In many ways, Teams are the embodiment of what is most magical about Etsy — creative people who combine forces to make things. Joining the Etsy Teams community is a great way to learn about how this place works, meet friends, learn new skills (while sharing your own), improve your business, and find cool stuff.
Perhaps the most basic element of Etsy’s community, teams arose organically when the site first launched. People created “street teams” as a way to meet up in person and get together for a trunk show or put up fliers for a craft fair. Now, with almost 2,500 teams and over 258,000 active members, Etsy Teams is a vast and vibrant community of members from all over the world who band together because they have something in common, whether it’s the same zip code or a devotional love of cupcakes. We even have a dedicated Team Grants program to help Etsy Teams offset the cost of attending craft fairs, holding meetings, creating promos, and much more. Take a look at last month’s grant winners to get an idea of the kinds of projects team grant money can go toward.
Members of Wichita Handmade showing off products from their new button-maker (paid for by an Etsy Team Grant).
There are two basic ways to get involved with teams on Etsy: join an existing team or create one. There are a million reasons why it’s good to get involved, and you’ll just have to see for yourself what you can get out of the experience.
So you’ve started a team. Now what?
There is definitely no strict recipe for what makes a team work. However, keeping these tips in mind will definitely point you in the right direction.
Cultivate a clear and straight-forward mission. Sit down and take a few minutes to come up with some concrete answers to these questions:
- What is the mission of your team?
- How would you describe your ideal member?
- What is required of team members? (Making weekly Treasuries comprised of team members’ items? Submitting blog posts? Regularly listing items on Etsy?)
- What would you like your team to have completed in 6 months? How about one year?
You don’t have to answer them all, and you may even come up with questions of your own. I have found when a team is in a foundational phase, the more basic, overarching questions that can be answered, the easier it is for the team and its members in the long run.
Delegate responsibilities. Sharing the load is an incredibly important part of running a team. The way we built Teams on Etsy requires that every single team have a captain — a team cannot exist without one. However, the most successful teams usually have many people running the show, appointed as leaders.
Often people want to pitch in and help make the team successful, but they just aren’t sure where to begin. So once you have the team’s goals and mission statement nailed down, try and break it down into small tasks that can be handed out to leaders and volunteer members. Here are just a few sample roles that you might need people to fill:
- Membership Coordinator (reviews applications and invites new members)
- Social Media Organizer
- Blog Coordinator (assigns regular post assignments, edits and uploads content)
- Discussion Forum Moderator (enforces Etsy’s Team Forum Guidelines)
Come together. What teams do best is work together to achieve something special, whether it’s hosting a craft fair, running a community-activism campaign, or managing a team shop. I have seen a team set up a virtual Easter egg hunt where a special graphic was hidden in random listings and whoever found the most got a prize. Another example comes from The Milliners of Etsy, who came up with their own Project Runway-style challenge.
Create collective calls to action (like a team challenge!) and then tell the world about it. Sharing meaningful and inspiring content is a really great way to unite the team, and get publicity. You could have regular team member features on your blog, or upload photos of your most recent get-together to the Etsy In Action Flickr pool.
Looking for a call to action? Well, you’re in luck. Craft Party 2011 is less than a month away and we want to have parties of all shapes and sizes all over the world. Now is the perfect time to galvanize your team into taking part in this global initiative. Visit Meetups Everywhere and sign up for a party near you! Oh and get your Craft Party tips in this How-Tuesday post.
Share your Etsy Teams experiences in the comments below and stay in the loop by signing up for our weekly teams newsletter.