When my friend Dayna, a publicist at Etsy (shown below in front of that amazing mural!) invited me to dine with her at "Eatsy," I jumped at the chance. "Eatsy" is a cleverly-named catered lunch that Etsy provides its staffers and their guests free of charge (!) at their DUMBO headquarters in Brooklyn every Tuesday and Thursday. On those days, employees and their friends begin lining up in the cafeteria at around noon for a buffet-style feast from local restaurants and caterers like Ted & Honey, Nahvae Frost, The Meatball Shop, and Mile End. An interesting meat and vegetarian option is always provided.
On the day I visited, there was a choice of beef or Moroccan stew, loads of dipping sauces, and no shortage of bread. Some employees chose to eat lunch at their desks, but many of them poured into the sunny, plant-lined cafeteria, and dined together at communal-style tables. It was so refreshing to see colleagues and friends actually taking a break from their busy work days to eat a hot meal and enjoy each other's company.
After lunch, Dayna gave me a tour of her office. It's obvious based on decorative choices alone that there's a huge push to promote creativity, team building, and to support local businesses. Artwork made by either Etsy admins or makers is proudly displayed all over the office, including (but not limited to!) various murals, yarn-wrapped pipes, an oversize owl mascot named "Mir Grit" by artist Conrad Carlson that welcomes visitors in reception, and large industrial felt panels framing the doorway to the newsroom-style offices. There are nods to the world of handmade at every turn.
There's no shortage of meeting rooms either, all slightly different, and there are no landlines on desks, which makes for a quieter, less chaotic environment; if someone needs to make a call they can use their cell phone or enter one of several cozy "phone rooms" on the perimeter of the office, one of which actually mimics a Britsh-style booth from the outside (shown above); once inside the booth, the similarities end, as there are no windows and Legos are playfully scattered across a desk. Every room in the office, whether it's one of the phone booths, the on-site Etsy "museum of unusual history," or meeting rooms, have punny names like "Soy Division" and "Depeche a la Mode." The majority of Etsy employees live in Brooklyn and ride their bikes to work, so there's a whole room off the entrance devoted to bike storage. Check out that colorful graphic mural (below). Can you imagine starting and ending your day in such a cheerful environment? The bike room is also where Etsy keeps its compost bike. Etsy composts. Of course.
I thanked Dayna for a fun afternoon and headed out through the dramatic, vertical planter-lined entrance (commissioned by Greenery NYC). Once I was back out on the street, I started thinking about what appealed to me so much about their offices and I realized it was the quirkiness and lack of sterility and stuffiness. I can't say what it's like to actually work at Etsy—that's a post I'm certainly not qualified to write!—but I was definitely inspired by their clever and enlightened decorating choices and I left smiling and with a full belly.