It’s Small Business Saturday y’all! I love that there is a day to celebrate shopping small, though I wish every day were a day to recognize, and make a conscious effort to support small businesses.
Sometimes the products that we sell cost more, because we source our materials differently, trying to ensure they are produced with care or fairly, humanely, that the workers who create them or harvest them are paid a fair wage etc. Sometimes we are making our products by-hand, or making them here in the United States, where labor costs, commercial space, utilities, and the cost-of-living is significantly greater than developing countries, and thus, our products cost more. So if you can still support us with your shopping dollars, we appreciate it!
This holiday season, I am introducing new pieces to the Hieropice product line, Botanical Magnets! They are miniature landscapes designed to attach to any metal surface, and come in a variety of styles. I will have them at my upcoming art markets at the Old South Church Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday, December 3rd, and at the Etsy Artists of Boston chalet at City Hall Plaza December 16th through 22nd. I love making them. Tiny, perfect ecospheres preserved in time. Yay, nature! And yay, handmade!
So, in my last post, I had to be a bit cagey about what was coming up, as we were in the “quiet period” (who knew that was a thing?) of the Etsy IPO! I was honored to be invited to Etsy headquarters to participate in the IPO celebration, along with a small group of Etsy sellers from around the globe. The group included Etsy vendors who have successfully
completed the Craft Entrepreneurship Program as well as educators from the program, members of the Etsy Manufacturing Advisory Board, local Etsy Team Captains/vendors working on activating their teams, like myself, and vendors who are successfully scaling up their Etsy businesses as they continue to sell on Etsy. I mentioned in my previous post how hard I’m working to try and get our local team, Etsy Artists of Boston, all the access/tools we need to be successful artists/entrepreneurs, and so I was really thrilled to be recognized and included in this opportunity!
I had a marathon trip to NYC, and was so excited to see Etsy headquarters, in particular, the “living wall.” After a delicious dinner with the other sellers and Etsy staff, I high-tailed it to the Hudson Guild to take a BollyX class (which was free, score!) before heading back to the hotel to call it an early night. Had to wake up early to get to the NASDAQ building on time!
The IPO “Sellerbration” took place in and around the NASDAQ building in Times Square in Manhattan, New York City, where Etsy staff and sellers gathered with CEO Chad Dickerson to announce Etsy’s public stock options, ring the opening bell of the stock exchange, and offer an amazing outdoor Etsy market. I’m basically penguin-height so was blocked in many of the photos, but I rang my bell like a champ and was glad Etsy let me take it home! Chad’s son was the cutest thing ever, rolling on the NASDAQ floor in all of the orange/white confetti (I would’ve done that too if I were a toddler!)
Fourteen vendors, including Supayana (Canada), Shlomit Ofir (Israel), Little Hero Capes (Massachusetts, USA), Malam (France), and others set up adorable little mini shops in the middle of Times Square for the afternoon, selling childrens’ clothing, modern gold/pastel jewelry, iPod/iPad docks of reclaimed wood, screenprints of original illustrations, knit scarves and hats, and more. I can’t imagine a market like it ever occurring again, with these vendors from all over the world, it was great to see some of these faces I’ve only seen in avatars, in person! Alas, my overnight bag was small, so no shopping for me, but I was happy to be there. I loved seeing the tangible version of Etsy.
I wished, though, that the small, single-maker, dual-maker, and family-based shops were better-represented. I know that Etsy’s business-model has changed, and I understand
that keeping up with demand requires that some businesses utilize manufacturers. And that’s fine for those businesses. But my admiration for Etsy, my attraction to it, came from the concept of honoring small makers who were making things by hand in their homes and studios, not in factories. And I don’t want that concept to lose its place-of-pride, and I worry about that vision changing. But, I’m not the CEO! You can read more about Etsy’s IPO, the Sellerbration, etc., on the Etsy Blog.
Post Sellerbration, I took the opportunity to check out the Bjork exhibit at the MOMA, as I’ve loved her since I was 9-years-old. I realized, there, there were music videos of hers I’d never seen (Triumph of a Heart, what?), and I want an Alexander McQueen dress of my very own! The “Black Lake” piece commissioned by the MOMA was heart-breaking to watch, and discovering the back-story of her break-up that inspired it made it even more painful. Bjork’s a talented lady. But don’t bring your children to the exhibit. Or your grandparents. Unless your super-comfortable with each other. So, so NSFW. An older couple sat next to me for several of the videos and I felt like I should be apologizing to them for all of the nudity. And sex. And self-abuse. Again, NSFW!
Then, it was back to Boston, on another marathon shlep! Thanks to some lovely friends, I discovered my terrarium necklace was in the Etsy Finds e-mail, which was a lovely surprise, and I prepared for our Etsy Artists of Boston meeting on Copyrights and Trademarks, which was very informative. Due to the overwhelming response to the Finds e-mail, I am too overloaded to participate in the opening day of SOWA Boston on May 3rd, but I wish my colleagues the best day ever! It looks to be fantastic! I intend to participate next weekend on Mother’s Day. If my mom allows it!
Spring is actually starting to show itself here in Massachusetts after Snowmageddon. I can’t wait!
I’ve been remiss. I know.
It’s so easy to lose track of time, forget to keep up, forget to post!
I’ve been all over the place!
In short, over the past months, I’ve been building Etsy Artists of Boston, our local artists/entrepreneur team, meeting monthly to improve our skills as vendors/artisans and offer each other support. It’s good to have a community that understands the unique thing that you do, and it can be so isolating to be an independent business-person, particularly an artisan, who spends a lot of time working very quietly, very intensely, at a craft, and is ultimately solely responsible for the outcome/success of the work.
I envisioned Etsy Artists of Boston as a community where we could create connections, for those moments when you hit a roadblock in your work and don’t know how to get past it, or have a technical issue you don’t have the knowledge to solve but are certain someone else does, or just need to vent! I, (perhaps selfishly!) wanted an environment in Boston where artists/business-people could exchange ideas and artistic services, crowd-source concepts, and just socialize with other creatives who get it!
And the group has grown past what I could’ve envisioned, with our membership expanding exponentially, we’ve held an incredibly successful team selling event in December, 2014, the Etsy Artists of Boston Winter Bazaar at the Arsenal Project, and had some fantastic group meetings, last month hosting reps from the mobile app Cinch Polls, and this month, an attorney from Lovrien Law to educate us on the finer points of trademark, copyright, patents, and related issues. We’re looking forward to our upcoming Etsy Craft Party in June, and I’m working on getting more of our membership to take on leadership positions, to ensure we all have a voice! Looking ahead, I see exciting opportunities for our Boston-based community!
I have to also express gratitude, for my consistent customers, who’ve been so supportive, and kept me going. In January/February, I traveled to Costa Rica and Belize, as I was contemplating a bit of a change in my product line at Hieropice. I was seeking inspiration for landscapes, and a bit of a pause from business-as-usual. It gave me an opportunity to focus on new work, taking a pause from creating existing designs. I’ve got some ideas percolating, but I want to keep them under-wraps until their ready to introduce! So, stay-tuned for some new pieces!