Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Etsy European Captains' Summit

I recently went to the Etsy European's Captains' Summit which was held in the beautiful city of Berlin.

Everybody needed to blog about this event which meant we were all trying to take photos of everything!
I know that those of you who follow our designosaur instagram know that this was back in March but I have been truly terrible about writing down all my adventures recently as I have constantly been off here there and everywhere!

For those of you who don't know, I am the Captain of the Brighton Sellers' Team on Etsy. We are Etsy sellers with our shop designosaur, and Etsy has a very strong community of sellers who work together to support each other via cross marketing/promotion, hints and tips on how to get the most of your Etsy shop and generally being there to have pint with when it all gets too much.

I am very lucky that I have an extremely active team with six awesome leaders. I was picked to be one of thirty European Captains at the summit and this is what went down.

Day 1

I had previously met a few of the ladies (yes every single captain there was female) at a meal organised between us the evening before, so as I sprinted up the four flights of stairs, obviously I was late - I don't do mornings, I then looked to see who I recognised in the room when I arrived.

Day one, how to keep the team engaged!

The first person I recognised was Susannah who is the UK Etsy Admin and has worked with our team and visited us before. I went over to say hello and then realised that she was with all the other admin that would be there for the weekend.

It wasn't long until we were called to sit down in front of the projector to watch a VT of Chad the CEO of Etsy welcoming us to the Summit, we then tucked into an amazing continental breakfast before settling down into the nitty gritty.

Obviously any event where you don't know each other needs an ice breaker. We had all been given a craft supply so that we could be randomly grouped but I did panic a little that they were going to make me sew as our item was a sewing pattern! There were four other Captains in my group and we had to find 10 things we had in common.We started to realise that we had very little in common and ended up saying things such as "We all have less than 7 leaders in our team" and " We have all made jewellery at some point in our handmade career". However we did pass the awkward silence test and then moved onto the serious business. It gave us something to laugh about when we shared our 10 things in common as one of the groups said that they preferred, "panties over thongs"! How they got onto that topic I have no idea?!

Emily helping us share our group work ideas

With us all fully acquainted the first question of the day was set and we worked in small groups to best answer it. There was lots of brainstorming, discussions and working out how each of our teams run. How many leaders we have, if we have sub teams and what our team focuses on. It was very interesting to find out that none of the teams there were really similar at all!

Presentation by Marguax, Team Nantes

Saturday was an extremely intense day listening to talks, doing workshops and eating. We ate constantly and the food was amazing! The day slightly over ran over and we had 20 minutes to freshen up before dinner. Now, because I was invited to the Summit as the Captain and Jacques had just come along for fun I had to catch up on all the goss, find out what he did all day (museums, history, learning about war...) and then dash out in an apprentice style convoy (five taxis) to a secret dinner destination.

The Dinner

hipster/bohemian/super cool lighting

Etsy is a magical company. Everything that Etsy is about was crammed into our two day Summit and even the evening meal was incredible.  We arrived, after a long and winding journey from the hotel - at what appeared to be, well I'm not sure what it was, but it didn't look like a restaurant. I showed the photos to Jacques and he asked me if we had had dinner in someones front room?!

Come on this is tres chic!

We were served guava cocktails whilst we mingled and took in the soft lighting, and elegant surroundings.  I'm not a gushy person but it was soooooo cooool. We were introduced to the owner of the Pop Up restaurant FEAST and then were seated at our beautifully laid place settings.

I was sat with Sophie, who is Captain of the Etsy Pop Up Lyon Team, Stacey from Craft Britannia and Manja from the Dusseldorf Street Team.

We hadn't really spoken in the daytime as we were in separate groups but we were still talking shop (pun intended) all through dinner and it was great! It was so much fun to find people who are not only passionate about their own small businesses but also about how they can help other businesses within their own teams.

Sophie, Manje and Stacey

We had FIVE COURSES! Etsy you really are swanky. Everything was delicious and by the end of the meal we all thought we might explode.

We retired to the hotel where Jacques and I sat with Margaux (Team Nantes), Julie (Team Bretagne) and Sophie (Team Lyon) and drank cocktails whilst tweaking our presentations...

Day 2

I arrived back at the beautiful Betahaus bleary eyed the next morning due to the cocktails presentation tweaking long into the early hours.

Day 2 Brainstorming and problem solving
Today was the day that I was doing my presentation, we started with some more workshops and listened to other captains doing their presentations, then my presentation was brought forward to be before lunch.

We were already running a little over time, there had been a lot of presentations already and everybody was ready for lunch. I was more than a little worried that people might snooze through my presentation!

the beautiful Sophie!
Now for those of you that don't know me personally, I talk VERY fast. I jad to ask Sophie to wave at me if I was talking too fast just in case! I had a list of notes and obviously some slides of photos of all the awesome things our team does, but I'm not actually sure what I spoke about, it all became a bit of a blur. My presentation was on "How to Structure Your Team" well really the title was "How I structure my Team" and there were hints and tips of my own, some knowledge from my dad and things I have learnt from fellow Etsy sellers along the way.

Virginie and Lyndsey discussing the best way to do an online workshop

I am giving the same talk at this weekends UK Etsy Summit in London so I don't want to give too many spoliers as some of the captains have already heard the talk in Berlin anyway! The presentation seemed to go down really well and you can see how I came across in Emily's more informative post of the weekend here.

'nuff said
The afternoon was spent chatting to Moishe who is an engineer at Etsy. He's the one who codes all the wonderful things on the screen and he was AMAZING. This was one of my favourite parts of the weekend. Bravely he asked us to suggest improvements and he was instantly screamed at by 30 women all wanting their ideas to be heard. Once we had calmed down (a little) we had a great session of suggestions and feedback, I hope to see lots of our ideas implemented in the coming months ;) I was very surprised to learn that coders are encouraged to send their code live just minutes after writing it, and that there is a three armed sweater to hang over your desk if you manage to bring the whole site down! Hehe!

Moishe and his big CODE IS CRAFT logo 

As the weekend came to a close we were invited to the Berlin Etsy office (for even more cake) and a final chat, to hand out our business cards and swap details.

The Etsy Admins! All who are incredibly helpful and inspiring!
I spoke to Mark, the policies Admin who is currently working with us to explain the ins and outs of the Outside Manufacturing polices and Katie is in charge of running #CraftParty this year. I met some amazing people at the summit who I have been helping, collaborating and chatting with since our return.

Jenny is an Australian Etsy Admin who flew in just for the weekend! 
Expect big things from the Brighton Etsy Team, collaborations with other European teams and a whole lot of fun as I'm feeling inspired!

I like this, this is a motto I can live by!
One big thing I learnt during the weekend is that we need to encourage as many people to join Etsy through our team as possible as each new seller brings with them at least eight new buyers to the site, which is win win for everybody involved!

Thanks Etsy for an awesome weekend, and I'm ready to do it all again this weekend!


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