδοχή!! Μαρία, καλή τύχη με τη νέα θέση σας!!! Rob, thanks for the article. I am looking forward as a business person to see how things grow and mature. I know the organization will be overwhelming, but if you use a good base, many things can be built solid. Best Regards!

  • chetart

    chetart said 11 years ago

    As a new shop member, I found this article very informative and encouraging.

  • deleteyourself

    deleteyourself said 11 years ago

    How exciting:) I can't wait to see how etsy will change and evolve.

  • anndouglas

    anndouglas said 11 years ago

    Thanks for the honest and inspiring update. Very impressive stuff.

  • plenox

    plenox said 11 years ago

    I would like to say welcome to Maria as well. It's nice to know you have been getting to know the community in the last year by reading the forumns and blogs. We would love to see your input as we do the other admin. I really liked the upbeat tone and vision of the letters and look forward to more concrete definitions of the changes to come.

  • TwinDreamCreations

    TwinDreamCreations said 11 years ago

    Thank you!

  • verybigjen

    verybigjen said 11 years ago

    I was hoping for more. I'll believe in the change of stride when I see it, and not a second before.

  • fubabee

    fubabee said 11 years ago

    Thank you Rob, and welcome Maria. Looking forward to the improvements that will be made both strategically and tactically.

  • faro

    faro said 11 years ago

    Thanks so much Rokali and Maria. I'd love to see some plans with teeth. Welcome Maria!

  • paperink

    paperink said 11 years ago

    Rob, thank you for your hard work, your vision and energy in making Etsy a success and a fun place to visit! Welcome Maria...look forward to the new changes you will bring to Etsy!

  • dahlilafound

    dahlilafound said 11 years ago

    It's nice to know we are being heard. Maria sounds like a great addition. We like experience! d.

  • SuperflyLullabies

    SuperflyLullabies said 11 years ago

    I just wrote a lovely little blurb, but clicked wrong and lost it. Shrug. I'll keep it short this time: Thanks for the update, great article. very satisfied in this little corner, xo Julie

  • SparklePuss

    SparklePuss said 11 years ago

    Welcome Maria!!! Etsy is the BEST! :)

  • beadinbythesea

    beadinbythesea said 11 years ago

    Nice to meet you Maria. I can't wait to see where Etsy leads this year with you at the helm! Feeling very optimistic!

  • shaylamaddox

    shaylamaddox said 11 years ago

    Awesome. :o) One of my favorite things about Etsy, and everyone involved with running Etsy and selling on Etsy, is the very inspiring spirit of entrepreneurship. I like it here. :o)

  • StarryHomeCrafts

    StarryHomeCrafts said 11 years ago

    I'm looking forward to seeing where this all goes! Thanks for the update. Now we just have to be patient and let you all do your jobs.

  • peaseblossomstudio

    peaseblossomstudio said 11 years ago

    It's good to hear from you, Maria and Rob! Welcome, Maria! Thanks for the update. I look forward to Etsy's improvements. And I see that Maria and I have the same birthday. :-) Not that that matters...... LOL

  • BeadedTail

    BeadedTail said 11 years ago

    Thanks for the update Rob and Maria! I'm looking forward to the great things to come!

  • MoondanceDesigns

    MoondanceDesigns said 11 years ago

    Rob, thank you for your honest and fresh approach to the growth/future of Etsy! Its an exciting time to be here! Welcome Maria!!

  • birdandflower

    birdandflower said 11 years ago

    you guys are awesome! Welcome Maria! Great Job Rob!

  • PolkaDotToadstool

    PolkaDotToadstool said 11 years ago

    Welcome Maria, Thanks Rob, this all sounds wonderful, however it doesn't have any relevance to me until I have an adequate category to list my work.

  • MidwestieLady

    MidwestieLady said 11 years ago

    Thank you, Rob, for sharing your vision and expressing it through Etsy. Thank you, Maria, for catching the vision and joining us in the Etsy adventure too; we are fortunate you are on the Etsy team. I'm looking forward to being a part of Etsy as it grows and develops.

