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Etsy’s New Old Young CEO

Dec 21, 2009

by Rokali

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Rob Kalin, a.k.a. Rokali, is an Etsy founder.

As 2010 begins, I will return to Etsy as CEO, and Maria will leave the company.

Maria joined Etsy in the middle of 2008 and led Etsy through an important foundational phase. We are a profitable company now, and Maria helped us reach this major milestone. She worked day and night, weekday and weekend; she traveled around the globe meeting up with hundreds of Etsy folks. Her long experience and business skills were hugely helpful.

As Fred Wilson, an Etsy investor and board member, says: “Maria took the helm at Etsy nearly two years ago and has led the company through a critical period of retrenching, rebuilding and significant growth. Beyond the financial, Maria worked tirelessly to right the ship and to focus the company on being true to its founding vision and values.”

Jim Breyer, also an investor and board member, adds: “Maria made important contributions to building the operations of the company during her tenure, and we appreciate it.”

From all of us at Etsy, a big Thank You! and a friendly embrace, Maria. We are grateful for your dedication.

I will be sharing much more with everyone in the near year. I look forward to seeing familiar faces again, and all the new ones, too.

Rob

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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

When I came to Etsy nearly two years ago, we were a young start-up with grand ambitions and great potential. Today, Etsy is a thriving, global community fueled by millions of buyers and hundreds of thousands of sellers. 

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Etsy’s remarkable employees, we’ve created a vibrant marketplace and a brand that’s on the leading edge of a cultural movement. I am so proud of the progress we’ve made since early in 2008. We’ve overcome incredible challenges…from our honest beginnings dealing with departing colleagues, endless technical challenges, and broken elevators, we’ve persevered to welcome new members to the team, shore up the technical infrastructure, celebrate our new office space, and – most importantly – to deliver more services to our customers. I want to thank all of you for the opportunity to work together and for teaching me so many things about this extraordinary community.

Etsy is a now profitable company; in the last two years, revenue has increased seven-fold. In the past month alone, around 11 million visitors have stopped in to be inspired, to shop, and to connect. Last week, we announced our first major acquisition and in January, Etsy will open its doors in Berlin.  In many ways, the journey is just beginning.

I want to communicate heartfelt thanks to Etsy sellers and shoppers.  I have had the privilege of personally meeting or interacting with thousands of you from New York to Vancouver to Minneapolis and Paris and all across the globe.  The spirit of craftsmanship is present in your varied and beautiful work and in your collective pride to do a job well, always adding a personal touch.  It was incredibly motivating to hear your stories of hope, confidence and economic empowerment.  It is this sense of humanity and connectivity that attracted me to work at Etsy in the first place.  You reinforced for me the importance of Etsy honoring personal, individual connections even as business blossoms.

I will continue to shop on Etsy and look forward to watching it grow.  And, I hope to continue learning from the difficulties and possibilities inherent in all our crafts. 

Thank you and I wish you all a joyous and productive 2010.

Maria

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There will be a Town Hall meeting with Rob in Etsy’s Virtual Labs in the New Year that will be recorded for those who cannot attend. For now, happy holidays!