Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Japanese members

I spend the months of September-December and March- July selling ceramics at different arts and crafts shows all over Japan. I mostly attend juried shows, occasionally non-juried shows. I just came back from the Hamanako Arts and Crafts show in Hamanako. The level of quality of the people showing is consistently high and the variety of items is impressive. Everytime I go I have thought about how it would be possible to get these people connected with Etsy. Here is an idea. What if I was able to introduce interested parties at the shows to Etsy through a simple, one page handout on what Etsy is. The idea part is this. Most of the barrier centers around English. The exhibitors are nervous about what it takes to get involved and how to go about it. There is a lot of talent and experience on this blog and among the readers of this blog. It would be great if on the handout there was a system for the interested person to contact me and then I could refer them to a "mentor" that could then help them through the first steps of setting up an Etsy shop, Paypal shop, etc. I am not envisioning a free, open ended translation service but a helping first, second and possibly third hand. Any thoughts on this?


AKJapan said...

Hi Dave,
Actually, I would like the reverse help! LOL! I would suggest contacting Etsy admin with this idea as they are very interested in Japan and expanding Etsy here. I think they may have someone on staff who can make this kind of information.

Ayumi has moved her Etsy soap shop to Rakuten, but she did have a post in Japanese on how to *shop* on Etsy

In the meantime, the craftspeople could visit this blog to get an idea of the shops. I understand the English aspect of Etsy might be daunting for many people. Until/unless other language platforms are introduced, that will always be the case. It's a good idea, but getting the idea out there is the hard bit..hmmmmm

togei said...

Hello Andrea,
Interesting ideas.
I have an idea to try a "pay it forward" type of idea. I have already shown one person how to open a shop on Etsy. I asked her if I can refer someone new to her and if she will help the new person to do the same. I will ask the newer people to help those who come after to do the same. Maybe that will help make a pool of "mentors".

AKJapan said...

That's a good idea, especially if they are bi-lingual or have enough J language skills to answer curlier questions about Pay-pal or some such. Through the new international forum thread, I am meeting a fair few new Japan-based sellers.

Sawa Matsueda said...

Hello, I'm posting here for the first time but I'm a Japanese citizen currently living in Canada and selling on Etsy. Sorry for commenting out of the blue, but this is a topic I've thought about as well and couldn't help but join in the conversation.
I've always thought that Etsy as a handmade online selling/buying venue is wonderful and a niche that has yet to filled in Japan. I think it's an excellent idea to make Etsy more accessible to Japanese sellers (and potentially buyers as well), and I like how the pay it forward idea will (hopefully) not only create a team of mentors but spread the word about Etsy. However, while I do think that set up and preliminary mentoring could be overcome, ultimately customer service has to be done in English if customers are from overseas, and without the basic communication skills this will always be a problem, as Andrea pointed out.
I wonder how interested the Etsy admin would be in working on a Japanese language platform? So many Japanese people make things as a hobby (myself included), and I feel like it could be a huge success for everyone involved.

togei said...

Hello Sawa,
I agree Etsy would be a great fit for Japanese, other than the way the name sounds in Japanese. Very close to 'echii'. You are also right in pointing out that customer service has to be done in English. I have shopped the idea of opening a store on Etsy to a couple of exhibitors at the last fairs I have been to but so far the problem is English. The shop owner has to at least be willing to go for that challenge.
I think a Japanese language interface would be enough. A machine translated site would be a mess but just getting the outline into Japanese would help. I have, in the past, contacted Etsy administration about Etsy in Japan and got a "go get em, boy" type of response.