We’re kicking off a regular round up of news from the Etsy community around the world. Read on for highlights from the last three months, including exciting Team initiatives, Christmas planning and more.
Brandi Harper taught herself to crochet at the age of 14. Growing up in a housing project in Harlem, she learned about crafting and stretching a tight budget from her mum. After serving in the Peace Corps in Africa, she returned to the US determined to build her own handmade business. In 2012, she founded purlBKnit, an Etsy shop based in Brooklyn, New York that sells handmade knitwear made from natural materials.
Last year, Brandi applied to be a teacher in Etsy’s Craft Entrepreneurship program, which helps under-employed people turn making skills into supplemental income. We were immediately won over by her amazing spirit – not to mention her beautiful shop. Since then, the 27-year-old powerhouse has taught more than 100 Craft Entrepreneurship students throughout New York City, building her own shop at the same time. “The students are the best part of the program,” she says. “They have ambition, and that inspires me.”
Brandi’s story gets to the heart of the Etsy community – a community based on creativity, passion, entrepreneurship and supporting one another. Everyday, new businesses are born around the globe on Etsy, with creative individuals taking the leap to sell their handmade products, vintage items and supplies in our growing marketplace. To celebrate that spirit, we’re kicking off a regular round up of community news that will include a look at our shared successes and challenges, along with ways that you can get involved in community initiatives. Read on for some highlights from the past three months and stay tuned for the next Community News post in January.
Supporting Creativity Worldwide
Etsy is working with artists around the world to support and encourage their creativity. In August, we spent 10 days touring Canada in an Airstream trailer (painted orange, naturally) to boost awareness of the Etsy marketplace. Along the way, we hosted events in Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto featuring local sellers, including Alison Giedhill of Grace and Iveth Morales of The Angry Weather. On September 27th, we hosted Made in Canada, a day of pop-up markets that supported local pride in more than 20 cities across the country.
We kicked off the inaugural Etsy Design Awards for Australian shop owners to recognize excellence in creativity, something there is an abundance of on Etsy. Australian Etsy sellers with active Etsy shops entered to win a trip to Etsy’s headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, and be featured in the December issue of Inside Out. Go to Etsy Design Awards to view the finalists and vote for your favorites. Winners will be announced in November. We also invited Etsy sellers in the United Kingdom to take part in an exciting cross-disciplinary exhibition of artworks by selected artists from our creative community during London Art Month in October. Learn more about the exhibition here.
Hat Tip to Teamwork
We’re consistently inspired by the many Etsy sellers around the world who support each other through workshops, markets and mentorship. The past three months were no exception. Team Nantes, a group of shop owners based in Nantes, France, organised a Summer Market that drew more than 2,400 attendees. A group of US Etsy artists in the Boston area, including Lara Gordon of Rocked Jewelry, held their second annual pop-up shop, the Newbury Handmade Market.
Meanwhile, Lisa Congdon of Etsy shop Lisa Congdon Art & Illustration published Art Inc: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist this month and shared some advice from the book in 8 Tips for Selling Fine Art Online on the Seller Handbook blog. An untold number of sellers offer mentorship and advice to other creative entrepreneurs on the Seller Handbook, in the Forums and through one-on-one conversations.
New Ways to Work Smarter
We are always looking for ways to help you manage your business. Here’s a look at some features we have rolled out in the past few months:
- Expanded phone support for a number of shop management issues, including opening a shop, Listings, Shop Stats, Processing Times and Shipping Profiles. Learn more about phone support and how to access it in this Help Article.
- Improvements to the shipping process, including the ability to schedule when your Shipping Notifications will be sent, expanded tracking visibility for more than 100 mail carriers, and a new notification design, all of which allow you to set more accurate buyer expectations around shipping. Learn more in 4 Shipping Tips to Boost Customer Satisfaction.
- Learn more in 4 Shipping Tips to Boost Customer Satisfaction.
- Sell on Etsy, a new mobile app for iPhones and Android devices that includes tools for managing your shop on the go. Get more information about Sell on Etsy here.
- A central resource summarizing the tools and policies that help buyers and sellers get to know each other on Etsy and feel comfortable completing a transaction on Etsy. Sellers will learn how Etsy helps you develop and protect your good reputation, and how we can assist you with dispute resolution should anything go wrong. Learn more by visiting etsy.com/trust.
- Promoted Listings, a new advertising platform that gives you the ability to quickly update multiple ad listings and have more control over bidding and budgeting.
- A significant expansion of Etsy Direct Checkout to more sellers in Europe, including Estonia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal and Spain. In addition to paying by credit cards and Etsy gift cards, buyers in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands can now use local payment methods SOFORT and iDEAL through Direct Checkout.