  • beesquarefabrics

    beesquarefabrics said 11 years ago

    Maria, I am in love with you for this goal: "...improving the user experience on Etsy..." Just the fact that you get the importance of user experience bodes really well in my book. Welcome! I look forward to seeing where Etsy goes and how it continues to grow.

  • WhimsyUnlimited

    WhimsyUnlimited said 11 years ago

    What a welcome surprise to find your news!I am anticipating more good things to come. The synergy of enthusiasm, empathy, energy and...experience will prevail!

  • SweetAnnieJeanne

    SweetAnnieJeanne said 11 years ago

    YEEEEAHHH

  • allisonstrine

    allisonstrine said 11 years ago

    Yay for this letter! Thank you so much Rob and Maria, for putting your hearts out there. And Rob, you look like you're TWELVE!!!

  • Kcoline

    Kcoline said 11 years ago

    ha ha! 12!!!! I am sorry if this comment is not helping consistently in this matter, but I do believe humor is a good help for any matter, especially in NYC. I so far had no complaints but maybe I should think about it harder ?!??!

  • MyKangaroo

    MyKangaroo said 11 years ago

    I feel the love. Thank you Rob for all your hard work and welcome Maria. I am so excited to see where Etsy will be in another 3 years.

  • YourStyle

    YourStyle said 11 years ago

    Great article.Thank you for the update.

  • FishBulb500

    FishBulb500 said 11 years ago

    Welcome Maria! Congratulations Rob on the creation of such an amazing thing as Etsy, at such a young age. Awesome! I'm a buyer only and I had been starving for the sorts of things I've found on Etsy. I'm grateful it's here and I wish you all the best.

  • littlebitwired

    littlebitwired said 11 years ago

    Welcome to Etsy... as someone who's been here almost the full three years I can say I love etsy. The wheels are getting a little bit wobbly, thanks for taking care of your business and ours!

  • GrizzlyMountainArts

    GrizzlyMountainArts said 11 years ago

    Rob says: "At the next stage of growth, as each team grew, we needed team leads, and a shared space to keep track of what everyone was working on (we chose to use a wiki with a ticketing system)." ================================== Rob, you may want to check out Jive Software's collaboration software Clearspace. http://www.jivesoftware.com/products/clearspace

  • DAINTYCROCHETBYALY

    DAINTYCROCHETBYALY said 11 years ago

    I am very glad to see Etsy growing! welcome Maria.!

  • JJMFinance

    JJMFinance said 11 years ago

    Great to hear some vision. . . without vision, you perish.

  • simpledream2

    simpledream2 said 11 years ago

    Welcome Maria. Rob, you mentioned that Maria's arrival will mark a change in your own roll. Yet, you never did say what that change is?? I wish you both much success as I too have gone thru changes at work and now assist the COO, so I come home each evening and de-stress by enjoying my "therapy" of making new items for my etsy shop. Thank you for that opportunity. I do have one request for new shops, how about us newby's being able to request a mentor?? I would like to be in contact with one or two etsians that have a successful shop and are willing to share their success. I have ideas on that avenue, yet don't know where to share them. I have never become familiar with blogs and self promoting and need HELP.... Thank you for Etsy's wonderful world of handmade.

  • chingteoh

    chingteoh said 11 years ago

    Welcome Maria! I am so happy to read this article. And know how much the admin of Etsy cares for the sellers and buyers here in the community. I am proud that I am able to start my little business here on Etsy and makes me more motivated in my creation of art. I am looking forward to better and brighter years onwards with Etsy from now. Cheers!! ~ ching

  • Rokali

    Rokali said 11 years ago

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. Please try and come to our office hours in the Virtual Labs with your questions, and we'll answer them then.

  • sandcookies

    sandcookies said 11 years ago

    I am one of the newbies here at Etsy - and am amazed at what you have accomplished. Such a wonderful idea to have created such an amazing market place to bring us all closer. I know that sounds cheezy-but I feel that etsy breaks down silly geographic walls and barriers...bringing us all a bit closer to realizing we are one world! I love being able to say [after receiving a compliment] thank you it is from __________ (someplace exotic). Kudos RoKali! And Mary it sounds like you bringing aboard lots of wonderful experiences! Thank you to all Etsy admin!

