Go Team Go! OMHG Teaming Up on Etsy?

 

Editor’s note: The lovely Jenelle of Trashn2Tees contacted me to see about the idea of starting an OMHG Etsy team-since it had been on my list of possible ideas for over a year I was really excited BUT…I know I don’t have the time to coordinate a team all by my lonesome with all the other crazy stuff happening for OMHG this year (a 2013 conference is going to happen friends!). So if this is something our community is fired up to make awesome I will do everything I can to help and grow our team but it needs to be a group effort! If an OMHG team sounds brilliant to you then let us know in the comments + how much time you could dedicate to it + what your team experience has been. Also be sure to join us from 1-2EST today to chat about it at our weekly #omhg Twitter chat. See you there! 

A special guest post by Jenelle Montilone of Trashn2Tees

What do you love most about Oh My Handmade Goodness? For me, I love the sense of community. I look forward to inspiring #omhg tweet chats (every Thursday on Twitter from 1-2EST ) and I love being able to connect with so many talented woman… and the brave men who pop in too! For that one hour we give ourselves permission to put down the paint brush, scissors, and needles to explore juicy handmade business topics. I always walk away inspired and refreshed, is an hour really long enough?

It happens every once in a while that I’m unable to pull myself away from the sewing machine or in the middle of wrangling a toddler and just can’t make the date. What if you were able to connect with our community of independent artisans, designers & creative industry experts any time of day?

An Oh My Handmade Goodness Etsy Team could be in the works if our community gets onboard- just another awesome place for creative business and handmade goodness to hang out… ANYTIME! Growing on fundamental foundation of OMHG joining the team you can connect and collaborate with artisans, designers, entrepreneurs and handmade industry experts. Share experiences, ask questions, and further explore and discuss OMHG monthly topics.

“There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others.”

~George Shinn

Are you unfamiliar with Etsy Teams? No problem. Teams are formed and run by Etsy members just like you and I, with over 4,300 teams to choose from (and new ones forming every day) you’re bound to find a few that might fit your needs. You love bacon + chocolate… yep, theres a team for that! If your looking to network, share skills, meet new people with similar interests, and promote your handmade business joining an Etsy team is a great place to start!

The first team I joined was The Bluegrass Etsy Street Team, it allowed me to meet up with other artists right  here in Kentucky and as a newbie to the state and craft show scene- I gained valuable leads on great local events. Find out if there is a local team in your area, state, or country! I’m now an active member on over 5 teams. I know that the relationships I’ve established within the Etsy community have directly resulted in increased exposure for my shop, TNTees but more importantly have allowed me to foster relationships with other artists and customers all around the world.

I’m really excited for the opportunity to promote an OMHG Etsy Team, and continue to grow the Oh My Handmade Goodness community. Are you excited too? I’d love to get your feedback and hear some of your Etsy Team experiences.

ABOUT JENELLE:  I’m passionate about family, the environment, and following your dreams. I joke that I’ve found a way to combine all the loves of my life and call it a day job. But really its true. Hi! I’m Jenelle. Though these days I am most frequently referred to as Mommy, I used to hold such titles as President, Waitress, College Student, Mud Bog Racer, and I even donned a big furry cat suit in high school as Suzy Stateliner- the school mascot! Between crushing cars with Monster Jam trucks, judging silly dance contests, and those other less fun household chores… I offer a sustainable alternative to funky, custom, and one of a kind clothing at TrashN2Tees. By rockin’ recycled threads I hope to encourage and inspire others to consume less and recycle more. Come on over and connect with me on facebook, twitter, and the TrashN2Tees blog. Free cupcakes for all.

45 comments

  1. Andreia says:

    I love the idea of an OMHG Etsy team. I would like to join!

    I’m an active member of other communities at Etsy and find them very helpful and encouraging. I love everything here at OMHG.com so I think this collaboration would be a plus!

    I

  2. Wow! I’m so excited to read these wonderful responses!!

    Andreia, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with Etsy Teams! I must agree I think that OMHG + Etsy would be such an awesome combination!