- Improved site navigation that makes it easy for both buyers and sellers to find what they need on Etsy faster and more efficiently.
- Etsy Wholesale, a private marketplace that gives sellers a way to connect with retailers looking for unique products. Visit Etsy Wholesale for more details about the platform and how to apply.
- A new Etsy homepage with a more personalized experience and more chances for your items to be found.
- Improvements to Vacation Mode, including the ability to edit your current listings and create new draft listings while on vacation.
The Craft Entrepreneurship program is continuing to grow! We’ve added three new partnerships this summer, including the first program outside of the US. Our new partners in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Oldham, England; and St. Petersburg, Florida will help creative individuals in their communities launch a business that uses their creative skills. The Craft Entrepreneurship program also takes place in Rockford, Illinois; New York City; Newark, New Jersey; Dallas and Watsonville, California. Visit the Craft Entrepreneurship website to learn more about the program and how to get involved.
Since May, Etsy’s long-standing Teams Fellowship program has provided 72 Team Captains and Leaders worldwide with resources at a variety of levels to help teams thrive. Through a mix of project guides and one-on-one coaching, the program offers guidance on a wide range of topics requested by Team Captains and Leaders, including managing a team for the first time and planning events and cooperative promotions. After participating in the program, Catherine Bolick, Leader of Team NORGA in Georgia, US, held an Etsy workshop for 20 members in Gainesville. Check out the Teams Fellowship page for more information about the Fellowships Program and how you can apply. Applications for the next class, which begins in November, are due by October 1st.
Seller Studio Visits
Our Studio Visits program allows shop owners to give Etsy employees a glimpse into their production processes. The visits help us develop more personal connections with sellers like you and gain valuable insights into the challenges you face, so we can develop solutions. This summer, more than 100 Etsy employees visited 23 shops in New York, Toronto, Hudson, Dublin, Paris and Berlin. For instance, Mika and Rose, founders of Rutherford and Fairfax, showed us around their workspace in Berlin, where they make their jewelry using old machinery, some of which they rescued from the trash. They even cooked a pizza for us in their kiln, which doubles as an oven. Another shop we visited, Dime Store Emporium, run by Terri Ventura in Port Washington, New York, was featured in a Seller Handbook story. Interested in having us visit your studio? Send an email to SellerStudioVisits@etsy.com.
Fighting for Net Neutrality
In September, the Etsy community rallied together during a national day of action for net neutrality in the US. All told, 30,000 members of the Etsy community in the US called or emailed their US Senators and urged them to stop rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission that would allow big companies to pay for faster access to the Web, creating so-called “Internet fast-lanes.” Etsy shop owners also crafted comments to the FCC in support of net neutrality (think sassy spoons and cross-stitch art) and sellers based outside of the US joined the cause by sharing the images across social media.
Huzzah for the Holidays
The holiday season is approaching! We’re busy developing ways to make it a success for your shops. We are gearing up by offering some pre-season education to help you get your shop into shape, including a Holiday Boot Camp seminar, Seller Handbook articles and Online Labs webinars. Sellers signed up for the seminar will also be invited to join the Holiday Boot Camp 2014 Team. The seminar has already started, but it’s not too late to register and catch up with your teammates.
This season, we’re also partnering with American Express OPEN to support the Shop Small movement by encouraging shoppers and small businesses to discover and showcase the local artisans in their communities on Small Business Saturday. Held on November 29th in the US, Small Business Saturday is dedicated to celebrating the entrepreneurial companies that create jobs, boost the economy and empower neighborhoods around the country. Check out the Seller Handbook blog later this week to find out how you can participate.
It is truly important for Etsy staff to stay connected with community members by taking time to get together and talk about experiences on Etsy. In December, Etsy employees heading to their hometowns will be hosting a series of community gatherings called Home for the Holidays. Last year’s Home for the Holidays program included gatherings across the world, from Chicago to Stockholm. Stay tuned for more information on this year’s gatherings.
How are you getting ready for the holiday season? Share photos of your production process, supplies and other seasonal prep work with us on Twitter and Instagram with the tags #dayinthelife and @etsy. Participants will have a chance to be featured in an upcoming Seller Handbook article and on Etsy’s social channels.
Tell Us Your Community Story
This is just a sampling of recent community news. Do you have an inspiring story about the Etsy community to share? Please share in the comments below!
Kimm Alfonso manages Etsy’s Seller Development teams, which create educational content to help sellers succeed at all stages of their business development. She was a Team Captain for years before joining Etsy and runs Kimmchi, the T-shirt shop she founded in 2007.