  • quirkybags

    quirkybags said 11 years ago

    Welcome, Maria. I am anxiously awaiting the next stage of Etsy!

  • Wildewear

    Wildewear said 11 years ago

    Welcome and thanks a million for all your insight and enthusiam!

  • thepurplekitty

    thepurplekitty said 11 years ago

    Welcome, Maria I am also waiting to see what happens in the future. I do think *bash* was not the correct term to use when talking to your customers. Etsy is a ~**wonderful**~ place with great potential ~~ most that *bash* are disillusioned by systems that are in place but not enforced.

  • Sallyent

    Sallyent said 11 years ago

    Just wanted to say good luck - I know there will be changes, and not everyone will like all of them - but that can't be avoided and I very much admire that you are not only being bold enough to ask for help when you need it, in the form of Maria, and to shake yourself up as a growing company; but also that you are so clearly open and communicative about it. It must be quite a scary time for you starting four having to hand parts of your dream over into the hands of others, and I really respect the maturity and belief with which you've gone about your development. I have worked for so many awful places that can't admit when they need help, and talk in muttered tones behind closed doors, so concerned with their individual egos rather than asking themselves what it was about the company they initially loved enough to join, and how best to uphold and share that vision. They would have all been much better places with much happier staff and satisfied customers if they'd taken more of your approach. I wish you all the luck in the world.

  • citygirlhardware

    citygirlhardware said 11 years ago

    Good move, Rob, and welcome to Maria! I'm a jewelry artisan who's been battered by ebay this year, and I can't wait to open my shop here on Etsy this fall. My clients all know of my plans and they're coming to Etsy with me. Etsy has a loving and protective community. The best advice I've seen in these comments: "keeping things human." Etsy is lucky to have you both, and we're all very lucky to have Etsy. The absolute uniqueness of Etsy will be a challenging factor in growth, but I see the kindly light of stewardship in the eyes of Rob and Maria rather than the gleam of greed. Thanks for being the light at the end of 2008's very dark tunnel!

  • Yoola

    Yoola said 11 years ago

    good luck:) it seems like a VERY hard mission. Maybe since im a newbe i dont see so many things that needs attending, I LOVE it here.

  • stilettoheights

    stilettoheights said 11 years ago

    welcome to etsy Maria, thanks for your input and insight, looking forward to the growth and changes to come. (also waves at Rob so he does not feel left out)

  • NeverEver

    NeverEver said 11 years ago

    Welcome, Maria (although that may seem a bit belated) and thanks to you and Rob. I am thrilled to read such a vision for Etsy and I am confident that we are in good hands. Thankyou!

  • thevintagecloset

    thevintagecloset said 11 years ago

    hi maria!---i am excited to hear what kkinds changes there will be for VINTAGE sellers!!!!!!

  • adamsonart

    adamsonart said 11 years ago

    I'm excited to see what direction you take my Etsy. I've been here since 06 and have seen quite a lot of change but not as much change as growth. I'm glad to see experience such as yours being put to good use. I'll be watching :) Welcome.

  • DownSouthTreasures

    DownSouthTreasures said 11 years ago

    Please be careful of the direction of your changes. After 9 years of eBay changes, I left! Study eB for what kept millions of us there for so long--like Sales! After thoroughly reading & researching Etsy for a month, I listed 52 items in 6 weeks and sold *1*. Etsy is a warm, talented, friendly community. It also needs to be tweaked into a Business! That's why I'm here.

  • cynthiadelgiudice

    cynthiadelgiudice said 11 years ago

    Way to go Etsy team! Your accomplishments are amazing!

  • enhabiten

    enhabiten said 11 years ago

    I've had a great start on etsy and have high hopes that it will be a perfect venue for me and what I make. I've loved it. I know there are changes I'd like to see and feel confident after reading this article that they will be implemented. One change which is sorely needed is an accurate shipping piece. The current "guesstimating" process does not work. But this site and the vision behind is revolutionary for folks like me who want a simple and inexpensive way to sell my things online. And beyond that, the community I've found here is something I didn't anticipate. Definitely "keep it human" because that's what handmade is all about. Etsy has been so wonderful for me. Thank you.

