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Cooperating Towards Independent Creative Living

Oct 30, 2012

by Antinoos

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Reading headlines about the economy in Italy these days might make the leap into an independent creative living seem all the more daunting, but who says you have to go it alone? Since 2009, the Etsy Italia Team has been gathering members locally in order to give some well-needed guidance through the Etsyverse, helping make entrepreneurship a reachable reality.

The team has certainly grown over the years (1,587 members to date), but the goals have charted a consistent course. Francesca Baldassari, a.k.a. etherealflowers, reflects, “The main aim has always been to help each other understand the site, give suggestions about how to improve our shops, promote Italian handmade abroad, and promote Etsy here in Italy.”

Easily said, but consider the first challenge the team has faced: the English-Italian language barrier. The team took the matter into their own hands and translated over 100 FAQs, creating their own system to get organized. Their hard work served as the prime inspiration for Etsy’s community translation project. We’re proud to announce that the Italian translation team — consisting of folks from the Etsy Italia Team, the Made in Italy Team, and other Italian-speaking Etsy members — will soon be the first to have fully translated the site into another language as an entirely voluntary community effort, supported by Etsy’s tools.

Through initiative, cooperation, and well-organized effort, the EIT has created a name for Etsy in their country. The team has established itself as a firm point of reference in Italy’s handmade world and is often approached and invited to attend fairs and events throughout the country — rather than Etsy itself. Check out their stall at Abilmente, Italy’s renowned craft fair — on TV even!

This November will see the team participating at Open Design Italia’s “Made to Measure” Fair in Venice. The event, where carefully selected vendors exhibit their designs, focuses not only on the end products, but also aims to explore how the thought process behind manufacturing is just as integral to the aesthetics and sustainability of a design.

We are all the more excited to report that through the team’s engagement, Etsy will be represented at a panel discussion at the fair about small-scale production and distribution of design products in today’s world.

When asked about the team’s successes, Francesca beamed: “Our biggest achievements are surely the ones related to milestones in our members’ lives: many of them have grown from those first uncertain steps on Etsy and now have shops or labs of their own, are featured in magazines, and can make a living from their craft. We can claim a little part in it, as what we do is to help anyone who comes to the team the best way we can — we boost self-esteem and we suggest tips that sometimes are not so obvious to the newbie. So each member’s achievement is shared in and cherished by all the community, and that’s what make us proud: to be able to make people believe a craft life is possible, that efforts get rewarded, and hard work will pay off.“

While today’s manufacturing world seems to often focus on dog-eat-dog strategies to stay competitive, the Etsy Italia Team’s success relies instead on the strong support its members show for one other.

Etsy is proud to support the Etsy Italia Team‘s participation in Open Design Italia‘s ”Made to Measure“ Event in Venice, November 23-25 and panel discussion about self-production and distribution in today’s world. Check out Open Design Italia‘s website, swing by the fair to view a selection of fine design, high-five the Etsy Italia Team, and come listen to the panel discussion!

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