Etsy News Blog

Team Feature: Organizing for Growth with SF Etsy Team handmade and vintage goods

The Etsy Teams program began as localized groups of members self-organized in different cities across the US back in 2006. The SF Etsy team was one of these original street teams, the foundation for our vibrant Etsy community. 

The SF Etsy team planted its roots as an early street team in 2006. Jen Johnson of MamasMagicStudio, past SF Etsy team captain, remembers receiving a convo titled “Street Team Newsletter #1″ from Matt Stinchcomb, now Etsy’s VP of marketing, opening with “Dear Fellow Street Teamers.” The handful of SF street teamers would eventually become the SF Etsy team,  growing from just a few members to over 700.

Jen has been with the SF Etsy team since its earliest days. She held the captain position in 2010 and helped the team grow and change from an online meeting place to an in-person active community group. The team’s growth to 700 members is attributed largely to word of mouth. Friends tell other crafter friends in the Bay Area and a community is born!

The team did a lot of volunteering at craft shows like Renegade, Bazaar Bizarre, Maker Faire and Indie Mart to get their name out there. They seized opportunities to talk to the local community about their team: who they were, what they did, and why this was a team they should join. As they grew their team, they started hosting selling events of their own for their team members to participate in, which boosted the value of being on the team and increased membership.

With an active team like SF Etsy, hosting everything from yoga in the park, Twitter chats, pic-knit events and gallery shows, they definitely need a strong group of volunteers to get things done. Katy, the team captain, advises: “Don’t be afraid to approach individuals who seem interested and active in the team — just putting out calls for help is often not nearly as effective as directly communicating with somebody to let them know that you think they’d be a good fit for a job that needs to be done.”

3 Steps for Success
1. Recruit
2. Delegate
3. Organize

“One person cannot lead a large, active team – unless that person is willing to make it a full-time job! Figure out what is most important to your team and what tasks have to get done regularly to allow the team to function, and if it’s more than the captain can handle, then the team needs more structure and needs to involve more members,” shares Jen.

Organization Strategy
Any successful team is built and organized by sharing and delegating tasks. So how do they organize leadership for a team of 700? Within the team, they have a leadership group consisting of two co-captains and committee leaders. Committee leaders guide three groups:

  • Social Committee
  • Meet Ups & Event Committee
  • Membership Committee

Member Engagement
To keep members engaged, Katy’s simple strategy is to give team leaders a project they are passionate about. Rochelle, their Meet Up and Event Leader, has a real love of meeting people which comes out when she organizes team events. This helps create a positive experience all around.

San Francisco is a diverse and vibrant city with clusters of creative communities and people. Keeping the team engaged in such a bustling metropolis is a challenge itself. By hosting in-person events such as craft socials held at team members’ homes, the teammates of SF Etsy get a chance to connect and network with each other.

The other critical ingredient in the team’s recipe for success is having a guiding principle that helps the group stay focused. Katy’s vision is one of creating a team built on friendships, trust and a peer support network. This is what has allowed the team to truly grow and thrive.

Thanks to all the SF Etsy leaders for sharing their stories — Katy of KatyAtchison, Lisa of TickleandSmash, Genevieve of LightboxSF, Jen of MamasMagicStudio, Geraldine of GeraldineAdams, Steph of NerdJerk and Ash of KellyDrive.

Stay in the loop with what teams are up to by signing up for the Etsy Success newsletter.