Yesterday, I promised to give you a full rundown of our experience at the Etsy Open Call event. It was such an adventure–and I’m excited to give you a little insight into the whirlwind few days we had!
A few hours after packing up our booth at Renegade San Francisco, we took a redeye to New York. By early Monday morning we had landed and navigated the subway system to our hotel (the incredible Nu Hotel, which I highly recommend). Thankfully, they let us check in early, so we got a mid-morning nap before heading over to Etsy to set up our display.
In the afternoon, we all gathered at Etsy HQ. We had shipped our display items ahead of time, so we unpacked our boxes and began to plan our display. Etsy also provided pizza, pretzels, and beer to help keep us energized during our hard work!
Everyone spent a few hours setting up their tables. The quality of work there was incredible! We were so impressed with the variety of sellers and the amazing work they brought.
This room was everything you would imagine from Etsy–the walls were literally lined with different crafting tools and supplies!
We finally got our table set up. I felt ready for the next day!
After we were finished, we all got a tour of the Etsy Headquarters. What a fun place to work! The Etsy HQ is located in Brooklyn–and while Etsy has about 700 employees worldwide, they told us that about 450 of them worked in the New York offices. It was clear from the beginning that Etsy works very hard to create a company culture where creativity can thrive.
Everywhere you looked, there was artistic expression. Every wall was different. Although there were desks everywhere, each person had the ability to configure their setup (some were sitting, some were standing, some had room for their dogs at their feet!).
There were several places with tables to have a snack or take a quick break…and some things seemed completely random, but were obviously part of a company joke or places where certain employees decided to have a little fun.
Our tour guide explained that no one had a desk phone at Etsy, so they had company “phone booths” for when someone needed to make a call. Each phone booth had a theme…there was even one with superhero costumes inside.
It was clear that they worked hard to keep their employees happy, and one of the ways they did that was by providing a constant stream of good food. Here is a glimpse at the breakfast bar that is available to the employees 24/7.
Finally, we wrapped up and headed back to the hotel–we had a big day the next day! Rob and I spent a few hours doing a last-minute review of each retailer and the way we wanted to customize the pitch to match the feel and mission of that store. By the time morning came, I felt ready and confident.
The day was jam-packed! We started out with a breakfast for all of the sellers. The Etsy team was on hand and walking around, making sure everyone felt good about their pitches and answering any last minute questions.
We also were each given an awesome bag of Etsy swag!
Then, it was time to get down to business. We started off the morning with two pitching sessions. We were grouped into sections with six total sellers, and each retailer spent 45 minutes in each section. We were given five minutes (timed) to individually pitch each retailer, and then the remaining 15 minutes were open for general Q & A and feedback.
Our first session was with Land of Nod, followed by a session with Lou and Grey. I was so nervous, my hands were shaking! But I didn’t let it get to me–I felt good about my pitches and was confident going into lunch.
At lunch time, we listened to a short talk on pitching the media by an editor from Refinery 29. Then it was back to work!
My last three sessions were with the Walker Art Gallery, Clementine, and Nordstrom. The retailers were all very helpful in giving constructive feedback for the sellers–and I learned a lot about what they were looking for in a display.
In the middle of each session, all the sellers would take a moment to exhale. We’d all look at each other with a knowing look–we were all working so hard and so nervous. Everyone’s heart was out on their sleeves, and I felt a camaraderie with the others for that very reason.
Finally, we wrapped up the last pitching session of the day. I then attended a workshop led by Canon and the Etsy Stylist team. They critiqued our product photos and gave us a ton of great advice! Here, they are talking with one of the sellers about how to filter a flash as well as the benefits of using a macro lens to show texture.
Finally, we wrapped up with an awards ceremony. The retailers talked about their favorite sellers and gave out awards for the best pitches and products.
By the end of the night, we were exhausted! We headed back to the hotel, had a quick drink to celebrate our hard work, and went to bed…after all, we had to be up at 4am to catch our flight back to California!
It was an unforgettable adventure, and I’m so grateful to Etsy for the opportunity. I know I’ll be a better business for it…and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
So long, New York! Until our next adventure…