We’ve said time and again that sellers are at the heart of Etsy. Every decision we make is centered on enabling them to start their businesses, responsibly scale and enjoy the art of their crafts. To that end, we are always aspiring to learn more about how our sellers run their businesses so we can improve their overall experiences. While we love hearing what’s on the minds of Etsy sellers through emails, convos, forum threads and About pages, nothing beats visiting a seller in person to witness her creative process in action and the challenges she faces on a daily basis.
With this in mind, we asked a number of our sellers for the opportunity to visit them in their studios or the spaces where they create, curate, package and ship their items. Many of them generously invited us in, where we received a warm welcome. Over the course of a few months, more than 250 Etsy Admin visited jewelers, milliners, ceramicists, painters, photographers, seamstresses, bakers, suppliers, and antiquers in dozens of locations, including New York City and the tri-state area; Toronto, Canada; Dublin, Ireland; Berlin, Germany; and Paris, France.
We took so much from the valuable experience the sellers gave us and learned a lot about their processes of making and managing. Almost every seller we met told us they spend at least half of their day working on the “business side” of their shop, including responding to convos, packaging and shipping. The other half of their day is spent designing and making new items.
Actually seeing our sellers’ operations in real life — observing invoices pinned to bulletin boards or seeing a color-coded inventory management system — helped us better understand how sellers use Etsy to manage their shops. It’s the little things that count. Studying these details about our sellers’ diverse workflows help us improve the online tools we offer and the versatility of Etsy’s platform.
We appreciated the chance to meet not only sellers, but also their children, spouses, and even pets. We know that our sellers, 88 percent of whom are women, value building businesses on their own terms, and this frequently means balancing entrepreneurism with family and community. We observed this dynamic in real life and many sellers told us how they use the supplemental income they earn on Etsy for household expenses, mortgage payments, discretionary spending as well as savings.
The chance to put a face to a shop was met with mutual enthusiasm. Etsy Admin Ray Flournoy, a product manager in Etsy’s San Francisco office, said of his visit, “It was great to meet an artist who was able to make her art her life, and I was proud that Etsy had a big part in making that possible.”
Alexandra Tavel of AlexandraTavel, told me: “I was so honored to be able to share my experience with members of the Etsy team. I feel like I am really contributing to making the site an even more amazing and beneficial tool for others by helping those at Etsy better understand the needs, struggles, and successes of their sellers.”
Brad Greenlee, an Etsy software engineer based in Seattle, said, “The most helpful for me was hearing what sellers’ pain points were in regards to Etsy, and listening to their suggestions on how we might make their jobs easier.”
Interested in having Etsy visit your studio? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You never know when we might be in your neighborhood!
Here is the full list of the Etsy shops that we visited. We are so grateful that all of these sellers opened their doors and their hearts to us. Thank you, everyone!
LusciousLeatherNYC, AlexandraFerguson, ShannonBroder, AllMineDesign, DimeStorEmporium, AlexandraTavel, LuisFernando, TheParisPrintShop, ObviousState, YvonneRaley, VaLaJewellery, OpelleCreative, Jenco8, EarthSeaWarrior, TwoFeathersNY, LieselLove, LuraJewelry, xChupi, WhimsyAndSpice, KnotAndBow, TappedBeer, JohnTUnger, LucyBlaireCreations, NadiraBag, TheIrishJeweller, NikiCollier, TevaGallery, RutherfordAndFairfax, IkaBags, AgJoyas, DustyRoseVintage, CarrieBilbo, BaileyDoesntBark, PetitFelts, PkBrownWoodworking, and BellingerBags.