Product School Final Project - "Make it Yours" with Etsy

During Summer 2016, I decided to take classes at Product School to get more official training as a Product Manager. We spent 8 weeks learning how to build software products as Product Managers and worked towards our final project where we would create a new product feature for an existing company. I chose Etsy.

Etsy is an e-commerce site where buyers connect with sellers to purchase their handmade or vintage goods. Opening in April 2005, Etsy went public in 2015 and continues to be a successful company making a positive impact in the community and the lives of their sellers. My idea was to create a feature that would allow sellers to include more than 2 variations per product listing to allow for more streamlined stores and more customization available to buyers.

Product School
July 2016
Skills Used
User interviews, persona generation, competitive landscape research, wireframing, public speaking
Class Instructor
Adam Stafford
Project Background
As I began to focus on the next part of my career, I decided to take Product Management classes at Product School to refine all the skills I have developed in my career as a User Experience Designer and Business Analyst thus far. I am interested in working with other parts of product teams, helping to drive a strategy and the development of a product. I am able to empathize and connect with users, and think creatively to solve new problems.
I love Etsy. I have been a customer since 2010, and even have a friend who is a seller on the platform. After hearing about how successful she's become through Etsy, making it her full time job, I was curious to know more about what it really is like to be a high volume seller on Etsy. She told me about how she's had to devise methods for herself to effectively get around the struggles Etsy creates for her. This inspired my final project for Product School.

My friend's Etsy store - she cleared over 10,000 sales in 2015.
The Feature
Etsy markets itself as the go-to e-commerce site for custom, handmade goods. However, on their product listing pages, they only allow sellers to list up to 2 variations of a product. Variations include things like color, material, length, size, design, flavor, device, scent, weight, and many more. For a site that prides itself on custom items, they did not make it easy for sellers to gather all the information they needed from buyers about their custom products. Sellers would rely on comments left in the "Notes to Seller" box to get all the details they would need to create the product. This is inefficient, non-standardized, and many people often forgot to include all relevant information.
Some sample orders my friend received including details about the customization for each necklace.
Although Etsy limits their users to only have 2 variations available per product, they do allow for a lot of flexibility in the variations. Sellers can include some pre-defined variation options, or they can list their own. When Etsy released Variations back in October 2012, sellers started asking for more than 2 variations. They never indicated that this would change.

A screenshot from a post in Etsy Forums the day Variations were released in October 2012.
My new feature would allow users to include more than 2 variations per product listing. Sellers would not have to change how they listed a product, they would simply be able to continue adding more variations. The product listing page would be different for buyers, because now users would have to go in and specifically select the details they wanted for the item they were ordering. Other custom, handmade goods sides (like Amazon Handmade) already do this.

A quick wireframe to illustrate how additional variations would look from the product listing page.
The Final Presentation
This project culminated in a final presentation in front of my Product School classmates and teacher. It used all the skills I had sharpened during the previous 6 weeks of class, and really gave me a new sense of appreciation for Etsy as a company. Below is my final presentation.
About Me
I have always worked on things to improve people's lives - from volunteering with Key Club in high school to working on improving financial software interfaces today, I have loved helping teams do great things. While at Carnegie Mellon University, I used my love of computers and technology to make people's lives easier through user experience research and design. During my career as a user experience designer, I have found myself focusing more on creating great products.
Between my involvement in various organizations here in New York and studying Human-Computer Interaction, I have found my passion working collaboratively in teams to create great stuff, be it through planning vacations with friends, organizing hackathons with Startup Weekend, or helping to drive the creation of user centered financial software.
Interested in getting in touch? Send me an email!