A Career Centre workshop aimed to get York U students and grads thinking about creative entrepreneurship offered a first-hand glimpse into what it takes to start a business on Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods.
The session was led by Etsy seller Robin Fitzsimons, who shared instructional information on launching an Etsy ‘shop’. Etsy’s platform is designed so artists and artisans can set up an online store with potential to reach a worldwide audience of buyers, making it an ideal market place for entrepreneurs to launch a business selling anything from original artwork and photography to handmade crafts and vintage goods.
During the Sept. 15 workshop, Fitzsimons shared her personal experience of opening an online Etsy store to sell her handmade leather goods. She shared with students and grads how she manages all aspects of her small business, Fitzy Design, including marketing, bookkeeping, as well as handcrafting all of her merchandise.
Etsy, she said, is an easy and low-risk way to get a small business off the ground without too much up-front cost.
Those who participated in the workshop responded positively to the experience. York U Humanities grad Rachel Heffer said after attending the session, she’s determined to open her own Etsy shop selling vintage home décor items – something she’s been thinking about for a while.
“It was inspiring and encouraging to hear from a successful Etsy seller and be surrounded by others with a similar passion to pursue a creative business,” she said.
Another attendee, Kinga Szymczyk, recently opened her own Etsy shop FotoCommunique and said the workshop gave her the confidence to move forward with her Etsy plans.
“Sometimes you need a little bit of reassurance that something is possible to get yourself moving forward,” said Kinga, a York Communications Studies grad.
Kinga is now selling some of her original photography on Etsy and says she enjoys the pride that comes with entrepreneurship.
The satisfaction of that first sale, she said, reinforces pride in yourself and your work.
“There’s no feeling quite like it,” she said.
This workshop is one example of programming the Career Centre provides for students who are thinking about entrepreneurship.
Julie Rahmer, director of the Career Centre, said the demand from York students for workshops like this is growing.
“We hear from an increasing number of York students who want to make a career out of doing what they love, or have a side business that allows them to be creative, and the Etsy workshop provided a unique opportunity for students to learn more about entrepreneurship,” she said.
The Career Centre has a year-round schedule of events and workshops on career planning and job searching. York students and news grads (up to two years after graduation) can register for events on the Career Centre’s website.