  • 47bonanza

    47bonanza said 11 years ago

    Rob, by the time that you are 30 you are going to own a billion dollar a year business! How cool is that! I love to see peoples dreams come true...and you have made that happen for so many people! Many Blessings to you and everyone at Etsy.

  • dogties

    dogties said 11 years ago

    Step it up, it sounds great!

  • strumpfkunst

    strumpfkunst said 11 years ago

    I would appreciate a more Europe-friendly Treehouse discussion... 7pm is like 1am here, impossible for me.

  • BSquaredTwice

    BSquaredTwice said 11 years ago

    Rob and Maria, I just want to tell you how much I love Etsy! I know things won't always be perfect, but I found this site after googling alternatives to another website that starts with the letter E. I have dreamed of being able to sell my jewelry and had no idea how I could ever get started, but I read an article where a scrapbooker was considering switching to Etsy, due to the high prices she was having to pay elsewhere. I could not afford to go the other route. Your website has made it possible for me to at least try! Thank you, thank you, thank you...I am so excited to have this opportunity! I love the web design! I love the cozy feeling of this place! I love that Etsy doesn't charge me for every picture, length of time listed, and number of tags, then add a percentage of the sales price to their cut at the end! The next thing that I MUST say that is wonderful....the positive feedback I see on everyone's shop. Because everyone is doing what they love and putting their heart into their work, others appreciate that and are gentle in their dealings with sellers. I do not know what the company feels they need to change and I have only been on Etsy for two weeks, so have no suggestions other than, please add spellcheck!! (Is that a compound noun or two seperate words? I'm not sure.) Anyway, please keep up the good work and thank you again!

  • strumpfkunst

    strumpfkunst said 11 years ago

    @BSquaredTwice If you are looking for a spellchecker, consider working with Firefox and downloading their add-ons. I have English, German, and Dutch installed, and can switche between messages whenever I am typing something online. Saves me loads of trouble! :)

  • strumpfkunst

    strumpfkunst said 11 years ago

    Case proven - the last message was done through IE and immediately there's an error. :)

  • SecretLentil

    SecretLentil said 11 years ago

    Thank you both for the communiqúe. best, helen

  • jewelrybyvicki

    jewelrybyvicki said 11 years ago

    Thank you Both! Etsy is a great place, and I am glad that you listen to all of us. I'm greatful to have discovered etsy!!!!Vicki

  • lizplummer

    lizplummer said 11 years ago

    Thanks for letting us know all this! Any chance of having another Treehouse earlier in the day for us Europeans to be able to come along? Liz

  • sweetrice

    sweetrice said 11 years ago

    Thank you for posting and shareing the information. I love Esty and have three shops. I appreciate the opportunity that Etsy provides. I love Rob's story of the start up and in a way can identify with it! Maria, welcome to Etsy! Your growing knowledge and appreciation for Etsy is a benefit to all of us! Thank you! Lori

  • debralinker

    debralinker said 11 years ago

    Welcome, Pesmou. It would be my privilege and honor to assist in any way possible as a member, a shop owner, and the Chairperson of Gallery United in any way that may be useful to you, to Rob and to the amazing Etsy community. Welcome!

  • ingermaaike

    ingermaaike said 11 years ago

    Thank you for wanting to grow and improve. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being approachable. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet like minded people and selling my things. And a hearty welcome to all the new people who are going to help etsy grow.

  • geekxnerd

    geekxnerd said 11 years ago

    I'm curious, like a few others, as to how exactly Rob's role is going to change...

  • MaryBethsArt

    MaryBethsArt said 11 years ago

    Wow I'm very impressed with Maria. Thank you for keeping us informed and current. Mary Beth

  • riskybeads

    riskybeads said 11 years ago

    This is great news. Welcome, Maria. I look forward to this gigantic ship feeling steadier. Yes, we moan and complain, but we love it here. We're just all very independent, creative people with something to say, so we say it. If we weren't this way, Etsy wouldn't be Etsy!

  • riskybeads

    riskybeads said 11 years ago

    um, i have no idea why my comment posted twice. that needs to be fixed, too, lol.

