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I got a chance to stop by Hello Etsy San Francisco, part of Etsy’s 2011 DIY Summit, which had a focus on small business and sustainability. It happened in cities around the world, with amazing speakers and ideas. Our day ended on a high note with a great panel of “Startup Stories,” moderated by Rena Tom of Rare Device, featuring Catherine Bailey of Heath Ceramics, Ryan Mies and Sarah Labieniec of Lab Partners, and Heather Moore of Skinny Laminx. They each had something to say that made my ears prick up!
Ryan Mies on why to start your own business: “You can either spend your days growing someone else’s business, or your business.” Catherine Bailey on expansion: “You should never grow just to grow, but grow to work with people whose work you love.” Heather Moore on the creative tension in running your own business: “Skinny la Minx has become like a client of mine, so I’m trying to make space to work on things that I want to do as well, not just things that are good for my business.” She also had my favorite line of the day, when someone asked how she got started: “I was playing around in my studio and started selling stuff on Etsy to, well, get rid of it!”
If you missed Hello Etsy in your city, check out videos of some of the talks here. (A great discussion on taking prototypes to product with Miguel Nelson of Woolly Pocket, Kate Sofis of SFMade, and Patrick Buckley of DODOcase is available from the SF event, for example.)
More photos after the jump:


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A quiet moment in the CCA lobby during the sessions.
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I Heart Art: San Francisco set up interactive work/craft stations.