Etsy is a marketplace made up of many small makers.
That’s the soul of who we are. I don’t think we could
have made this building in any other way that didn’t
include working with many local, small makers—really
integrating our community into the process. It just
wouldn’t feel right.
JC: Yes, so it started with that premise, and that’s a
standard that we place globally across the board for
all of our offices. Basically, it’s finding and sourcing
these local people and makers that we can partner
with and we can grow with. Each of our global offices
is outfitted with furnishings and pictures by local
i+s: How many unique pieces were commissioned
for the headquarters project?
AA: We had 750 pieces approximately—roughly half of
the furnishings and the art in the space. And
vetting all those for sustainability as
well was another big challenge—
not only working with many small
makers but making sure that
they were compliant with the
very high sustainability
standards out there.
JC: And it was a great learning
opportunity for them. There
were workshops set up, and it
was an amazing cross-platform experience of the larger, more commercial guys
working with the small one-, two-man furniture maker
shops and learning from each other and their different
methodologies, their different processes, and what
their recommendations might be. I think it was quite
the interesting cross pollination.
i+s: What did you learn from the process of working
with so many independent artists and makers?
JC: One of the key takeaways, toward the wrapping up
of this project at least, is when we have conversations
between the commercial furniture manufacturers and
local makers and ourselves at Etsy, we talk about this
idea of trust between all the parties—really enabling
other people to do their jobs and fill their positions in
the best way they see fit. For us it’s less about having
extreme control over a situation or end product but
rather providing parameters, guidelines, best practices
to the individuals and using that as a platform for
success. Approaching it with that kind of attitude, I
think, has really benefited all of us in the long run. It
has allowed everybody to feel really invested in the
project as well.
See additional photography from
this project in our digital edition at
The headquarters is currently the
only Living Building Challenge (LBC)
Project that’s largely furnished with
handmade and micro-manufactured
furniture made by local artists and
The new HQ features work made
by, and craft supplies sourced from,
more than 250 Etsy sellers across the
globe comprising 750 unique pieces.
The Green Library (books not shown)
is a quiet, relaxing, brightly lit and
plant-filled space where employees
can work away from their desks.