    Katrina, I often find myself thinking WW-OMHG-D? So many times I’ve wanted to tap into someones brain for advice or inspiration. Having the team available ANYTIME allows you to do just that and much more!

    Jill, OMHG posts/chats do touch on Etsy related issues but we can certainly delve into more specific Etsy tactics like shop seo, relevancy search, promotion, treasury promotion, and shop integrations. 🙂

    Erika! Viv! Laura! Kasey! Super excited to have you on board!

  3. mariah says:

    Re #omhg chat comment “We can start by getting a discussion going on the post about what we would each like to give/receive & go from there!”
    I’m not too familiar with Etsy, and would love some feedback on what I could be doing better, if my price points are good etc. I design Etsy headers etc. for my day job, so I could offer advice and help in that area to team members!

    • Jessika says:

      I can’t wait to join in this conversation after I get home from some errands! @Mariah that is exactly what I hope a team would do, collaborate to share skills & advice & support-just like OMHG chats do. I am filled with excitement for how we can bring the OMHG community together in new meaningful ways. Can’t wait to hear every one’s thoughts and ideas + what they would like to contribute to a team!

  4. Claire says:

    I hope you don’t mind if I leave an essay :S I’m following on from things that were said in the #omhg tweetchat today so maybe weren’t mentioned in the original blog post.

    I think expanding the OMHG community in other directions is a fantastic idea and can only be beneficial for the group. Taking away the boundaries of timelines will allow more people to be included and not feel pressure to adjust their schedules.

    Much as I hate to say it, I do think that an Etsy team probably has the edge over other types of groups because it does provide additional promotion opportunities. Having said that, I think it will only be worthwhile if team promotion is one of the main objectives of the group and if the Etsy tools are used to full advantage.

    The team forums on Etsy are publicly visible so non-members can share in any useful posts as well. The downside is that the forums are quite limited and not ideal for browsing old posts.

    Maybe in the future a ning network, ohmyhandmade.com forum or even custom network might be the way to go to build on an etsy team but its probably best to start out simple.

    I would like to know more about the main objectives for the team, would it be to promote team members, to share advice within the team or to produce advice and resources for non-team members? A combination of them all? And some I didn’t mention?

    Will there be requirements to join, limits on the number of members or requirements of members once they have joined (such as tweeting team members’products). How will #omhg members who don’t have an etsy shop be able to participate?

    It’s in my nature to want to plan everything out and know exactly what the aim is but I’m sure that however you work it it will be a success. If it follows the style of the OMHG community so far then I’m sure I would love to be involved and would potentially offer to take on an admin role if needed.

  5. Modupe says:

    I think it’s a great idea if it’s specifically for those on Etsy. However, if you want the community/team thing to be more inclusive, perhaps other platforms such as Ning (I know I was harping on about it in the #omhg chat today) would be good. Ning allows real time chat as well as discussion boards, and groups within the community. It can also be integrated to the #omhg site.

    I think a team would be great for bouncing ideas around and I think there are many people that would benefit from the #omhg community that may not be on Etsy.

    But maybe that’s for later on in the future when the Etsy team has grown…

    {no, I don’t work for Ning :)}

  6. Claire says:

    @modupe I agree. I think it depends what the focus of the group is. If its promotion of members then Etsy is great (but still not amazing). If its finding new members then Etsy is probably perfect. If its having a great community to chat with a share advice then I think Etsy is probably not the way to go. Ning sounds ideal for that but maybe there are similar alternatives as well.

