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Wed Mar 20 2013 11:36:42

Are Offline Conferences Worth It?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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This weekend in Brooklyn, the latest annual Hello Etsy Conference is taking place at The Pratt Institute from Mar 22 - 24. In writing the article about it, I read through the comments on the Hello Etsy blog post. There was a lot of enthusiasm, and also, probably reflective of our still-shaky economy, some concern about spending the money to get there and whether it would be worth it for that individual seller. 

"Too far from me," said Angela Marcos of Etsy Shop LaAntigua. "Eight-five dollars is nothing compared to air fares and hotels. I am in South Dakota! I cannot even fly direct to New York!" she wrote. "Keep us updated, though."

"I live in NYC, but $85 seems sorta steep... is it worth the investment?" wondered Vanessa from resetreality, which features abstract and other types of works of art.

Many sellers were excited about the Pratt Institute as a location, and several others expressed a desire that the Hello Etsy conference be held in their neck of the woods another time; be it Ohio or California.

One thing seemed sure: for Etsyians who could not make it, they expressed a desire to share in the learning by being able to access videos of the sessions after the event occurred: "Will the conference sessions be recorded? In this age, geographic location should not limit opportunities/learning," wrote Cathy of InitiallyCharmed. "I think you would find many would be willing to access remotely or download recordings for reasonable rates."

I think this is a good idea, too, especially for those overseas conferences that cost an even prettier penny. I asked around to see who had attended either of Etsy's European events, but didn't come up with much. But just today I came across some great links about last year's Hello Etsy conference in The Netherlands: the blog "Chasing Heartbeats" had a great post about the Holland event, with gorgeous photos.

And even better, I came across videos of the Dutch event from the Etsy video library on

Of course, what is often said about these events is the importance of meeting other sellers in person, networking, and listening to inspirational speakers. And in terms of alternating locations, this is something eBay does, especially with its local events, eBay on Location, which took the place of its larger eBay Live! conferences a few years ago.

For me, the eBay Live! events were a great way to meet both other sellers and other newsletter writers and journalists. I'm glad I attended several of these, and can now put a name and person to many faces on web pages and blogs. But I don't have the wherewithal to attend a lot of these.

So I'm interested in hearing from those of you who have attended offline they Hello Etsy, eBay on Location, the former eBay Live!, affiliate summits, etc...have you found these events to be worth it? Do you limit how many you attend, or do you try to watch videos of the event if you can't make them? Have you made important contacts at them?

If you don't find them to be worth all the expense, are there things that could be changed that would make them more valuable to you? Post a comment here!

Comments (3) | Permalink

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Thu Mar 21 09:09:26 2013

You can always learn something from your colleagues, and face-to-face conversations nearly always pay off with a tip or two.

I'm looking forward to the Internet Retailer conference coming up in June, the exhibit hall is full of vendors, there are always a lot of shipping services for example.

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This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww

Thu Mar 21 16:45:48 2013

This is true, Ina. Personally I love conferences, and would love to go to more, but the costs do add up so I think folks are sometimes selective about which they go to.

I'd love to hear from anyone who traveled to Europe for either one of the Etsy conferences (Berlin, Eindhoven) or an eBay UK or German conf. :)

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by: TAK This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 22 18:47:13 2013

I have been to some conferences, and they are helpful, but I would never go to NYC for anything due to hideous travel expenses. How about a traveler-friendly city like Orlando?

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