Etsy Captains’ Summit 2015

On Sunday, I arrived in the snowy and cold city of Toronto – home to Etsy Canada’s headquarters. We’ve been having wonderfully warm weather in Calgary, so it was a bit of a shock to really be confronted with falling snow and chilly winds.

Weather aside though, I am incredibly happy to be here. I’m joined by co-organizers Lindy & Hilda to talk about the Made in Canada event for 2015, to share what we learned from organizing last year’s market and to hear about all the nifty things other cities and teams came up with for their own iterations of the market.

It always feels so nice to be in a room surrounded by so many creative people. Today was spent mostly on confirming the nuts and bolts of running a market, but it was a good chance to reconnect with some of the great people I met last year and hear about their successes in the months since I saw them last.

We spent the morning hours talking about how to engage and recruit volunteers. Hilda and I had some great volunteers last year to help us out, but we are both so thrilled to have Lindy on board to share in the core planning. It always seems like putting on a one-day event won’t be too much trouble, but once you sit down and go through everything that needs to be done, the task list can become quite daunting. Having enthusiastic and motivated volunteers really alleviates the stress that takes the fun out of planning such a great event. And really, the more creative and free we can be, the better the event will be.

Etsy Admin Tanya Santos

Etsy Admin Tanya Santos introducing us to an afternoon talk.

In the afternoon, we heard from Canada Post about useful tools they’re offering us with to help make sure everyone in our cities hears about Made in Canada. Of course, a lot of the information about the event will be disseminated through our various social media accounts, but who doesn’t like receiving mail these days? There’s a whole host of people out there who haven’t heard about Etsy, but are still the type of people who love to shop handmade. It’s always good to keep in mind that not everyone gets the majority of their information from online sources, so sending out strong mailers is important.

Summit info booklet

My Summit workbook, complete with handmade notebook from Trinity Street Press.

As we rounded out the end of the day’s sessions, Hilda and I led a group in a breakout session about managing and engaging vendors. Of course the customers that come through the door are a huge part of the event, but it’s the vendors who are the ones who will draw those customers in and determine whether or not the day is a success. They are our bread & butter and it’s important to manage them smartly and with respect. We were so fortunate with the vendors we selected last year and we’re really hoping to expand the event this year so even more great creatives can have an opportunity to shine.

We’re back in session tomorrow for the better part of the day before it’s time to head home. I really can’t wait to get some of the specifics of the Calgary event nailed down so we can move on to the fun details that make an event like this one so memorable.

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