Hello Etsy, Eindhoven Edition
Last May I met Ashley of Chasing Heartbeats and Thea of Sister Mag at The Hive conference in Berlin (they both live there). We all had been friendly online, but if there’s anything these conferences teach you these days is the importance and value of human connection and contact. So when we saw Hello Etsy: Small Business In A Big World was happening in Eindhoven we said to each other pourqoui pas? Not only do we all run small businesses – Ashley as a photographer, Thea is the designer behind Sister Mag, and I’m getting ready to launch a new resource for freelancers – but the Netherlands seemed like a nice place to meet in the middle.
Long story short. Hello Etsy was awesome. It was held at Piet Hein Eek design studio in the Strijp S area of Eindhoven, and conveniently scheduled the same time as Dutch Design Week, which happens once a year. While Etsy is known as an online marketplace to sell handmade goods, I was pleasantly surprised to see their main mission these days is supporting small businesses. The day long conference was the perfect length starting at 10 (check in and coffee at 9), and talks wrapped up at 6, followed by drinks and appetizers. This was the second conference of the sort (last year was in Berlin), and the Etsy crew is gearing up for a big 3-day edition of the conference with a full day devoted to business development in late March in Brooklyn. I’ve included many of my favorite highlights of the day in this post (with the help of some #helloetsy12 tweets – in italics), but you can catch all the talks on the Etsy livestream channel.
The day was hosted by Etsy VP, Matt Stinchcomb. It was incredible seeing someone so high up in the company actively participating and engaging in so many conversations with attendees. In his introduction he pointed out that Etsy is platform for small creative businesses. Biz can be something for good + with meaning.
Janine Vangool of Uppercase Magazine, a beautiful print magazine based out of Canada, was the first speaker of the day. I loved how she linked the childhood library books she made to what she creates today (of course her presentation was in the form of chapters), and how the time she spent as a freelance graphic designer got her to where she is now. Highlights: A project isn’t complete until it’s shared. | Engage your audience in person and online. | It’s about finding creative connections. | Everyone has talent; you just have to ask the right questions. | Social media is perfect for shy people. Think about as sending a message to a friend. | Everyone starts out with 0 followers. | Social media is good for snooping on people. [in a good way] | Social media is like a garden w/ multiple plots. You have to tend to them to make them survive. | Keep your ultimate goals in mind while working on smaller projects. | The online community seeks authenticity. | There is always room for quality. Watch Janine’s full talk here.
I’m a big fan of the concept of “the sharing economy,” and so many of the online start-ups/platforms that I’m most interested in these days do just that. Randy Hunt the Creative Director for Etsy moderated this panel which included Floris Dekker of Gidsy, Kelan from Etsy, and Alexander Veltman of Boomerang Create. Some of the ideas floated around included: Blurred lines of participants in a sharing economy. Independent + interdependent. | Gidsy was created to bring people together + platform to share passion. | People are looking for authentic experiences. | Sharing through open source technology, we never imaged using it for fiscal good at debut. | Make teams from best people from community. | Translate to quality experiences w/ online platform. | There’s value in charging for experiences. Can be used in different ways. Hobbies, share culture, make living. | Do something you enjoy and make a little money. | New model for creative work but bigger brands still interested. Can create a lot in short time. [on Boomerang Create] | Etsy’s job is to add the thinnest layer of technology possible to allow buyers and sellers to connect. | Human touch, story, connection, impossible to replicate. Benefits of sharing economy. | We under-estimate benefits/power when people meet in real life. | Difficult to facilitate community, but also try to stay out of it and let it happen. | It’s safe to share in this economy. People you can rely on for help. Sharing piece of you, $ is extra. | Spirit of generosity. | Find others who have paved the way. People are helpful in this economy. My only question now is that why were there only men on this panel? Watch it here.
Diana Van Ewijk was a firecracker and a pleasant surprise in her DIYMARKETING talk. She has not only made breastfeeding relevant for her business, but also in her advice to us. She used a quote by Dr. Seuss to drive her talk: Today you are You, that’s truer than true! There is no one alive that is Youer than You!’ Her lessons included: You are a VERY PERSONAL brand. You are your brand’s greatest asset. | Find your niche market. Focus. Be specific. Be a big fish in small pond filled with people like you. | Become Little Miss Know It All. Become an expert, tell stories = trust. | What is your passion? What is story behind in? What do friends ask opinion on a lot? (means you’re an expert) | Find Your Voice. Be personal, recognizable and consistent. Translate to niche.Write what would like to receive. | Build Your Stage. Online stage should feel like home for you + for visitors. Shouldn’t feel like sales pitch. | People liked hearing about actual marketing message because they liked my stories. Like getting to know you. | Shout It Out! Lure people to your stage. Find a channel to people who don’t know you yet. | Intriguing on one platform will drive interest to elsewhere where you are. Find niche on platform like. | Stay true to you. | I didn’t change. I stayed me. [on becoming an entrepreneur] | If people like your things they [press] will contact you. | When write make sure it’s really coming from you. Blogs don’t have to be long. Watch Diane speak here.
Next Satish Kumar spoke. A former monk! He spent 2.5 years walking to America. Amazing. Full of passion. Standing ovation. He is also the editor-in-chief Resurgence Magazine. Stop now, watch here. Man, I wish both presidential candidates would sit down for a listen to this. In any case, some of the highlights include: Read “Small is Beautiful” | Realize your business depends on nature…. Declaration of Dependence. We depend on each other! | Here to remind you max profit is not only goal of business. Keep profits in their place. Humans are not instruments for making profit. Challenge. Spiritual values. | Community is key. Away from ego and individual, me, me, me. I do not exist without you. | We live in relationships. I need listeners to be a speaker. There is a need for non-materialistic values. | Don’t become a slave to the economy. | We don’t have economic crisis. We have financial crisis – have too much money & bankers don’t know how to count. | When start thinking deeper we can realize true crisis is ethical crisis. | There is a lack of spirit in our society. .. I want economy of nature, sustainable for millions of years. | Birth and death are beautiful things. Cycle. Beautiful economy of nature. Do not fear decay. Die to be born. | Ecology and economy 2 arms of same body. | We are not consumers. We are all makers. | An artist is not a special kind of person, but every person is a special kind of artist. We are all artists. | Everything has a place. Keep it in its place. Keep your hair on your head, not in your porridge. | There is no greater power than the power of imagination. | Cultivate good side more. Let’s find a balanced picture. | Be compassionate to people who are not balanced. Be the change you want to see in the world. | Radiate kindness. Set an example. Be as good as we can and make an impact.
This is still all just brushing the surface of a fabulous day, but scroll through #HelloEtsy12 for a recap or watch the videos. Better yet, find a conference that drives your passions and make the effort to GO! Oh, and read what Ashley and Judith had to say about the day too to see what stuck out for them.
High fives all around to the awesome team who put it on!
P.S. We stayed at Hotel Nijver + it was awesome!