  7. I think this is a fabulous idea and would love to be part of this team. I don’t really have any experience with teams but I’m just all excited and willing to help out where I can.
    I love that interaction on OMHG would be available at any time of the day.
    I waited a while to comment so I could check out how teams on Etsy actually work. If I got it right a captain + a few leaders + some awesome team members connect and collaborate. I found the link to setting up several committees to divide the tasks so everyone can help out very interesting: http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2008/team-tip-committees. The article is a little old, so I hope the information in it is still relevant to how teams are run today.
    Tania

  8. I love #OMHG chats & if this is going to be an extension of that, meaning sharing ideas/information/celebrations & giving support to one another – count me in. However…
    I tried Etsy teams twice in the past & had terrible experiences with both- one group was like talking to the wall for all the participation it had and the other was the equivalent of a part-time job w/ its demands of busy work & sunshine blowing.
    While I am eager to support fellow shop owners, “liking” shops just for the sake of it is completely meaningless, not to mention it clutters your news feed, as well as creates a false sense of who you are & your aesthetic to potential customers.
    I also don’t think blogging about fellow team members should be a requirement unless it somehow fits in with what your customers/readers would like to see/read. The same for “required” Treasury creating/tagging/team membership announcements in all of your listings.
    Do I sound a little jaded?! Please, please, renew my faith in Etsy teams! While I hope to move on from Etsy sooner than later, I would welcome an opportunity for biz community building. I find books, blog posts, etc. that I believe would be of use to other biz babes (& dudes!) and I would love a place to share, yet my blog doesn’t seem the place to do so. Also, I have some biz ideas I’d like to act on that will likely require collaboration/partnership, so a chance to network would be great.

  9. Claire,
    I really value your input and the length of ideas you have & shared- you certainly provided us with some valuable insight as well as other platform opportunities which we might not have considered before.

    Etsy teams & forums are both public and searchable (via Etsy and Google/search engine results) this is a great advantage for any informative posts which could in return drive traffic to Ohmyhandmade.com and gain exposure for the community. When creating a post, there is, however an option to mark it as “private” this is idea for more personal questions or if theres a need for a ‘team only’ post. These are not searchable and can only be viewed by members.

    We came to chat with a loose idea of an OMHG Etsy team growing on fundamental foundation of OMHG. The idea for a team where you can connect and collaborate with artisans, designers, entrepreneurs and handmade industry experts. A place you can share experiences, ask questions, and further explore and discuss OMHG monthly topics.

    I believe the team can become whatever (we) the community want it to be. If your interested in having a team tag & curating treasuries full of Oh My Handmade Goodness- lets make it happen!

    In my opinion- I think implementing requirements strays away from the heart and soul of OMHG. We want people to get involved but not overwhelm them with commitments or team obligations. Wake up in the morning have a cup of joe and get a daily dose of inspiration before your day starts.

    One way we can promote each other would be to have a {promote the shop above} thread. This way if you take time to promote someones goods, you too will be promoted. Just a small (optional) idea in the way that we could promote each others biz.

    Anyone with an Etsy account (as a buyer or a seller) can participate in an Etsy team.

  10. modupe,
    Thank you for introducing me to Ning, it certainly has potential. If its able to be integrated directly and work flawlessy within the .com it sounds perfect.

    Many artisans (I do realize not all) are on Etsy throughout the day… having a team on the same site and a few clicks away I think will help keep people engaged. If we start talking about going off site its just another forum/site/page to try and keep up with and check in on.

    Ning would be lucky to have you as a spokesperson 🙂

    • Jessika says:

      This is such a great conversation and I really value you taking the time to share your ideas/concerns-to me that is what community is all about. We don’t all have to agree but if we can voice our ideas all sorts of great meaningful conversation/collaborations happen. I am highly interested in checking out Ning as an option. I agree with & am also kind of concerned by Jenelle’s last comment and this was one of my hesitations with starting an Etsy team when I had the thought awhile back. I think it is an awesome idea but I do also want people to visit OMHG regularly and build our community here “If we start talking about going off site its just another forum/site/page to try and keep up with and check in on.” we want that right?! I am all for marketing, promoting, sharing the OMHG brand with our community but I want us to have a home right here. I am working to make OMHG a place where our community does connect daily. This is one of my biggest motivators for saving up to have our site redesigned and make it a more interactive/community experience + add to the ability to engage with each other. Right now a lot of our community building happens offsite-Twitter/Facebook(sort of) I almost feel like Etsy is my one more site to keep up with if that makes sense.

