Michelle and I headed out to the Smithsonian American Art Museum for the Hello Etsy summit on small business and sustainability. Our mission? To learn as much as possible about the Etsy/handmade culture! Michelle has been toying with the idea of opening an Etsy store, and as you know, I love featuring Etsy sellers, so it only made sense to attend!
What is Hello Etsy all about, you ask? Let me refer you to their press release:
Hello Etsy D.C. will be hosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. John Maeda, President of Rhode Island School of Design, and renowned artist, graphic designer, computer scientist and educator will speak as well as Jenny Hart, founder and owner of the Texas-based embroidery design company, Sublime Sitching. The day will also contain workshops and discussion around local, living economies with Think Local First and business networking with Freelancer’s Union.
The speeches by John Maeda and Jenny Hart were both fantastic. They were engaging, interesting, and really made me feel that I could make a difference in the world. They both focused on the entrepreneurial spirit and stressed that being an artist does *not* mean that you have to starve, which is a totally legitimate option for all artists. This new wave of artistry was very refreshing for many of us in attendance.
Michelle and I also attended two mini-sessions – one basic finance course that was fantastic, and a networking course where I was fortunate enough to sit at THE best table. We walked away from both sessions feeling more knowledgeable and energized about the futures of our businesses.
We met so many wonderful people – candle-makers, jewelers, photographers, fashionistas of every shape and size. It was so awesome to get out and enjoy some time with the lovely people who make up the Etsy community. It’s not often that artistic people are able to network freely in an open and inviting environment (I find craft shows to be competitive at times, personally) but this event really inspired a community feeling.
Oh… and I mentioned earlier that I forgot my VistaPrint cards at home… so if anyone wants one and lives in the Maryland/DC area, please let me know. I have plenty!!
Did you attend the Hello Etsy DC event or any of the others around the world? Please leave your thoughts in the comments!
(And if anyone is interested in an Etsy Spotlight – please let me know! I’d love to feature your store!)