Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hello Etsy

"Hello Etsy: A Summit on Small Business and Sustainability is a hands-on gathering for small business owners who want to connect with their peers, learn the skills to find success and independence, and be part of the movement to build human-scale economies."

Last weekend, we took the opportunity to visit friends in Berlin and attend the Hello Etsy conference. We arrived on Thursday evening and enjoyed spending Friday checking out the city. Berlin is really vibrant place with a large international community. Rent is still fairly cheap and the city feels like it is buzzing with creativity. This was my second visit to Berlin so we skipped the main tourist attractions and stayed local.  We were in the former East German neighboorhod of Friedrichshain which has an abundance of cute cafes, craft shops, galleries and bars.  Later we crossed the river to wander Kreuzberg and Neuk├Âlln, along the canals and peaceful avenues.

On Friday evening, we went to the early registration session at Hudson's cafe.  The lovely people at Hudson's had been busy baking amazing scones which were served with Devonshire clotted cream and super jam....yum!

We spotted a few familiar faces from London including Mary from We Make London and made some new friends as well. We spoke to Maria who works for Bold PR - the company that had been helping Etsy to promote the conference.  In her spare time Maria runs Voodoo Market - a great Berlin craft and vintage market with more than a few similarities to Crafty Fox! Rather than a pub, Voodoo Market takes place in a nightclub.  The next market is on 22nd October so for those in Berlin - you should definitely check it out. I swapped market tales and creative ideas with Maria and The Boy did some interviews with German radio about the conference.

On Friday night, I went to the Community Organiser meet up at the Etsy Labs. It was really interesting to see Etsy's base in Berlin which is in an amazing old building based around a central courtyard. They run regular events and craft nights there - hopefully there wll be something similar in the UK before too long.

On Saturday mornng, it was an early start at Ewerk - an imposing building, formerly a power plant turned nightclub and now an amazing event space. The building really gave off a sense of history and many of the industrial features still remain. The 'history' section on the Ewerk website makes for interesting reading.

Before long, we were all settled in the main hall, ready for the first round of talks. You can find the full schedule and videos of the talks on the Hello Etsy website. Many of the talks were streamed live so that people around the world coud join in. Matt, Etsy's European Director kicked things off and paid tribute to all the hard work that had gone into making the event happen. It was clear to see that the team had paid attention to the details - just as you would expect from Etsy!

The speakers were wide ranging, diverse and interesting. Topics ranged from the practical 'Secrets to Good PR' to the more philosophical 'Mind Your Business'. Doug Richard from The School For Creative Startups and Tom Hodgkinson from the Idler Academy take to the stage below:

We had a chance to talk to lots of great people that had taken part in the event such as Charlie Festa former community director at Threadless.com.  We bumped into Charlie on the roof of Ewerk and had a great chat looking out over Berlin's skyline. We had a good view of the iconic Trabant cars parked below which were a visual reminder of Berlin’s colourful history.  For 30 years, since the 1950s this was almost the only car available to buy in the former East Germany.

It was also great to meet more of the Etsy team from Brooklyn - a few familiar faces and some new friends too. Staff could be identified by their cool neon perspex bear badges! Morgan from Etsy's Brooklyn Base and George from EtsyUK model theirs (left).
A massive Thank You to Etsy for putting together such a fantastic event. We came back from our weekend exhausted and inspired with lots of new friends and a very long to-do list!


  1. It was great to meet you both! We hope to see you next time in UK!
    Mariane und Christopher
    Little pop Machine

  2. Lovely to meet you both too - def look us up when you are in the UK! Xx

  3. glad you had a lovely time! would have loved to have gone to it!