I decided to start my own business and in the 2000’s that means getting it together to be on Etsy.com. I figured that I’d be toiling in internet obscurity all by my lonesome, but it turns out that Etsy doesn’t work like that. They make a concerted effort to help creative people network as well as teaching classes on SEO and getting your business started.
Since I listed my items (check me out at I Take Photos Sometimes), I’ve been to 2 workshops and a craft party, met a great handbag designer, ended up meeting a jewelry designer because I had Etsy stickers on my netbook, and made a puppet at the annual Etsy Craft Party.
That was way more than I expected.
The first workshop that I went to was ‘Kickstart Your Etsy Shop’, with Etsy legend, Kimm Alfonso. She led us through how to set up the shop, how to present your items, identifying your target customer, and how to set business goals. It was so fun! I met some great people like Yesl Lydia Hong, the mother and daughter who create Kurotchka clothing, and handbag designer Wilbur Pack.
The next thing I went to was a workshop with Aneta Hayne of Stitchin’netka. She taught us how to ‘Make Friends with SEO and Social Networking’ to promote our shops and items. I ended up rewriting everything in my shop because, as Aneta pointed out, your descriptions and titles are other ways for people to find you on Etsy. Thanks to that workshop I built up my facebook page, my google circles profile, and ramped it up on twitter and pinterest. I’m still getting it together, but it was definitely inspiring.
The Etsy Craft Party was a huge deal for me, since I was actually going to see crafters in action. The whole point was for Etsy shopowners around the world to get togehter and do something that gives back. The Craft Party in Brooklyn Bridge Park was about making puppets for the Children’s Aid Society. A puppet kit was provided by www.spoonflower.com, with cloth and thread and even a needle! The weather was great and the volunteers were super cheerful.
Online I’ve joined two ‘teams’ and everyone has been really helpful with advice and tips on how to get sales. Being an online entrepeneur can be very isolating, especially in a place as huge as New York. Etsy’s DIY networking is definitely making their site the place to be.
The next event is an SEO Workshop for Vintage sellers. get details here.
Here’s a list of shopowners that I love:
Sticthin’netka: Aneta’s engaging speaking style is matched by her talent with needle and thread. She makes cloth banners and crowns for kids.
Mars Bling: I met Susanna randomly at the Grand Army Plaza Info Commons computer lab. She noticed the Etsy stickers plastered all over my netbook, and we struck up a conversation. Her jewelry is inspired by the heavens, and she likes Ray Bradbury as much as I do.
Jack Blue Handbags: I actually interviewd Nancy Osborne for the Fashion Spot a few years ago and ended up buying a leather handbag from her as well. A genuainely nice and very talented designer.
Kurochka Clothing: Mother and daughter who make clothing influenced by their Ukrainian background. I LOVE the Baba Yaga tshirts!
Roses and Lemons: I have never met this person, but I love the pretty hair ornaments. They’re one of my ‘favorites’ on Etsy.
SK Wilbur: I liked this guy so much, I wrote a story about him! He just had this outsized personalit, not to mention the fact that his clucth evening bags made me salivate. Definitely one to watch.