  • abitabite

    abitabite said 11 years ago

    Rokali says: Thanks for your comments, everyone. Please try and come to our office hours in the Virtual Labs with your questions, and we'll answer them then. Why? Why can they not be answered here where everyone can read them? Instead only making the Q&A available to a select few who can make the time fit thier schedule and fit into the limited number of seats in the Treehouse? This is exact example of how etsy is failing in communication. I would much rather have replies that are thought out before they are typed than on the spot responces in the vlabs. The history of those on the spot responces is very poor, and many people have been offended and upset by them. Why continue with something that fails, if communication is supposed to be one of the goals to improve upon?

  • HippieDippyDesigns

    HippieDippyDesigns said 11 years ago

    I am happy to see the company going in positive direction. Thanks so much for keeping us updated!

  • Gollywobbles

    Gollywobbles said 11 years ago

    Look out eBay! Very inspiring article. I'm looking forward to changes to come! Best of luck, and thank you! Sam Johnson

  • boodlesofbeads

    boodlesofbeads said 11 years ago

    It is reassuring to read what you are developing for Etsy. Thanks for sharing! It all sounds very exciting and challenging!

  • shellieartist

    shellieartist said 11 years ago

    Welcome Maria..I look forward to the positive changes! I love this place and the opportunities it has given me! Thanks ETSY and great article.

  • LilyMoon

    LilyMoon said 11 years ago

    Geia sou Maria!! :) Great to have you here and thank you for the very informative article!

  • Keldune

    Keldune said 11 years ago

    I too look forward to positive changes. Etsy is great!!

  • passepurse

    passepurse said 11 years ago

    I've only been around for a month but I think Etsy is such a wonderful idea! I have been looking for something like this all my life, but of course I just had to wait for it to be born! Much good luck and prosperity to you, me and all of us.

  • LAVENDERDRAGONHERBS

    LAVENDERDRAGONHERBS said 11 years ago

    Honesty is the best Policy in Busiuness as in Real Life. Welcome Maria, and all the other New Admin, I look forward to your future improvements and making Etsy the way it should be a Business Venue. I would love to see Etsy stick more to it's original Plan of Handmade, Vintage and Supplies and Less Mass produced items. And while I agree with most of the comments here, I have to say Abitabite is right on the money with the comments on Communication, and the others comments about User/Time Friendly meetings in the tree house to make it fair to one and all Time Zones. I think it only fair and wise to implement another way to hold the meetings, or add a lot more seats in the treehouse, than to allow only a select few to participate. Afterall it is stressed we are a Community, and so we All should have an oppertunity to have our voices heard.

  • mayjewellery

    mayjewellery said 11 years ago

    This a fantastic place to be, I am very exhited about everything what is going to be here. Welcome Maria and thanks to verybody in the team, wonderful work!

  • KreatedbyKelly

    KreatedbyKelly said 11 years ago

    Just wanted to pop on and say thank you for the article! Cheers to continued growth and improvement!!

  • ShymaliLlamas

    ShymaliLlamas said 11 years ago

    I haven't been with Etsy long, but sure do love the experiences so far. Hope you'll keep the little people in mind when you make changes and grow and never turn into eBay. The people selling on ebay now depend on you to keep the cottage industry feel to Etsy. So, keep up the good work!

  • rockriverstitches

    rockriverstitches said 11 years ago

    I'm with Shymali, Please don't let it turn into like ebay. I've bee with etsy a little over a year and so happy that I joined. I am really looking forward to the positive changes at etsy with Maria aboard. What a great article Maria and Rob!

  • angelstuff

    angelstuff said 11 years ago

    Two questions: 1. Why isn't the Treehouse meeting listed in the Treehouse events? 2. Will the Treehouse discussion (unabridged, of course) be available to read after the event? Thanks.

  • mkwind

    mkwind said 11 years ago

    thanks for the info! it was a pleasure to read and i am very excited about etsy's future. awesome!

  • ragqueen

    ragqueen said 11 years ago

    Wow - Thanks for all your hardwork getting this co started!! Can't wait to see what is in store for Etsy's future.

  • walkinthewoodsllc

    walkinthewoodsllc said 11 years ago

    HipHipHorray for everyone that makes Etsy so uniquely wonderful! Everyone! Thank us all!

