The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Interview: London local, Nicole Vanderbilt — February 10, 2013

Interview: London local, Nicole Vanderbilt

This week, David Iwanow chats to Nicole Vanderbilt, the Etsy Country Manager for UK, Australia and Canada.


Can you please introduce yourself and how did you become involved with Etsy?

My name is Nicole Vanderbilt, and I joined Etsy back in September after spending two years running a UK-based internet startup in the home decor and interior design space. It was during this time that I learned about Etsy and watched it grow in the early stages. I’d always admired Etsy’s strong focus on the seller community and the incredible company culture born out of a unique combination of world class engineers and incredible creative talent. It was my first choice as the next place to work by quite a large margin. I count myself lucky daily that it worked out.

Your role is Country Director, can you explain exactly what that entails?

My role is to make our local in country teams successful, and we are very fortunate that our success and our sellers’ success is pretty much one and the same. More specifically, our country teams work on introducing Etsy to new buyers and sellers, ensuring that the site reflects the needs of the local market while maintaining its strength as a global platform, and supporting, educating and empowering our sellers. They are our biggest asset. A lot of times our job is give them what they need and get out of the way!

How do you stay on top of changes in trends and competitors? Do you prefer online or offline sources?

I think the key is to listen to our buyers and sellers. They are our best source of intel – what they want, what they need, what other things they are finding that they love and that help them run their business, enjoy what they do and make a difference to their lives.

Do you have any tips for readers who would love to work for or with Etsy? Via internships, partnerships, employees?

Get in touch, be creative, don’t assume that we have it all already figured out.

What is your favourite section/product on Etsy? What about it makes it #1 in your heart?

It’s impossible to choose just one. What I love about Etsy is that I can find things that make me laugh, that are beautiful, and that I can use every day. My current obsession is vintage French coffee cups. They seem to be the perfect size for the amount of coffee I need. And, for a while I couldn’t get enough of notebooks. I like finding small ways to make the every day a little less boring.

What is the best or most unique item you have found on Etsy that you had to have/share?

“Most unique” is a fierce fight on Etsy. I loved this when I discovered it because it made me giggle and remember a funny story about high school science class which I never thought would be captured in knit! And, I can barely get through a conversation with a female friend without trying to get her to consider buying a pair of these. The perfect ballet flat, made by a real person, from recycled/upcycled leather, at a good price. There are different colours and fabrics – a little something for everyone.

etsy-homepageEtsy’s current homepage

How does Australia market differ from other regions? Do we buy more products produced locally or globally?

Around the world on Etsy, we find a lot of cross-border purchases happening. It’s exciting to be on the first truly global marketplaces (even the big global Internet retailers mostly silo off each country and try to limit cross-country shopping). By contrast, we are thrilled to be able to help a Latvian rug maker reach customers around the world directly from her workshop and to help an Australian buyer find something from abroad that simply isn’t available locally. It’s good for the business and it’s great for the buyers and sellers involved.

Australia is a strong market for us on both the seller and buyer side. There’s a strong domestic market here and a strong cross-border trade. I think probably the biggest difference is that Australians seem to be even more accustomed to purchasing things from overseas than some of our other markets.

I was interested to discover Adam Savage of Mythbusters loves Etsy, what local celebrities do you know of that love Etsy?

What’s so great about Etsy is lots of different people love it – from Martha Stewart to Tavi to Adam Savage. Locally, we know Lisa Mitchell is a fan.

What recent social changes have you seen that you are excited about? Facebook Search Graph?

I’ll be a bit contrarian here. I am not that interested in more different types of search. Don’t get me wrong, I use Google as much as anyone else, and I am keen for search to work and work well. But, the gap remains in helping people who don’t know exactly know what they are looking for or how to put it into words. How do we help people find relevant inspiration and recreate the same experience that a gallery or boutique offers in the real world – where you can wander around visually, rather than just cutting straight to the chase? The social graph will be a part of this, but we are only really at the beginning.

What are some some home grown winners you think are doing Etsy right?

Australian has a very wide variety of fantastic sellers. Some businesses who are really taking advantage of Etsy’s global platform include wall decal designer, stationery team, wedding accessory designer and homewares designer

Do you have any advice for Australians wanting to launch their products on Etsy? Types of products?

The great thing about Etsy is the wide variety of things that sell and sell well. Our biggest categories our things like jewellery, fashion, weddings and vintage, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be successful selling a furniture, food, or toys.

The key to success is making your shop look great – the product photography, your shop banner, the way all the products look together on the page. Also ensuring that buyers can find you by using great product titles, tags and descriptions with words that people might use to search for your products.

Do you have anything exclusive to share with The Fetch readers on what is coming soon?

We will continue to support our sellers in becoming successful. We are constantly looking for ways we can make this process better and easier for buyers and sellers. So, nothing to announce at the moment but there is plenty in the works to help achieve these goals.

Editor’s note: We’re please to share Nicole will be joining us at our next dinner conversation for The Fetch Melbourne this month! Stay tuned for more events and news from creative companies and startups via

About our Ambassador David Iwanow: David can be found working as a SEO Product Manager for and in Amsterdam. He is an avid traveler and publishes on TravelNetwork but he is also one of the folks behind the monthly SEO Meetups, which have almost 2,000 members across Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.You can also find him on TwitterFacebook and Google+.

Event Review: Etsy Success Sydney 2012 — June 8, 2012

Event Review: Etsy Success Sydney 2012

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.

%d bloggers like this: