Etsy Captains Summit 2017 - Etsy HQ, London

In march I was invited to Etsy HQ as part of the Etsy Captains Summit. Team captains from across the country were invited to London for a whole weekend of networking, talks, tea drinking, eating amazing food and workshops. I've been asked numerous times how I got on and what I got up whilst I was there. So, I thought I'd do a little post on it so you can find out a little more.

Firstly, let's start with what a team is for anyone new to this. A team is a group of people who sell through Etsy and who have come together with a common interest. Teams can be regional, or have set focuses like advertising and promotions. My team, the Somerset Etsy Team is a regional team for people who live and run their Etsy shop from Somerset in the U.K. We come together each month to help each other in various aspects of our shops or to just chat about everything small business and Etsy related. We also talk and support each other within a closed group on Facebook where everyone is free to ask questions and chat. More of this later on in another post!

I ventured up to London on a Friday afternoon where I met up with the lovely Merseyside Etsy Team captain, Becka Griffin. Saturday morning soon came around and we wandered on down to Etsy HQ where we were greeted with a breakfast that catered for all, and tea on tap! I won't lie, despite Internet appearances, I was terribly nervous, because to me, meeting new people is incredibly daunting and my mind just goes blank and nothing comes out of my mouth! Luckily, everyone was really friendly and Becka already knew most of the people there and introduced me to lots of other captains from across the country.

One of the things that I noticed first about their amazing offices is, not only are they playfully decorated and have puns for meeting room names, but they are also fully accessorised with handmade products from the site itself. I recognised a number of prints on the wall and even the mugs we drank our tea from. It's great to see that level of support from such a big company.

Once we'd all scoffed down our breakfasts and had a good chat we moved into the main offices where we got to sit on super comfy wheelie chairs. I LOVED these. I love wheelie/swirly chairs anyway, but swirly chairs on a wooden floor = fun... The team at Etsy introduced themselves and we jumped straight into ice breakers and talks. Jessika Hepburn of Oh My! Handmade delivered a great talk on 'the power of when people get together'. This was incredibly interesting because it made me realise all of the things that we could do if we worked together on our Etsy team. We can help each other grow and succeed. We can share our knowledge and fill skills gaps. We can overcome obstacles and help to grow each others confidence. We can create a support network that helps people to feel less lonely and more connected.

After lunch we did some more community activities and Etsy updated us on a few more things, but I was much more excited about something else. The amazing Rachel from OH NO Rachio! came to do a little ceramics workshop with us all. I've wanted to have a go at something ceramics based for so long, so this was fantastic. Not only that, but I'm a big fan of Rachel's work and she is just so full of energy and super friendly!

In the evening we were all taken out to Only Connect for food, where the Fabulous 698B not only served up some amazing food but also put on an incredible show. It's difficult to describe how amazing the show was. Imagine desserts being created in front of you via theatrical performance and then you get to eat the results of said performance!

On Sunday morning, we all popped back down to Etsy HQ for another great breakfast and another day of great talks, tea, cake and activities. I left that evening feeling very inspired about the things I want to do with my team and how I can best help them. Speaking to other team captains has given me lots of new ideas and ways to get the most out of the team and I can't wait to get started on implementing them. One of them was taking on a team leader, which I did as soon as I got back and it's helped make things so much easier. Luckily, the lovely Joanna from Adventures And Tea Parties said yes!

I can't thank Etsy enough for inviting me. They are such a friendly bunch of people and they looked after us so well. If we had a question, they did their very best to answer it. They also took note of all suggestions to feed back to the relevant people. It's not just another selling platform. It's a whole community and I feel very grateful to be a part of that. Many people don't realise this, but being a team captain isn't a paid role, it's voluntary. We do it because we love it, and want to help people and create our own local community of makers. And I felt we were really appreciated for this. So, thanks for having me Etsy, I had a great time and met some amazing, inspiring people along the way.