Last night I attended the Etsy Summer 2009 tour which was held just off Main St. (appropriate location since I consider this neighborhood to be a "cradle of handmadedness").
It was a great atmosphere with lots of lively discussion punctuated by a shared appreciation for each others craft. I spent a good deal of time scanning name tags in the room for familiar shop names and matching faces to the avatars I've seen so many times.
Representing on behalf of Etsy was CEO Maria Thomas and community team members Matt and Anda. Matt kicked off the evening with some funny anecdotes that provided insight into the beginnings of Etsy, which started while he was rooming with the site's founder, Rob Kalin.
Maria's open discussion with the crowd of about 50 or so people was fantastic and offered more than just a peek at what's going on behind the curtain, so to speak. Most interesting to me was not what they are doing to entice more sellers, but what they are doing to attract more buyers. Which of course is the whole point, though sometimes we sellers forget that when we're clambering for better tools and more selling features. It seemed very clear from her talk that they had their feet very firmly grounded to what's important to help this site become even more of a success.
Here are a few main points that I came away with (I didn't bring my notebook so I'm working from memory):
- Etsy is actively working on a wish list of feature improvements for sellers including rearranging your shop, organizing your favourites and continued improvements to the search functions and flagging system. There's much more on the list of to dos but I only listed the ones that stuck out to me.
- Etsy has wisely chosen to approach their marketing of the site with a more viral approach (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook) as opposed to using traditional media and print outlets which don't provide as much bang for the buck.
- Etsy takes copyright infringement very seriously. Anyone with a serious claim to copyright infringement is encouraged to contact Etsy's lawyer, Sarah Feingold, who won't hesitate to help you.
- Etsy lays to rest (for the umpteenth time) that vintage and supplies have always been a welcome part of the site since day one and that their definition of handmade is inclusive of many things that some may not traditionally interpret as such.
-Etsy is looking for more ways to feature buyers as they do sellers so send them your ideas if you got 'em.
and of particular interest to me
- Etsy is holding a contest for short films. The winners will get cash prizes along with the chance to have their video used as part of Etsy's advertising. And yahoo, the contest is open to Canadians!
No major bombshells here, but it was nice to get all this information first hand.
What made this evening most worthwhile was having the chance to meet and speak to Maria, Matt and Anda in person. They are every bit as lovely as you could hope and helped put a face to this company whereas before, I didn't quite know who I was dealing with.
Last night I came away with a lot more confidence in the direction this company will take.
Yes, and I even got myself a handmade Andabandana :)
A selection of items from fellow Vancouverites at last night's meet-up.