Community Building Through Etsy Teams and Treasuries

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How do you maximize the usefulness of treasury lists for Etsy promotion of your shop?

Do you recommend joining Teams, and if so, which ones?

These are two of the many questions sent in by Etsypreneur readers and the next step in our current Etsy Success Series of Daily Tips emails.

Treasuries and Teams have one major aspect in common so let’s look at that first, then take a quick look at the unique ways each can be helpful.

Community

If there was one word that I felt most correlated to success online it is this one: community.

This is true for huge success stories like Groupon or Pinterest and it’s just as true for an Etsy shop. Building a community of like-minded people around your name/brand/shop/blog is really the biggest goal you should have.

Even without great products a community will at least help you generate some income through your blog. But if you combine a great product with a great community, you’re sitting on a true winning opportunity.

Both Treasuries and Teams are community-based activities that increase your involvement with others and therefore can help build your circle of connections, friends, and contacts online.

Treasuries

When I look at Treasuries I think to myself… there is an opportunity we’ve never really taken advantage of. We just haven’t gotten very involved in that side of Etsy yet.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Treasuries, which you can read more about here, are a member curated list of 16 great Etsy finds. You pick out 16 items that you like and include them on a treasury list. Here is an example from an Etsypreneur reader:

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I’ll cut to the chase. The key opportunity here, both for the sellers who are featured in treasuries and in the creator of the treasury, is in the concept of “curation“. There is a huge opportunity online in anything that involves sorting through the giant mass of information and culling it down to only the best stuff.

This applies to blog posts, news articles, sales and deals, and shopping, especially in a marketplace like Etsy. Etsy is huge-ginormous. Nobody has time to look at everything and it gets frustrating to know that there could be some really incredible bits of awesomeness that you just don’t have time to find.

That’s what makes a trusted curator a major player in a market like this. If you build a reputation for creating treasuries that are exceptional, then you can build a community of people around those treasuries.

Eventually sellers will be thrilled to be included on one of “your” treasuries and more and more of your lists will hit the front page.

The ways being known as this “curator extraordinaire” can be good for your bottom line are many and too much for this post. But they are there and you’ll find them.

So the first and biggest opportunity I see with treasuries is in curation. But that takes a ton of time to build-up. Time browsing, time promoting, and time waiting for people to take notice. It’s a multi-year plan to really “get there”.

But there are also shorter term ways a Treasury can be helpful. The most important is the idea of reciprocity. You share someone’s items in your treasury and they are that much more likely to return the favor. The more times your items are featured anywhere, the more sales you’ll eventually ring-up.

Just don’t have your feelings hurt when people don’t acknowledge what you’ve done. Some sellers don’t see any value in treasuries, others just don’t do them. For a busy seller, it can be hard to even thank everyone who includes your items in treasuries. That may seem hard to believe, but the numbers can get overwhelming. Lots of people out there.

I encourage you to work with treasuries a little bit and we may try to bring them more into our day-to-day so if we do I’ll share with you. I think there is real long-term opportunity in the curator thing.

Etsy Teams

ImageEtsy Teams are another way to get involved with the community that is already established around Etsy.

Much like the site Meetup.com helps people find groups with interests and activities similar to their own within the borders of a certain city, Etsy Teams help you find other people who share your interests and are already on Etsy.

We have an Etsy Team for Etsypreneurs and members share new products, sale announcements, social media ideas and links, and talk about business tips and questions. If you’re not a member, I invite you to join us there.

There are thousands of Etsy teams set-up around every imaginable subject. And Etsy itself offers up some great ideas for teams on the “what is an Etsy Team” page. For example:

  • Shop owners can create local street teams to organize craft fairs
  • Shoppers can gather together to share their passion for a style or type of item
  • Shop owners around the world who make the same type of items can network and promote their teams
  • Members living nearby one another can meet and hold regular meetings
  • Bloggers and boutique owners can team together shops they’ve featured along with their readers and patrons
  • Members can rally for a charity or other cause
  • Mentors can volunteer to help others
  • Shop owners can run an online sale or promotion together
  • Members can come up with ways to use Teams that we haven’t even imagined yet!

