Trip To Washington, D.C. With Etsy
I was able to take a trip to D.C. a couple weeks ago thanks to Etsy! It was the most amazing time. I was there with about 20 other Etsy sellers, as well as a few people from Etsy to help organize us, and prepare us to meet with members of congress and senate. They did so much to help us during our trip, besides that they are all extremely smart, wonderful people, most of which have Etsy shops themselves. I flew in Sunday evening, when I arrived at the hotel, I was given a bag from Etsy, full of treats, notebooks, stickers, and other fun materials. I got ready and refreshed and met everyone down in the lobby to head out to dinner! We walked to this delicious pizza joint in Alexandria. I was fortunate to sit by Rebecca, Elizabeth and Terri so I got to know them a little more. Over the next few days I would get to know everyone, I have a link to their shops at the bottom so you can take a look at how creative and cool they all are!
Sunday night after dinner, I took an Uber to georgetown, it wasn't my original destination. Long story short, I put the wrong destination in and when we got there, my Jamaican driver decided he didn't want to drop me off in the middle of a dark road by myself, he suggested Georgetown because it's a college area with more 'fun things to do'. I said OK and we ended up driving another 20 minutes singing to Bob Marley karaoke before he dropped me off. I was able to walk around the National Harbor area and took a ride on the ferris wheel.
Monday we all met in the conference room to prepare for our meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday. After introducing ourselves we split into groups. I was with Ryan, Jordyn, Elizabeth, and Nina, and our group leader from Etsy, Althea. We talked a lot about our stories, why we started our shops, what it means to us to own and operate a microbusiness, and the challenges we have faced along the way. We were able to workshop our stories with the help of Althea. We spent hours in that conference room but to me it all went by so fast! After our workshop sessions, I knew I wanted to go walk around 'The Mall', I just didn't know when I'd get another chance, our schedule was so busy the next 2 days. I told a couple of other girls what I was thinking, and before I knew it I ended up heading off to downtown D.C. with Jordyn and Teddi! 'The Mall' is an area kind of like a big rectangle with a bunch of monuments and museums. We got dropped off near the Smithsonian, and walked down towards the Lincoln memorial and stopped at the Washington monument along the way. I had so much fun walking and chatting with these girls.
Tuesday we met early, and started on our way to meet with our representatives. We each were planning to meet with someone as we were all from different states. I was able to meet with Congressman Chaffetz's (R-UT) office, unfortuantely he wasn't available, but we met with his staffer Shannon Sorensen who was helpful and seemed positive about what we had to say. Net neutrality, tax compliance, and international shipping were all issues we brought up with each representative. Learn more about those issues HERE. After our meetings, we gathered to showcase what we make to staffers, press, and any representatives who might be available to stop by. The most exciting thing was that we launched the first ever microbusiness caucus! Learn more HERE.
Later that night we went for appetizers at the W rooftop bar. You could basically see all of D.C and the view was breathtaking.
Wednesday was our last day there. We went back to capitol hill, this time went to meet with our senators. I was able to visit Senator Hatch's office. They were receptive and encouraged me to be more vocal back in Utah with fellow sellers here. Each meeting was different and focused on different things.
After our meetings, we got together again for lunch and said our final goodbyes! It was so sad to leave everyone, I really had felt like I was part of a community. After leaving everyone, I walked straight to the Library of Congress. I didn't want to waste a minute of being a tourist in that city. I spent about an hour there, just enough time to quickly browse the museum exhibits and stop at the gift shop. After that I took Uber down to the tidal basin, on the way we drove past the greenhouse in front of the capitol and I REALLY wanted to stop by but good thing I didn't because I didn't know it yet, but I would be running through the airport in just a few short hours. When I reached the MLK memorial, it was crazy how powerful just being in that space was. I totally cried a little, not gonna lie. I walked around the tidal basin towards the Thomas Jefferson memorial because I was totally wondering what that building was after having driven past it the last couple days. Walking around the tidal basin was the prettiest scene. The cherry blossoms were overflowing onto the water and everything just looked beautiful!
Finally I left and was able to make it back to pick up my suitcase from the hotel and arrive at the airport with a couple minutes to spare.
I can't explain how amazing it was to be with the other sellers there and listen to their stories in each meeting. I loved talking with them at lunch, and while we were walking down the halls from meeting to meeting. I learned so much from each of them! This was definitely one of the best experiences I've had through Etsy. It gave me so much inspiration and confidence. No one handed me a manual telling me how to be a business owner. It's so difficult and I spend a lot of time doubting myself and what I do. It was refreshing to hear the experiences of these other sellers and to know I'm not alone, but more importantly it was inspiring to see how they succeed every day! Here is a list of each seller with their shop name, and the Etsy team members that joined us. THANKS ETSY!!! :)
Etsy Team -
Althea Erickson: Advocacy team
Graham Ashcraft: Advocacy team
Ilyssa Meyer: Advocacy team
Ariana Anthony: Public Relations
Parker Gard: Video
Julie Stitzel: Advocacy team
Etsy Sellers -
AND of course me!
If you are an Etsy seller - COMMENT below with your shop name! Especially if you are an Etsy seller from Utah, I am tentatively planning a meetup and it would be really great to see you there!