Hearing success stories is one of my favorite things about working with the Etsy Teams. Many people ask about what their Team can do to gain more members or get publicity. Today Ceylan from paperinstyle shares her experiences and gives some valuable advice on how her Team, RI Handmade, has flourished.
RI Handmade is a dedicated Rhode Island local Team with a mission to increase awareness for handmade products made with love and passion. We accomplish this by working as a team to promote our art on Etsy, at local shows and through networking.
As with every new Team, ours is maturing through the four stages of Team development: “Forming,” “Storming,” “Norming” and “Performing.”
Forming stage, a.k.a. “the polite stage,” was when we set a clear mission and vision in August 2009. After a few iterations we as a group created our mission as the co-founders of the RI Handmade Team: Floweredsky, NewMoonStudio, paperinstyle, tulayskitchen. We kicked off our Team by putting together a show in East Greenwich, RI.
Photo of one of the booths at the fair in East Greenwich. Photo by Ceylan.
We used our network to find a great space on Main Street and prepared flyers and post cards to market the event. It was a great success as well as a Team building activity!
“I was there to represent my newly established catering business,” says Tulay from tulayskitchen. “A few days before the event I went door-to-door, handing out flyers to local East Greenwich businesses. Fortunately it was a beautiful and sunny day and people from all over the state of Rhode Island came to see our show! I learned so much about networking. This was a great Team effort and I look forward to more of our shows this year, especially our next fund raising that will be open to non-member artisans!”
As the Team moved towards the Storming stage (when Team members behave independently) we acknowledged the importance of having agreed upon norms and standards. Our Team Stormed a while during this process, ultimately enabling us to focus on goals and objectives and to hold each other responsible.
Photo of Tulay taken by her sister Esin
RI HANDMADE TEAM STANDARDS
1. The Team will meet at least every other month.
2. Each Team member will create a treasury every month that includes at least 3 of the other members’ items.
3. Each member will contribute to the blog at least once a month.
4. Each member will promote all other Team members through the Etsy Forums.
5. Each member will promote another Team member through Twitter and blogs.
6. Each member will participate in at least 80% of the member meetings.
7. Etsy Forum threads will be used to communicate to the whole Team. In special cases, when mass email is necessary, Team member will communicate the info to Team lead to be forwarded to the membership list.
8. The Team will trust and respect each other.
9. Have fun.
“While I was slowly becoming a little more active in the Etsy Forums I was looking for a more personal connection to other Etsians, as well as a way to network locally. RI Handmade gave me the opportunity I was looking for,” says Liz from ItsAllInTheBag01. “Despite being a little nervous when I first went to meet the Team, I had a wonderful time, and I am thrilled that I have found such amazing talented and supportive women to work with. I think the standards that the Team sets, for members individually, as well as for the whole, help push us to constantly work together and to improve ourselves and the Team.”
The Team then took Etsy’s Team Tips as a starting point and created different committees, sub-committees and roles and responsibilities:
RI HANDMADE TEAM ROLES
1. Team Lead
4. Art and Marketing Committee
5. Communication and Networking Committee (Blog Manager, Event Planner)
6. Community Outreach Committee
Photo of Liz by Danielle Maziarz
“I have been actively involved in art since 1996 and have had two Etsy shops since 2008,” says Hilal, the owner of NewMoonStudio handmade ceramics and NewMoonCrochet. “I am the Art Advisor of our Team. I am responsible for creating the marketing materials such as postcard/business card designs, banners, avatars, etc. I am also the Treasurer, and as such am responsible for collecting necessary expenses for our Team’s activities, such as arts and crafts shows and advertisement. Having clear roles within our Team makes us work in greater harmony. It is such a great honor to be part of this wonderful Team.”
Sema, the owner of three shops on Etsy (Floweredsky, FloweredSkybeads and HouseJewels), manages the Team’s blog. “Even though we have distinct roles within our Team, we think and work collectively to succeed. Our blog greatly reflects our collaboration as a Team. I had an idea to use the birthstones, their colors, and geographical locations as a theme in our blog. Weekly, Team members give me input using their backgrounds and creativity, which has been attracting visitors to the blog. My motto is ‘Keep it simple, get the work done and have fun.’”
Photo of Hilal taken by her husband, Justin
“Norming” stage is when the Team starts to work well together. Often the Team bounces back and forth between the Storming and Norming stages. Moving out of Storming depends on the Team’s maturity. This is also when Team members start to give each other constructive criticism without withholding information. Our Team is a great example for this stage, as we respect each others’ opinions and value their differences. We establish trust and respect. We encourage diversity of thoughts and perspectives. We give each other feedback on Etsy shop pictures, on blog posts, and on our commitment to Team standards without fear.
Photo of Sema taken by her husband, Baris
Our Team worked to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) for 2010 for each committee to fulfill their mission.
1. Create a list of local arts and craft shows to be displayed on our blog.
2. Create a list of local individuals, companies, and businesses that will help us spread the word!
3. Identify at least one non-profit organization.
4. Coordinate a fundraiser.
5. Coordinate at least two Team events.
6. Create promotional post cards.
Team photo from Ceylan
I am very happy with the progress we’ve made so far! It’s only four months into 2010 and we have already started working on all of our goals. Becoming a high performing Team is what RI Handmade strives to be — a Team where members become interdependent and individuals begin using “we” more than “me” or “I.” Since our inception in August 2009 the Team had great success as a result of developing a solid foundation. We are very excited about expanding our membership and are always looking for new committed members. This year our goal is to build our internal business while making an impact in the community, and we also have a grand vision toward the future.
Photo of Ceylan taken by her husband, Cenk
How does your Team organize and conquer? Let us know in the comments!