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Our New York Adventure with Etsy Open Call, Part One

A few hours ago we stepped off an overnight flight to New York.

Just yesterday we were selling at our final day of the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco…and finishing off an incredible, busy, exciting, and exhaustingly-wonderful weekend. Today, another adventure begins.

And it all started when I said “Yes” to an opportunity that seemed unreachable at the time. I heard about a contest had been going on for a few months. I saw the post on June 3rd and applications were due June 4th. It would entail a ton of work in less than 24 hours, and there were already thousands of applicants. My chances were slim, but I knew that no effort is wasted if you are focused on improving yourself. I pulled everything together for my pitch and sent it in.

And the unlikeliest thing happened. A week later, I received an email inviting us to come to the Etsy Open Call Event at Etsy HQ in New York!

If you follow us on social media, you may have seen us mention that we were chosen to be a part of something pretty amazing. But what’s that event all about, why is it a big deal, and what’s it going to mean for Handcrafted Honey Bee?

Etsy Open Call is an event put on by Etsy Wholesale–a division of Etsy that connects businesses like us to retail locations that might be interested in selling our products. In April, Etsy Wholesale announced that they would be accepting applications to be selected to pitch to major retailers (including Nordstrom, Land of Nod, Lou & Grey, Walker Shop, and Clementine) at an all-day pitching event on July 21st. Over the course of the next two months, over 5000 businesses submitted applications. On July 1st, Etsy (partnered with Refinery 29) announced that 30 had been chosen to attend the event.

Handcrafted Honey Bee was one of those businesses. And we are so, so, so very excited. To be honest…I’m still a little bit in shock! It’s amazing to be chosen out of so many incredible makers.

We’ll be setting up our table later today, and then tomorrow we have a full schedule. Starting in the morning, we’ll have a seller’s breakfast along with a “Prep Your Pitch” refresher with one of the Etsy seller admins.

Following this, we’ll dive right into pitching. We’ll be grouped into five different rooms, with six sellers per room and the five retailers rotating through each room throughout the day. Each seller will have about five minutes to pitch their product. Etsy has asked us to hone our pitches to about thirty seconds with the remaining time for Q & A with the buyer, so we’re well-prepared with a concise but action-packed pitch. We’ll have two of these pitching sessions before we break for lunch. During lunch, we’ll have a keynote presentation from Refinery 29 editor Erin Cunningham on pitching to the press. Then, we’ll continue on with our remaining three rounds of pitching. At about 4:30pm, we’ll wrap up the pitching portion of the day.

The retailers will then convene to discuss their shared experiences with the various sellers. During that time, Robert and I will be attending a workshop given by the experts at Canon on product photography, as well as getting a constructive critique specifically tailored toward our photography. This will be followed by everyone gathering back up together for a Q & A panel with the retailers and a “closing ceremony” where they will talk about some of their favorite pitches of the day…and place their orders. Finally, we’ll wrap up the very busy day with a cocktail party to celebrate!

We’re keeping our fingers crossed to get an order from one of these retailers, but in the end, this will be an unforgettable experience no matter what.  I can’t wait to give everyone the wrap up on how things went. In the meantime, make sure to watch our Facebook and Instagram pages…I’ll definitely be checking in throughout the experience.

And remain open to those whispered opportunities in your life. There is benefit even in the striving towards a seemingly unreachable goal. Besides, you never know–that goal may be more within reach than you realize.

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