  • MAKUstudio

    MAKUstudio said 11 years ago

    Thank you for the update! Very inspiring! I know Etsy is movin' on up! Welcome Maria!

  • GREENWOODSTUDIO

    GREENWOODSTUDIO said 11 years ago

    I just love Etsy, and it's great to see that it's growing and evolving! Good luck Maria :-)

  • mermaidstones

    mermaidstones said 11 years ago

    Best wished on your new venture Maria!!!! I love etsy!

  • jelvehdesigns

    jelvehdesigns said 11 years ago

    great read, change is always good... i love etsy...you rock...

  • EraPhernaliaVintage

    EraPhernaliaVintage said 11 years ago

    I hope Etsy will remain a site that promotes the small seller and will maintain its focus on handmade, vintage and supplies. I love the idea of selling here on Etsy. I have both a shop for Handmade items and a shop for Vintage items(vintage being where I've focused my creative energies most during the past ten years). Maria said, "My current goals at Etsy are: * People: seek deeper experience to lead Etsy through things we’ve never done before. * Process: create a disciplined approach to planning and execution. * Product: build the best marketplace for connecting makers and buyers." My fervent wish is to maintain a shop selling vintage here at Etsy——but I didn't get the feeling from Maria's letter that promoting vintage and supplies is included in her goals. She only mentions "makers." I truly hope that she will see a benefit to including us, along with handmade. I find the atmosphere here on Etsy to be very refreshing. It's given me hope that I might enjoy selling my vintage wares again. After selling elsewhere online for over ten years (with over 1360 Positive Feedbacks) on an auction and fixed-price site that now seems to be imploding by its own hand due to the adoption of dysfunctional policies that penalize its smaller sellers——and where I lost heart——here at Etsy I feel as though I've come home, and I don't want to lose that.

  • Dreamer86

    Dreamer86 said 11 years ago

    Welcome Maria, Im Very grateful to have to be part of such a great community. Thank you ROB, Meeting you was a real inspiration, i hope we can meet again soon.

  • SandFibers

    SandFibers said 11 years ago

    I have loved watching Etsy develop over the paste few years, growing pains and all, and I look forward to an even more exciting future with the site. Thank you, Rob, and welcome, Maria! :D

  • artsyphartsy

    artsyphartsy said 11 years ago

    Very nice to meet your Maria. Your experience sounds like a perfect fit for our Etsy community. I just love Rob and all the people at Etsy. They are always so helpful. I look forward to a continued successful future for Etsy.

  • artsyphartsy

    artsyphartsy said 11 years ago

    Oh there was a hiccup and it posted my post twice. LOL.

  • paperink

    paperink said 11 years ago

    Where is the link to the meeting minutes? I went into the treehouse but couldn't find anything related. Very curious to read what the immediate and future plans are for vintage and supply sellers. Thank You.

  • nyhedy

    nyhedy said 11 years ago

    thank you both for your time to update us! there is a lot of concern in the etsy community that you're "selling out". Lots of resellers and "commercial venders" are being allowed here. I hope you will find a way to keep the line: "Etsy: a place to buy and sell all things Handmade" a true statement and not just a hollow slogan

  • thymbyldesigns

    thymbyldesigns said 11 years ago

    I can't find the meeting minutes either... there used to be an update to Storque articles and threads on the forums, but I must either be blind or scrolling too fast. Could you please update the article with the respective link? Thank you!

  • petalouda

    petalouda said 11 years ago

    Thank you!! Very exciting!! Kali tihi!

  • TheInvitation

    TheInvitation said 11 years ago

    I still am in awe of the wonderful workings that brought Etsy to what it is today...and that good ol' American philosophy of "if you build it, they will come". It is such an honor to be a part of such an amazing group of people from all over the world now! I am gratefully indebted to all the hard work that you all have done for us...Rob, you are our hero! And the best wishes to Maria! Bravo!

  • ParkSlopeArtist

    ParkSlopeArtist said 11 years ago

    An Artist all my life sending slides, carring a huge porfolio from Gallery to Gallery and NOW have joined cyberspace. Did not grow up with the computer so having a store on line with Etsy is a major step for me.For an artist about to turn 80 years old that is major acheivemant. Do check out my store.

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