Mic Etsy

ETSY 2014


Under the guidance of Kyla Fullinwiender

In collaboration with Vidhi Goel, Eliz Ayaydin, and Berk Ilhan


Working to help Etsy Brooklyn’s Values & Impact team bring sustainability to the hearts and minds of Etsy stakeholders, the project goal was to create new kinds of value for business success by using design and social innovation to create social and ecological outputs (rather than the traditional financial outputs).

The methodology used leverages design research methods for real world problem solving infused with behavior economics and change theory.




In total, we interviewed 4 Etsy employees (3 Brooklyn, 1 Berlin). In addition, there were two surveys – one local (Brooklyn office), with 110 respondents out of roughly 350 employees, and one international, with 57 respondents.





From our research, our first big insight was that Etsy has a global community, but there is no global medium for exchanging sustainability ideas between cultures. This led to the opportunity to create a way for sustainability to travel between the different Etsy offices. 


Does sustainability even travel? This question was posed by Etsy's head of user research. Digging deeper into this question, research led us to the insight that sustainability is contagious, meaning employees learned how to be more sustainable in their personal lives based on what they doe in the office, and vice versa. With the sustainability can travel short distances, our team was interested in learning if the sustainability could travel international distances. 




Creating a medium for sharing sustainability ideas using gamification, we developed MicEtsy, a microphone prop that gives voice to the objects around us. Employing my metalsmithing background and in the true spirit of Etsy, I created three brass microphones. Through the medium of video, employees would record short instagram videos of stories told through an object. For example, a pair of chopsticks encourages people to reuse them by simply washing them. The videos would be curated on to a blog for all of Etsy to view. 




We conducted user research on this concept idea and learned that we need to provide a larger framework for our intervention to live in and be thoughtful about how we engage employees with sustainability.

We identified that although Etsy has rich sustainability performance data, the reports do not motivate employees to make changes. Our team identified an opportunity - Starting in 2015, Etsy will have real-time statistics for things like weight of landfill (trash), energy usage, etc. These will be published on a dashboard for all of internal Etsy to see.




Thinking about the larger context that delightful ways of exchanging ideas can live within, our team created a wireframe for what a global sustainability blog might look like. This was in line with the Vice President of the Values & Impact’s vision for a sustainability blog for Etsy. The blog contains sections dedicated to personal stories from employees, monthly events and themes, and more, but the most significant part of the blog is a visualization of which country is doing best according to the monthly sustainability metrics – which has the larger purpose to nudge other countries to catch up.

From user research, we learned that yes, while people want to learn about other Etsy offices and cultures they feel fatigued by platforms and did not like the idea of another. Etsy has so many channels of communication that employees feel overwhelmed by the large amount of internal and external platforms.




Based on what we heard, we realized that making an engaging and fun blog is one thing, but getting employees onto the blog is a whole other story.

In response to this, our team created GIF visualizations – still keeping the challenge component at heart – for the monthly newsletters that will be sent out to encourage people to look at the sustainability blog.


Handing off the Keys

The keys were be handed off to the Values & Impact team, who were then to curate the blog and newsletters. In addition, they would be responsible for integrating the live feed dashboard into the blog and curating videos.