This event review is brought to you by Delphine Vuagnoux, from our Fetch Community Ambassador Team in Sydney.


What: Etsy Success Sydney, a day-long conferences and exchanges to inspire, inform and connect local creative entrepreneurs who wish to learn new skills and understand the need for change in the new economy.
Where: in the newly-renovated Museum of Contemporary Art, with incredible views on the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge
Over Heard: “I’m not perfect. I’m perfectly myself.”

Etsy is a global platform for people to buy from and run independent, creative business. It’s a community marketplace selling unique handmade products accross the world. Launched in Australia in 2011, Etsy is about connecting people, supporting independent businesses and artists and promoting a sustainable and viable trading.  Etsy Success Sydney, part of the Vivid Ideas Exchange at Vivid Sydney 2012, provided a rich programme for everyone looking for ideas to create or expand his/her own business. 300 creative people came to get inspired, to connect, to learn and to share.

Here are six lessons I learned from a full day of inspired stories and rich insights:

1. Find your courage

Starting something new is one of the biggest challenges in life, whether it’s moving to a new place or launching a new business. Chad Dickerson, Etsy CEO, set the tone of the day by telling us how he found the courage to do what he really wanted to do. Yes, there are always a ton of reasons not to change, not to try. So how to overcome your fear? By starting somewhere. Anywhere. “Courage comes from doing,” Chad said. Once you started you have to persist. You make some mistakes, that’s normal; the main thing to keep in mind is that you learn something everytime you failed. And then, always be true to yourself; when in doubt, go with your heart.

2. How Etsy success works for newbies

Danielle Maveal started selling on Etsy 4 years ago and as being now Etsy’s Seller Education lead, she shared tips for the beginners. Etsy has 15 000 members. They sell products which are vintage or handmade or supplies to make them. Danielle was really enthusiastic and as she emphasized, ‘with Etsy, it’s not only opening a shop, it’s about values.” She shared practical insights about how to use keywords (must be clear and detailed) or social media (it’s all about storytelling: sharing your unique point of view, of inspiration). And of course, being consistent so you keep investing time, editing and sharing.

3. Ways to use fashion as a vehicle for social change

Dr Grace McQuilten narrated us the story of The Social Studio, a social business in fashion industry, adressing the issue of refugees in Melbourne. Starting from scratch 3 years ago, The Social Studio is now a fashion label, a retail space, a cafe and a printing studio. “It’s a complex solution to a complex problem”, Grace confessed. Employing 20 people, training 35 students a year in association with the fashion school, the social studio has 5 outlets accross Australia and studies the possibility to be present in Sydney.

4. How to boost your creative business through networking

Hard to believe that Valerie Khoo used to hate giving speeches and networking as she was one of the most interesting speakers of the event. Valerie is the founder of Sydney Writers Centre, a journalist, a blogger and an author. So she had a lot to share about how to make the most of your networking opportunities: both in person and online. It’s all about to connect with your customers and continuing the conversation, building your community as we trust recommendations of people in our community. In real-life networking events can be scary but “if you force yourself, you’ll end up by liking it!”, confirmed Valerie. Overall, always remember that “your network is your networth”.

5. The story of the garage sale trail

It began as part of a local creative community festival in Bondi in May 2010. In April 2011 it went national and was activated in locations all over Australia. In May 2012, more than 150 000 people participated in event nationally. According to Darryl Nichols and Andrew Valder, 3 keywords explain this amazing success story: sustainability, community and creativity. The general idea is to “encourage recycling and relationships between neighbors.” People just adore the idea to make money and celebrate community. “Commerce is powerful when it’s fun and social.”

6. DIY Media and PR: a practical guide

There weren’t enough seats for the last conference of the day! People were really keen to learn all the secrets on how to reach their favorite journalist and get coverage in the media. Jo Walker, editor at Frankie Magazine, and Lexi Kentmann blogger at PottyMouthMama, provided basic rules such as: keep your media release short and simple, error-free and  addressed to the right person. Rather than sending randomly your media release to 100 magazines, carefully choose your target. When you send your email, be sure that it contains all the information needed, in the limit of 300-400 words, with pictures in low resolution. Timing is a key component of success: always think ahead, at least 2 months for a bi-monthly magazine.

This is only a small glimpse of the Etsy Success Sydney 2012. To find out more stay connected on Twitter with @EtsyAU. Also check out some snaps from the event on the Fetch Sydney Facebook page.

About our Amabassador // Delphine Vuagnoux is a Communications officer, working for corporate and not-for-profits sectors. She is passionate about social change and is an idealistic: she believes that all together, with a collaborative approach, we can make this world a better place to live. She just obtained a Master in Public Relations and Advertising at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Connect with Delphine via @delphinevuagnou.