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About Us: Etsy School

Aug 23, 2013

by Michelle Traub

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Here at Etsy, we take our continuing education pretty seriously. And while off-site lectures and workshops are always beneficial, we’ve found that learning from each other can foster not just cognitive development, but community connections as well. Now in its third semester, Etsy School is a series of courses — from silk screening to Python programming — that Etsy employees teach each other.

Admin Sarah Starpoli took a lunchtime juggling class in the very first semester, and remembers it fondly: “I could never figure out how to do it on my own, but it was so much fun to try something new and use my brain differently — I was so refreshed after that break during the day.” While some of the classes more clearly complement the work that is done at Etsy HQ, such as learning how to build your own mobile app, others help Admin connect to the greater Etsy community by trying a traditional craft, or rejuvenate the body and mind after a long week hunched at the desk.

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Zhi-Da Zhong

Admin Sarah Abramson teaches her coworkers how to make enamel pendant jewelry in her own studio. "It was a sifting and firing whirlwind," Sarah delightedly recalls.

Matt Stinchcomb, VP of Values & Impact, teaches in his Mindfulness 101 course: “When you eat, just eat. Turn off the TV, shut down the computer, put down your book, and stop talking. With practice, you might just realize that the food is interconnected with the whole universe.” Admin Morgan Evans teaches in her Big City Biking class: “Assume all doors are opening and all cars are turning.” In Feminism & Technology, students discuss readings about how search engines propagate problematic representations of women. By participating in these cross-disciplinary gatherings, we are further exposed to new, distinctive perspectives that help us understand ourselves and our world better. As residents in this iconic melting pot of a city, and employees to a global community of 30 million members, we recognize firsthand how well-roundedness can be a powerful path to real-world problem solving.

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Zhi-Da Zhong

Admin Morgan Evans was inspired to teach a class focused on biking in Manhattan after hearing so many of her coworkers confess their fears.

Etsy School is unlike most company programs, because it empowers both student and teacher. Matt Graham, who leads our API team, admits: “As a novice sempster, I didn’t have high expectations for what I would be able to make in the sewing class, but I was completely wrong!” After finishing a zipper pouch and a stuffed bunny for his daughter, Matt says, “Now I can’t help but notice the seams on all of my clothes.” In the Reel Life documentary class of the second semester, coworkers stayed late into the night watching and then discussing the 3-hour epic, Hoop Dreams. Every day, we are inspired by our sellers, who have taken ownership over their expertise, and through it, found a path to independence. Etsy Admin, too, are are a diverse bunch, with an inspiring set of extra-curricular skills, and we believe it’s important to encourage each other to share such personal knowledge.

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Zhi-Da Zhong

Admin Ashley Edwards shares her interest in Western herbal medicine by teaching her coworkers how to make infusions, tinctures, and lip balms.

Etsy School not only offers tangible lessons and empowering opportunities, but also natural icebreakers. As the company continues to grow, it’s more important than ever before to foster dialogues between coworkers who work in different teams, on different floors, even in different cities. Admin Bowen Slate-Greene, who led a Faulkner study group, reflects: “Teaching an Etsy School class was a powerful reminder that the people here aren’t just my coworkers — they’re my collaborators and friends.” It’s not hard to see how vital the tool of social interaction is for business development when it comes to Etsy sellers on Teams and in the Forums. And with each SQL session or knitting circle, we get that much closer to making our work more human, and thus, more meaningful.

14 comments

  • gilstrapdesigns

    Debra Gilstrap from gilstrapdesigns said 3 years ago

    Great article and so interesting. These classes seems like so much fun and in the middle of the day it's a good and I'm sure fun change.

  • gilstrapdesigns

    Debra Gilstrap from gilstrapdesigns said 3 years ago

    I really did enjoy reading this article!!!!!

  • letemendia

    Victoria from letemendia said 3 years ago

    That's a fantastic idea..... everyone teaching everyone else what they are best at.

  • Rt9NJvintageFun

    candy donnelly from Rt9NJvintageFun said 3 years ago

    What a great way to bond as a Community, and breaking up your work day!

  • michelsun

    Michel Sun from SunspotGlassShop said 3 years ago

    That is so cool. I didn't know you guys offered classes like that

  • TheEnchantedSlipper

    J Breault from TheEnchantedSlipper said 3 years ago

    What a great concept. This site continues to amaze me!

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    Lana Manis from SimpleJoysPaperie said 3 years ago

    It's nice to see Etsy admin interacting and learning from one another. That must be a fun workplace!

  • kangafabricandsupply

    james nguyen from KangaFabricandSupply said 3 years ago

    kudos to etsy!

  • mrskristina

    MrsKristina from WhimsyAbode said 3 years ago

    This looks amazing! Any chance of setting up a class around Boise, ID? :)

  • kleponprintables

    Klepon Printables from KleponPrintables said 3 years ago

    Great works! Learning is a lifetime experience.

  • opendoorstudio

    Martha Layton Smith from opendoorstudio said 3 years ago

    totally jealous. these are all things I want to learn as well... but no resources nearby to do so.. love that you are all living the creative life as well! enameling and silk screening are on my " need to learn list! thanks for sharing!

  • eileenmsmithmarch

    EileenM SmithMArch from LightGraphs said 3 years ago

    This is so very interesting. I came to Etsy at the suggestion of a friend. I had asked the friend if they had any suggestions on how to get my landlady to pay me the deposit I entrusted with her. I took very good care of her apartment and even washed the windows and oiled the wooden cabinets. At first she did not pay any of the deposit back to me. It was doubly difficult because she promised on May 20th 2013 to pay it by June 1st, 2013. It was nearly July when I finally went to visit her face to face to see what was going on. She apologized and gave me a check for $168 and insisted I had not paid the full deposit of $395. I sent her the receipts for the four payments. The landlady had signed the last payment of $40 in January. I really appreciated her cooperation in allowing payments for the deposit and had a pleasant relations with her throughout my six months temporary tenancy. She also insisted that I must pay the last ten days of May even though my rental for the month to month was from the 19th to the 18th of the month. She gave a note on the 20th of May saying I had returned the keys. After I sent the deposit receipts she has refused to talk to me and has not paid back my deposit. When I shared this strange situation with others, they said they had had similar problems with her not returning their deposit and with her trying to get out of paying for bad equipment they bought from her. One day when I was wondering what to do, I made a Google search and found that a person by the same name had only two hours before been arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder of her roommate. Even though I shared this tragic situation with the landlady and shared my concerns about her unwillingness to return my deposit in a friendly and timely way, she has still has not returned my deposit. There is no basis for her refusal to return the deposit that she has not created herself. It has been four months and many letters and phone calls to try to find out why she won't pay me. She has always told me she has plenty of money, and that I am not a priority. When I saw the glass lightpole artist in New York on your videos, I was inspired to tell this story. The lady is one of your vendors. I want to discourage this type of abuse against venerable tenants. Deposits are the property of those who are renting from a landlord. When I rented to people I always kept them in a savings account and spent the interest I made. I did not use them for bills. The murder case for the lady of the same name that is accused of killing her roommate has changed since her arrest from 2nd degree to 1st degree murder. If the lady does not have the money or has some problem, I am more than willing to help her in any way. I hope she reads this as she often mentioned Etsy and so did others who rent from her. I do need the resources and I have told her the situation and requested she pay me. I paid my rent every month without fail when I rented from her. We hope she changes her ways before she catches up to herself.

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger said 3 years ago

    This sounds so neat.....

  • vintyshop1

    Jane de Aquino from VIntyOnline said 1 year ago

    Ah I would love to be part of this school! How could we do it? Xx

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