Well teamies, it is almost time to close the books on 2012 and start a fresh page for 2013! The new year always brings with it the opportunity to reflect on the past year and make resolutions and goals for the upcoming new year. Looking back on 2012, it will be remembered as the year our team was founded, and the year our team became established. It will also be remembered as the year of “Baligate.”
During “Baligate,” our team was formed from a small group of sellers adamantly opposed to the route Etsy was taking with regard to “collectives,” and many of us raised our hands in opposition (remember our hands avatars?). Many of us protested by closing up shop for Protest Day, and many spoke out openly against Etsy policies. As a result, some member shops were closed down and some members were forever banned from the forums. Another result – our team recently earned the designation as one of Etsy’s 10 most important “people” in 2012 based on the assumption we lead the Protest. Although not factually correct, we were an outspoken group and some of our members did participate in leading the charge. So, designation accepted:)
During formation, we engaged in much discussion and debate about the direction of our team, and our group ultimately determined to work in a positive manner to promote true handmade artists on Etsy. We made it our mission to raise awareness about the value and importance of handmade in today’s mass-produced economy. We made it our mission to keep the spirit of handmade alive on Etsy, despite Etsy going in the opposite direction. Some of us were (and remain) ready to butt heads if necessary:)
We determined that before our team could make a difference, we must first become established within the Etsy community, and we knew we had to get our shops in tiptop shape to represent handmade at its best. We worked hard sharing tips, ideas, and how-to’s, helping each other get our shops “front page ready.” Our hard work eventually paid off. Toward the end of 2012, many of our member shops had items show up on the front page. Some of our shops were featured in Etsy Finds, sometimes more than once. One of our member shops was invited to participate in the Etsy Holiday Shop in New York, and one shop appeared in an online magazine. As Kelli put it, “The Who’s Down in Whosville are being found!”
I want to point out that some of our member shops came to the team “front page ready.” These members were a huge asset to us (and remain so) as they shared their successes and how-to’s. Other members had work to do, so we buckled down and worked hard (and continue to do so) to get our shops up to par. And many of us will tell you that being an active member of Etsy Handmade Team provided a big boost in improving our shops. So, for those members who are not actively participating, you are missing out! Make it a resolution to become an active member in 2013 and reap the benefits of membership!
Throughout the year, as we have tried to find our way as a group, our membership has grown to almost 1000 members. Not all are active, but as team members, all have pledged to uphold the team mission. And for each member who has pledged, that is one less seller susceptible to catching the reseller bug!
As we reflect on 2012, we see our goal of becoming established now becoming a reality. We see member shops that have improved and grown. We see new shops coming through our doors (up here on the top floor) every day seeking camaraderie and assistance. We have always prided ourselves on being a friendly and helpful group, and this will continue throughout 2013 and beyond! And as we continue to share our successes (and failures), we will survive and thrive as we roll with the punches of Etsy changes in the coming year.
Looking forward, now is the time for our team to begin to focus on our mission of raising awareness (beyond Etsy) about the value and importance of handmade. How we do this, as always, will require team effort and in the coming days we will open this subject for discussion. Please remember that member input is necessary for us to be successful!
Until then, Happy New Year to you all. May 2013 be remembered as the year of prosperity and growth for each of us!