Behind the Scenes of the Etsy Seller Advisory Board

If you are wondering what went on with Etsy's new and somewhat mysterious (only because it's new! haha) Seller Advisory Board, I've got the insider scoop for you!

This past year, Etsy has made an effort to better understand and address seller concerns. One way it seeks to do that is through its new Seller Advisory Board (SAB). The board that meets with Etsy directly and those people are in charge of subcommittees on various topics. We are lucky enough to have an #ahasmember, Carolyn of The Wishing Elephant, who is on the SAB. I asked her to share what her experience was like after their first meeting a few months ago.  

Q: Introduce yourself and what you make and how long you've been doing it.
A: I'm Carolyn, the maker behind The Wishing Elephant. My passion is baby costumes and appliquéd bodysuits. The Wishing Elephant has been around since 2010, just after I had my first child.

Carolyn of The Wishing Elephant

Carolyn of The Wishing Elephant

Q: Tell us about what the Etsy Seller Advisory Board does (and subcommittees!) and how you got on it?
A: Etsy held an open application process in early fall of 2015. I just happened to catch wind of it and applied! From this same pool of applicants, Etsy chose the subcommittee members. Each board member heads a group of about 20 Etsy sellers to help gather insight and opinions. We meet via video conference and discuss specific topic and address concerns/questions.

Q: Can you give us a sense of who else is on the board?
A: The Etsy SAB is comprised of 15 sellers from around the world and reflects the variety of sellers you see on Etsy. Sellers from the US, Canada, France, UK, Germany and Australia are on the board as well as vintage, supply and handmade sellers.

Q: You guys all met up for the first time recently. What was that like and when do you meet again?
A: I have to be honest here, I'm a bit of an Etsy geek. I've always been very curious about what the HQ looks like, feels like and who actually works there. The space is very cool and the people are, gosh darn it, just so nice. I was honestly overwhelmed with the positive, friendly vibe and the quirky fun atmosphere.

Etsy Seller Advisory Board members at the Etsy headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

Etsy Seller Advisory Board members at the Etsy headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

First impressions aside, we had some very real and constructive conversations regarding Etsy. We met with approximately 30 Etsy Admin from across the company for variety of sessions and discussions that focused on three themes. The topics were Etsy Manufacturing, Etsy's communication with the community and how Etsy can help sellers grow their business. We meet again in September.

Q: What was the top concern or concerns that you sensed Etsy was looking to deal with through this committee?
A: We really focused on the three aforementioned areas. I don't think that Etsy had any predetermined "concerns" that they were looking to share, I think the focus was in connecting with the seller community and unlocking our insight. They certainly listened to the SAB's concerns regarding transparency, information dissemination and marketplace integrity. 

Q: How do you think the Seller Advisory Board was able to address these concerns?
A: I was personally very thankful to have the opinions and concerns of my subcommittee members to share in addition to my own. The SAB group was not only given the space to voice concern but also participated in brainstorming sessions with Etsy Admin to address and attempt solutions for  those specific concerns.

Curiosities captured by Carolyn while at the Etsy headquarters.

Curiosities captured by Carolyn while at the Etsy headquarters.

Q: What do you hope the Seller Advisory Board will address in the future?
A: We began to touch on seller education during our last session and I hope we have the opportunity to readdress and focus on this issue in September. I would love to see some sort of structured program to help sellers navigate small business ownership. 

Anything else?
A: My biggest take away from the meetings is that because Etsy is so large and complex, even the smallest of changes have to be weighed against their potential ripple effect. When the IT department implements a change, they have to make it workable for a variety of languages, currencies and international laws. When we as sellers say "Etsy should just___", we are forgetting all the orchestration that goes on behind the curtains.

We all want more categories, more variation, more pictures and more shop functionality. If these changes come at a cost to load time (the #1 reason a buyer abandons a cart), would sellers be happy? Having the opportunity to chat with Etsy admin and specifically the CTO gave us vast insight into the extremely complex and well thought out way that Etsy makes decisions. 

How can people find you?
A: Come find us on Instagram, it's where we have the most fun @thewishingelephant. You can also shop with us at www.thewishingelephant.com and www.thewishingelephant.etsy.com.

What do you think of Carolyn's experience? What do you think about the Seller Advisory Board? Let us know in the comments!