Monday, January 19, 2015

Captain's Log: Meet SFEtsy Community Supporters - Interview with Popupsters

Hello Teammies!

It's 2015, can you believe it? 2014 was a BIG year for our team. This year, we have a team goal to help you reach your business goals and help you take your business to the next level. One of the ways we are doing this is by talking to handmade supporters and leaders in our community and interviewing them for this blog. Several of our SFEtsy team leaders will be writing here too so you will get to see many facets of the handmade and maker community.

As a team, we were out in the community more than ever - all over the Bay Area! One of our big events was the 2nd Annual Indie Holiday Emporium. Along with Popupsters, we hosted nearly 200 local artisans (and over 40,000 shoppers!) at the historic Pier 35 in San Francisco.

When we were planning the Emporium, we searched for an event partner that really gets the handmade community and the spirit of small, artisan businesses and makers. Aaron Lander from Popupsters fit the bill and we are honored to have him as part of our SFEtsy community.

Recently, I sat down with Aaron and we talked about his role in the artisan community and a little bit more about Popupsters. I know you will enjoy getting to know Aaron and Popupsters and it will inspire you to connect with him online and see how Popupsters can help you take your business to the next level :)

I know you will enjoy this interview!
Rebecca Saylor
SFEtsy Co-Captain

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself as a human in the world? 
I'm Aaron Lander, CEO of PopUpsters - you can find me online @popupsters & @aaronnizzie. 

I was born, raised and educated in the great State of Iowa before coming to the Bay Area in 2011 where I've worked in the local food and agricultural industry (Marin Sun Farms, Fatted Calf, AgLocal) before starting PopUpsters.  

2. How did you first get involved in with Makers and the Handmade Community?

I don't know if I can pinpoint a specific instance when I got involved with the maker community but I do know that I've respected the community since I was a child when I would help my aunt with her crafts. 

3. What do you find most exciting about working with makers, entrepreneurs, and artisans? 

I find the passion and creativity that makers, entrepreneurs, artisans and anyone with a talent, skill or craft to be very exciting. Whether I'm working with one maker or hundreds, there's an energy that's contagious. Listening to people's stories, the intricacy of their product and their vision for their business keeps me moving forward.

4. What do you find most challenging about working with makers, entrepreneurs, and artisans? 

I think the most challenging thing for me is more about my personality than the makers themselves. I am a passionate person that has a sincere desire for everyone to succeed so I tend to take it personally when a maker doesn't have their expected outcome at an event. I've even been known to hit the streets myself when a show is slow to bring in shoppers. 

5. Tell me about a special maker/artisian you’ve met while working on your business? 

I think all the makers are special but one of the first people I met & continuously pops up in my mind, is Paul from Paulcity Goods

Paul Jansen is a prime example of the types of makers we are trying to help out. He is an extremely passionate and talented leathersmith, making his products from grassfed hides. Paul is constantly explaining the differences in grassfed vs conventional leather and then shows you through a microscope - this type of hands on experience is something that has left a lasting impression.

6.  How did you learn about SFEtsy? 

I was lucky enough to stumble upon SFEtsy in a twitter feed. (Author note: Shout out to our social media Guru - Lisa Spinella for connecting our community)

7. What is one of your primary goals for Popupsters in 2015? 

Our biggest goal is to host more events with groups like SFEtsy so your members have more opportunities to PopUp! The next is making it easier for you to host events on our website. 

8. What’s the one online tool you’ve discovered that can help makers propel their business?

Besides PopUpsters, I think Instagram is an extremely valuable tool for bringing visibility to your product. Combine that with your existing sales channels and you can really increase your business. 

For instance, having a PopUp? Take pictures of your products before, let people know when and where to find you and offer a discount for people that mention the post. Some people might not see the post until after the PopUp so make sure to include the link to your Etsy store in the post.

9. Do you have any words of wisdom to help makers sell more in person at popup events?

One of the things I can't stress enough is don't hide from your customers!

I see too many vendors sit behind a table while texting. If people are coming to a PopUp event it's because they want an intimate experience, which means they want to talk to you and learn about what makes your product special. Your story is why people buy from you so get it in front of your potential customers. Oh and make sure to promote your events - the more people promoting your event, the better.​

Thank you Aaron! Next up we interview Sharon - Co-Founder of The Academy of Handmade

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, visit Our Team Page about joining SFEtsy!

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