      At the same time I totally see the reasoning behind starting with Etsy where we have no fees to pay and can in fact get support from the Etsy community as well-I don’t want to over think this but I want to hear back from others about their ideas/suggestions. Etsy teams often (but not always) pay membership dues for the year, would people be willing to pay membership fee of something nominal like $1 a month for access to an OMHG community site? That would pay for a software like ning but not the extra admin so it would need to run like a team not a membership community.

      I am still considering starting with an Etsy team and then moving onto the option of our own site when it is built and in place. I plan to sleep on it & reread our transcript before I publish it in the morning. Thank you all for your thoughts so far! My head is full of gears turning:)

  11. Claire says:

    It may be that actually one or the other is not the right solution. Maybe the community as a whole would benefit from a regular way to engage on the OMHG website and also an Etsy team would be a great, additional and separate thing for those members who are on Etsy already. Like an Etsy branch to the team. Different people could be responsible for the different aspects to spread the workload.

    As far as payment goes, I would be happy to contribute a small regular fee but I think it would likely put off any new members considering joining. I know when I consider new sites and tools I have a knee-jerk reaction to anything requiring payment.

  12. I’d love to be apart of the OMHG community! A forum would be a wonderful idea to grow the site even more. This blog is such an amazing resource and I can just imagine how awesome the potential could be for it. Membership fee wouldn’t turn me away but it’s something I’d consider with the details. I think the group would really benefit from something similar to theswitchboards.com format. Can’t wait to see where this goes! -B

  13. Erika says:

    Jessika,

    There is a benefit to both starting out on etsy or something like ning. Many of us are on etsy and we are familiar with it. However, what gets me coming back to OMHG is that you have done a GREAT job with the community feel and it is not like others that are trying to turn their personal blog into a community type of place–those are missing a key ingredient.

    It would be great to see a forum tied to this site and have everything in one place but if you aren’t ready for that then do what is right for right now.

    And thanks for what you do!

  14. Brenda,
    Each team has a different dynamic- the first few teams were not a good fit for me but I have been able to settle in after trying a few on for size. I noticed Nicole (Three By Sea) mentioned similar experiences as well. I hope that both of you will give the teams another chance- whether its with OMHG or otherwise.

    A few tips that might help you find a team thats a good fit:
    -what are your expectations> (cross promotion, just mingle, biz help, critiques, meet ups)
    -how much can you participate? some teams have requirements for checking in, posting, or filling other types of obligations

    If theres anything I can do to help you navigate the sea of teams, please don’t hesitate to ask!

  15. Nanako says:

    Sounds like you all had an engaging Tweet chat on Thursday – I was sorry to have missed it! I am, however, glad that Jessika + Jenelle are continuing the conversation here on the blog. I’ve been reading the comments + folding my thoughts.

    I’ll bring to this discussion my experience on Etsy as a team member, leader + co-captain. Our Etsy shop is currently on 10 teams – 5 social, 4 promotion, 1 treasury. I co-captain the Elite 16 treasury team with Amber of Red Tile Studio – the team is a year old, I’ve been a member since the beginning + co-captain with Amber since last June. This is the only team I visit + interact with on a daily basis.

    Our team has left the Etsy forum as a way to communicate + we’ve moved over to Google Groups. There were several reasons for the move, but mainly we found the Etsy format to be too difficult to use. The search feature for discussions is non-effective, there are only 5 visible slots for discussions when you first come to the page, + we had no way of prioritizing important discussions without constantly monitoring a thread (the thread with the most recent post pops up to the top of the list as one of the 5 visible slots – if people don’t see it and post newer threads, then your thread just moves down the list)

    Our Elite 16 team is focused on making treasuries, which is not what the OMHG team focus would be. But through my experience with running a team, I would highlight 2 points with respect to an OMHG Etsy team:

    1) Brand Integrity
    2) Maintaining Enthusiasm + Interest

    1* Brand Integrity. The OMHG “brand” starts here on the blog. This is the HUB, the center, the place where it all happens. By starting an Etsy team, you’re also going to be managing things “over there” – in my opinion, potentially (underlined) diluting your “brand”. Not intentionally – no, but by natural course – what was one is now two. Unless Jessika has a clone, she’ll most likely work with this amazing community to find volunteers to run the Etsy team. That’s so great! As long as there is a clear line of communication and organization, the OMHG “brand” will stay intact. And I’ll also add that running a team takes a lot of work + a big investment of time.

    2* Maintaining Enthusiasm + Interest. There is a clear pull within this community to have greater contact + interaction. It sounds like many are already on Etsy, so joining would be very easy. From what I’ve experienced, it’s keeping your audience engaged + active that is the key. Because of the nature of our Elite 16 Etsy team, members are required to “interact” with the team throughout the month through treasuries. A social group on Etsy will have to have a clear call to action to get people to visit everyday or however many times a week. Not because people don’t want to, but because people are busy. You have to stay present with people so they’ll remember to check in – keep things fun + lively! Otherwise (+ sometimes, even if you do succeed in making it a great place to hang), you’ll see the same group of people hanging out. Again, from my experience – maintaining this level of enthusiasm takes up energy, so the trick is to find ways to sustain it without burning yourself out.

    If an OMHG Etsy team were formed, would I join? Yes! But I would prefer to see Jessika build in a way for greater contact right here on the blog. I see it as a more streamlined way to build the brand.

    Great article Jenelle – thank you for starting this conversation – it’s a wonderful discussion!!

    <>

  16. Katrina says:

    I’m new to Etsy and have only been following your blog for the last month or so and loving it. Even though I’m a new business and living in Australia I still find each post relevant.

    I don’t know anything about Etsy teams but would like to be involved and learn more.

    • Jessika says:

      My mind is still buzzing with all this wonderful insight-I think Nanako managed to articulate the majority of my concerns about building an offsite team. Once we leave OMHG we are subject to other’s TOU and policies and have more restrictions on how we can build our community. In my last Etsy team experience we also used google groups instead of the Etsy interface because it wasn’t terribly user friendly. It feels more like Facebook in some ways vs. Twitter-Facebook is rather static and there isn’t a lot of real time discussion as opposed to Twitter which is the opposite-more dynamic and engaging. I wouldn’t want to start a team on Etsy and have it fail to engage people making the community less eager for other community building/team projects.

      I am looking into the feasibility of speeding up my timeline for a integrated community platform right here-something like Ning that would be user friendly and part of the OMHG site so you could read your morning post and then stop in the forums to chat/connect. I would like to have readers be able to host craft swaps, trades, collaboration ideas etc + also just share their favourite new books and promotions & have user profiles so we can connect with other OMHG readers. If our community would be willing to pay a nominal fee to cover the increased operating costs of a members area after crunching some numbers I think I can swing it. I figure $12 a year is not going to break anyone’s budget but would go a long way to making this viable. We could have a team of volunteer (for now) OMHG moderators who would visit in the forums & offer advice/support/engage in conversations. They would be the ‘team leaders’ similar to an Etsy group. My thought is we could have different areas depending on what your biz needs are-a marketing area where people can connect around their launches, new product development, websites, press kits etc to talk and give feedback, plan blog tours & generally work together to market each other cooperatively. There could be an area just for Etsy sellers or even an Etsy team within our OMHG community-the team could use their forum to chat about their team activities/plan team projects etc…

      The more I consider it the more I think Etsy might not be the best place to build our home base-I am working on a project with another marketplace for handmade and don’t want to have any potential conflict of interest. I think as a next step we should put together a survey to see what our community wants most from a team and then go from there + whether people would prefer to join an Etsy team or an onsite member community. I will contact a couple of people from those who have expressed interest in building a team to see if you are willing to be part of the survey & community planning. If we do this part of building the foundation as a team we will be setting the stage for how we want our community to grow moving forward. This part excites me most since it relates to my background in non-profit/community development & offers an opportunity to bring us all together!!!

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