Last week I wrote about being a finalist in Etsy’s Open Call. I spent the month of August preparing for my pitch, and digging deep to find out what my goals are, and how to get there. Let me just say… you don’t need to be a finalist to dig deep. [Tweet “You don’t need to win a prize to win big in your business.”]
I felt intimated going into the pitch, if I hadn’t been so busy, I would have fallen harder into the comparison trap with sellers that had quadruple the number of sales, or social media followers, and sellers that had much fewer. I quickly learned that we were all picked as finalists for an obvious reason – we were all incredibly talented, and beyond passionate, and we all deserved to be there for our unique skill set and beautiful products.
I was really glad that I was able to bring my husband, Gregg, along on the trip. He got to sit in on the workshops, and got to come to the buyers party after the pitches. It was so wonderful to share this big opportunity with him, and having him there made me feel much more comfortable the night before, and of course, his muscles came in handy when carrying my crap around NYC, and he drove me the whole way letting me read, relax, and prepare. (High fives Gregg!).
Inviting Gregg really paid off when he volunteered me to give my pitch to the whole group of 36 sellers during one of the workshop. I definitely turned into a middle schooler embarrassed to present in front of the class, and almost didn’t do it, but it totally paid off! By practicing I was able to get immediate feedback, and get my first “pitch” over, so I could feel more confident the next day. It was incredible to get direct feedback from a buyer that I’ve always loved, Emily Blistein of Clementine. Emily not only has a beautiful shop, but she consults with people like me to help them grow their business, AND she writes incredible columns on Oh So Beautiful Paper. Emily was 100% genuine, and I truly felt as if she was honored to be there, and really proud of all the finalists. She was so personable, she even remembered the FIRST time I wrote her over three years ago! I’m not even in her shop, and she gets hundreds of submissions each year, so I felt touched that she read every email, responded, and remembered it years later. Her feedback about my pitch was great, and it felt like I was having a conversation with a customer (the way it probably should be), and she gave me a couple pointers on some of my price points, which is something I can easily change based on her feedback.
After the workshops, we set up our booths, and got to drool over the other sellers work, which was so fun. From candles, baby clothes, models, jewelry and so much more, it’s safe to say we were all in heaven. We then got to go on tours of the new Etsy HQ in Dumbo, a very new office that had us all wanting to leave our businesses’ and work for them (mostly kidding, but seriously, this place is amazing!). Every single Etsy employee was incredibly kind, excited for us, and super passionate about their job. The office has so much personality, and really gives people an opportunity to do their best work (and I say that after reading so many books about it). I loved the yoga room, the wall of greenery, and I loved their “desk less” approach. If you’re like me, and you’re running around a lot, you can opt to not have a permanent desk, but you can work at any of the floating work stations (couches, high tables, open seating, etc) throughout the office. This works great for someone who likes a change of scenery or just can’t sit still for too long. As someone who sits cross legged most of the day, this is totally for me.
I promise, I’ll be sharing more about the actual pitch, but honestly, the experience of the whole event was so incredible that it’s worth more than one blog post. I hope by sharing the details I can encourage people to apply next year, or give some insight for those who are finalists in coming years!
Read part 1, and stay tuned for part three! Thanks to Erik Valand for the awesome photos!