Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Etsy Headquarters Tour - Brooklyn

Last week I was lucky enough to visit the e-commerce hub for buyers and sellers of handmade goods, vintage goods, and art supplies - Etsy at their headquarters in DUMBO ("Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass")neighborhood of Brooklyn. 

I have been selling on Etsy since 2009 and it's on there that I started my online wedding business Sepia Smiles. I have tried other online sites in the past and have always stuck with them as they provide the most useful seller tools and have a vibrant community of 30 million buyers and creative businesses. Since being on Etsy I have learnt a lot and my business has grown gradually over time. 

Anthropologie US contacted me in June last year after seeing my message in a bottle gifts and asked if I would consider designing a range of them for their holidays and valentines capsule. Of course, I was so delighted as I had always had a dream of selling my products through them. They then placed a large order for their retail stores and their online store. This was all great news and I was of course very keen to fulfill on the order. The only problem was that I did not have the access to the funds and the facility to create such a large order on my own and in such a short timescale - the order needed to be turned around and shipped within a month.

This is when I approached my family friend and Management Consultant, Lance Jones who owns Working Strategy. I asked him if he could help and he was prepared to finance the procurement, manufacturing and shipping on receipt of the purchase order. The partnership worked really well and we have shipped several orders to Anthropologie since.

Etsy will soon be rolling out a wholesale marketplace (currently in beta) and they were interested in finding out more about how myself and Lance worked together as a team in fulfilling the large wholesale orders. We were more than happy to help answer their questions and they made us feel very welcome. As we were visiting on a Tuesday we were lucky enough to be included in Eatsy where we enjoyed locally grown food and we had a tour of the offices. I must say if there ever was a place that I would love to work at - it's there! We were shown around by Nadine Heintz who was super helpful and friendly and made us feel so welcome. We were so inspired by how they work together as a team based on equality and camaraderie

I think one of the best things about the offices are all the different communal areas they have access to and also the themed telephone booths. Rather than making personal calls at their desks they get to go into one of the many themed 'photo booths' There a quite a few dotted around the offices - my favorites are the British themed 'telephone box' and the 'depeche a la mode' booth - how cool are they!

The tour ended with a visit up to Etsy Labs which is where all the crafty things happen and the training and meetings. Myself and Lance got to experience the photo booth - a kind of initiation ceremony for new Etsy employees. We had to dress up in funny props and have photos taken - it was good fun although my shots came out pretty bad so I am not posting them here!

I hope myself and Lance were able to help Etsy a little with our experiences with wholesaling and if anyone would like any advice or assistance from us who are in a similar situation to the one I was in - please get in touch - we will be more than happy to help!

The above shots were taken by myself. The big sculpture is actually supposed to be a bee but everyone says it looks like an Owl - I must say - I agree! It's the Etsy mascot and it's called Mr Grit and he is about 9 feet tall. 
The other photos are of the main entrance leading up to the reception which is lined with an amazing living wall - I want one in my house. 

If you want to see some more photos of Etsy HQ take a look at Refinery 29's tour over here.

Up next the visit to Anthropologie Headquarters.