Just reading this list of ideas gets me excited about the potential of teams.

Patience is Key

It seems like every time I write a post for Etsypreneur I feel a little overwhelmed. It’s because I don’t think in terms of just this one post. I’m thinking of the last twenty posts I’ve written and all of the “to-do” items therein.

It’s a pretty much impossible for one person to cover every possible aspect of online business building at the same time. You’ve got to focus on the things that you feel most comfortable with and that will have the greatest impact on your goals.

As you get one area “under-control” you can expand into more.

It’s also about knowing where you’re trying to go. The concept of being a great treasury curator has all the makings of a full-time job to do it at the highest level. So you have to decide if that’s what you want.

If it sounds like it could be, there is a ton of opportunity in being a respected curator. A TON. Just be prepared for a long-term effort.

A Great Bit of Reader Feedback

Here is what Heather from Heather McCaw Art said about treasuries and teams:

For me, treasury-building is a chance to tell a story. For that reason, many of my treasuries have a literary bent. My first such treasury was inspired by the novel “Swamplandia!” I remember digging through vintage shops on a scavenger hunt to find old Florida tourist paraphernalia and alligator teeth jewelry. You can imagine my excitement to join the new “Poetsy” team. Its purpose is to create and promote treasuries inspired by song lyrics or literature. I’m having a lot of fun with it and hope it continues to grow.

Although it seems the majority of featured artists never respond, I have made some very enriching contacts through treasury-building and those eventually led to wonderful conversations about our work and lives. Being an artist is a solitary pursuit, so it is important to make connections however you can. I can’t see that it has led to any sales per se, but teams and treasuries have personal rewards and they can give you a boost when sales are slow. I just think it’s important to avoid spending all your time involved with teams and treasuries, as it cuts into valuable time to create.

Great ideas and advice.

Malaika from HMD Designs wrote a great blog post on her Etsy in Real Life blog about her experience wth Etsy Teams. Check it out here.

Go Team! Build the Treasury!

What about you? How have you used Etsy Teams and Treasuries? I’d love to hear more thoughts and ideas in the comments!

~ Tim

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Comments

  1. I currently am on a few teams and yes it can be a bit overwhelming at times if they have a required amount of treasuries you have to make. It comes down to scheduling them in. After making treasuries with certain team members you will begin to create your own style and become familiar with your teams items to make some great treasuries!! Thanks for the info – some great tips in here!!

  2. I love the idea of treasuries, but as you said they take some time. But with teams, I have just never been able to get much from it. My reasoning is that you are on a particular team, say woodworking, with many other woodworkers, networking to other woodworkers, see the circle….I can’t seem to find a team to get involved in that you can also add in new customers to that mix. I am not going to buy a product I can make from another aritsan usually….This is ONLY MY OPINION though. I would love to know how teams really get the word out to others than like artists…thanks!

    • Hi, AmyC
      Choose a team that has a mix of items, a regional team p.ex. , I’m on the portuguese team (ptteam), we are all portuguese, or living in portugal, some of us work with fabric, like me, some of us sell photos, other sell clothes, or earrings, or vintage stuff, etc… And we make treasuries with each others items, using month trends, like mother’s day now, or easter!

  3. This is a good subject, I’m glad you brought it up!
    Being a full time employee doesn´t leave me with much time to create, and not enought time to make treasuries. I spend almost half an hour making ONE!
    But I’m in 4 teams, and there many members that make a lot of treasuries and when they choose one of my items I add it to my favorites, add some of the other items as well, share that treasurie on my Facebook fan page, and if the curator also has a FB fan page, promote it on my own.
    I believe this can also be a way of sharing your team members goods.

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